Life span and health span – how to have both
Life and Health – In the 21st century we are living longer than ever before. As a result of advances in medical technology and knowledge ninety is becoming the new eighty and a growing number of us will spend over a century on this earth. Between 2000 and 2014 the number of centenarians in the US grew by 44% and it is much the same story in most of the western world.
But are our health spans keeping pace with increasing life span? Health span is the length of time that an individual remains in good health and able to lead an active and fulfilling life. The ideal is for your health span to be as close in length to your life span as possible but that isn’t always the case. A long life sounds fantastic but who wants to spend it in pain and bedridden?
There is a whole wealth of information out there about increasing your health span. Keeping healthy by exercising regularly, reducing stress levels, eating a balanced diet to ensure that your body is receiving the nutrients it needs at every stage of your life and moderating your alcohol intake are all advisable to keep your body and mind in tip top condition.
Another extremely important factor contributing to good health is having access to quality healthcare. With governments struggling to balance their books and make cost savings, state-provided healthcare is declining which means that health insurance is increasingly important to maintain your health span. The 2011 National Healthcare Quality Report in the US very clearly stated the link between a lack of medical insurance and poor health. It said ‘Uninsured people were less likely to get recommended care for disease prevention, such as cancer screening, dental care, counselling about diet and exercise and flu vaccination. They also were less likely to get recommended care for disease management, such as diabetes care management’.
It seems pretty conclusive that not having insurance leads to problems getting care, later diagnosis of serious diseases, later hospitalisation and an increased likelihood of dying during a hospital stay.
Given all these factors, it seems like a no brainer to take out medical insurance to give yourself the best chance of increasing your health span. While it can’t guarantee that you won’t get ill, it will give you the best chance possible of early diagnosis and treatment which increases your chance of recovery whether that’s from something relatively benign or one of the big three of cancer, heart disease and stroke.
There is no getting away from the fact that you are more likely to need to claim on a medical policy as you get older and as a result premiums rise. You will need to take this into consideration as part of your financial planning.
If you’d like help finding the right cover to suit your budget, Infinity works with all the major providers and our financial planners have the expertise to sift through all the possibilities and guide you in the decision-making process. Please contact us to find out more.
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