Health Care Costs and the Changes in the Economy

13 Feb 2012, by Dr. Marnie Wachtler in Health Information

ayurvedic medicineHealth & Wellness in Rising Women Magazine Jan/Feb 2009

With the changes in the economy how can I possibly afford any health care services that I have to pay for myself?
By Dr. Patricia Wales ND & Dr. Jennifer Bunzenmeyer ND, Acadia Wellness Centre

You may think economic change with shrinking incomes and increasing costs will mean that there is little left for additional health care expenses. However, you now have a wonderful opportunity to choose the health care options that YOU want. Effective January 1, 2009, Albertans are no longer required to pay Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan premiums. This premium elimination puts an annual amount of $500 in the pocket of each Albertan (or over $1,000 per family) to spend how they wish – on the health care of their choice! Make a point of spending it where you want your health to go.

Learn to take care of yourselves. You might choose to use this opportunity and invest in a health-enhancing activity – hockey, fitness club, yoga, Tai-Chi, cooking classes, etc. – the list is endless. Or you could consult a complementary health care professional, such as a naturopathic doctor, chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, midwife or nutritionist to enhance your health options. These professionals can equip us with much-needed health-promoting activities and lifestyle changes that will enhance our healthcare to a new level.

Be deliberate about this decision! Don’t just let your general budget absorb this gift from Alberta Health and Wellness. You might cost out an extended health care plan. Individual plans contribute specified amounts to the cost of specific services and so can give assistance in finding the health care services that work most effectively for you and your family. Remember that day-to-day helpful health promoting activities are powerful tools in preventing health problems from developing.

For the self-employed there are even more effective options. An incorporated company or a sole proprietor with at least one dedicated employee can establish a Health Trust or Health Spending Account to fund health care expenses within your business, including the premiums for an extended health plan. The eligible health care costs are considered a business expense which will reduce personal taxable income more cost-effectively than just using the standard federal medical expense deduction from personal taxable income.

Take this opportunity to choose where the savings on health care premiums will be spent. Make a conscious choice to be an effective agent in increasing your health quotient.

For more health advice, contact Dr. Patricia Wales ND & Dr Bunzenmeyer ND at 403.301.0123