How often do you better your health and save money at the same time? I know. Never.
Yet, through some health care plans, it seems possible. Some plans include unique programs that will reward you for taking meaningful actions toward enhancing health.
Within good-health-behavior reward plans, an individual can earn up to $300 a year for participating in a coaching program or for meeting recommended health guidelines.
Eat healthy foods, get regular physical activity, abstain from tobacco use, -- these are some of the suggested steps often recommended to stay healthy. However, there may be pieces of the puzzle missing from health care plans and healthy lifestyle choices that you could benefit from.
Last September, Robert P. Faraci, MD, a principal with Medical Care Consultants, gave public testimony about health care before a Health System Reform Task Force of the Utah legislature. Faraci suggested that he may have stumbled upon a missing puzzle piece to the health care delivery equation. His testimony centers on his discovery that when it comes to health care, an important element is spiritual care.
Faraci practiced general surgery for 20 years. Later he became the Chief Medical Officer for a managed care plan in Denver, Colorado. Faraci was one of the executives of the plan who began investigating the mind-body aspects of disease and health care. His investigation directly led this plan to becoming the first HMO in the United States to offer spiritual care as a benefit.
Faraci stated before the Utah legislature, “In the course of my research, I discovered that spiritual beliefs have profound effects on patient outcomes. Furthermore, my own anecdotal experiences as a surgeon supported this conclusion.”
“Our research indicated that people with strong spiritual beliefs often had better medical outcomes than those who did not have such beliefs. Subsequent studies at Duke and Harvard Medical Schools and a comprehensive review by the Mayo clinic have reinforced these findings.”
Faraci continued, “We also discovered that people wanted this benefit. A John Templeton study revealed that 55% of Americans said they would choose a health plan that included spirituality and religious healing practices over a plan that did not. Finally, we felt that the addition of spirituality to our members’ care might lead to better clinical outcomes and, as a result, lower utilization of other resources.”
When other resources were utilized less, the company would save money. Therefore, they were able to offer the plan at a reasonable price, enabling members to keep their dollars in their wallets.
If you learned that there was a beneficial plan that acknowledged your spiritual beliefs and practice, wouldn’t you want to sign up for it?
Dr. Faraci quickly found that there was a huge demand for this spiritual benefit plan and the demand exceeded anything this managed care group could have imagined. It resulted in a doubling of their plan membership in the first year and doubling again in the second.
Faraci closed his testimony by sharing with the Utah legislature the likely results if a spirituality benefit were to be included in health plans of state Health Exchanges:
It could be added to the health plans at little to no increase in premium
It could potentially improve clinical outcomes
It will give members a stronger sense of well-being
It will make members happier with their health plans because mind, body and spirit have been addressed.
Perhaps, recognition of the bonuses spirituality brings to the health care table will bring an even greater interest in how spirituality heals minds and bodies. The care of each individual is of the utmost importance. And spiritual treatment has been shown not only to improve health but also to give relief from the tremendous financial burden imposed by other forms of care.
When examining the essentials needed to better health and to do it in a financially prudent way, don’t forget to consider spirituality. Many feel that it can provide you with the best rewards.
– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com