PAT COLANDER

THE HEALTHCARE AND INSURANCE INDUSTRIES ARE NOT WHAT THEY USED TO BE

2013-10-16T00:00:00Z 2013-10-21T16:17:21Z THE HEALTHCARE AND INSURANCE INDUSTRIES ARE NOT WHAT THEY USED TO BE nwitimes.com
October 16, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Research abounds and the data that pours out touches every corner of the system. There is speculation about how healthy people will behave with more options for insurance, but no researcher has the ability to set-up a facsimile of what the environment without pre-conditions and with mandatory requirements with confidence. Or what kind of informed or misinformed choices will come from that structure.

Medical insurances, at least in my world, kind of reminds me of choosing a cell phone plan in the old days. Remember when you used to have to predict how many minutes you thought you—and the rest of your family members—were going to talk on the phone during the next several months? Now when making my annual prognostication I tend to be incredibly optimistic or just as far gone in the opposite direction. Either way it affects cash flow adversely.

But, I have gotten better about taking care of myself and that is partly due to the contagious nature of healthy behaviors. While everyone in my life, including me, still eats way too much pizza, we eat it less often. She also pushed me to get a phone app with vegetarian recipes that are simple and convenient for dinner. She also eats too much pizza, but it doesn’t matter that much when you ride a bike nine miles to and from work unless it’s pouring rain. Everyone is more conscientious about prevention, if only because their doctors and insurance companies are forcing the issue.

And at the opposite end of the spectrum, new methods of diagnosis and treatment are hurtling forward at top speed. Chronic conditions that were once a life sentence to confinement are increasingly controllable. After targeted therapies patients resume jobs, recreational activities and normal lives, picking up where they left off. Repairs are so commonplace that even major surgery that goes on for hours is no longer something to be feared but another milestone to be passed, that causes the patient to mend unhealthy habits sooner rather than later.

Yes, dealing with health issues, diet, exercise, combinations of medications at certain intervals, remembering a complaint that may crop up from time to time, are all complicated. But none of these cause and effect relationships are impossible to learn. Not to mention having doctors and other healthcare professionals who actually listen to the answers you give to their hundred questions.

Healthcare and its consequences have become more complicated, but that’s the expectation when individuals take on more responsibility for controlling and modifying behaviors that have enlarged outcomes for us and our families.

Pat Colander

Associate Publisher and Editor

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