Healthy Habits and Health Insurance

Today's media provides a constant stream of advice about everything from decorating your apartment to maximizing weight loss, and it's no secret that as pro-environmental green becomes the new black we are exposed to more and more advice about how to eat right, exercise well, and save money on health care, insurance, groceries, and clothes in the process.

Will keeping healthy habits to lower your health insurance quotes really work? The answer is yes.

Health insurance companies have always scaled their rates based on the height and weight of each consumer, and, in fact, overweight people spend more on their health insurance, on average, than drinkers or smokers. In addition, the Surgeon General estimates that that obesity leads to 300,000 deaths each year, making it the second most frequent cause of death in the United States.

Clearly, there is a reason for insurance to cost a bit more, so it makes sense to change habits in order to save some cash. But how? Here are some tips that may not equal instant savings on insurance, but will help you live a healthier lifestyle, which will lead to lower costs down the road.

  • Sleep on it: Eight hours of sleep a night may seem like a luxury, but ample rest is crucial to weight loss, and boosts both strength and energy.

  • Feed your brain: Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Skipping meals makes it more difficult to lose weight, and skipping breakfast specifically means you're starting the day with a fuel deficit.

  • Snack less: It's true that most experts advice six small meals rather than three large ones, but those snacks need to be healthful, not harmful. Ditch the Twinkies and have a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts.

  • No sweat? You don't have to kill yourself or train for a marathon, but you should be exercising for at least half an hour three to four times per week. Not only does working out improve your overall fitness and help burn calories, it makes health insurance agents insanely happy. If your workplace offers an on-site gym or a discount at a nearby health club, take advantage of it.

  • Kick the habit: Smoking and heavy drinking are never healthy, and quitting either can add years back to your life. As well, both habits are health insurance hazards, leading to higher costs and closer examination of your application.

  • Monitor your weight: Once you've shed the pounds, be vigilant, but not obsessive, about monitoring your weight, and try to stay within 10 pounds of your recommended weight range. Even being slightly overweight can cause your premiums to increase by 10-20%.
If you are obese, you are not immediately out of the running for health insurance - employee benefit plans and open enrollment at HMOs have to take you if you've had prior coverage - but even if saving money isn't an issue now, someday it may be. Avail yourself of every free program and plan that you can, and lighten your financial load.