Can the Healthcare Reform Help?
ObamaCare Survival Guide
Healthcare Reform in the U.S
Healthcare has recently been in the forefront of all major media outlets with the recent rollout, problems, and developments of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known by more common names such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Healthcare Reform, or Obama Care. Some of the major issues with healthcare in the United States include the amount of people that do not have health insurance, those who are under insured, the rising costs of healthcare in general, the rising costs of health insurance premiums, increasing wait times in emergency rooms, and many more. Is there going to be simple fixes that if we all follow will in turn solve the healthcare crisis in the United States? NO, however there are things that you can do that will help yourself and hopefully with enough people that care enough to take action can help change the healthcare system little by little.
- Tobacco use can cause you to pay higher insurance premiums and accrue more medical expenses
- Living a healthy lifestyle can lower your insurance premiums
1. Start or Maintain Healthy Habits
One of the biggest ways that we all can help with turning around the disaster that has become healthcare is to stay healthy! The more healthy we are as a country, the less cost per person insurance companies will have to pay out in medical expenses.
The American Heart Association recommends around 30 minutes of physical activity, five times a week, or 25 minutes of aerobic exercise, three times a week, and at least two days a week of strength training and stretching.* Physical activity includes anything from climbing stairs to playing a sport. Aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging, or running is beneficial for heart. Also, strength training and stretching will help with stamina and flexibility.
- Use as many calories as you take in
- Eat variety of nutritious foods from all food groups
- Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein foods, dairy
- Studies have shown that eating fish twice a week is very beneficial because of the Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Eat less nutrient-poor foods
- Drink Water
- Stop using tobacco
Get plenty of Rest
Do you have a Primary Care Physician?
2. Visit or Get a Primary Care Physician (PCP)
Having your own primary care physician (PCP) is beneficial to both children and adults’ health. Research with the Journal of Health Affairs have found that people who have primary care physicians have better health management and lower health care costs.
Yearly physicals can help maintain health, detect early stages of disease and illness allowing for quicker treatment, and help create a relationship with a primary care physician that can be beneficial to your overall health management.
It is also important to maintain oral health as part of your overall health, especially if you are currently or were a former tobacco user.
The more people that regularly use a primary care physician than visiting a facility such as an emergency room can help keep the costs of health care down due to the average visit to the Emergency Room being significantly higher than a visit to a primary care physician.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention!
- Signs or symptoms of Heart Attack
- Signs or symptoms of a Stroke
- If you feel you are having a medical emergency
3. When should you go to ER?
If you feel you that you need to go to the emergency room then by all means GO! Always better safe than sorry! If you feel you can get yourself there in a timely safe manner then that is fine, but if you are alone or feel you need prompt medical treatment call 911 to have an ambulance come to you!
It is important to understand that each situation is different and nobody can tell you over the computer or phone whether or not you should or should not go to the emergency room based on the specific symptoms you are having without physically examining you.
If you are having these signs and symptoms of a heart attack, seek medical attention immediately!*
- Chest pain (squeezing or aching sensation in your chest that may spread to neck, jaw or back)
- Pressure or tightness in chest
- Shortness of breath
- Impending sense of doom
If you are having any of these signs or symptoms of a stroke, seek medical attention immediately!*
- Slurred speech
- Numbness in face, arm, or leg
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
On advice of medical professionals!
There are many instances in emergency rooms across the nation that involve patients that use emergency centers for non-emergency care. Many of these people are those that do not have health insurance or adaquate health insurance. It is important to understand that many of these types of patients do not use emergency rooms as their primary care because they want to. Many primary care facilities do not accept these patients due to not not having insurance or do not except certain insurances. It leaves these patients no other choice because they either have to pay a certain percentage upfront, and many people do not have the money to do so. However, there are facilities that provide services to these patients but they are extremely busy and in many cases understaffed, causing delays up to months to get appointments.
4. Alternatives to the Emergency Room
If you do not have a primary care physician (PCP), it is important to understand that having one can be very beneficial to your health and often times has shorter wait times than going to an urgent/minor care facility or the emergency room, as you are able to make an appointment to see your PCP.
Other alternatives to going to an emergency room are minor care facilities. These types of facilities may also be called urgent cares, immediate cares, doctor’s care, etc. These healthcare facilities are designed to treat minor injuries and illnesses that are not deemed emergent conditions, things such as bumps, bruises, coughs, colds, small lacerations, etc.) Also, they tend to be less expensive than an ER visit.
Be sure to find out wether or not your insurance has specifications or limitations for different healthcare facility visits. Some insurances will not cover the cost of an Emergency Room visit if the reason for that visit is not deemed an emergency condition and you could be stuck paying for the entire bill out of pocket.
Many healthcare facilities have opportunities to volunteer. Volunteering at a healthcare can be very beneficial to not only you, but the patients and also the staff. Volunteers can help in a variety of ways such as helping patients find where they need to go, sitting with patients, and just talking to patients. Also opportunities involve non-clinical services such as getting patients things such as blankets, water, or even just helping them go to the bathroom. These services benefit patient and staff because it frees up clinical time for staff to better take care of patients medical needs.
Some healthcare volunteer opportunities call for services such as heating and air conditioning and plumbing for patients that may not have the means to afford these services like the elderly and low income families. These patients are usually on fixed incomes and when these services are not affordable may suffer heat related illnesses in the summer and health care risks due to inadequate plumbing. Contact a healthcare facility to see if they have a program such as this if you are interested in volunteering these services.