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Dallas – Fort Worth, TX

Living Well and Staying Covered in Dallas Texas

Health & Medical Insurance in Dallas

As Texas is one of the least healthy states in the nation, Dallas represents a large percentage of residents who choose a less than ideal lifestyle, though the environment also makes a contribution. You may have to work harder to be healthy, but like most cities, Dallas has the resources for activity and nutritious food that everyone can take advantage of. Just because the health-conscious and green living trends haven’t become the lifeline of this major city, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t tons of parks, and an adequate number of natural food stores and farmers’ markets located in the area. Finding and using these tools are key to maintaining health improving your quality of life, and reducing overall medical spending.

Medical coverage in Dallas is on the costly side, but individuals and families in search of a good plan can keep their health in tact with various plans. Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, Humana, Cigna, and UnitedHealthOne each offer sufficient policies, some of which include free programs to jump start your healthy lifestyle. Aetna offers discounts on products to promote wellness and health, and Humana includes an incentive program similar to employer-sponsored health plans. Additional companies in Dallas offer similar variations of these programs, designed to help members meet their health goals for free with their coverage.

And for residents who are already in great health, a medical insurance policy is the best way to protect against any threats to your wellness. If you’re a proponent of natural medicine, some of these plans meet you halfway by covering chiropractic, massage therapy, and providing discounts on homeopathic care and products.

The Dallas individual market is, though more costly than buying a plan several hours away in Austin, still likely to be more affordable right now for some individuals than next year after the law changes. Currently, a 42-year-old female resident of Dallas can buy a $2,500 comprehensive plan for $298 per month from BlueCross BlueShield of Texas. This plan is the least expensive option for 80/20 coinsurance and upfront coverage for a decent premium, and other plans are priced similarly. To check your own rates in Dallas, enter your zip code below.

 

Living Well and Paying Less

Finding local resources around your city for staying healthy is the best way to save money on medical bills and insurance. While your health plan provides a few extras to help you reach your potential, it’s even more practical to carve your own path to health. Exercising without a gym membership is easy in Dallas, with the forgiving climate (most of the year) and various parks, and even if there aren’t available parks, biking to work or to the store can lead to a great routine. However, your health plan can help you get a discounted gym membership or fitness classes if you prefer that method.

At the present time, health insurance premiums remain contingent upon health factors, as well as age, gender, and smoking. Normal premiums go to the healthiest contender, and those who are unable to shake a flawed medical history pay more. While this rating system will change in 2014, applicants must keep in mind that their risk of medical problems is still a financial risk to themselves, not just insurers, and keeping those costs down by adopting a healthy lifestyle is key.

Find ways to protect your health and your wallet by searching in your own city. Look for new ways to get active, eat well, and enjoy Dallas from a new perspective.

 

Healthy Activities

Throughout Texas, state and national parks, as well as hundreds of wilderness trails are located in every area, even around major cities like Dallas. From lakes with beaches to the Downtown Dallas Urban Trail, scenic, fun outing are available for any resident who wants to get out and see the area on foot or bike, or from the serene, aquatic vantage point of a kayak or canoe. Outdoor recreation is a great alternative to indoor exercise, especially as being in nature has been shown to improve your mental state. If you’ve grown tired of trying the gym, look for the places which require no membership and a minimal rental or one-time fee (such as a bicycle) to invest in your health and feel better.

 

Hiking

One of the most available activities for Dallas residents is hiking, as the area is perfect for exploring. Whether you want to escape the clamor of the city or stroll right through it, trails of all sorts wind around the area. Some expert-level trails are shared with mountain bikers in Boulder Park, right outside of the city, and more moderate walks can be had around North Shore in Grapevine. For a full list of hiking trails in close proximity to Dallas, visit AllTrails.com, or get started with the top-rated trails below.

 

Rock Climbing

Dallas is located near several indoor climbing gyms in addition to the real thing. Climbing spots in the great outdoors may not be right nearby, but such an experience will be worth the trip. An interesting climb in Richardson is actually located in a city park, the Renner Road Pyramids, which consists of two old bridge pillars and a stone wall. For a more natural approach, driving at least an hour will get you to places like Lake Mineral Wells and Tonkawa Falls.

 

Paddling & Water Sports

Kayaking, canoeing, and even rafting provide a great form of exercise without having to acknowledge that you may be getting some physical activity. The excitement and/or relaxation of being surrounded by water eliminates the boring tedium of a workout machine, while requiring minimal preparation. Taking a few classes to know what to do on your first trip can be helpful, so do some research on local guides and instructors unless you know an an experienced paddler. Check out some local rental and instruction places in Dallas.

 

Mountain Biking

People in Dallas who are interested in mountain biking have myriad outlets with varying levels of difficulty. Mountain biking trails are open year-round and anyone, expert or beginner, kids or adults, can find trails to suit their needs. The Big Cedar Wilderness Trail is one of several more technical trails in the area, with downhill courses included in addition to the cross-country sections. Find more biking trails near Dallas here, or get started with a few parks below.

 

Road Biking

Road cyclists have the city at their fingertips, as virtually any part of Dallas is fair game for a ride of any distance. More bike lanes have been appearing throughout the city for the past few years, providing a safer, easier way to commute to school or work, or just get out for recreational purposes. For a more natural route, several trails accommodate the less extreme cycling population with paved or wide dirt trails, such as the Bluebonnet Trail in Plano, or the 26-mile White Rock Ramble right in Dallas.

 

Healthy Eating

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the most cost-effective, convenient way to get healthy is to seek out your local farmer’s markets, buying fresh foods direct from the origin. When you’re pressed for time or looking for a healthy place to eat while out in the city, there are a quite a few gourmet and casual solutions to steer you away from greasy, hormone-fed meats, and artery-clogging meals. Organic food is widespread in the area, though still not outnumbering fast food, yet there are many options to keep your taste buds enthused and your body nourished. Eating well is the cornerstone of good health (other than exercise) and avoiding some of Texas’ major medical issues, thus saving you money the more healthy you eat.

 

  • Dallas Farmers’ Market: Open seven days a week, 362 days a year, the largest and oldest market in Dallas brings together fresh foods of all types from area farmers, as well as prepared and specialty foods. 1010 S Pearl Expy, 75201. (214) 939-2808.
  • White Rock Local Market: Open Saturdays from March to December, this farmers’ market is a hangout for foodies, money-savers, and health nuts alike. 1st and 3rd Saturdays: 9150 Garland Rd. 2nd & 4th Saturdays: 702 N. Buckner.
  • Cowtown Farmers Market: Another year-round market, this Fort Worth farmers’ market supplies the area with food, flowers, entertainment, and cooking demos. They also accept SNAP and other government assistance if you’re in need of healthy food and are low on cash. 3821 Southwest Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76116.
  • Central Market: Gourmet grocery with organic foods, juice bar, and deli. 4651 West Fwy Fort Worth, TX 76107.
  • Kozy Kitchen: Healthy meals for all hours of the day, including some comfort food with surprisingly nutritious ingredients. 4433 McKinney Ave. (214) 219-5044.
  • Sfuzzi: Pizza and Italian with a healthy twist, you can still find some heavier dishes but the menu also consists of organic veggies and meats, whole wheat or gluten-free pasta, and portobello mushroom fries. 2533 McKinney Ave. (214) 953-0300.
  • Bolsa: A restaurant and market, this organic and local food utilizing culinary paradise is still fairly affordable considering the innovation and creativity displayed on their nutritious menu. 614 W Davis St. (214) 367-9367.
  • Hot Damn, Tamales!: A Fort Worth restaurant with vegetarian options as well as meat, this gourmet Mexican joint offers take out, catering, bulk, and some fresh salads with organic veggies. 713 W. Magnolia Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76104. (817) 926-9909.

 

 

 

Image: Drumguy8800 via Wikimedia Commons.

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