I Learned That It’s Important to Always Care for Your Health

I knew that I was the one responsible for my aches and pains. There is no one other than myself to blame. I had let myself gain too much weight. I had done a lot of sitting and found myself laying down or sitting far more often than I stood up. I ate junk food. I wasn’t active and didn’t work out for at least a decade. It took going to a Sacramento chiropractor to try to get me on the right track again. I am not very good with willpower, but I knew that I had to do something before I got worse.

I had a big falling out with one of my kids, and she didn’t talk to me for five years. That is when my troubles started.

Our Weird After Dental Exam Ritual We Do As a Family

We do not eat out a lot, and we never have fast food. However, we do have a weird tradition we do as a family. My husband and I along with our two children all go for our annual exams and cleanings for our teeth at our Tracy dentist. If we get a clean bill of health, we go out for ice cream afterwards. It may seem kind of counterintuitive to go for a sugary treat after getting a dental exam and cleaning, but it is what we do. We started it when my husband and I first got married. He drove me to the dentist and I found out I had to have my wisdom teeth out. Not a fun prospect at all. So, he took me for ice cream. The teeth did not have cavities, it was just my jaw and gums hurting. The ice cream actually made it feel better for me.

Then, when our son needed to have a tooth pulled, we went out for ice cream. He said it soothed the spot where the tooth come out.

I Just Wanted to Feel Better

When I first went to a Cumming chiropractor, it was to help relieve me of the pain that I had just about every day. There were some days when I was not even able to bend over to tie my shoes because the pain was so bad mainly in my lower back area. I knew that I could not continue to go on like this without having it checked, and it only made sense to go to a chiropractor since they are the ones that deal with the back and neck issues that so many people seem to suffer from.

Something incredible happened though when I went to the chiropractor. On my very first visit, he explained exactly what chiropractic care is. That really opened my eyes because I thought it was mostly for back and neck issues. I had no idea that they can treat so much more than those two areas of a person’s body. I also didn’t know that they can treat a lot of different illnesses.

Time to Give Up Softball

I ended up visiting a Phoenix chiropractor after sliding into home during one of my work’s softball league games. I’ve been on the team for years and never had a problem despite the play being fairly rough. We don’t pull any punches to win, and that usually results in a lot of scrapes, bruises, and even pulled muscles. The problem, I think, is my advancing age. What you can shake off in your thirties and even forties really hits home after you turn fifty. My fiftieth birthday came and went before the latest season started but I was still out there playing like I was a young man.

As soon as I slide into home, I knew something was wrong. I felt a shooting pain start in the middle of my back and extend down my legs. Not good. After ascertaining that I wasn’t paralyzed, I quietly took myself out of the game and watched from the bench. I hoped the pain would decrease, but it didn’t.

The Tree House I Built for the Kids Beat Up My Back

The kids told me to climb up into the tree house with them. I built it big enough to hold about four adults comfortably. The massive maple tree was not even touched in the design of the tree house. The design flows around its branches and trunk. The ladder is very sturdy. Strong enough for even my big brother who is a linebacker. Leave it to me to slip getting back on the ladder to come back down. I pulled something in my shoulder and had to see a San Francisco chiropractor a couple of days later. I was asked by the doctor why I did not come in earlier. I like to see if something will get better before seeking medical help. I should have went in.

I hurt pretty bad for two whole days. It was not severe when I did it. It just kind of popped and felt funny in my back. I knew I pulled a muscle, but I had tingling pains too. I figured I twisted my back and irritated some nerves. I even took a couple of ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation.

Choose the Right Eye Care Specialist

Right Eye Care SpecialistAre you considering LASIK? If so, you want to look for a specialist who is an Ophthalmologist and specializes in LASIK eye surgery. While not all Ophthalmologists are LASIK surgeons, all LASIK surgeons are Ophthalmologists. Factors you should consider when looking for a LASIK consultation include:

1. Visit your eye doctor for a complete consultation to find out if you are an ideal LASIK candidate.

2. Ensure you do not fall for a “bait and switch” tactic that offers a LASIK eye surgery “discount.” These are more than likely full of hidden fees and substandard safety procedures.

Due to the price of LASIK eye surgery, people can succumb to tempting “discounts.” These offers are usually too good to be true and can include hidden fees that end up costing you as much, if not more, than the actual surgery price. Furthermore, “discount” laser vision correction runs the risk of being less safe than practices that are upfront with costs.

Does your first eye care specialist choice use safe, up-to-date technology?

Ensure your doctor uses the lastest, FDA-approved technology. Quality eye care specialists will examine your eyes with state-of-the-art equipment that provides a wealth of ocular information. For instance, the Pentacam mapping system thoroughly examines your corneal structure in several ways so your doctor can determine if you are a good LASIK candidate. When choosing a specialist, keep updated technology in mind. Research the standard eye examination equipment they use to see if it will provide you with a safe and in-depth assessment. In addition, visit an eye care doctor who will discuss their findings with you in detail.

Are you diabetic and looking for an eye doctor to manage your vision needs?

If you or a family member have diabetes, visit either an Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist for complete eye care. Select a well-trained eye care specialist who has specific experience in diabetic eye care.

Have you been diagnosed with Keratoconus?

Keratoconus patients should find someone who is an Ophthalmologist actively following current FDA studies on corneal cross-linking, a less invasive, future Keratoconus treatment. In all likelihood, these will be cornea specialists, as Keratoconus is a corneal disease.

Whether you’re looking to undergo vision correction surgery, are searching for a reputable specialist for general eye care needs or are looking to handle a disease that affects your eye health, always watch for the following:

• Verify the doctors credentials

• Ask your friends and family

• Read online reviews

• Verify pricing and make sure you understand it.

Above all else, the most important thing to do is find a reputable, certified specialist who meets your unique patient needs. In doing this, you and your family will be well on your way to receiving top shelf eye care from a caring office.

Health Care Plans Quickly

If you have started you your research into what the best health car plan for you and your family is then you’ve more then likely hit a few roadblocks. Don’t be alarmed, that’s actually a common occurrence for many consumers looking to find the best deal for their health care insurance needs, especially when trying to determine the best health care coverage for your loved ones. You may have noticed that some health care plans differ in the amount of coverage they provide, the amount you pay as a premium, your co-payment amounts and even your deductible amounts.

One of the major differences in many of today’s health care plans is what services and medical treatments they will cover, especially with many health insurance companies taking the high road of offering better benefits towards routine treatments and preventive health checkups in an effort to reduce illnesses, major medical emergencies and hospitalization requirements. You can expect a medical pre-screening or physical along with a lengthy health questionnaire in order to identify any current or pre-existing medical conditions that could eliminate your potential to receive health insurance.

If you do have medical issues to include diabetes, hepatitis or any other major medical condition and are still granted the right to receive health insurance coverage then be fully prepared to pay a higher premium for your health insurance. This is also true if you are labeled or identified as a smoker.

Health care plans are broken down into two different categories of coverage; the indemnity healthcare plan sometimes referred to as fee-for -service and the more common managed health care plan. Both have their pluses and minuses, as you will soon discover.

The indemnity plan offers the most flexibility because it allows you the privilege of choosing or using your own or preferred health care professional, whether they are a doctor, physician or medical specialist. You also have the right to pretty much go to any hospital or clinic to seek medical treatment and referrals are not necessary to seek out specialists in certain medical fields. However as with most things in life, the costs justify the means and an indemnity health plan is no different. The deductibles on these plans are higher then a managed health care plan and more money comes out of the patients pocket (sometimes upfront) based on letting you use a doctor that is outside the health network your health insurance provider has established.

Although most prescriptions and treatments are covered under these plans you can expect to pay for other medical procedures that seem rather mundane and routine such as a physical.

This ends part 1of our 2-part article on health care plans quickly and easily explained series of articles. Be on the lookout for our next article which will focus on the more common managed health care plans which includes Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) and Point of service Plans (POS).

Mistakes in Choosing Your Health Care Plans

There are a lot of details to consider when you are choosing a health care plan, whether it’s one offered through your employer or one you buy on your own. No matter what age you are, your health should be a primary concern, although young people often act as if they will live forever and sometimes postpone making health care decisions.

Here is a list of common mistakes that people make all the time when choosing a health care plan. They are in no particular order, and all are important to consider, carefully and completely. If you are not conversant with all the terminology or are finding it difficult to make the decisions, you should ask for help from a neutral third-party such as family member or friend. Don’t ask a health insurance company unless you want to hear a sales pitch!

Common mistakes
– You don’t check out your doctor, or any others – Although some healthcare plans require you to use a physician in their own network, other plans are more inviting. If you already have a physician, and are buying your own insurance, check with the doctor to see what plans he is a member of. If you do have to choose a new doctor, you should look into the health plan doctors’ credentials by contacting the AMA.

– You forget “location, location, location” – The location of your doctor or clinic, and the travel time required, are other factors you should consider when considering health care plans. Find out where the doctor is located and also look into the regular and emergency hours of the facility.

– You don’t consider specialists – If you already need specialist care, or think you may need to in the future, you need to know the health care plan’s procedures on using them. Some plans require you to contact a primary care physician, while others allow you to make specialist appointments directly.

– You don’t consider your own specialist – You should definitely find out if your current specialist is in the health care plan you are considering. If not, perhaps your specialist can refer you to one who is.

– You forget to check the policy on “pre-existing conditions” – Even though this should be a “no-brainer,” people forget to ask about the policies on pre-existing conditions. Coverage for pre-existing conditions varies widely among health plans. Some exclude them entirely, and will not even consider coverage, while others cover them fully. Many health care plans fall somewhere in the middle, offering coverage after a certain amount of time, or for a certain amount of time or expense. Rules promulgated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act guarantees you coverage for your pre-existing conditions if you join a new group plan offered by your employer after being insured the previous year. Do your research to make sure you know what your policy covers.

Less common oversights
– You don’t ask about physicals and health screenings – Again, it seems an obvious thing to ask, but if you appreciate getting regular physicals and health screenings you should ensure that they are covered. Most “managed care” plans do cover these types of procedures, usually on an annual basis, but there are some plans that do not cover them. If you have children, make sure to ask if “well baby” check-ups, physicals and immunizations are covered.

– You forget about additional services – Everything, from prescription drug coverage to mental health care, is an important consideration. You need to consider which of the various additional services that you may need are, in fact, covered when you are comparing health care plans. Other examples of these additional services that may be important to you are drug and alcohol counseling and treatment, home health care, nursing home or extended care, hospices, experimental treatments, alternative and complementary medicine, chiropractic care and physical therapy.

Bottom line considerations
– You don’t price things out correctly – Once you know what you want in your health care plan you need to compare costs, and you need to do it right, which means covering all the bases. You will need to know exactly what deductibles must be paid first before the health care plan coverage starts paying, and don’t forget to ask if the deductible needs to be met before certain services can be utilized. Find out about “out of network” charges if you anticipate having to go beyond your plan facilities or physicians. Finally, there are co-payment, cap amounts and total-care limits you need to know about. Some plans have lifetime limits, some have lifetime and annual limits, and others have mixed formulas for making this determination. Get all the facts.

– You don’t check the exclusions – If you don’t read the exclusions list, you will not know what is not covered. You need to see if any condition you currently have, or that you expect to contract in the future, is included. This is an important bottom-line consideration since, if you don’t get this settled and dealt with up front, you will likely spend a great deal of money down the line to treat excluded conditions.

It is a difficult thing to look at your health in a dispassionate, dollar-oriented way, but that’s life. As we age, more of our energy goes into thinking and planning against death and disability, but the subject need not be morbid or depressing. Do your best to get a health care plan that covers what your particular needs are, and remind yourself that you are worth the trouble – and the expense.

Student Health Care Plans

Student health care programs offer health benefits at a greatly reduced cost, allowing students to pay for it themselves or allowing their parents to include their children’s health care plans with little additional cost to them. Student plans provide a great option to ensuring the good health of your children without having to take on a significant amount of extra financial burden, and also provide a way for students putting themselves through school (and supporting themselves financially) to maintain a level of health insurance. Here, we’ll go over how student health care plans work, as well as why you might want to consider them either for yourself if you are a student, or for your children.

Student health care plans can be acquired from a number of different sources. Some private insurance companies provide parents with health care options for their children, specifically geared towards keeping students healthy. There are also publicly and privately funded state and federal programs for helping students pay for health insurance. Some of these programs provide different benefits by working with individual schools to help set up unique types of plans for each student. This means it’s important to do a little research on your current health care provider, as well as the school you or your child is attending in order to find the best deal on student plans.

Student plans are used primarily to keep students in good health in order to allow them to go to school without missing attendance, as well as ensure their good mental health throughout their education. Students who are in better physical health exhibit higher test scores because they tend to miss fewer classes, and need to repeat classes much less frequently than those who have consistently poor health. A healthy student will also tend to be less stressed about school, and will be able to maintain a more active lifestyle both physically and socially.

The benefits of student plans are far reaching and very important to any young person going through an education. If you are a student or the parent of a student, looking into student health care is a great way not only to save money, but also to ensure that you or your child is in consistently good health. Student plans can range from typical care such as doctor’s visits, emergency care, and so on, to catastrophic coverage, dental, and other types of health benefits.

Insurance Companies

Insurance companies serve a very important function in our society. The purpose of insurance is to share risk. Risk is the amount of economic loss that someone is willing to assume in an activity. For instance, a bank would not loan money for the purpose of buying a house, unless the house was protected against losses such as fire, wind and other perils. That protection is provided by a Homeowner’s policy.

A loan to purchase an automobile would not be available unless the car was insured for losses by theft or collision. That protection is provided by an auto policy.

Health insurance is a policy that shares the risk of losses caused by injuries or illness. A share of the risk is assumed by the individual through a deductible or co-pay. In-other-words, if someone visits the doctor, that individual may be required to pay the first $15 or $20 of the visit. The health insurance company assumes the risk of the remainder of the cost.

That shared risk comes about through an exchange of ‘consideration’. Consideration is value. The insured pays a premium in exchange for the promise of the insurance company to pay certain costs associated with the insured’s health care. Which brings us to the controversy surrounding the government’s efforts to institute what some call universal health care.

No matter what side of the argument you are on, in favor or against universal health care, one issue has been settled. President Obama stated publicly that it is impossible to insure the ‘uninsured’ without additional costs. So, the idea that this will be a ‘deficit neutral’ policy has been debunked by the administration itself. Either taxes go up to pay for the program, or health care will have to be rationed to keep costs neutral, or bring them down.

In response to the public out-cry about a government health care program, the administration has called the insurance companies villains. After all, insurance companies exclude preexisting conditions for some period of time when an individual enrolls (however that is not always the case with group policies), and insurance companies are making a ‘profit’.

PreExsiting Conditions

Think about the concept of risk and preexisting conditions. An individual has a home that has been damaged by fire. Would a homeowner’s insurance company now write a policy that would cover the repairs to home caused by the preexisting fire? Of course not! That is not shared risk, that is bad business.

An individual has a preexisting health condition, say diabetes. Purchasing a policy that would exclude the treatment for diabetes for a limited period of time (usually two years), now results in a shared risk. The health insurance company will cover the person for other perils, and if that individual pays the premiums over time, that exclusion regarding the preexisting condition is then dropped.

Is it possible for the government to insure everyone in the United States and force insurance companies to provide policies without regard to preexisting conditions? It is possible, but not without driving the cost of health-care way up. After all, the money to pay the doctors and hospitals have to come from somewhere and President Obama stated that ‘We are out of money’. Since the government doesn’t earn money, its only source of revenue is taxes.

Profit

Insurance companies are being cast as the bad guy since companies make a profit. Which do you prefer, companies that are well run that make a profit, or a company like General Motors that required billions of dollars of taxpayer money to bail the company out? A profit is what allows companies to expand services and provide jobs. Companies that fail to make a profit, go out-of-business.

The government not only fails to make a profit, as a well run business entity should, it runs at a deficit. The latest example is Cash for Clunkers. Not only was taxpayer money used to subsidize auto sales, now car dealers are complaining that the government is not sending the checks for the Clunkers that were promised. It appears that many buyers will have lost their old cars and now face repossession of the new cars purchased since the money for the program did not actually exist.

This does not bode well for a government run health care system.

Tort Reform

Doctors and hospitals must practice defensive medicine. People will sue for anything. Tort lawyers use a ‘shot-gun’ approach when filing a malpractice lawsuit. All doctors, nurses, technicians and hospitals involved in a case are named as a defendant, whether that party had any actual responsibility for the claimed injury and damage.

We need a loser pay system, which provides that anyone who brings a lawsuit and loses, is required to pay the other side’s attorney fees and expenses. That would do away with most frivolous lawsuits and bring the costs of health care down.

Big Government Solution

Government should be required to live within its means. It does not, and the government, not insurance companies, is the villain in this scenario.

The founding fathers did not foresee a large, powerful centralized government. That is what was the war of independence against England was all about. The US Constitution delegated specific powers to the Federal Government, and it does not specify taking over any private sector industry.

Medicare and Medicaid are government health care programs on the verge of collapse. Even President Obama admits Medicare cannot be sustained. No program can be sustained when it runs at a deficit and all government programs run at a deficit.

Universal Health Care will run at a deficit from day one and that is just bad business.

The Labor Union and Public Accountability

The system of universal health care in Canada is founded on public trust and accountability. The labor union provides a solid foundation for promoting public accountability in the Canadian health care system by protecting jobs so that workers can always work in the interest of the public even when that conflicts with their employer’s interest.

There are three stakeholders in the universal health care system in Canada. In the interest of the Canadian public all three groups must work together to deliver health care services.

These three groups are:

1. The government – the Canadian health care system is funded federally but administered by the each of the thirteen provinces and territories. All funds flow from the federal government, to the provincial government,and then to the employer. All provincial and territorial governments must maintain accountability to the federal government for the way that funds are dispersed and annual reports are necessary to ensure compliance with the Canada Health act.
2. The employer -Regional health boards administer local health care services. They employ people to deliver services to clients and customers who are the members of the community they serve. In smaller provinces and territories the provincial or territorial government may be the employer.
3. The workers – These are the people who provide patient care and services as well as the workers who support those services such as the cleaning staff, food services workers, carpenters, electronic data specialists and others.

Each of the stakeholder groups also has a self interest which could be described as:

1. The government – self interest is often directed only toward fiscal accountability and balancing the budget. Sometimes this means increasing taxes or even decreasing services if funds are limited. In most provinces in Canada governments have passed labor laws that put restrictions on a labor union strike in health care in order to protect the public they serve.
2. The employer – the employer’s self interest is to maintain the flow of funds so that services to its customers can be maintained. The employer also has a self interest in maintaining the skills and education of its workforce so it can continue to provide services and meet present and future challenges.
3. The workers – people work in their own self interest. They have families to feed and mortgages to pay. People do not want to work for nothing. They want to feel valued and know that they are making a contribution to their organization and their own community.

All three of these stakeholder groups work in their own interest, but in order to provide health care in Canada they must all work together in the public interest. Therefore there has to be a strong public accountability framework that supports the Canadian health care system, because self interest and public interest are not always compatible.

It is only when the parties work together in the public interest that health care can be delivered in the way that the Canada Health Act requires.

Labor Union in Universal Health Care in Canada

The labor union provides a necessary foundation for the public accountability required within the Canadian health care system and this becomes especially important when the interests of the stakeholder parties are in conflict.

It is quite reasonable for an employer to direct an employee in their work and this is accepted within the labor union movement in Canada. However, it is not accepted that an employer can direct an employee to perform their work below an acceptable standard. In other words an employer cannot direct an employee to be a bad employee and do poor quality work.

Employers in the public sector in Canada know that labor unions must work to protect the social and economic welfare of members and therefore, they are aware that the public interest can only be served when employees and employers work together in a common interest. In universal health care in Canada that common interest is the public interest.

With labor unions protecting jobs, workers know they can work in the public interest and still fulfill their own self interests because they have confidence that there are mechanisms in place to resolve conflict and that employers cannot arbitrarily change the nature of their working conditions.

It is a system that works well most of the time. And the Canadian public remain confident that the system works in their interest most of the time as well.

From time to time however, when conflicts arise, labor laws such as essential services legislation are in place to regulate strike action. and ensure the Canadian public that health care services will continue while the parties in conflict work towards a resolution.