How Vegetarianism Can Lower Your Health Insurance Costs
What do cardiovascular disease, cancer, and strokes have in common? These ubiquitous ailments share two commonalities. First, they are the top three killers in the United States. Combined, they account for just under 60% of all deaths in the U.S., claiming nearly two million American lives per year. Secondly, the risk of developing every one of these diseases can be drastically reduced with a plant-based, or vegetarian, diet. Because vegetarians develop these lethal maladies at such significantly lower rates than meat-eaters, they tend to require less healthcare than their meat-eating cohorts. That said, it's not illogical to make the conclusion that adhering to a vegetarian diet can save you money, especially with regard to medical coverage.
Vegetarianism & Your Health
Regardless of whether you are uninsured, insured through your employer, or self-insured, the bottom line is that a plant-based diet can lower your medical costs by improving your overall health. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that a plant-based diet can substantially lower the risk of developing the diseases that are most lethal and most costly t
o insurers; namely, cancer, hypertension, heart disease, and obesity. It stands to reason, then, that vegetarians live six to ten years longer than meat-eaters, on average. Here are just a few of the ways vegetarianism can improve health:
- The American Dietetic Association reports that vegetarians have lower cholesterol levels
- Vegetarians are 50% less likely to develop heart disease
- Vegetarians have 40% of the cancer rate of meat-eaters
- Meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than vegans
- A Harvard study indicated that regular meat consumption increases the risk of colon cancer by 300%
- The consumption of red meat has been linked to the development of type II diabetes
Private vs. Employer-Sponsored Insurance Savings
If you have an employer-sponsored plan insurance plan, then the company has to accept you, irrespective of your health status or preexisting conditions. Without an employer-subsidized plan, though, you have to seek private health insurance, which means your health will undergo much more scrutiny. In most states, private medical plans are underwritten on the basis of your medical history, age, smoking status, and weight. As mentioned previously, a plant-based diet can help you control your weight, thereby avoiding a hike in your premiums. Similarly, preexisting conditions, like heart disease, diabetes and cancer, may make you uninsurable. You can lower your risk of developing every one of these diseases by adopting a plant-based diet.
Prescription Drug Savings
The most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S. are anti-depressants, but antihypertensives, or high blood pressure medications, are a close second. Indeed, 113 million prescriptions are written for blood pressure medications each year in this country. Many of these drugs are available in name-brand form only, which means the co-pays can quickly become unaffordable. If you don't have adequate prescription drug coverage, the costs become even more prohibitive. Moreover, four of the twenty best-selling drugs in the country are either related to coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, or diabetes. Research has shown that vegetarianism can prevent or ameliorate all of these diseases, and a plant-based diet is undoubtedly cheaper than sky-high co-pays and prescription drug costs.
Costly, Life-Threatening Diseases
Dieticians, physicians, and physiologists all concur that years of poor nutrition habits are one of the primary culprits behind chronic disease. Aside from endangering your life, chronic disease is also prohibitively expensive to treat. For instance, an angioplasty procedure costs nearly $60,000, and, even if you have coverage, your co-pays are likely to be high for such a surgery. The pain and expense of so many chronic diseases can be avoided by adhering to a plant-based diet, and even insurers have begun to acknowledge the connection. For instance, Scott Forslund, the director of communications for Premera Blue Cross called the connection between vegetarianism and the reduction of high-impact health conditions "clear as a bell." In other words, a plant-based diet can save your life as well as reduce your healthcare expenditures.