(StatePoint) As people return to their fall routines, economic concerns are top of mind, and many are finding themselves spending more time worrying about the health of their things than the health of themselves.
According to new research by MDLIVE, an Evernorth company and leading provider of virtual care services, most people (67%) view fall as a time to get back into routines, pointing to reprioritizing schedules, getting kids started in the new school year and prepping for winter. However, only 20% of people say they are on top of routine doctor visits. Instead, they’re prioritizing the health of their homes (71%) and their cars (63%), more so than are focused on routine, preventive care for their personal health (57%).
Why are Americans so avoidant when it comes to caring for their physical wellness? Time, or lack of it, is one major factor. Despite 56% of people recognizing that putting off personal health affects how well they can care for other aspects of their lives, 47% say they put off routine health tasks because they are too busy. Another factor is cost — 39% of respondents say prioritizing health would be too expensive or force them to dip into money they have earmarked for other things.
“The majority of people with employer-sponsored health insurance have access to low-cost or no-cost preventive care, and millions can now access routine preventive care virtually through their health plan,” said Dr. Vontrelle Roundtree, interim chief medical officer, MDLIVE. “It’s incredibly convenient to fit into busy schedules and enables people to stay on top of important preventive care like wellness screenings and chronic care management.”
According to Dr. Roundtree, there are three simple steps people can take as part of a fall preventive health routine that are low-cost and require little time:
1. Keep up on vaccines: Some experts predict a challenging flu season combined with the risk of other infectious diseases, all while bracing for a potential COVID surge. It’s critical to get your flu shot and stay current on COVID boosters.
2. Stay current on screenings: Routine screenings are the first line of defense against many common illnesses, and addressing early signs of those conditions can often keep them from becoming chronic. However, since the start of COVID, screening rates for a number of conditions have fallen. Take an inventory of any overdue doctor visits or preventive care, such as screenings for breast and cervical, colorectal and skin cancer, and make the time to get them done.
Check your health plan to see your options, such as virtual wellness screenings that can save you a trip to the doctor’s office and may be available to you at a $0 copay depending on your health plan. For example, MDLIVE, a leading U.S. provider of virtual health care services, offers convenient, affordable access to medical and behavioral health care 24/7 from the comfort of home. More than 62 million individuals nationwide have access to the service as a covered benefit through their health plans and employers. To learn more, visit mdlive.com.
3. Take control of chronic conditions: Those living with chronic conditions should review their medications and dosages with their doctor to ensure they are up to date and to determine if anything should be changed or stopped.
“The fall season, with its focus on fresh starts, is the perfect opportunity to turn your attention to preventive healthcare,” says Dr. Roundtree. “After all, your health is your most valuable asset.”