Ninety percent of Americans recognize the impact of money and their finances on their well-being. Many of us are feeling our stress level rise with the uncertainty that Covid has brought with it. We may be experiencing a loss of family income, increased expenses due to unexpected childcare needs or we may have seen our retirement savings decrease. Whatever the cause, money woes can be overwhelming but there are things we can do to take control of the situation. Check out this resource guide for coping with financial uncertainty developed by Northwestern. In the resource guide, you will learn about how your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help, tips for coping with stress, dealing with creditors and how to address mortgage issues. To find out how to access your EAP, refer to your school’s Well-being Resource Guide.
Consumerism, the word makes me cringe. As a minimalist, the idea of too much stuff makes me anxious. As a lover of our environment, the idea sounds irresponsible and as someone who values stability and personal responsibility, the idea of consumerism sounds like it would fiscally irresponsible for me. For many of us the idea of consumerism probably sparks some discomfort or negativity but in the case of healthcare, consumerism is a good thing.
Healthcare consumerism means people “proactively using trustworthy, relevant information and appropriate technology to make better-informed decisions about their health care options in the broadest sense, both within and outside the clinical setting” (Carman, Lawrence & Siegel, 2019). Being proactive and informed….now that sounds empowering. That is something I can get behind. But how can we become better consumers of our healthcare?
There are three, primary actions we can take:
- Make the most of your medical appointments by being prepared. Check out these tips from the Dartmouth Center for Shared Decision Making.
- Take personal responsibility for your self-care behaviors: Our health is largely determined by the seemingly small behaviors we engage in every day. In Vermont, three behaviors (poor diet, lack of physical activity and tobacco use) lead to four diseases (type II diabetes, cancer, heart disease & stroke and lung disease) that are responsible for 50% of all deaths.
- Take advantage of tools to support your decision making. For our Cigna members, check out this video developed by our Cigna Engagement Specialist, Mari Walsh. It will walk you through all the cost comparison/cost containment tools available to help you make the most informed and fiscally sound decisions.
Being better consumers of healthcare, like anything, comes down to commitment and practice. Choose to be prepared, to take responsibility and to use the tools available to you to help you be successful. You have got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
We hear you and Cigna has you covered. The Cigna Telehealth benefit, offered through MDLive, enables our Cigna members to see a medical professional right from your home or office. To access this amazing service, simply create a web account at MDLive or download the mobile app available on the App store or at Google Play. Through MDLive you can also access behavioral health providers and get support with addictions, depression, grief and loss, parenting issues, PTSD and more. To learn more, check out the short video clip about MDLive. Stay well and save time and money with Cigna telehealth.