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Does the thought of falling seriously sick make you shiver with fear, all because medical treatment costs an arm and a leg? Chin up. There’s hope yet!

While the cost of healthcare can vary tremendously depending on where you live, dealing with illness and injury is always a major expense. While there’s no way to guarantee you will never need expensive medical treatment, there are a few things you can do to stack the odds in your favour. Here are 4 ways to avoid facing unnecessarily high medical bills:

1. Make Better Decisions:

If you really want to prevent high medical expenses in the future, then it’s time to start making lifestyle changes for better health today. If you’re a smoker, for instance, you need to kick the butt. The cost of cancer treatment is a killer, so why invite trouble? Not kidding here, very serious. Eat balanced meals, exercise regularly, get enough sleep every night, meditate and de-stress, you know the drill!

2. Get Annual Checkups:

Make a conscious effort to visit a dentist, gynaecologist and general practitioner at least once a year, if not twice. Don’t skip checkups because you feel fine, since many medical issues won’t cause noticeable symptoms until they’re fairly well-advanced. Doctors are trained to spot warning signs in the early stages, and may be able to help you prevent serious problems.

3. …and Early Treatment:

Prevention may be better than cure, but a stitch in time saves nine. Sometimes you just can’t prevent health issues from happening, no matter how careful you are. Getting timely treatment for minor problems can prevent them from becoming serious ones, saving you both the cost and trouble of intensive medical procedures or heavy medication down the line.

4. Buy Health Insurance:

Health insurance is a necessary part of planning your future, especially when you consider the rising costs of healthcare! When you apply for a policy, the main factors taken into account are your age, health and medical history. This is why you shouldn’t wait until you actually face an issue before buying coverage, but get it while you’re still young and healthy. In addition to other investments, make sure you always have a separate emergency fund for medical costs. This will help you avoid liquidating long-term investments or breaking into your savings, especially if your health insurance plan doesn’t cover all the expenses involved. Plan smart to come out ahead in any scenario!

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