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Wellness, Prevention and Insurance

Posted on Mar 1, 2015 in Columnists, In The Know, Insurance Matters

Many of you have recently renewed your health insurance for 2015. Some of you have chosen new plans of insurance while others have kept the same plan in its newest version as revised for the new coverage year.

What if anything does wellness and prevention have to do with insurance? After all wellness, one could say, refers to a state of being and/or feeling and prevention refers to the avoidance of or preparation to avoid something, while insurance deals with the payment for our medical care. There is much that wellness and prevention have to with insurance and vice versa.

Wellness activities are expected to deliver improvements that enable you to lead a healthier and active life; in some cases overcoming, correcting and/or helping prevent something. Examples can include regular exercise at a facility, change in eating habits and/or diet, change in activity patterns, with either the use of prescription medicine and/or counseling to overcome addiction to nicotine and cessation of tobacco use, seminars and classes to help the insured deal with certain chronic conditions etc.

Prevention could consist of measures designed to discover and/or prevent the occurrence or the further advance of something affecting your health. Examples of prevention measures can include vaccinations, annual physical exams, helplines to help determine what level of care to access rather than automatically going to the highest and costliest level when there is not the need to do so. Other examples can include periodic mammography, periodic colonoscopy or other listed diagnostic procedures.

Here is where insurance comes in. Insurers now recognize the value of wellness activities and preventive measures versus their cost, and that these will generate ultimate savings as result of a lower claim incidence and a lower cost of claims in the future while improving the quality of life of the insured. These improvements in many cases have led to lower rate increases, year to year, than would otherwise be necessary. Because of this, many wellness activities and prevention measures are fully paid for by the insurance provider and are free to the insured.

Imagine your gym fully paid for, your vaccinations for free, your free annual physical (if you are in a defined age range), a colonoscopy as needed, free counseling and guidance to help you stop smoking, etc. And a healthier feeling and better quality of life. All of these for free! They are there for the taking!

All the insured person needs to do is be aware of what is available to him/her and ensure that they take advantage of them and meet the conditions required. More importantly, there is much that can be done, and you control whether it gets done or not. In short you are it.

I must admit I have not yet taken stock of all that is available to me through my insurance. I will do so in the next couple of weeks and will take advantage of them. Have you done this? Will you do so?

Peter J. Bondy is an expert actuarial and insurance consultant. He has had experience with the benefit structures provided by different insurance products and understands their contract terms and features. Peter provides insurance policy analysis. He also provides actuarial appraisal valuations of life insurance policies, future annuity benefits, future disability benefits and structured settlement annuities. Phone: 225-323-5904, email peter@bondyadvisors.com

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