Category Archives: Health

7 Tips For Super Health

What is real health and how do we get there? Getting down to your target weight, exercising every day, eating a balanced diet – is that health? Here are 7 Super Health tips that I’ve gained from my health journey.

 1 – Become Your Own Doctor – Get a 2nd Opinion – Your Own. Three critical facts about today’s doctors. First, they have little, if any, training in nutrition, or how to prevent or cure diseases. Second, they treat your symptoms, not the cause, and third, statistics show that 94% of them get paid for prescribing drugs. 3 good reasons for a 2nd opinion.

 2 – Balance is Critical. A stool Has 3 Legs – just one or two and you fall over. What you eat determines 70% of your health. Exercise determines 20% – do something. Your health environment, both internally, the way you think and feel, and externally, your social network, is 10%.

 3 – Discover Super Foods. Whole foods provide better nutrition, more energy, and build a stronger immune system. Eat whole grains and seeds in cereals and breads, and wheat germ, bran and brewers yeast. Eat fruits and vegetables and drink green smoothies, fruit smoothies with 2 or 3 green veggies added. I have my green smoothie recipe on my site.

 4 – Invest In You. You educate yourself, spend thousands on your home and cars. Invest in your body – for the best results over your lifetime. Take nutrition courses – read some health books. Learn what builds health and what causes degenerative diseases (tip: it’s what you eat). Read The China Study to revolutionize your life.

 5 – Discipline Yourself – No-one Else Can. Become a closet health nut year by year. Don’t broadcast it – live it. Many people care more about their cars than their body – and spend more time planning their vacations than they do caring for the temple they live in. Don’t be one of them. Incorporate what you learn into your lifestyle.

 6 – Health is a Journey. Your body is miraculously resilient. You can recover from obesity, alcoholism, drug addiction, and from abusing your body. Your health is always determined by what you do in the previous 3 months of your life. Commit to and become healthier, and live into your 80s and 90s, and even 100s with joy, zest, and bounding energy.

 7 – Become a 95% Vegetarian. The evidence is now conclusive. The fat, cholesterol, triglycerides, and carcinogenic protein from meat and dairy products clogs us up, restricts our blood flow, decreases the oxygen to our cells, makes us sluggish, causes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and cancer. Cut out 95% of meat and dairy. Fruits, vegetables and grains taste heavenly when your tongue isn’t filtering them through layers of fat, grease, salt, and sugar. The sensational Eating DVD documents it all.

Reclaiming Good Mental Health

What is good mental health? We are all more or less mentally healthy, and this usually varies through our lives especially as we deal with difficult life events, change and so on. Whether we call this psychological wellbeing, happiness, contentment, positive mindset, all these terms relate to good mental health.

With our physical health, it’s part of our everyday discourse to be aspirational. We want to feel physically fit, energetic, strong, balanced in our weight, eating a healthy diet, supple, resilient and not prone to minor ailments. Sure we complain about our problems, and talk about how we can’t do all the things we know we ought to do. We know it’s not easy to stay physically healthy without working at it, especially if we’ve experienced health problems. We know that even if we reach the peak of physical fitness, we can’t maintain this for the rest of our lives without paying attention to it.

Research tells us that good mental health is even more beneficial than good physical health. A positive mental outlook increases the rate and speed of recovery from serious, even life threatening, illness. Psychological resilience and wellbeing gives people the strength to turn problems into challenges into triumphs.

Yet whenever I ask a group of people to tell me what words come into mind in relation to ‘mental health’, their responses are about mental ill-health! It’s as if the term has been hi-jacked to become totally problem-focused.

In the meantime, we’re experiencing an epidemic of mental ill-health. About 1 in 4 people are experiencing some form of common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety and various stress related symptoms. GP surgeries are overwhelmed with such problems, mental health services are only able to provide support for the 1% of the population with much more severe mental health difficulties, and there’s a plethora of largely unregulated services, treatments and remedies out on the private market. A recent research study showed that the majority of long term sickness absence from work resulted from stress related conditions.

The trouble with focusing on the problems and the pain, is that that’s what we become experts in. We’re looking for cures and treatments to fix the problem, instead of focusing on what makes for good mental health. We know that physical health is multi-dimensional – no-one imagines that pumping iron to build your muscles is a recipe for overall physical health, although it will certainly make you stronger for certain activities.

So what are the essentials of good mental health?

Connection is certainly one of the best known. Having positive close relationships is good for our mental health, as is having a wider network of friends, colleagues and acquaintances which will vary over time. Giving to others is another really important aspect of connection, improving our sense of self worth and wellbeing.

Challenge is about learning and development, it’s how we grow. For children, everyday brings new challenges, yet as adults we often become increasingly fearful of change, unwilling to learn new skills or put ourselves in unfamiliar situations. So expanding our comfort zone, sometimes in small ways if we’re feeling particularly vulnerable, will help develop our self-confidence and sense of personal achievement.

Composure means a sense of balance, and ability to distance ourselves from our thoughts and emotions. It means our ability to respond rather than react. This could be described as our sense of spiritual connection, which may come through a particular belief or faith, or may be found through connection with nature. A mentally healthy person will feel an inner strength of spirit, and find ways to support that.

Character relates to the way in which we interpret our experiences and our responses to them. We all have our own personal story, or stories, which we may or may not tell others. We may cast ourselves as the hero, the victim or the villain, and however we do this will impact generally on our mental health. Someone who has experienced severe life trauma may have great difficulty piecing together their story at all, leaving them feeling literally fragmented. Good mental health means having a strong sense of personal values, awareness of our own strengths, skills and resources, and personal stories of learning from mistakes, survival, success and appreciation.

Creativity represents the fun, childlike aspects of our mental health. As children we are naturally creative and we play. As we grow into adulthood, our creativity and playfulness is often discouraged or devalued, and this can cause great frustration, literally diminishing the capacity of our brain to function as well as it could. Exploring creative activities has often been found to have a powerful therapeutic effect, and good mental health certainly depends in part on opportunities to bring fun, playfulness and creativity into our lives.

These 5 C’s of good mental health offer a framework within which we can think about our mental health in the same way as we might our physical health. It’s pretty damned hard to be a perfect specimen of physical health,but then who needs to be perfect? Just like our physical health, our mental health is a work in progress and always will be.

In years gone by, many people with physical illnesses were treated cruelly because of ignorance and shame. I recall when cancer was spoken in hushed whispers as the Big C. Nowadays mental ill-health is the ‘elephant in the room’ which we need to be looking at long and hard, exposing to practical common sense and intelligent discussion.

World Mental Health Day on October 10 has been a timely reminder that good mental health really is something we can aspire to for everyone. Let’s make it so!

Carolyn Barber, Bsc (Hons), CQSW, is the founder of Wayfinder Associates, a social care training and consultancy business specialising in team development, independent supervision and staff wellbeing. As a serial social entrepreneur, Carolyn has developed community based programmes to promote understanding of mental wellbeing using positive solution focused approaches.

Carolyn has over 30 years experience in social care as practitioner, trainer, researcher and manager, working across public, voluntary and independent sectors.

Health Care Through A Health Magazine

How To Take Care Of Health With Health Magazine.

If you love yourself then you should keep watch on your health and fitness. You need to understand about your nutrition, fitness, health and food regularly. Health is important for both men and women. Everyone should take of their health to keep fit and healthy.

To be fit and health, you have to monitor your fitness regularly. Like you should keep watch on your weight, metabolism, regular blood tests and important things happening around the people you live. You can get updated with all new fitness methods and latest emerging diseases today.

Health magazine is the only reliable and good source to guide you on every issue on health. You can know about fitness, exercises, eating patterns and things to improve your overall health. These magazines also include tips for personal care, physical fitness, avoiding injuries, winter and summer wearing guide and how to protect from different viruses.

These magazines cover different issues related to mens health and women health. You can find safe sex tips, skin care, care for hair and latest drugs available in market for human health development. You can also find safe cooking methods and tips to make different recipes.

In the health magazine, you can find stories of real people and how to cure from deadly diseases. You can find celebrities interviews and their practices for personal development. You can get advices from professional doctors and health experts. It also include solutions with help of allopathy and homeopathy.

You need to be informed if you are suffering from any diseases. Like you are a patient of sugar and doctors have told you to keep watch on your sugar daily. You need to keep watch on sugar intake in your body on daily basis. You can get to know about latest techniques to control your sugar with the help of a health magazine. These magazines are proved very useful to be informed on latest technique used worldwide and your doctor might be able to tell you about these latest medical solutions. So a health magazine can turn your miserable life into happy living.

You can look for specific symptoms you have to get solutions for cure and fitness. You can get information on every topic of human health. Subscribing to these magazines is the best way to be updated with the latest happenings around the world in health care industry. For health and wellness, subscribe this growing health magazine today.

6 Tips for Comparing Health Care Policies

Australians already know that health coverage can provide security for individuals and families when a medical need arises. Many, however, do not know how to find the best value when comparing health insurance policies.

Below are 10 tips everyone should read before shopping for private health coverage.

1. Choose coverage that concentrates on your specific health needs, or potential health needs.

The first thing you should do before comparing your health plan options is determine which policy features best fit your needs. A 30-year-old accountant, for instance, is going to need very different coverage than a 55year-old pro golfer, or a 75-year-old retired veterinarian. By understanding the health needs that most often correspond to people in your age and activity level group – your life stage – you can save money by purchasing only the coverage you need and avoid unnecessary services that aren’t relevant. For instance, a young family with two small children isn’t going to need coverage for joint replacement or cataract surgery. A 60-year-old school teacher isn’t going to need pregnancy and birth control-related services.

Whether it’s high level comprehensive care you’re after, or the least expensive option to exempt you from the Medical Levy Surcharge while providing basic care coverage, always make sure you’re comparing health insurance policies with only those services that make sense for you and your family.

2. Consider options such as Excess or Co-payment to reduce your premium costs.

When you agree to pay for a specified out-of-pocket amount in the event you are hospitalized, you sign an Excess or Co-payment option that will reduce your health insurance premium.

If you choose the Excess option, you agree to pay a predetermined, specific amount when you go to hospital, no matter how long your stay lasts. With a Co-payment option, you agree to pay a daily sum up to a pre-agreed amount. For example, if Joanne has an Excess of $250 on her medical coverage policy and is admitted to hospital, regardless of how long her stay turns out to be, she will pay $250 of the final bill. If Andrew has signed a $75×4 Co-payment with his provider, he will pay $75 per day for just the first the first four days of his hospitalization.

For younger individuals who are healthy and fit with no reason to expect to land in hospital any time soon, either of these options are great ways to reduce the monthly cost of your medical insurance premiums.
Keep in mind that different private insurers have their own rules when it comes to Excess and Co-payments, including how many payments you will need to make annually on either option. It is important to read the policy thoroughly and ask questions in advance in order to have a clear understanding of what you are paying for, and what you can expect coverage-wise in the event that you are hospitalized. Also, make sure you choose an Excess option greater than $500 if you’re purchasing an individual policy, or $1,000 for family coverage, in order to be exempted from the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

3. Pay your health insurance premium in advance before the cost increases.

Each year insurance providers increase their premiums by approximately five percent sometime around the first of April, a practice approved by the Minister of Health. By instituting these annual increases, your health insurance provider retains the ability to fulfill their obligations to policyholders despite increasing medical costs.

Most private medical policy providers allow policy holders to pay for one year’s premium in advance, which locks them into the previous year’s rate for an additional 12 months – a great way to save money. In order to take advantage of the savings offered, most insurers require payment in full be made within the first quarter of the year, between January and March.

4. Lock in to low cost health insurance at an early age.

The most obvious advantage any Australian can take when it comes to saving money on your insurance premiums is to buy in early to the least expensive rate available. And by early, we mean before age 31. Everyone who is eligible for Medicare will receive at least a 30 percent rebate from the government on the price of their health care premium, no matter what age you are. However, by purchasing hospital coverage before the July first following your 31st birthday, you can be ensured the lowest premium rate available.

After age 31, your health insurance rate is subjected to a two percent penalty rate increase for every year after age 30 that you did not have health insurance. Therefore, if you wait to purchase private health coverage until you’re age 35, you will pay 10 percent more annually than you would have if you had purchased it at age 30.

There are exemptions for some people who were overseas when they turned 30, or for new immigrants, and certain others under special exception status. However, if you purchased private insurance after age 30 and are paying an age loading penalty on your health coverage, you will be relieved of the excess penalty after 10 years of continual coverage.

The earlier in life that you lock in to a private health plan, the more money you will save both immediately and over your lifetime.

5. Choose a health care provider who already works with your health fund.

Determine which hospital you prefer if and when the need for treatment does arise, and seek out those health insurance providers that have an agreement with your hospital of choice before making a decision on your health insurance purchase.

It’s a good idea to also find out if your insurer has a list of “preferred providers,” which would include those physicians and practitioners who also have made arrangements with the health funds regarding their charges for services. Request this information from every provider when comparing health insurance policies. This way you can be sure you’ll receive the full gamut of benefits available at the lowest possible cost. These preferred providers often have “no gap” cover – special rates that reduce or eliminate out-of-pocket expenses to policyholders.

6. Double check your health insurance policy before you schedule any treatment or procedures to make sure you have coverage.

Any time you are headed to a private hospital for treatment, first check to see if the hospital and your health insurance provider have an agreement to be absolutely sure you have adequate coverage. At the same time, check with your insurance provider, physician and the hospital to see if there is a Gap between their fees and the government’s Medicare Benefits. This is extremely important because if your physician charges more than Medicare covers and you do not have a “no Gap” plan set up, you could find yourself responsible for a considerable bill. Simply contact your doctor and your insurance company to double check on these items, and avoid being saddled with an out-of-pocket expense your weren’t expecting.

101 Health and Wellness

A vast difference exists between the words health and wellness. While most people consider these words to convey similar meanings, their definitions vary considerably. Health, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is defined as, “the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit; especially freedom from physical disease or pain.” More simply put, health is a conditional state. A person can be in good health or bad health, based on their physical and emotional symptoms. As well, a person can alter the condition of their health by changing their habits for better or for worse. For example, if a person is considered unhealthy due to a weight problem or high blood pressure, they can start exercising, eating a healthy diet, and changing poor lifestyle habits. If this person eventually loses weight and lowers their blood pressure, the doctor may declare that they are now in good health. However, the term health is conditional. This person can easily slip back into a state of unhealthiness by returning to the habits that got them there in the first place.

On the other hand wellness is defined as, “the quality or state of being in good health, especially as an actively sought goal.” Wellness, unlike health which is conditional, is a continuous state of optimal health that is maintained through persistent effort. If health and wellness were designated as running terms, health would be a sprint and wellness a marathon. Wellness, like health, does account for the physical, emotional, and spiritual state of a person. However, wellness primarily refers to a person’s continual effort to strive for peak performance and overall well-being in the physical, emotional, and spiritual realms.

It is for this reason that corporate wellness plans are essential to a company’s long-term success. Workplace health programs do not just promote employee health, but also stress the importance of wellness-a continuous state of health and well-being. The benefits of long-term employee health for a company include less payment towards health plans, happier workers, and higher production rates. While it may seem to be common knowledge, a person who is physically healthy and emotionally stable will perform at higher levels than an employee who is dissatisfied with his or her overall health. This does not just benefit a company while the program is in place, but long after as a result of its employees profiting from a healthy lifestyle. A wellness lifestyle encompasses more than a person’s physical state. Emotional and spiritual health is also taken into consideration. Now, the importance of good employee health should not be downplayed. It is extremely important to encourage all employees within a company to endeavor to reach a healthier state. However, striving for good health should not end once a person reaches their desired health goals. A journey towards wellness is what constitutes effective corporate wellness plans.

Importance of Health and Media Literacy

Although research suggests that children’s eating habits are formed even before they enter the classroom – children as young as two may already have dietary preferences based on their parents’ food choices – health education can play a vital role in helping establish lifelong healthy patterns early.

Research shows that health education has a positive impact on health behaviors as well as academic achievement, and that the most effective means of improving health literacy is ensuring that health education is included in curriculum at all levels of education.

U.S. schools educate 54 million students daily, and can provide not only an outlet to promote healthy behaviors for children and adolescents, but a place for them to engage in these behaviors, including eating healthy and participating in physical activity.

The U.S. is in great need of an improvement in health literacy. In a 2007 UNICEF study, our country ranked last out of 21 industrialized countries in overall child health and safety. Approximately one in five of our high school students are smokers, 80 percent of students do not eat the recommended five servings of vegetables and fruits per day, and more than 830,000 adolescents become pregnant each year. Approximately two thirds of the American population is estimated to be overweight or obese.

Furthermore, our understandings of health and health-related behaviors are often highly influenced by the media and media images – which can lead to inaccurate assumptions and negative health behaviors and attitudes.

The importance of media literacy as applies to health education

Self-esteem patterns also develop in early childhood, although they fluctuate as kids gain new experiences and perceptions. Because media messages can influence unhealthy behaviors, especially in adolescents, a comprehensive health education program must include not only health knowledge, but media literacy as it relates to psychological and physical health behaviors as well.

“To a large degree, our images of how to be comes from the media. They are [a] crucial shaper of the young lives we are striving to direct,” writes resource teacher Neil Andersen, editor of Mediacy, the Association for Media Literacy newsletter.

Media awareness, Andersen explains, can help teach students techniques to counter marketing programs that prey on their insecurities to promote negative behavior, can explode stereotypes and misconceptions, can facilitate positive attitudes and can help students learn how to absorb and question media-conveyed information.

Because our perceptions of ourselves and others develop early, and because we live in such a media-inundated world, it is important that we address the conflicts inherent in media values versus our own values with our children and adolescents first, in a factual, positive, and coherent way.

A comprehensive (age-appropriate) health program would therefore teach about these various issues at different stages of development. Pre-adolescence and adolescence are especially pertinent stages in an individual’s growth for discovering themselves and their place in the world, and it is during this vital time that media literacy is absolutely key to an influential and positive health program. Issues must be addressed that affect positive health behavior and attitudes, especially in teen girls, including:

• Digital manipulation of the body in advertisement – Almost all of what we see in media has been altered or digitally manipulated to some extent.

• Objectification of the body in media – Since the 1960s, sexualized images of men in the media have increased 55 percent, while sexualized images of women increased 89 percent, according to a University of Buffalo study. There are also 10 times more hypersexualized images of women than men and 11 times more non-sexualized images of men than of women.

• Average women versus models – Models today are 23 percent skinnier than the average woman, versus 9 percent skinnier in the 80s.

We live in a pop-culture that not only promotes a hyper-skinny-is-best attitude, but also discourages average or healthy body ideals and individuals from feeling good about simply pursuing healthy dietary choices – they feel they must resort instead to drastic (and quick) weight loss measures that put unhealthy stress on the body.

For example, a study released in 2006 by the University of Minnesota showed that 20 percent of females had used diet pills by the time they were 20 years old. The researchers also found that 62.7 percent of teenage females used “unhealthy weight control behaviors,” including the use of diet pills, laxatives, vomiting or skipping meals. The rates for teenage boys were half that of girls.

“These numbers are startling, and they tell us we need to do a better job of helping our daughters feel better about themselves and avoid unhealthy weight control behaviors,” concluded Professor Dianne Neumark-Sztainer. Over the five-year period that the study was conducted, moreover, researchers found that high school-aged females’ use of diet pills nearly doubled from 7.5 percent to 14.2 percent.

What teaching health and media literacy can do

When a colleague asked Doctor Caren Cooper, a Research Associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, what the opposite of media was, she paused only briefly before answering, “Reality, of course.”

“We each need logic tools to realize that all media is a representation of reality – if we don’t bring this realization into our consciousness, we are apt to forget and let our own reality become distorted: fostering a culture of over-consumption, eating disorders, sexual violence, and climate change deniers,” she explained.

Teaching health education comprehensively in today’s rapidly changing world is important for fostering skills that students will carry with them for the rest of their lives, including:

• Developing positive body affirmations – Accepting their bodies, accepting other’s bodies, and showing respect for one another. A good exercise would be to have them write down good things about each other – without the words beautiful, or descriptions of size, as well as what they love about themselves – both physical and character traits.

• Understanding the importance of eating right – And that it’s not about “dieting.” Perhaps the biggest misconception is that as long as a person loses weight, it doesn’t matter what they eat. But it does, and being thin and being healthy are not the same thing. What you eat affects which diseases you may develop, regardless of your size, and diets that may help you lose weight (especially quickly) can be very harmful to your health over time.

• Understanding the importance of exercise – People who eat right but don’t exercise, for example, may technically be at a healthy weight, but their fitness level doesn’t match. This means that they may carry too much visceral (internal) fat and not enough muscle.

“Given the growing concern about obesity, it is important to let young people know that dieting and disordered eating behaviors can be counterproductive to weight management,” said researcher Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. “Young people concerned about their weight should be provided support for healthful eating and physical activity behaviors that can be implemented on a long-term basis, and should be steered away from the use of unhealthy weight control practices.”

We must also teach them:

• How to reduce stress by engaging in activities and other outlets.

• The importance of sleep.

• The importance of vitamins.

• The importance of not always being “plugged in” – The natural environment has great health benefits, and too much technology may even be hazardous to our health.

“We’re surrounded by media images for such a large portion of our daily lives, it’s almost impossible to escape from it,” explained IFN representative Collete during an interview with EduCoup. “We get the majority of our information today through media, be it music, TV, the internet, advertising or magazines, so it really is incredibly important for us as a society to think about the messages we receive from the media critically.”

Decoding the overload of overbearing messages, then, is pertinent to the health of our minds and bodies, and teaching these skills early will help kids to practice and maintain life-lengthening and positive behaviors for the rest of their lives.

Health Insurance and Health Care Reform in 2014

The most significant changes implemented by health care reform legislation will come into force on January 1st of 2014. These changes will have at least some impact on all individual and family policy holders and will also effect grandfathered policies that were effective on or before March 23, 2010. The positive changes will be for those who have been rated up or declined for health insurance in the past, for those who are currently or plan to become pregnant, and those whose income is less than 400% of the federal poverty level (I will be developing a worksheet to help you determine whether you are eligible for a subsidy). The negative changes will be for those who have an average or better than average health rating and for those on the younger end of the health insurance spectrum (20s-30s).

If You’ve Been Declined or Rated Up

If you have pre-existing conditions, you are now in the sweet spot of health care reform. Starting in October of 2013, health insurance companies will be able to begin accepting applications for policies with a January 1st, 2014 effective date. These policies will not use health status or pre-existing conditions to determine benefits, to decline or charge higher rates. Moving forward, the only factors that will contribute to your health insurance premium is the plan you choose, your age, and tobacco usage. I am not yet aware of how currently effective policies will transition, whether your rating will simply be removed from your existing policy or whether you will need to apply for a new policy to get rid of your rating. I will know more as we get closer to the open enrollment period starting in October 2013.

Maternity Coverage

If you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy, starting on January 1st, 2014, all new health insurance policies will cover maternity automatically. It has not been made explicitly clear whether women who are currently pregnant will be covered. However, given the language of new policies regarding pre-existing conditions, I am comfortable in speculating that there will not be a waiting period for women who are currently pregnant and whose due date falls in 2014 and beyond. I will give updates as I become aware of definite regulations.

Health Insurance Subsidies

Health insurance policies sold through the NC exchange on or after October 2013, with January 1st effective dates, will be eligible for the subsidy. The subsidy amount will be based on your income and you will be eligible if your income is less than 400% of the federal poverty level. Based on income brackets, the premium you owe for your health insurance policy will be calculated as a percentage of your annual income. As previously stated, I will be creating a calculator to help you predict what percentage of your monthly income a health insurance policy will cost you. Health insurance agents will have the ability to assist you in purchasing a policy through the exchange.

Young and/or Favorable Health Rating 

If you are young and/or have a favorable health insurance rating, in almost all cases, you can expect rate increases in 2014. This rate increase is due to required pre-existing coverage and to rate variance shrinking from young to old subscribers. The purpose of coverage penalties for currently uninsured individuals is an attempt to bring in healthy policy holders and temper this increase. There will be high deductible plans available to those who want to satisfy the health insurance mandate while minimizing monthly premium expenses.

There is a danger however, that individuals with low health care expenses will be driven to companies that have high complaint ratios, but offer coverage that fulfills the mandate, because those with poor health are likely to gravitate towards the health insurance companies that most reliably pay claims. If a scenario like this occurs, the reliable health insurance company’s premiums will be driven very high, which may even cause them to go bankrupt if they are unable to attract healthy subscribers. The tragedy of this type of scenario would be that the bargain basement health insurance company would come out on top for the very fact that they don’t do a good job of paying claims.

Grandfathered Versus Non-Grandfathered

If your health insurance policy was effective on or before March 23, 2010, and you have not made changes to your benefit level since then, you have a grandfathered plan. Grandfathered plans are not subject to many of the health care reform requirements, so if you are one of those who expects to see rate increases due to coming changes, it makes sense for you to stick with your current plan for now. If you are in your 20s or 30s, and/or have a very good health rating with your current plan then you probably fall in this category. However, in several years, up to 40% taxes will be applied to grandfathered plans that will cause them to lose their appeal. When these taxes are applied, then in almost all cases it will make sense to roll into a non-grandfathered plan.

When to Enroll (Open Enrollment)

Starting in October of 2013, you will be eligible to begin applying for a policy that falls under the new health care regulations. The initial open enrollment period will last for 6 months. After this time, there will be an annual open enrollment period at the end of each year (October 15th-December 7th) in which you may switch your benefit level or apply for a policy with a new company. Outside of open enrollment periods, you may change your policy during special enrollment periods created by certain life events such as moving your residence, losing group coverage, getting married, or having a baby.

How to Enroll

The enrollment process for policies sold outside the exchange likely remain much the same as they are today with two major exceptions. Medical underwriting will no longer be a part of applications and enrollment periods will be restricted as described above. Policies sold inside the exchange will have the same type of applications as outside except there will be required proof of income if you are eligible for a subsidized policy. It is not yet clear what specific documentation or tax form will be required to substantiate claims of income.

Current Policies

If you currently have a health insurance policy that you are happy with and plan to keep your policy beyond the open enrollment period, your policy will likely transition on January 1st of 2014 and be automatically modified to accommodate the new regulations coming into force. As previously stated, I am not aware of how ratings on current policies will be handled. They might stay on, in which case you would need to apply for a new policy without a rating to shed your old health rating. The more likely scenario is that non-grandfathered policies will automatically shed their health rating and transition into the new rating pool for that specific policy.

Understanding Health Insurance in Virginia

Health insurance remains one of the most talked about topics when it comes to products that are indispensable for residents of Virginia. With continued increase in healthcare costs, the importance of health insurance plans keeps increasing.

It goes without saying that residents of Virginia without insurance coverage are at a greater risk of experiencing financial insecurity during illness or injury. No doubt health insurance plans involve costs but affordable health policies are easily available and with the implementation of healthcare reforms, lots of options will be available to the Virginians.

Traditional indemnity insurance plans in Virginia

Traditionally, indemnity health insurance plans in Virginia offer reimbursement against the claims made by an insured person. The level of coverage provided by these plans could vary from basic to comprehensive depending upon the needs of the insured person. Accordingly, the costs of the health plans vary-premiums, deductibles, copays and coinsurance, etc.

Managed health care plans in Virginia

Unlike indemnity health plans, managed care health insurance plans involve a group of medical providers that offer comprehensive medical services. They are called preferred or participating providers.

There are basically three managed care options:

• Health Maintenance Organization or HMO

HMOs allow the insured person to select a primary care physician from the plan’s list of medical service providers. If it is necessary, the primary care physician will refer the insured person to a specialist.

• Preferred Provider Organization or PPO

PPOs allow the members to avail large medical care network. At a slightly higher cost, a PPO generally allows its members to receive care outside its network of providers

• Point of Service feature or POS

POS medical plans are special types of HMOs that allow the members to select a non-network provider at a slightly higher cost.

Impact of the Affordable Care Act of health insurance in Virginia

• Around 109,000 small businesses in Virginia will be helped with tax credit.

• Medicare beneficiaries will be mailed a check automatically to defray the costs of their prescription drugs.

• Early retirees would be provided options for reinsurance.

• $113 million federal dollars will be made available to Virginia starting July 1 to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

• With the new Act, Virginia enjoys the option of Federal Medicaid funding for coverage for all low-income populations, irrespective of age, disability, or family status, for the very first time.

• 4.7 million people in Virginia with private insurance won’t have to worry about lifetime limits on the coverage.

• 344,000 individuals will not have to worry about to get dropped from insurance policies when they get sick.

• Children would be able to stay in their family health insurance policy till the age of 26 years.

What to look for while buying affordable health plans in Virginia

• Virginians should note what is the maximum coverage level offered in the health insurance plan. This should be the prime deciding factor.

• The second point should be the costs involved in a health plan. This could include premiums, deductibles, copays and coinsurance. Consumers can adjust these costs as per their budget.

• Virginians should make sure, if needed, that the health insurance plan offers prescription drug coverage, doctor visits and hospitalization benefits. There is no need to buy a health plan if it does not offer such coverage benefits given that consumers need them.

• A High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA) is a very good option to make sure that consumers get affordable health plans. Virginians should check about this.

• Virginians, who need to see a specialist, should make sure that the health insurance plan does not require them to get referrals.

• An affordable health insurance plan should have an easy reimbursement procedure. Virginians should make sure that they do not buy from such companies whose reimbursement process is too much complicated. Such plans could actually waste a lot of money and time.

Health Care Review

The concept of Health is somewhat difficult to understand. When we say a person is healthy, it means to the lay man that the person is normally doing his activities and does not outwardly show any signs of any disease in him. However, for the medical man it denotes the conformity to certain standards like physical measurements, biochemical norms and rates, physiological standards, etc. Even these standards vary with race, rest, exercise, food, habits, starvation, climate, altitude, latitude, etc. It has been extremely difficult for scientists concerned with human biology to lay definite criteria for health and define the term Health in a specific manner.

From the history of medicine we know that there have been various systems of medicine or healing arts evolved in different parts of the world during different civilizations. But in no system has there been a clear-cut definition of health.

In the oxford dictionary health means the state of being free from sickness, injury or disease, bodily conditions; something indicating good bodily condition. A few decades ago this meaning was conveyed in the definition of health but recently the World Health Organization have considered it necessary to give a direction towards the achievement of a robust and happy and active bodily and mental condition capable of continuous productive ability and, therefore, have defined health as follows:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity.” (WHO—1948) it will be seen that even after having this definition it will be difficult to conceptualise and standardise positive health with specific clear-cut attributes and criteria for measurement. A person may be enjoying mental equanimity and enthusiasm for doing anything. He may also be physically able to do any amount of work, but he may be having some minor dysfunction or deficiency or even a mild infection causing a very minor disturbance which however does not upset his normal activities.

For example, Hyper pigmentation on the skin or lack of pigmentation on the skin; angular stomatitis due to B complex deficiency; a ring-worm patch on the skin, etc. In these conditions strictly speaking the person cannot be called ‘health’ but for outward purpose he will appear healthy and he will also be fully active. Similarly, under the mental component there are ever so many stresses and strains that an individual is exposed to and depending on his own mental make-up he is either able to overcome the strain or suffers from worry and depression. If in spite of his worry he is able to function normally others may take him to be healthy, whereas the worry may normally be making him mentally unsound.

Social well-being is very much related to the mental adjustment of the individual to others around him in the family or in the community. Sometimes it may so happen that a person may find it had to adjust with his group and may, therefore, be under a mental strain. But he may be doing his work normally from which others would judge him to be healthy. It is only if he reaches a break-point and behaves either in a withdrawn manner or becomes aggressive that his mental condition will become manifest to be seen and experienced by others.

We have, therefore, to understand that the term health is not an abstract thing but a relative concept. In it we see a continuum of freedom from sickness to better health and positive health. When we say positive health we refer to a condition in which the body has sufficient reserve nutrition and resistant factors to prevent the invasion of the body by any micro-organism or by the deprivation of any nutritional factors causing a deficiency pathology and, therefore, completely free from disease.

Disease is a little less difficult to define than Health. It denotes the condition of the human body in which something has gone wrong and has upset the Norman functions of the body including the mind. As in health there is also a continuum from a predisposition or premonition of illness which may or may not be experienced or noticed even by the individual concerned, to a definite condition of illness manifested by signs or symptoms and impairment of body functions.

This continuum may further extend from mild sickness to severe sickness and death or recovery from sickness back to a debilitated condition and later to a normal condition.

As has been pointed out in the previous paragraphs the normally of health of person may shift towards positive health depending on the improvement of health by wholesome food, wholesome water proper living conditions, proper work atmosphere, good personal hygiene, etc., or the deterioration of health due to faulty or inadequate food, infection through food, water or air, skin or due to external injuries, accident etc.

For maintenance of good health the following things are essential:

1. Adequate quantities of proper nutrition
2. Adequate quantities of safe drinking water
3. Proper shelter with adequate ventilation and lighting
4. Proper clothing
5. Proper work, exercise and rest and recreation
6. Proper social conditions for a harmonious existence and work
7. Proper security from fear of any kind
8. Proper sexual behavior
9. Personal hygiene
10. Provision and utilization of health services.

Disease can be due to say one or more of the following causes:

1. Genetic traits
2. Congenital deformity or malformation
3. Cancer
4. Malnutrition
5. Poisons

The above are the direct causes.

The science of epidemiology employs various methods and approaches to explore, investigate, identify and establish the cause of disease as against maintenance of health in the individual, in the community and in a geographical area. Modern epidemiology has revealed a multiple causation theory for most of the diseases. The direct or immediate causes may be congenital, traumatic, infection or cancerous growth, etc. But besides these direct causes, many indirect and predisposing causes have been described,

For example, tuberculosis is caused by the tubercule bacilli, called myco bacterium tuberculosis, this is the direct cause. The other causes which predispose a person to the infection by tubercule bacillus may be overcrowding, poor nutrition, bad ventilation, heavy work, fatigue, etc. It may be appreciated that these causes are socio-economic causes. The economic factors arising out of poor means of livelihood, inadequate food, etc., are also inter-related with human and social factors like bad ways of living, customs, habits, beliefs, superstitions, etc. Taking another example, malnutrition may be due to either lack of availability of nutritious food in adequate quantities or the wrong practices of preparation of food in which nutrients may be wasted. The economic factors may be the cause for non-accessibility and the social factors may be the cause of wastage of nutrition even after the food stuffs are available or on the contrary over eating and addiction to alcohol, etc., causing metabolic disorder. In the rural countryside we have a lot of locally available food resources but the habits may be such that the people do not know what can be eaten and how, for deriving nutrition.

The human and social factors are very predominant determinants in any society or community. In affluent countries many of the metabolic diseases like obesity, heart diseases, diseases due to air pollution, etc., are on the increase due to social customs. In the poor countries the large number of communicable diseases and nutritional deficiencies are due to poor sanitation, poor hygiene and low and faulty intake of food. These are again in turn due to economic and social factors.

Study of human behavior is extremely important in public health and in any community oriented programme. The mere opening and establishment of hospitals or clinics or treatment centers by any government or voluntary agencies does not immediately ensure that all the people will use the facilities whenever they fall sick. For a person to seek treatment for a particular illness from a doctor or an institution the following stages of human behavior are expected to take place.

Social psychology has a very prominent place as a diagnostic tool in the beginning of the programme and also as a tool of evaluation where the programme is under progress or at its termination. For example, in the control of Cholera or any gastro enteric infection, it will be futile to introduce any sanitation programme unless the people know the causative factor and the mode of transmission of infection. There may be need to improve the water supply, provide proper excreta disposal, food hygiene and personal hygiene. All these things involve a scientific awareness of the reasoning behind each measure or practice and a change of behavior accordingly.

Health and Your Inner Teacher

When you travel the halls of your memory, who do you remember as your most influential teachers? How did these teachers influence your life and change it for the better? Great teachers spark more than math, literature, or science in your life. They spark something else as well, something deeper and long-lasting that stays with you. As an individual living your life, you have another teacher you may not have touched on in your memory. That teacher is you! When you’re trying to get healthy and support your body and mind better, your inner teacher is key toward achieving what you want.

Health involves learning. You learn about your body and which lifestyle habits foster balanced health, versus which habits derail health. But you also learn something else. You learn about yourself as a person, how you face challenges, and which obstacles are blocking your road to health. The journey toward health involves more than regimens for diet, exercise, and sleep. The journey is unique to who you are and where you’re at in life too.

Bringing out your inner teacher to learn about your health isn’t always easy. Everyone wants to believe they are perfectly healthy, and sometimes facing the reality that your health needs more support can be challenging. It means admitting that you’re not perfect and that you still have more to learn. It takes knowing that supplements, medications, or doctor’s visits alone can’t keep you healthy. You as a person are an essential part of your health, and acknowledging this fact takes honesty and courage.

When you call forth your inner teacher in an open and honest way, you can explore your physical and mental-emotional health through a unique lens. You can ask yourself if there are societal and personal expectations that are burdening you and blocking your health. You can explore whether some part of your past unfairly has a hold on your health and who you are today. You can explore your relationships with yourself and other people to see whether they are supporting or hindering health. You can also notice how you manage stress and emotions and whether your current approach could use some adjustment for better health.

Good teachers both challenge you out of your comfort zone and patiently support you through the discomfort that can result. Getting healthier can feel strange and uncomfortable at times. The body and mind are used to doing what they always do—in other words, homeostasis or equilibrium. They will maintain states of health, but they also maintain states of unbalanced health. To get healthy, your inner teacher has to push you beyond comfortably unhealthy habits. On the other hand, your inner teacher also has to patiently help you through these potentially awkward transition periods and regularly remind you: “I can do this!”

What steps have you taken lately to bring out your inner teacher on the road to better health? If you feel that it’s been a while since you’ve listened to your inner teacher, that’s okay. He or she is always there and you can turn to that side of yourself when your health feels neglected or stuck. Remember to give your inner teacher the same respect that you would any other great teacher in your life.

As you head into the autumn season, a period of time that is infused with transition in the air around you, encourage your inner teacher by asking yourself the following questions:

1) What are current strengths in my health?

2) What are some weaker points of my health that require more attention and learning?

3) Without focusing too much on the past or the future, what steps can I take today toward better health?

4) What are my obstacles to health in the present moment?

5) How can I create space in my life for my inner teacher to express itself and help me with health?

As you ask yourself these questions, you’ll find that your body and mind naturally know which direction to go in—if you listen to them. By paying attention to your inner teacher, you’ll learn new things about your health and how better to support it. And you’ll enter your own hall of fame of great teachers.