Health & Medical Insurance in Chicago
Chicago is one of our nation’s largest cities, housing millions of people in a clean, beautiful city with so much to offer. As a large city, there are many outlets for healthy living that every resident should try to take advantage of. From walking the scenic streets and paths along Lake Michigan, to attending a health and wellness education session, you can find many outlets for staying healthy on a budget. Living well in a big city is all about minimizing your expenses, so we hope to guide you to the most cost-effective methods of maintaining your health in Chicago.
When considering your health insurance costs in the Chicago metro area, it is obvious to think about your health. For the time being, health status still affects your premiums on the individual market, but in a few months, that will change. Chicago’s individual health plans also offer some additional benefits to help keep you healthy besides covering preventive care. Using your plan to improve your eating and living habits can be beneficial, and of course, reduce your overall medical spending.
Health plans in Chicago are in the average price range, and as rates just increased for the year, we can see some changes. For example, a 45-year-old male can buy an inclusive copay plan with a $2500 deductible for $255 per month from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. Aetna is also in a similar price range at $261, offering almost exactly the same benefits as BCBS. Though these rates are normal for much of the nation, it is definitely worth staying healthy to avoid tacking on any additional costs for living on the unhealthy side. Use your plan, and its rewards programs if they are offered, and pay as little as possible for medical care.
Living Well and Paying Less
As mentioned, certain Chicago health insurers provide resources for individual plan members to get educated and make lifestyle changes. Since you already pay for the plan, you may as well consider using these included perks. Get preventive care screenings, and keep track of your health with assistance from your plan. Carriers like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois offer online resources to keep you healthy, and Humana provides a rewards program with discounts for vision care, gym memberships, and taking initiatives to lose weight or quit smoking.
Aside from your health plan, you can find great ways to stay healthy and active around Chicago on your own. From healthy restaurants to farmers markets and walking to work, Chicago residents have a giant outdoor urban gym (the city) to take advantage of, as well as plenty of parks and natural space to use for physical activity.
Consult your health plan’s website, check our suggestions below, or come up with your own ideas for getting the recommended amount of physical activity each day and finding healthy foods to eat. This can all be accomplished on a minimal budget.
The great outdoors are at your fingertips in Chicago, with the lakefront and various parks around the city to meet your needs. Winter sports lovers can find some great options, as well, in the chilly, snowy months when other tend towards dormancy. No matter what time of year, Chicago provides a great selection of things to do outside and inside to stay healthy. Try a few and find your favorite ways to keep illness at bay.
The Chicago area offers some great escapes from the big city, and even some trails within the city to give residents a way to exercise and explore. At your own pace, you can take in the beauty of nature (and architecture) while contributing positively to various bodily systems and increasing your overall health. Get comfortable with your surroundings, and even relax a bit. Here are some of the area’s top hiking trails.
- Cap Sauers and Swallow Cliff Loop Trail: Palos Park, IL
- Lake Katherine Trail: Palos Heights, IL
- Waterfall Glen: Darien, IL
- Chicago Lakeshore Path: Chicago, IL
- Morton Arboretum East Hike: Lisle, IL
Though you can join the city traffic and be a bike commuter, which is always perfect in places like Chicago, you can also take a break from the busy roads and find yourself on one one many, many paths throughout the area. Bike the city lakeside, or discover some open space in a nearby park. Road bikers have many options when it comes to a serene or crowded cycling experience. If you haven’t already, try some of these road bike-friendly trails.
- Busse Woods Loop: Elk Grove Village, IL
- I & M Canal State Trail: Willow Springs, IL
- Illinois Prairie Path: Berkeley, IL
- Salt Creek Trail: Brookfield, IL
- Chicago Lakeshore Path: South Hike: Chicago, IL
There are a number of outlets for mountain biking around Chicago. You can bike various trails within a short distance of the city, and even enjoy some urban mountain biking by creating your own trails and obstacles. Even if you’re just starting out, it’s a great sport for physical and mental endurance. Mountain bikers have trails of all sorts at their fingertips near Chicago, and here are some of the most recommended ones we could find.
- Salt Creek Singletrack: Brookfield, IL
- Palos Hills: Palos Heights, IL
- Indian Road Woods: Chicago, IL
- Skokie Lagoons: Glencoe, IL
- Waterfall Glen: Darien, IL
Cross Country Skiing
In the winter, maybe you want to stay inside a little bit more. Or maybe you want to get out of the house so badly you will happily brave the weather. In either case, you might consider the option of cross country skiing in the snowy months around Chicago. It could be a fun break from the city, and be a nice way to tell yourself the winter isn’t all that bad. With the right equipment (rented or purchased), you can get an invigorating workout and stay healthy when everyone else is getting colds.
- McClaughry Springs Woods: Palos Park, IL
- Danada Forest Preserve Trail: Wheaton, IL
- Cricket Creek Loop: Addison, IL
Yoga people may get a little obsessive sometimes, but it is a healthy practice in moderation. Finding a good yoga studio can greatly benefit your health, as the simultaneous stretching, concentrating, conscious breathing, and strength-building moves provide excellent stress relief and increased energy (which is likely positive). Whether you are fresh out of the ashram or you’re just getting started, your mat is welcome at any studio in Chicago. These are the top picks from Refinery29 and Citysearch for yoga in the Windy City.
- Core Power Yoga: 959 West Webster Avenue; 773-388-9642.
- Om on the Range: 1834 North Avenue, 2nd floor; 773-772-9642.
- Yogaview: 2211 N. Elston Avenue, Suite 200; 773-342-9642.
- Moksha Yoga Center: 3334 North Clark Street; 312-942-9642.
- Yoga View: Various locations. 773.342.9642.
Chicago is full of organic restaurants and healthy treats. Regardless of your price range, you can find something suitable and nourishing in your city to keep you going on a busy day, or for a nutritious night out. Cooking for yourself or for friends and family can also go the healthy path in Chicago. With tons of farmland nearby to provide fresh, local, and organic foods, there is no doubt you can fill yourself with vitamins, minerals, and deliciousness anywhere in the city. Here are a few ideas for shopping and eating healthy around Chicago.
- Lula Cafe: American and international-inspired cuisine made with healthy, organic ingredients for every meal of the day. Stop by for the Monday Night Farm Dinner! 2537 N Kedzie Blvd, (773) 489-9554.
- Nana: Local, sustainable, organic food all day with products from various local farms and producers. 3267 S Halsted St, (312) 929-2486.
- Chicago Raw: Uncooked, plant-based meals packed with goodness and flavor. 131 N Clinton St #7, (312) 831-2729.
- Browntrout: Organic, sustainable, with ingredients as local as possible. All herbs are grown on the rooftop. 4111 N. Lincoln Ave. 773.472.4111.
- Protein Bar: Organic, vegetarian, and high-protein smoothies, breakfast, salads, and more.352 N Clark St, (312) 527-0450.
- Green City Market: 2732 N Clark St #302, (773) 880-1266.
- Newleaf Natural Grocery: Affordable, organic produce and delivery services. 1261 W Loyola Ave.
- Green Grocer Chicago: Neighborhood organic market with local products.1402 W Grand Ave, (312) 624-9508.