Using Your Health Savings Account to Find Your Risk for Dozens of Diseases
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are a key aspect of what is known as “consumer-driven healthcare”, in which you the consumer – not your employer, the government, or an insurance company – are making the important decisions about your health coverage. When you have an HSA, you are in control – you can get the kind of treatment you want, see the doctors you wish to see, and get the tests that you need done in order to assess your risk and guide your decisions. Anything not covered by your insurance can be paid for from your Health Savings Account.
Having your genome scanned is now an affordable option that can give you valuable information about your risk for dozens of diseases, including breast cancer, colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, psoriasis, and more. And you can pay for it from your HSA, with tax-free dollars.
Why Test Your Genes
Our genetic heritage is determined by our DNA, which contain thousand of genes that provide instruction to the cells on how to operate. When mutated genes are inherited, genetic disease may develop. Single-gene diseases such as Huntington’s or cystic fibrosis disease occur whenever the gene itself occurs. Multifactorial diseases are those in which there is a genetic “susceptibility” to getting the disease, but where environment also plays a part.
Many people choose to get their genome sequenced if there is a history of breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, or some other disease in their family. If you are proactive about taking care of your health, the information you receive could guide you to better eating or other lifestyle habits.
There are also companies that will test how you will respond to various prescribed medications, including whether you will experience side effects from antidepressants or pain relievers. One example is a family who ordered a genetic test for their three year old son who wasn’t responding to some medication after his heart surgery, and received a laboratory report listing all the drugs her son couldn’t efficiently metabolize.
You Just Spit in a Cup
Getting a test done is easy. Order online, and in a few days a home test kit will arrive in the mail. Put your saliva in the container, send it back, and in a soon you’ll have more details about what you’re made of than you ever thought.
The results will only show risks (unless you have a single-gene disease) and will not tell you for sure whether you will get a certain disease. Most degenerative disease is the result of lifestyle and environmental factors in combination with your particular genetic risks. In most cases, lifestyle is the most important factor. Remember that the foods you eat and the exercise you do actually changes which of your genes are expressed.
It’s Your Health
There is a great struggle going on over control of this nation’s healthcare. On one side are those who believe that the best way to manage costs and provide the best care is to give control to the individual. And of course on the other side are those who wish to have the government take control.
While knowing your own genome should be your right, certain people don’t want you to have this ability. Access to genetic testing is already outlawed in New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.
Currently we still have the right to take tax-free money from our Health Savings Account, get our genome scanned, without anyone from the government or any insurance company knowing anything about it or having any say.
Millions of people with HSA plans take advantage of this fact – getting alternative treatments like acupuncture or homeopathy, choosing their own tests so they can manage their bone density, cholesterol metabolism, or other health issues. And now, let’s add genetic testing to the list. The larger this list becomes the greater our healthcare freedom will be.
Health, like wealth, is really about personal responsibility. Just as the government cannot make us all wealthy, similarly it cannot ensure your good health. Neither can the insurance companies and neither can your doctor. It is up to you. Knowing your own genetic risk factors might be valuable information that could add years to your life.
One word of caution – be careful about who you share your genetic test results with. Insurance companies would love to have this information, as would certain nefarious government agencies and other bad guys.