If you’re currently working part-time, there’s a good chance that medical, dental, and vision coverage are either not offered by your employer or they are very expensive options. In addition, part-time employees tend to have less available paid sick time off. That’s why, for both reasons, it’s important to maintain your health.
The following three health considerations for part-time employees are especially important to keep in mind for those without insurance coverage, as arranging and paying for necessary health care services will require detailed planning.
Don’t neglect your personal wellness
One of the most important keys to keeping medical costs under control is to care for your personal wellness to the fullest extent possible. This involves following all those rules you learned as a child:
"Be sure to wash your hands regularly throughout the day, be careful about using items others have touched, and keep a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby at all times."
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
- Plan ahead and go through with your wellness checkups
- Your annual physical/wellness medical check
- Your semi-annual dental cleaning and exam
- Any specialized visits your own situation requires
It’s not easy to prioritize preventive care like your annual physical or semi-annual dental visit when you’re paying out of pocket for these services. Even if you feel fine, it’s important in the long run, because these preventive wellness visits can help reduce or eliminate the need for more expensive, unplanned medical or dental care down the road.
Take special precautions during peak illness seasons
Washing your hands with antibacterial soap is a simple step to avoid illnesses.
During flu season or times when allergies are at their worst, you’re more vulnerable to coming down with something than any other time of the year. If you work with large groups of people, especially children, those peak illness seasons can last longer and be a greater threat to your health.
Be sure to wash your hands regularly throughout the day, be careful about using items others have touched, and keep a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby at all times.
Prioritize early and adequate treatment
Don't ignore signs of an illness, which could require an extended time off work.
Learn to recognize the early warning signs of developing illness so you can begin treatment early. Although there is some cost involved for antibiotics, for instance, it’s almost always less expensive and has less of an impact on your ability to work if you begin treatment as early as possible.
This applies to flu-like symptoms, sinus infections, ear infections, and issues with your teeth. For those who have limited funds, it’s common to want to ignore growing symptoms and “tough it out” or work through it. The trouble with this tendency is that only a small percentage of the illnesses will quickly and effectively go away on their own. Most require some sort of medical attention.
By obtaining the necessary prescription, treatment, or services early on, you can avoid days or weeks of suffering as well as the debilitating effects of untreated problems.
For example, a minor toothache may be just an annoyance when it starts. A quick trip to the dentist could result in treatment for a minor cavity and the pain is gone. But, ignoring it can lead to sleep and work interruptions due to pain, or an expensive procedure such as a root canal, tooth extraction, or even oral surgery.
How to pay for the healthcare you need
While it’s not easy to budget with a limited income, your personal wellness can be financially manageable with advanced planning and by taking advantage of available discount programs.
Set aside a small amount out of each paycheck to serve as your “medical fund”. Resist the urge to take money out of that fund for other purposes so it’s always there to cover planned and unplanned medical expenses like prescriptions and office visits.
For employees without benefits, investigate discount programs available to you. For example an inexpensive dental discount plan can cost less than $10 a month, and can offer low cost dental care to save you hundreds or thousands of dollars on both routine and advanced dental procedures.
Similar discount health programs can put vital preventive and wellness care within reach of even the tightest budget. Learn more about dental savings options for uninsured employees. And be sure not to ignore your health as a part-time employee and find out steps to take when cost is the real root of your dental concerns.