9 Ways You’ll Actually Be Able To Keep That Healthy New Year’s Resolution In 2013

Who doesn’t need a little motivation to get (and stay) healthy after the holidays? Here are some surprising ways the new health care law can help you turn over a new leaf in 2013.

1. Get tested like it’s 1999

Under Obamacare, all insurance plans have to cover preventive services like blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests, mammograms, colonoscopies, and routine vaccinations – free of charge. And if you’re a woman, you no longer have co-pays for preventive services like birth control, HIV screening and counseling, and breastfeeding consultation. Because mom was right: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

2. Better local care: the gift that keeps on giving

mikkime / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr: mikkime

The holidays are over and you know what that means: time for everyone to get sick. The good news is that there’s likely one of the more than 1,600 nationwide community health centers nearby – many of which are undergoing a facelift thanks to the new law. Obamacare includes major funding for the construction, repair and renovation of these local clinics, which provide check-ups when you’re well, treatment when you’re sick, complete care through pregnancy, immunizations and check-ups for children, as well as other invaluable services.

Find a community health center near you.

3. Hello portion control, my old friend

Under Obamacare, chain restaurants (those with 20+ locations) must list the calorie content on their menu items, and have to provide info on fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, sugars, fiber and protein – making it easier to make healthier choices.

4. Bike paths and jogging trails: hurrah!

Health care isn’t just about going to the doctor’s office when you’re sick – it’s about avoiding getting sick in the first place. Obamacare is helping local communities build infrastructure that encourages healthy living, like neighborhood parks, adequate lighting, and safe walking and biking paths.

5. Seriously, stop smoking.

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Tobacco smoke is bad, very bad – but you knew that already. Obamacare is funding smoking cessation programs at the local level. Take advantage of local programs to help you kick the habit, and find out about other ways Obamacare is funding preventive services in your community here.

6. Get insurance from your workplace

Believe it or not, cats don’t technically count as employees (yet). You, on the other hand, do. So you’ll be glad to know that small businesses (those with 25 or fewer employees) are now eligible for tax credits to help provide insurance to their workforce. Find out how you and your business can benefit here.

7. Take the stress out of shopping

Shopping is usually pretty stressful, but shopping for health insurance benefits takes it to another level. As of October 2013 that’ll change, when individuals and small business can shop for health insurance online. At California’s new health plan marketplace launching in 2013, you’ll soon be able to compare health plans and costs in an apples-to-apples format. And all plans will be required to have essential health benefits included, so you know you’re getting what you paid for.

8. Work out – like a boss

Elliott Brown / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr: ell-r-brown

Obamacare creates new incentives and builds on existing policies to promote healthier workplaces. And starting in 2014, the law will support participatory wellness programs like reimbursing employees for the cost of a gym membership and rewarding employees for attending no-cost health education seminars or completing health risk assessments.

9. Rest easy

Thanks to Obamacare, insurance companies can’t rescind coverage because of technical mistakes on your insurance forms. Starting in 2014, they also will be unable to impose annual and lifetime spending caps on your health care costs. So if you need treatment, you’ll get it. If you have a pre-existing condition, you will no longer be able to be denied coverage.

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