Just Own It

March 18, 2014 Insurance Topics 2

Could you imagine how much the world would change if people just took responsibility for their actions?DSC_0070

It would certainly curb insurance costs and improve interpersonal relationships.

A recent interchange with one of my teenage daughters got me thinking about this.

It was a typical parent-teenager discussion, but it could have just as easily been between a conversation between boss and employee or within other relationships.

I asked my daughter to do something. She did not fully do what she was asked.

While trying to attain the answer to why she did not fulfill my request to pick up the glasses from the living room and put them in the dishwasher, her answers – which I would call excuses — led to fruitless and frustrating cross-examination.

Then she asked me, “Mom, what do you want from me?”

I looked at her and said, “I just want you to own it.”

“Own what?” she asked.

“I want you to own that you could have just put the glasses in the dishwasher instead of the ledge of the countertop where the sink is. I want you to own that it was lazy and you were leaving your job for me to finish.”

“Oh,” she said. The omission was acknowledged, thus dissipating all the aforementioned excuses.

Owning our responsibilities comes down to the decisions we make in our everyday lives. Our society is a mess because people do not want to own up to their flaws and mistakes. Too often, we make excuses or try to blame others.

The best way to reduce health care costs is to prevent,
as much as possible, the need for health care.

Just think how it affects the high cost of insurance. One of my doctors owned up to me that he made a mistake and he apologized. I accepted it, case closed. We agreed it would be good if more doctors were free to do that without fear of a lawsuit. Fortunately, states are implementing “I’m sorry” legislation so doctors can take responsibility without the apology being grounds for a lawsuit.

Workers’ compensation insurance is “no fault” coverage. It does not matter if the injury was caused by the worker or the employer, the injury is covered, period.

That is good for avoiding tort suits, which workers’ comp was designed to achieve. Employers, however, need to own up to their responsibilities of having safe workplaces, helping workers get their claims filed speedily, assuring the best medical care and offering return-to-work alternatives. This not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it saves money. Injured workers should do their part by following doctor’s instructions and doing their physical therapy exercises, as examples.

Consider rising health insurance costs, which were increasing exponentially long before ObamaCare. My guess is the main reason why health care costs are high is because too many of us are making unhealthy choices.

The best way to reduce health care costs is to prevent, as much as possible, the need for health care. It means working on taking responsibility for our individual choices. Obesity is a prime example. It not only largely explains our nation’s type 2 diabetes epidemic, but also is a co-morbidity that makes it harder to be healthy and recover from injuries, illnesses and surgeries. Sure, there are some who are genetically disadvantaged when it comes to their weight, but honestly, most of us are struggling with our weight — and we are talking about half the American population — because we eat more calories than we use.

Other people struggle with drugs or alcohol abuse. They need to own it before they can recover, and we need to support them.

It takes courage and character to own responsibility,
but it pays dividends in every part of life.

Owning it means paying attention to ourselves and making better choices. As I always like to say, friends do not let friends buy pants with elastic waistbands! I refuse to buy larger clothes when the pounds start to creep in. Writer and public relations are sedentary work that keep me sitting behind a computer. So I have to make extra effort to find ways to burn the calories I consume. My FitBit is helping me to realize when I am not active enough. So I take more breaks and find ways to keep active, like fitting in more household chores on a daily basis.

I am also trying to own that I do not always make the best food choices for my body  — especially when I get real busy.

Think about how much disability costs would drop if people owned their part in it. We know there are people on disability not so much because of their physical condition but because of low job availability. It’s easy to sit around and collect a check, but if people decided to own their futures by making positive choices in their health, education and work ethic, they could continue to be productive members of society.

It takes courage and character to own responsibility, but it pays dividends in every part of life. From our relationships to making healthy and active living a priority, all of us have something we need to own to improve our lives. You know what you need to do  —  just own it!