Health & Medical Insurance in Pittsburgh
With a wide array of natural and organic restaurants, and the perfect setting for outdoor activity, Pittsburgh is currently one of the healthiest cities in the nation. Pittsburgh also has a great parks and recreation department, who have provided the city with well-maintained areas for swimming, cycling, ice skating, and sports of all sorts – from tennis to basketball. As such, nearly 42 percent of the population gets enough exercise according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pittsburgh also has a very high insured rate, at 89 percent in 2010, and excellent access to medical care through local providers.
Pittsburgh health insurance is also affordable, compared to many other large cities, making it easier for residents to get coverage. And while there are not many carriers in the region, all three (Aetna, HealthAmerica, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, and UnitedHealthcare) make it a easy to get covered (if you’re healthy, but if not – go with Aetna). For instance, a healthy, nonsmoking 30-year-old female living in zip code 15201 can get a great $2000 deductible HealthAmerica plan for $143 per month with dental, maternity, and copays for various services. With copays to pay for common services, members are more likely to save money and not get hit with unmanageable medical bills.
Plans like Aetna offer ways for individual health plan members to keep their health on an even keel and help those who are less healthy to reduce their risk of illnesses. Though not as involved as wellness programs through group insurance, you can get discounts on products to help you quit smoking, lose weight, or just maintain a healthy lifestyle by joining a fitness center. Don’t rely entirely on your plan to give you cheap ways to stay healthy, though. They only provide a few tools to help get you started, and the rest is up to you.
Living Well and Paying Less
Living in Pittsburgh offers many options for being a healthy, happy person – and one who is free from high medical bills. While we can’t predict your future entirely, it is much more likely that by making better decisions and adapting your life to eating nutritiously and being active, your odds of having minor to serious health problems will decrease.
Using your resources through your health plan is also a good idea. Highmark offers wellness programs to individual members to help them get on a healthy track, with tools for those who need help adjusting their diet to include more nutrients, those who need to lose weight, and diabetics and others who have conditions to help manage their health. And using these little tools can make a big difference, but if your plan doesn’t include anything like this, firstly – shame on them, and secondly, the internet does. Always talk to your doctor before starting a big lifestyle change, however.
Are you ready to find out how healthy you can be just by exploring Pittsburgh? Take a look around you and read on to find out what your city has to offer for outdoor activity and great sources of fresh, local, healthy food.
Pittsburgh has beautiful springs, summers and autumn seasons, ideal for spending time outdoors. Of course, the winters can also be fun with the right gear. If you’re having difficulty finding the gym the slightest bit interesting, try one of these activities to keep you moving. The central Pennsylvania region offers lush forests, and hills ideal for any sort of activity. While the air quality isn’t the best, you can also try some indoor alternatives if you’re sensitive.
With challenging enough inclines and banked turns, the Pittsburgh area has some ideal roads for cyclists. As many commuters already frequent the downtown area, having an outlet for a more natural, less crowded ride is also preferable. From the Bud Harris Cycling Track where you can participate in racing events and training, to a less structured park setting, you can find a path that fits your needs in Pittsburgh.
- Bud Harris Cycling Track: Washington Blvd, Pittsburgh, (412) 255-2539.
- North Park Bike/Jog Trail: McCandless Twp, PA.
- Pittsburgh City Cruise: Pittsburgh, PA.
- Saxonburg Cruise: Saxonburg, PA.
- Hickory Rides: Cecil, PA.
Mountain biking is a big deal in Pittsburgh, with nearly 30 trails to choose from in various locations in the region. Ranging from simple to technical, you can find a trail for whatever level you feel comfortable with. Due to the lack of actual mountains, most trails are safe for beginners and perhaps boring for experts, but at least you have plenty of options. Western Pennsylvania also offers a few gems for those who want larger jumps and more intense obstacles. Check out a full menu here.
- Seven Springs Down Hill Park: 777 Waterwheel Dr , Seven Springs, PA, 800-452-2223.
- Rothrock State Forest: State College, PA.
- Frick Park Tour Loop Trail: Pittsburgh, PA.
- North Park-Wildwood Mine Loop: Allison Park, PA.
- TRHT – South Side Trail: Pittsburgh, PA.
With state forests and an abundance of parks, hiking excursions are easy to come by in Pittsburgh. Even directly in the city, you have many options for natural hikes. There are also several Rails to Trails conversion paths in the area, given the history of the railroad in Pittsburgh. You can backpack, run, jog, walk, or take any pace you like in the wide variety of parks and trails in the area, as some are 5 miles and others are 20. Find one of many trails here, or consider one of the most popular ones below.
- Raccoon Creek State Park Trail: Hanover Twp, PA.
- Yough River Trail: West Newton, PA.
- Schenley Park Loop Trail: Pittsburgh, PA.
- Rails to Trails: Freeport, PA.
- North Shore: Pittsburgh, PA.
If the air pollution doesn’t suit your respiratory system, you can balance your exposure to the outdoors with something fun like yoga. It’s a good way to improve coordination, focus, and if you’re recovering from an illness or pregnant, it can be pretty low-impact (unless you do the bikram craziness). There are many yoga studios in Pittsburgh, both hot and cold, so whatever your preference you can increase your flexibility and endurance – sometimes for a pretty low fee. Of course, the cheapest way to do it is YouTube and a mat, but a teacher does help ensure you don’t break your back or hyperventilate.
- The Yoga Hive: 5491 Penn Ave, (412) 362-4483.
- Yoga Matrika: 1406 S Negley Ave, (412) 855-5692.
- Amazing Yoga: 730 Copeland St #1, (412) 681-1092.
- Yoga Flow: 5433 Walnut St, (412) 621-1157.
- Yoga on Centre: 6016 Penn Cir S, (412) 363-9642.
As a major city with many health-conscious people, Pittsburgh has some wonderful places to dine and buy food locally. If health is also a priority for you, or you’re just starting to make it one, your city is contains an array of organic restaurants, farm-to-table eateries, co-ops and of course, the dependable Whole Foods. You can also support some local businesses for a more intimate shopping experience at an independent grocer. Regardless of your preference, you can find many ways to feed yourself and your family with solid ingredients. Try some of these spots to bring health to the table.
- Sunny Bridge Natural Foods & Cafe: For those who live outside the city, this is a great option for buying healthy, natural foods. 130 Gallery Dr, McMurray, PA, (724) 942-5800.
- East End Food Co-Op: Market and cafe, open all day everyday, serving local, unprocessed, organic food. 7516 Meade St, (412) 242-3598.
- Giant Eagle Market District: Huge natural grocery with cafe, deli, and bulk foods. 5550 Centre Ave, (412) 681-1500.
- Burgh’ers: Organic, local and natural American food – specializing in, of course, burgers. 100 Perry Hwy, Harmony, PA, (724) 473-0710.
- The Enchanted Garden: Juice, smoothies, organic and local food plus a charming environment. 73 S 13th St, (412) 235-7680.
- Habitat: Breakfast, lunch and dinner with fresh and nutritionally balanced ingredients. 510 Market St, (412) 773-8848.
- Legume: Moderately priced, farm-to-table, organic gourmet open Monday-Saturday for dinner. 214 N Craig St, (412) 621-2700.
- Dinette: Green, local and organic, Dinette offers thin-crust pizza and other foods highlighting the area’s freshest veggies, herbs and cheeses. 5996 Penn Circle South, East Liberty.
1. Image: vmi.pitt.edu
2. Pittsburgh Today. Health/Health Care Coverage.