Health & Medical Insurance in Atlanta
Despite being the state’s largest city, Atlanta is home to over three hundred parks, nature preserves, and gardens, which offer many opportunities for running, walking, and biking in a tree-clad urban wonderland. The parks and recreation department has also set up a number of tennis courts and golf courses for residents to use. There are an array of outdoor activities in Atlanta to keep people healthy and happy, as well as outlets for healthy dining. With so many amenities accessible in a short distance, Atlanta is also extremely walkable, which contributes to local health. As the major metropolis of the South, Atlanta is not only a great place to live and work, but to exercise and utilize the pleasant year-round clime.
Individual health insurance is also an essential part of life in Atlanta, especially for protecting the health of you and your family. While it may not always be the most affordable or enjoyable part of life, health coverage is crucial to keep from experiencing high medical bills for any service. Whether you have a plan through work, need to buy one on your own, or have been rejected by insurers for having a less-than-perfect medical history, getting insured is certainly a priority for Atlantans. Private individual policies are offering more perks like the rewards programs usually reserved for group plans. These can help you manage a condition, get healthy, and receive discounted rates on services your plan doesn’t cover to keep you balanced.
As a demonstration of the new rates for 2013 personal health plans on the Atlanta market, we looked up plans for a 31-year-old female resident. Actually, compared to other major cities, Atlanta is much more cost-effective and includes some benefit-rich plans. Cigna offers a $2500 plan for $120 per month that covers innumerable office visits for a copay on top of generic prescriptions. Kaiser Permanente has an HMO plan in the same range for not much more that includes a wide range of services with copays and one of the nation’s best networks. In Atlanta, Humana is also priced well for a plan that includes copays and less coinsurance after deductible than the previous two. While certain regions of the country are seeing drastic rate increases, Atlanta’s is fairly similar to the previous year.
Living Well and Paying Less
Reducing your rates for health insurance is not exactly the instant gratification you get from driving safely on your auto insurance. In order to pay less, at least for the remainder of the year, your health is very important. Even once the Affordable Care Act eliminates discrimination for conditions and health status, your annual medical bills can be lowered or eliminated by adopting a healthy way of life.
As a health plan member in Atlanta, you have access to various programs through your insurer to keep you healthy and avoiding the doctor. Your health plan wants you as healthy as possible, so why not take what they have to offer? While this may be somewhat selfish on their part, as they do not want to pay for your medical care, how much do you want to require medical attention? Managing our own health is empowering, responsible, and sensible.
By using the programs offered by companies like Humana (who includes discounted eye care and gym memberships) and Kaiser Permanente (whose Thrive program is an all-inclusive wellness resource), you can feel better and stay in control of your costs and health.
Living in the ATL, once also referred to as the City in a Forest, you can breathe in healthy air and visit many parks and natural areas to get some exercise. Even if you enjoy a run or walk around town, get out and experience your city while gaining physical and mental benefits. Visit the botanical gardens in Piedmont Park on a vigorous stroll, or take your bike out for a tour around Stone Mountain Park nearby. You can find plenty of options to kick-start or vary your fitness routine in Atlanta and work your way to better health.
Of course, you can hit the pavement and walk around the many charming and vibrant neighborhoods of the city, but for some more variety and natural scenery, try a nearby park. Within a close commute, you can find amazing trails and beautiful woods equipped for numerous activities. Ranging in length and difficulty, you can find trails that are more scenic or more challenging, and get your blood flowing either way. According to All Trails, these are the top Atlanta-area trails for those on foot.
- Stone Mountain Loop Trail: Stone Mountain, GA
- Sweetwater Creek Trail: Lithia Springs, GA
- Kennesaw Mountain Nat. Battlefield: Marietta, GA
- Big Creek Park: Roswell, GA
- Burnt Hickory Loop Trail: Kennesaw, GA
Road and mountain biking are extreme opposites, yet multiple types of tire tread can take advantage of the Atlanta area. For the thinner-wheeled type, the city is your oyster and there are also parks where you can take a nice paved trail for a less traffic-ridden loop. Mountain bikers may have to travel to larger mountains, but there are also many trails within the city to 25 miles outside of Atlanta. Ranging from paved, flat trails to technical singletracks, any biker can have great experience close to the city.
- Arabia Mountain Trail: Lithonia, GA
- Sope Creek Trail:Marietta, GA
- Waterworks/Mason Mill: Atlanta, GA
- Big Creek Greenway: Alpharetta, GA
- Yellow River: Stone Mountain, GA
Though you may not find many serious rapids in the Atlanta region, kayaking can provide a great excuse to build upper body strength and enjoy your watery surroundings. At a vigorous pace, you can certainly consider it exercise. Kayaking is available within the city of Atlanta as well as nearby parks and rivers. Paddling in the Yellow River can take you a total of over 47 miles if you’re up to it, or you can choose a shorter route between 2 to 7 miles. For whitewater paddling, there are also many resources for training and practicing in Atlanta.
- Chattahoochie River: Atlanta, GA
- Island Ford Trail: Atlanta, GA
- Big Creek:Roswell, GA
- Yellow River: US 78 to GA 36: Conyers, GA
- Dog River: Post Road to the Reservoir:Douglasville, GA
As with any large city, you can find many resources for yoga in the Atlanta region. Whether you’re more comfortable in a small class or want to take it to the next level in a yoga ashram, Atlanta has you covered. If you’ve never taken a class, or if you carry a mat at all times, you can find whatever you need to stay fit and challenged. Join a yoga class near you, do it at home, or a combination of the two. Here are the region’s best yoga studios according to CBS Atlanta.
- Balance Yoga: 524 E Paces Ferry Rd., (404) 869-7575.
- Decatur Yoga & Pilates: 431 W Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur, GA, (404) 377-4899.
- Stillwater Yoga: 931 Monroe Dr., (404) 607-9090.
- Jai Shanti: 1630-D Dekalb Ave. NE, (404) 370-0579.
- West Coast Workout: 107 W Paces Ferry Rd., Ste. 100, (404) 467-0602.
Exercise is futile without a healthy, balanced diet rich in nutrients and quality ingredients. Luckily, Atlanta has some of the top eateries in the nation serving organic, natural food for all tastes and price ranges. If you’re in the mood for a grass-fed beef burger or something raw, Atlanta has some amazing places to dine. When cooking for yourself, be confident that your city has some great farmers markets among various natural foods stores to provide all of the essential foods your good health deserves. Here are a few ideas for healthy dining and food shopping in Atlanta.
- Peachtree Road Farmers Market: 2744 Peachtree Road, NW. Saturdays 4/6 – 12/14.
- East Atlanta Village Farmers Market:561 Flat Shoals Ave. Thursdays 4/19 – 12/13 4-8pm.
- Sevananda Natural Foods Market: Natural fast food and co-op market.467 Moreland Ave NE, (404) 681-2831.
- Rainbow Natural Foods: Organic, local, natural grocery with hot bar and deli. 2118 N. Decatur Rd, (404) 636-5553.
- R. Thomas Deluxe Grill: A little bit of everything: juices and smoothies, free-range meats, organics, raw food, and more. Open 24 hours. 1812 Peachtree St NW, (404) 881-0246.
- Brookhaven Bistro: Right behind Nuts ‘N Berries, you can get healthy gourmet meals, soups and salads, and drinks from the juice and coffee bars. They also cater. 4274 Peachtree Rd. NE/ (404) 846-2233.
- World Peace Cafe: Local, organic, healthy food for every meal, with a side of meditation.220 Hammond Dr NE #302, Sandy Springs, (404) 256-2100.
- Radial Cafe: Organic and local, this green restaurant/bar serves delicious all-day food with international and American inspiration. 1530 DeKalb Ave NE. (404) 659-6594.