I’ve been thinking a lot lately about preventative healthcare.
Previously in my professional career, I have been a master workplace wellness ambassador and wellness coordinator.
A big part of my job as a workplace wellness professional was to help employees understand how their benefits could help them save money, make healthier choices, know their numbers, and to be aware of where they may need to make some adjustments.
I worked closely with the insurance company through which we purchased our employee insurance plan. I learned the ins and outs of their website, including how to connect with someone who can help assess the cost of a procedure, or learn if a medication is covered.
Another feature of insurance is health education, as well as the ability to track activity and offer incentives.
Taking a wellness survey earns me points so I can get free things. I’ve gotten a decent karaoke machine and cornhole game in the past and plan to do some Christmas shopping this year with the points I have incurred from the program.
Many screenings are available at no cost to the employees and dependents. These include annual blood work, pap smears, mammograms, colonoscopies, and many other prevention tools. (Check with your provider for what is covered as an age appropriate screening at no cost).
I recently found out that although a colonoscopy for screening (not diagnostic) purposes is usually covered by corporate plans, the prep solution may not be.
So if you are over 50 and due for a screening, and have financial barriers, check with your physician for alternatives, coupons or other less expensive solutions.
It’s important that we do the screening tests and preventative programming in order to save ourselves a lot of money, and possibly our lives.
Mammograms now have 3-D technology which can detect very small abnormalities. Treatments can begin early to help prevent or lessena serious issue.
Age appropriate colonoscopies may detect something that if undetected, could become life-threatening concern.
Most insurance plans also cover things such as the flu shot, and various other vaccinations.
For those on “buy in” programs for insurance or Medicaid, most probably cover the same preventative options; however, each plan may be different, so check with your provider.
I encourage you, no matter what your coverage may be, to check into what is available to you.
There may be hidden gems you may not aware of. If you are uninsured, look into community programs that offer some free or heavily discounted services.
Mayoclinic.com states gum disease is associated with an increased risk of heart disease; that tooth loss patterns are associated with coronary artery disease; and that poor dental health increases bacteria in the blood stream which can affect heart valves.
CDC.gov says that having regular screening mammograms reduces your risk of dying of breast cancer by 49%.
Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov states thatgetting a colonoscopy reduces your risk of getting colon cancer.
A separate study says colonoscopy offers at least ten years of protective against colon cancer death.
Of course, do your part of preventative care at home too: Brush and floss your teeth twice a day, do monthly breast self-exams, eat lots of fiber as part of a healthy balanced diet, and, regularly do physical activity to give yourself a leg up on preventing disease and disability.
Liz Jones is the owner of Liz Jones Wellness LLC, in Hunt and Rockwall counties, and is building Jones Wellness Ranch north of Greenville. She can be reached at Liz@LizJones.co or through her website at