Your health is one of your greatest assets and perhaps one of your most expensive. New information out of
So why are we paying so much? How are employers keeping up with rising costs and is there anything you can do to help curb the crisis? We tracked down some answers in the Ozarks.
To see Harriet Ashman enjoying some time in the yard with her dogs you might think she doesn't have a care in the world.
“It's very stressful. It's like you put things off as long as you can, until you just can't take it anymore”, says Ashman.
She's talking about her health and her lack of health insurance. Her family has gone without it for about four years because they don't have access and it's simply too expensive.
“You know when they start talking about doing this test and that test, and I’m like well I don't think I can afford that so can we do without that?” says Ashman.
One thing she can't go without is a surgery on her shoulder. She's borrowing money from the bank to pay for it. It's a story that nearly 47 million Americans can relate to. They too don't have health insurance.
“The reason health care costs are going up is basically we have an older population. With an older population, you have more claims”, says Michael Greenlee.
Mike Greenlee is an insurance broker for Ollis and Company in
“As long as we continue to do what we're doing in terms of eating what we want to eat, not exercising, not drinking enough water, and not become more conscious of health care, it's going to continue to increase” says Greenlee.
And those increases aren't just hurting your bottom line, they're forcing small businesses to pinch pennies too.
“We're helpless in a great way” says Larry Stokes of The Foot Doctors.
The Foot Doctors is an office of podiatrists that help ease pain. With only 16 employees, they're trying to manage the fees they pay so their workers can have health insurance. The office is also trying to curb costs for patient services.
“If you have one employee who is very sick out of 16, then you're renewal rates are going to go skyrocketing. And you don't have any options than to just try to get the best deal you can at that point” says Stokes.
All told, people like Harriet will keep going without health insurance because costs aren't going down, and no one seems to know how to get a handle on the problem.
“I go to the doctor and I just have to make payments” says Ashman.
Harriet and many others around
Mike Greenlee at Ollis and Company believes knowledge can help curtail medical costs. Greenlee says you should know your health plan, use the emergency room wisely, choose healthy living by exercising and eating right, and utilize a flex spending account if you have access to one.