I feel that part of my job as a healthcare writer is to cover issues that will affect you life. Your choice of insurance is a big choice you are making during this time of year. I was talking to someone who was saying how few of the people at her workplace choose to have health insurance, especially for their children. This is a huge issue that affects a person’s budget as well as their health.
Most people believe that insurance is essential. I do not necessarily believe that. I believe HSAs, health savings accounts, are a great way to plan for the future that may be option. I also think that people do not take advantage of the states children’s health care programs that provide low cost HMOs, health maintenance organization programs, in Florida it is called Healthy Kids. These coverages are designed to take care of emergencies but provide minimal coverage for wellness care. You can negotiate cash prices for visits or testing you may need. For someone who does not have a chronic problem this could be a compromise between cost and coverage.
If you have a chronic problem this may not be the solution. Sleep apnea may be the one chronic problem that this rule does not pertain to. I will say this for several reasons. Sleep studies are usually done once every three to five years. If you are a cash paying patient you might be able to negotiate a lower price for the test. Since the company does not have to wait for payment they might lower the price. The one exception is that they cannot charge less than the reimbursement that Medicare due to the laws surrounding Medicare. So it might benefit you to know the Medicare reimbursement.
When you need PAP equipment or supplies I will be honest you can get them a lot cheaper than the insurance company’s negotiated price. When pricing masks research the online sites and the sites that do drop shipping of supplies, this little bit of research could save you a significant amount of money. They also tend to buy in bulk and have fewer employees so they have less overhead. They then share the savings with those purchasing the equipment.
As to whether sleep apnea will end up costing you more as a pre-existing condition or less because you are treating a health issues actually varies from insurance company to insurance company. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and you choose not to treat it than you will be treated as having a pre-existing condition and they could not cover other issues such as high blood pressure or diabetes as they are associated with the sleep apnea. However if you are using your PAP than many of the insurance companies may ask for proof of use and will treat you as if you do not have a pre-existing condition. You will have to shop around and ask questions about that particular plan’s policy.
When it comes to our children many of them do have sleep apnea and it can look like many things such as ADD, fatigue, hyperactivity, anger and learning disabilities. If we looked at their sleep and have a sleep study they are usually treated initially with a tonsillectomy and if still needed PAP therapy or an oral appliance. It is important that we need to help our children to be able to achieve their best and taking care of sleep problems is worth the cost of insurance. If you can not afford your children’s coverage you need to ask your state what programs they have to help you cover them. It is worth it in the end and will help them to behave better and be more successful in school
When you are looking at insurance you must take many things into consideration including the cost to you and the ability to balance your budget while paying the premiums. But when choosing not to have coverage or you are choosing minimal coverage you must consider the effects it will have on chronic issues and your ability to pay for care.
As you try to change your lifestyle you will find that you do well for a while and then something out of the ordinary happens and you fall back to your old ways. This is true whether you are changing you sleep routine, getting used to PAP therapy or trying to lose weight. Any change comes with setbacks. It is when you look at those setbacks and decide to move past them and start again that you really are making progress.
With PAP it usually comes this time of year when you get a cold or the flu and you just can bot wear your mask. You usually go about 7-10 days which is how long a cold usually takes to pass. Now there is no reason you cannot wear your PAP and turn up the humidifier or maybe use a full face mask instead of a nasal mask or pillows to get through this tough time. But most people just decide to go without and then forget to go back to using their mask. What I can tell you is that it is up to you to start using it again and if you need encouragement ask for it. If not from your family than from a friend or a coach than someone who will be your best cheerleader so you will feel the encouragement of getting healthy. Another trick is to write it down. Journaling during any behavior change will always help you. It gives you visual encouragement but it will also show you the triggers you have when you are not making the change you want.
Holiday season and the children being on vacation are notorious times when sleep routines go out the window. I will never say you should always follow your sleep routine but remember that vacations will be much more fun if everyone is well rested and out brains do not know the difference between holidays and school or work days. There is one thing you can take advantage of during this time. Find out what your natural wake up time is. If my alarm is not set and I go to bed at 10pm I will naturally wake up at 6:30am. If I worked out really hard the day before I will naturally wake up at 7:30am. This allows me to adjust my sleep times to make sure I get the amount of sleep I need. I usually want to wake at 5:30am so I can exercise before work, than I know I need to go to bed at 9pm. This has forced me to learn how to use my DVR so I can record those shows I will miss but want to see.
One of the ways to change your health is to lose weight. This will affect your sleep and if you are on PAP it might help to reduce your pressure or maybe not need it at all. No matter what it will help you to sleep better if you are eating healthier and exercising more. This time of year is brutal on food plans and I will be the first to admit my plan has fallen to the wayside. But making a lifestyle change is as much about the failures and how we handle them as it is about the successes. I have learned through this failure that I tend to want to eat more when I am over tired or when I am experiencing pain. This falls right into the research that is coming out almost weekly about sleep. The problem with the research is they offer no solutions. My solution is simple I turn to friends and I journal so I can see not only what I was craving and eating but if there was a specific activity that triggered the behavior or was there a specific food that trigger the behavior. Then it is right back to what I know makes my body feel healthy.
I find that the more natural the food the better I feel. I also find that I am healthier with a high protein, low processed carb diet. I like apples and yogurt and tomatoes and cucumber as my go to foods. I could probably live on egg whites and chicken given the opportunity. But that is my body and I am sure that others have suggestions as to what makes their body feel like it is working optimally. I would love for you to share your ideas about what you do to feel optimally healthy. Do you do certain exercises, eat a certain way, or get a specific amount of sleep? Any habit that works for you may give someone else an idea to trial. We are a community of people working for optimal health. My goal is to help you add sleep to that routine but any changes that help are always welcome.