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5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Health Policy

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Health Policy

Most employers don’t offer 100% free health insurance, which means that a portion of your income is going toward your healthcare plan every single month. If you’re in good health, you’re probably not using a majority of the health benefits you’re paying for. However, there still can be a lot of different benefits for you. All you have to do is a little bit of research to help you learn more about your plan. Here are five ways to make the most of your health coverage so that you feel like you’re getting something in return.

1. Find out what freebies are offered

Since you’re paying for your health insurance, nothing is truly “free,” but there are likely perks that you won’t have to pay extra for. Many preventative healthcare services, like screenings and tests, are available thanks to the Affordable Care Act. There are additional freebies for women and children as well. Be sure to ask about any freebies that your business may have to offer. You may never know about it if you never ask.

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2. Ask for a price cut

If you have a plan with a high-deductible, you may be able to get a break when you visit your dentist or doctor. If you pay with cash, some offices will take a bit off the price; just make sure to let them know that you have a high-deductible plan. If they can’t reduce the price for you, ask if they’re able to put you on an installment payment plan.

3. Don’t over-spend on medications

When your doctor is prescribing you a medication, find out if there’s a generic (i.e. cheaper) version that you can take instead. If there is, hunt around for the pharmacy that offers the lowest prices on generic medications. This way you can still get the medication you need without spending too much. You may even want to ask your pharmacist about good medications for you that fit within your budget.

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4. Add on a health savings account

Some health plans come with the option of adding a health savings account. This means that you can create a savings account with non-taxable money. You’ll earn interest on the money that remains in the account and the savings account total will roll over every year. Sometimes, employers even contribute a certain percentage of what you contribute to your health savings account. This is a great way to have money set aside, specifically for healthcare and medical bills. It is really nice to have some money set aside for things like this that doesn’t have to come directly out of your checking account.

5. Price-shop for the right hospital

If you have to have a procedure done, don’t assume that all hospital price tags are created equal. Compare hospital prices by calling them up, telling them what you have to get done and giving them the name of your insurance provider. There are even some online tools that let you compare prices from several hospitals depending on their health management programs and expertise. Taking the time to do some research can really help save you money in the long run. You may even want to take time to tour different hospitals to find your ideal place for medical care.

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Whether you have a high-deductible insurance plan or you just want to make the most of your affordable health care plan, there are ways to maximize on its perks. Take advantage of what you’re paying for by figuring out freebies, asking for price cuts and saving on medications. Find reliable caretakers that can meet your health needs at a price range that fits your financial expenses.

Featured photo credit: Crew via unsplash.com

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Kara Masterson

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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