American health care has been making big headlines these days

With a topsy turvy economy, families are more concerned than ever about rising costs of family health care coverage.

According to CNN/Money, a typical American family of four will have to pay over $20,000 for family health care plans in 2012. This is up 7% from last year, an increasing trend for the past five years. Ten years ago, the cost was less than half.

Should the Affordable Care Act pass, it will have little effect on the financial burden on the high cost of coverage. In addition, it will not prevent the costs from increasing. While employers are still responsible for a majority of health care plan expenses, employees have been paying more and more. Many experts speculate that health care costs may eat more than half our income by 2037 if something isn’t done.

So what can you do to cut down on expensive out-of-pocket payments for you and your loved ones?

Shop around for affordable family health care plans that deal with the well-being of every member of your family. Buying in bulk is less expensive than separate women’s health and men’s health care plans.

Here are some helpful tidbits to help you get started in your search:

  • Contact medical groups directly. Some websites streamline this search for you (GetInsured.com), by offering quotes from a handful of providers.
  • Get a feel for what family health plans are available to you, and what each one covers. Understand what is covered by insurance and what out-of-pocket expenses will be such as doctor’s visits and prescriptions.
  • Know what you can afford for women’s health and men’s health care plans.
  • Keep an up-to-date family medical history. Many providers need to know details about each member including lifestyle habits, education, history, etc.
  • Determine your family’s needs. Do you have primary care professionals with regular check-ups? Are specialists needed for a particular condition? Will additional coverage be needed for pregnancy, dental, or vision?
  • Be prepared for higher rate quotes for those members who have a preexisting condition. Some companies will flat out deny coverage.
  • Consider supplemental plans for everyday accidents like broken bones. The cost is about $25-$50 per month and offers up to $10,000 coverage. The deductible for doctors’ visits, X-rays, hospital stays, medication, the emergency room, or ambulance transportation can be as low as $100 each.

Finding a decent health care plan does not have to be a painful or complicated process.

Simply looks for plans that offer the following:

  • Care and prevention of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
  • Child/parent: physical, mental, and emotional health.
  • Community family healthcare information and education.
  • Dental treatments.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Emergency treatment.
  • Family planning services.
  • Infectious disease prevention (HIV/Aids, malaria, and tuberculosis.)
  • Men health.
  • Nutritional education.
  • Safety and injury prevention.
  • Women health.

In the meantime, focus on your own family health care plan by practicing a healthy lifestyle.

Daily vigilance can make all the difference in the world for your physical and emotional well-being.

  • Add more fruits and veggies to your diet. Cut down on junk food, fats, empty calories, flour, and sugar.
  • Get plenty of rest each night. Many doctors recommend 7 to 8 hours a night.
  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Exercise regularly to reduce the risk of heart disease, improve joint stability, and improve your mood.
  • Maintain healthy relationships.
  • Practice moderation in all categories of life (work, consumption, activity, etc.)
  • Avoid smoking, drugs, and excessive alcohol.
  • Take any medications as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Keep up good hygiene and physical maintenance.
  • Meditate and take time for yourself.
  • Get out and see the world. Have fun!
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