You probably only think to take out your health insurance card when you're sick. Surprisingly, though, your plan is there for more than illnesses and checkups.
It turns out some health plans cover unexpected services that might seem more like luxuries than benefits. Of course, not every plan is the same and yours might not include all of the following treatments, but it's definitely worth looking into...
Don't let the needles scare you away from acupuncture, especially if it's covered by your health insurance plan. It turns out that the ancient art of acupuncture has a wealth of benefits, which is probably why it has endured as a viable health treatment over so many hundreds of years. Once-weekly acupuncture sessions over a span of three months can fight depression because it spikes the neurotransmitters in your brain responsible for feel-good vibes. Acupuncture also relieves muscular tension, strengthens the immune system and has been shown to help patients in their quest for weight loss.
2. Nutrition Counseling
If you don't feel fully equipped to establish a healthy diet on your own, that's where a diet or nutrition counselor comes in. These professionals can tailor your meal plan to just about any goal you have for your body. Their expertise makes the task a bit easier for you, and it's clear to see the benefit for healthcare companies, too. Healthier clients are cheaper to cover in the long run, since they typically don't need as much medical attention as those who aren't concerned with what food they fuel themselves with.
Oh, the wonderful massage! Anyone who has ever had a professional massage is very well aware that massages are incredibly relaxing. The time spent on the table as someone physically releases tension from your muscles has obvious physical benefits, too — especially if you like to go hard at the gym. That release of pressure feels amazing. Massage is more than a one-trick pony, though. Perhaps you suffer from chronic headaches. Though different from migraines, chronic headaches can cause moderate pain and insomnia, among other symptoms. One of the suggested treatments for an ongoing bout of headaches is to lay down on the massage table. And that's just one example of improved health possibilities; there are numerous ways to feel better through massage therapy. Sign us up!
4. Smoking Cessation Programs
We've already mentioned how difficult it can be to properly plan out a healthy eating program for yourself. But getting yourself to quit smoking is even more difficult and might require the help of a professional. And, much like nutritional counseling, it's clear to see why your insurance company might want to provide you with this service for free or at a discounted rate: You're much less likely to be sick or suffer a long-term illness if you put down the cigs.
5. Gym Membership
Your health insurance company might want to help you improve your fitness by sponsoring or discounting your gym membership. Obviously, working out regularly will make you healthier in a number of ways. A cardio workout, for example, will boost your energy levels, fight depression and get your heart beating stronger than ever.
6. Fitness Trackers
Finally, your health insurance provider might arm you with a fitness tracker. These bracelets, watches or clip-on pedometers not only track how many steps you take, but also give you a goal to reach in order to inspire more activity. There's certainly a smart way to use them — you might not be ready to jump from a sedentary lifestyle to one in which you're walking the recommended five miles per day — but getting you on your feet in any way is obviously a benefit to you and your healthcare provider.
These are, of course, only six of the many benefits your healthcare provider might have hiding within what seems to be a run-of-the-mill plan. Dig deep and reap all of the rewards, and then take control of your health in as many ways as you possibly can.