If you are physically and mentally able, you alone should ultimately be responsible for your own body! What does this mindset mean? Here are some examples:
Develop good hygiene, all in moderation: eat well, sleep well, stay active/exercise, clean yourself thoroughly, brush and floss your teeth, wash your hands with soap and water, cover your mouth with your arm when you sneeze or cough, and avoid touching your face or rubbing your eyes with unwashed hands.
Listen to your body and actively seek help when something is wrong. As amazing as our bodies are at maintaining itself, such as recovering from a cold, some problems will not go away by itself and may instead drastically worsen.
Feel thirsty or have dark yellow urine? Drink more water. Don't want to? This can eventually lead to dehydration, kidney stones, kidney damage, and many other painful and possibly irreversible issues.
Notice anything out of your normal day-to-day bodily operations (e.g. blood where it shouldn't be: urine, feces, cough, etc.)? Time to seek professional care. Don't want to? The longer you wait, the more organ damage may be happening (e.g. possible cancer progressing). Damage being done at this level tends to happen at an increasing pace so don't waste time!
Know what problems can wait, are urgent, or is an emergency.
Have a sore throat for 1 day and don't have any other symptoms? Going to the emergency department is likely unnecessary, extremely costly (especially if not covered by insurance), and probably more time consuming than other options (e.g. consulting your local pharmacist).
Tried using over-the-counter medications for your symptoms for the past 7 days and are now coughing up green phlegm, have a fever of 101 °F despite taking fever reducers, and have some chest pain when you breathe? Make an appointment with your physician or walk into an urgent care center.
Trouble breathing? Call 911, get help! Get to the emergency department ASAP!
Be aware and informed of what health actions are taking place (e.g. what medications are prescribed and how to use them, surgeries or other procedures, etc.). Don't know something or are not confident on what to do? Ask questions!
Out of refills for your medication or having insurance billing issues? Contact your own doctor or insurance to resolve.
While the pharmacy will often handle these for you, take the extra initiative to do the same. What this will do is definitely help resolve the problem faster. Along with your issue, pharmacies often have dozens of other refill requests or insurance issues to resolve every day and may not get to your specific case as quickly as you prefer. This especially becomes an issue with last second vacation supplies!
Insurance: know your coverage! If you have an emergency or just need to visit a healthcare professional, do you know where to go according to your insurance plan? Even if you don't have insurance, do you have a plan? Will your plan cover you if you travel out of state or country (e.g. some state Medicaid plans will NOT cover you in other states)? If you're not covered, consider getting traveller's insurance!
There are different types of coverage, sometimes on totally separate cards with entirely different ID's: Medical, Pharmacy, Dental, Vision, and possibly others. Keep pictures of all your ID's on your phone - there are apps that can help too. No insurance? Use pharmacy discount cards and apps for your medications or ask the pharmacy team to help you. If you're having difficulty with your healthcare bills, ask the billing department to help lower the bill or ask for payment plans before the debt gets sold to a collector.
Health savings account (HSA): this is a tax advantageous savings plan everyone should have that can only be used towards your healthcare expenses, including some over-the-counter items. Many employers will even contribute to this for free, but requires you to opt-in during open enrollment!
Flexible spending account (FSA): similar to HSA except you lose 100% of whatever you don't use by the end of the year! HSA's are definitely better if you have the choice.
Anyone not heeding the above advice is doomed to pay the ignorance and stubborn tax!