Health & Medical Insurance in Austin
Austin, Texas is the state capital and one of the best places in the whole grand expanse of Texas to find healthy living. With outdoor recreation available in a variety of interesting ways, such as a dense population swimming areas, Austin has great opportunities to stay fit and eat well. The city is also full of lovely parks and bike paths to keep residents active and enjoying the climate. The natural beauty of Texas is offered in state parks nearby, and the eco-friendly inclination of the city lends to an abundance of organic and healthy eateries.
With one of the more diverse individual health insurance markets in Texas, Austin offers health plans from regional and national PPO networks. Insurers in the area include the top-rated regional plan Scott & White, who offer some of the best rates in Austin, as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare, and Aetna. Though premiums vary drastically based on your demographic, we ran a quote for a 45-year-old male living in Austin and it seems in 2013 the best priced comprehensive $2500 plan is Humana’s Enhanced Copay 80 at $214 per month. Scott & White also offers a great plan for $229 per month with comparable benefits to the competition, and Aetna is close behind with another similar plan.
Many of these health plans also include wellness programs to keep members on track and educated about their health. Scott & White, Humana, UnitedHealthcare, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield each include resources for tobacco cessation, weight loss, and discounted rates on health-oriented products for their individual plan members. For example, Scott & White offers reduced rates on alternative medicine such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and naturopathic medicine. Their rewards program is also great for Austin area residents as they include local vendors like Elements Therapeutics Massage and Aerofit Center to encourage members to take initiative with special discounts.
Living Well and Paying Less
As mentioned, you can use your health plan to contribute greatly to your health and wellness. Most plans offered in Austin and surrounding cities include a rewards program for meeting health goals, joining a gym, and taking classes. If you’re already paying to insure your health, you may as well ensure you are in peak condition! Fitness center memberships are often greatly reduced by your health plan, as well as local classes. Look at your health plan’s website to find out which centers, stores, services, and products are approved for a discount with your membership card.
Once you discover which resources you have access to, put them to good use and stay with it. Being healthy is one of the best ways to make sure your health insurance premiums don’t increase. Although next year plans will accept everyone regardless of their health and not rate up, until then, insurers do take your BMI and health conditions into strong consideration. Reducing the likelihood of paying more by managing your condition is definitely helpful. Even when insurers are not allowed to rate up for health reasons, you should feel inspired to get your medical shortcomings under control for your own sake.
Austin has much to offer it residents when it comes to the great outdoors, with hiking, biking, and swimming areas all located within a close proximity to the city. Though the city itself can certainly provide a good amount of exercise if you decide to walk or bike around town for work or otherwise, venturing into the local parks is an excellent outlet, as well. So, if you have tired of the indoor fitness concept, you have plenty of exploring to do to keep you healthy and active. Here are a few ideas to try if you have not already taken advantage of your local scenery.
Tons of trails for walking, hiking, and trail running are available in and around Austin, and give you a great natural backdrop for your workout or adventure. Several hours of exploring the terrain and climbing hills can provide great strength-building and endurance. Whatever pace your prefer, you can find trails that challenge you in a picturesque environment. Watch out for the wildlife!
- Riverplace Nature Trail: Austin, TX
- Sculpture Falls Hike at Barton Creek: Austin, TX
- Wild Basin Trail: Austin, TX
- Slaughter Creek Trail: Austin, TX
- The Trail at Lady Bird Lake: Austin, TX
Though the trails are rocky and dry in the desert climate of Texas, there are many notable singletracks and wider paths in the area. Austin is also home to many road bikers, Lance Armstrong included, and has several great places for the casual or professional cyclist to take a practice run. If you like pavement or boulders, Austin can accommodate your biking needs. Some of the best bike trails in Texas and even urban courses are located in this area, with difficulty ranging from intermediate to expert. Visit these spots if you haven’t already.
- Barton Creek Greenbelt: Austin, TX
- BLORA / Fort Hood Trailblazers Mountain Bike Park: Fort Hood, TX
- Emma Long Motocross Park (City Park): Austin, TX
- Dana Peak Park: Nolanville, TX
- Brushy Creek Regional Trail: Cedar Park, TX
Even right next to the city you can get some good paddling in. Rivers and creeks range from Class I to V+ and extend for miles to keep you entertained and active. Any level of paddler can give the calmer rapids a shot, and master the technical waters of a more intense current as time goes on. Kayaking, rafting and canoeing are not only great for upper body strength but for concentration, endurance, fun and a new challenge.
- Live Love Paddle: Austin, TX
- Mopac Footbridge: Austin, TX
- The Trail at Lady Bird Lake: Austin, TX
- Guadalupe River: New Braunfels, TX
- Little Walnut Creek: Austin, TX
To alternate from the high-impact outdoor options, Austin also has its fair share of residents chanting “namaste”after a good Vinyasa. Stretch, compress, and contort your way to inner peace and fitness in one of many studios or classes throughout the city. The best part is, the top search result for Austin yoga is actually a donation-based studio, so you pay whatever you can afford or feel inspired to give. For a full list of locations in Austin, click here.
- Black Swan Yoga: 1114 W 5th St #202, (512) 630-2332.
- Wanderlust Live: 206 East 4th Street, (512) 502-5183.
- Yoga Yoga: 4477 S Lamar Blvd #420, (512) 358-1200.
- Dharma Yoga: 3110 Guadalupe St, (512) 420-0009.
- BFree Yoga Austin: 2905 San Gabriel St #102, (512) 480-0067.
- Bodhi Yoga & Wellness Center: 12801 Shops Pkwy, (512) 402-0033.
Austin is unique in that there are almost too many swimming areas around the city to count. Between lakes, creeks, and pools, swimming is great feature of the city and an essential activity to consider if you live in the area during the summer. Sure, not everyone is swimming laps, but you are certainly welcome to do so and get a great form of exercise for all of your muscle groups and your heart rate. If you haven’t been yet, it’s worth a try – not too many major cities can claim this interesting characteristic.
- McKinney Falls State Park: 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, (512) 243-1643.
- Barton Creek Greenbelt: 3755-B S Capital of Texas Hwy, (512) 974-6700.
- West Lake Beach: 2509 Westlake Dr, (512) 327-9004.
- Zilker Park: 2100 Barton Springs Rd, (512) 974-6700.
- Deep Eddy Park: 401 Deep Eddy Ave, (512) 472-8546.
Austin has an incredible array of healthy food establishments, and even multiple farmers markets to share the love of fresh local produce throughout the expanse of the city. Regardless of your diet needs, Austin provides organic, nutrient-rich options for every meal and every resident. Make your own delicious meals with locally grown products and explore the city’s sit-down and take-out options for every time of day. With the amount of nutritious, sustainable options in this city, there is little excuse to fill yourself with meals from a traditional drive-thru.
- Austin Farmers Market: Local, organic foods and other items from Texan farms and small businesses. Various locations. (512) 236-0074.
- Conscious Cravings: Vegetarian and eco-friendly salads, wraps, and smoothies. 1311 S. 1st Street, (512) 582-9182.
- Jo’s: Meat and veggie-friendly fast food, take-out, coffee and juice bar. 242 W 2nd St, (512) 469-9003.
- Wholly Cow Burgers:Local, organic, hormone and chemical-free grass fed beef and produce, and even breakfast! Two locations.
- Casa de Luz: Open all day, all-organic plant-based dining, health food store, and community center. 1701 Toomey Road, (512) 476-2535.
- Counter Culture Restaurant: Vegan comfort food and healthy options for all. 2337 E Cesar Chavez St, (512) 524-1540.
- Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocer: Natural grocery chain with organics, natural foods, vitamins, and more. 3901 Guadalupe St, (512) 323-5100.