Health Assurance vs Health Insurance
Recently I was updating some of my insurance coverages, specifically my malpractice insurance, my building insurance on my business property, and my auto insurance. The companies who "underwrite" these policies ask a series of questions to determine your level of "risk" and that sets the rates of your insurance policy. The bottom line is that "risk" determines "rate".
This is NO different from your health insurance because rates are determined in a company by how many people are using their insurance and what they are spending on medications, hospitalizations, etc. If you think any insurance company will EVER pay out more in benefits than it collects in premiums, you don't understand how insurance works. In 2018, the top 62 health insurance company CEO's made an average of 18 million dollars EACH in total compensation. I don't think these CEO's would be getting paid millions if their companies were losing money and paying more in claims than it collects in premiums. The golden rule applies here, "he who holds the gold makes the rules".
When patients come into my office and think that their health insurance wants to pay for everything they truly need to get them healthy, I silently think "if they only knew". What people REALLY need in addition to their health insurance is health ASSURANCE. The assurance that your body and your immune system has the strength and adaptability it needs to weather the storms of life.
Here is what I know after seeing patients for almost 30 years. Healthy, strong people don't get sick. Unhealthy, immunocompromised people get sick. Now let's not confuse asymptomatic with healthy. Just because you don't have symptoms DOES NOT mean you are healthy. You could be one day away from a heart attack, does that mean you are healthy even though you may not have any symptoms yet? You could have a tumor growing undetected in your body right now without symptoms of it. You may even be infected with a virus and it hasn't produced symptoms yet. If we base our health on how we feel, i.e. "I feel ok, I must be ok", we will eventually pay the price because our point of reference is an assumption. You know what happens when you make an assumption, don't you? What we need is health assurance to be truly healthy. We need strong physiology, strong resilience, and a flexible body and mind. Health or sickness is an effect and their cause is how we live our lives and the choices we make.
When I do a consult with a new patient, I ask them the following, rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 in the following critical areas of your health. By the way, a 1 is you are terrible and neglectful in this area of your health and a 10 is that you are super disciplined in this area of your health. I have them rate five areas and ask them what they DO to support these five areas. They are:
Exercise or physical activity: Mobility, Cardiovascular, and Strength training.
Nutrition: Quality and the Quantity of the food and liquids you consume.
Stress: The amount of stress you have and how you manage it.
Sleep: The quality and quantity of sleep you get on a weekly basis.
Water Intake: Drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces of H2O throughout the day.
Energy Level: How is your energy (productivity) throughout the day.
It may come as no surprise, but the people who rate themselves poorly in these categories have a lot of health problems and take many medications. The ones that rate themselves high have good health, good energy, and don't take a lot of medications. The bottom line is that healthy people live healthy lifestyles. Also, rating these areas brings to light what areas may need attention and improvement. Some people are really good with their water intake and nutrition but may be really bad at exercise and stress management.
In conclusion, you may already have health insurance and you may be paying a lot of money for a little "insurance". However, if you truly want to "insure" yourself against nasty viruses and other preventable diseases, you need to get health "assurance". That only comes from putting your health first and making a commitment to changing your health habits.