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Advantages and Disadvantages of Health Spending

Nowadays, a lot of people are more concerned about their health than anything else. They are more careful in choosing the foods they eat because of the fact that most diseases nowadays involve in the lifestyle of man. Well, some people are also practicing a work-home routine to avoid any accidents that might happen to them when they are outside of their house. But sometimes, some unexpected things really do happen and having a health spending account is the best option that you could get.

Sure you can get a traditional health insurance plan where you pay each month and your employer may even cover some or all of this type of plan. With these traditional health insurance plans there are certain requirements and restrictions. For example, there are certain requirements that you need to follow for you to become eligible. A qualified applicant must be 65 years old and below and have a high-deductible health insurance plan. The plan should only be your insurance coverage as well, if you are covered by any other health insurance plans, then you do not pass their requirements. That includes health insurance plans for vision, dental and long term care. These plans typically only cover 80% of traditional health expenses, such as medical and dental visits. You are responsible for paying out of pocket for the rest. Non traditional health expenses such as massage therapy, Chiropractic care, dental surgery, private health clinics, etc are not even covered.

As an employee, the advantages of having a HSA are that you have full control to the money that you will be spending. A certain amount of money is set aside by your employer in your HSA to be used as you deem fit to cover a large variety of routine health care expenses for you, your spouse, or your dependents. From the employer perspective this is a valued and economical way to provide tax free health benefits to employees, and all the money invested by the employer is 100% tax deductible (including any fees). With this result, still a lot of people prefer to have HSA because everyone has different health needs and no one should be able to dictate that only traditional types of health treatments are right? Owning or managing a business sometimes means you need to travel to other provinces in Canada, or to other countries to do business. An HAS gives you the flexibility to travel and still obtain coverage for the type of health treatments that are most relevant for you. As long as the health practitioner is licensed in the location you happen to be in, you can rest assured things will be covered. An HAS is an ideal small business health plan. It doesn’t matter what type of business you own, as long as you are a Canadian incorporated business, Although an HSA is good at covering a large variety of routine health care costs, it is not provide an insurance component to cover accidents or medical emergencies, although you can purchase a fixed term travel insurance plan and run this through your HSA. If you require true accidental or emergency coverage then there are plenty of options out there to investigate, including a stripped down traditional health insurance plan, or visiting one of many financial institutions who provide this type of emergency coverage.

Dental Health Includes Your Oral Health

Regular dental check-ups are conducive to a great smile and optimum dental health. In addition, regular visits tell a dentist about your general health and whether you might be developing certain diseases like diabetes. Current research states that the health of your mouth is an indication of the condition of your overall bodily health.

For instance, when your dental health is up to par, chances are your general health is good as well. Alternatively, if your dental health is poor, there may be underlying problems. Studies show that good oral health can actually prevent specific disease from occurring. Dentists can detect clues to your general health while examining your mouth and gums.

Gum Disease and Health Problems

The AGD, Academy of General Dentistry, believes there is a correlation between periodontal disease and health difficulties such as heart disease and stroke. In fact, women afflicted with gum disease appear to have increased rates of pre-term, low-birth weight infants.

Other studies indicate that over 90% of all diseases concerning multiple organs or the whole body have oral symptoms, including mouth ulcers, extreme gum problems, dry mouth, and swollen gums.

These dental health symptoms could be symptoms of heart disease, kidney disease, pancreatic cancer, oral cancer, leukemia, and diabetes. Because most individuals have regular oral health examinations, their dentist may be the first to notice and diagnose any health problems in their early stages.

Dental Health and Bacteria

The mouth is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria; however, most are not detrimental. Nonetheless, too much bacteria could lead to various health issues. Keeping the mouth clean and brushing and flossing, is the best way to decrease and control the amount of bacteria in the mouth.

If harmful bacteria are not kept under control, your dental health will suffer by paving the way for tooth decay and gum disease. Your dentist will see if there is any indication of decay during your visit. Excessive bacteria inside the mouth can lead to oral problems along with getting into the bloodstream where further damage can ensue.

What You Should Do

Seeing your dentist regularly will assist with keeping your mouth in good health. In addition, this permits your dentist to look out for developments that could lead to other health complications. A dental health exam can also spot poor hygiene and nutrition, incorrect jaw alignment, and development problems. By supplying your dentist with your entire medical history and letting them know of any current health developments, even if there seems to be no connection to your oral health, you are helping to keep your overall health in check.

Here Are Ways You Can Perform Good Dental Hygiene:

-Schedule regular dental check-ups

-Avoid smokeless tobacco and cigarettes since both have been linked to oral cancer and gum disease

-Provide nutrients to your body by eating a healthy diet especially vitamins C and A, to thwart gum disease

-Brush with fluoridate toothpaste at least twice a day for two to three minutes

-Floss your teeth every day to remove plaque from areas your toothbrush cannot reach

Good dental health can help prevent other health issues from happening. A dentist is not merely examining the condition of your mouth, but also checking for any other impending problems.

In Reviewing the Health Definition by the WHO in Research in the Field of Parapsychology

The current definition of health by World Health Organization includes physical, mental and social dimensions of health. But even a cursory look at the current state of the world reveals that social health is conspicuous by its absence. There is severe unrest in almost every country.

Crime rate is increasing in almost every country. There is steady increase in alcohol abuse, drug abuse, human trafficking, child abuse (physical, psychological and sexual), terrorism, rampant corruption and breakdown of families. Not a day passes without reports of murder and rape.

All the advances in science and technology have not helped people to enjoy peace of mind and happiness. The reason is the neglect of spiritual development. Today’s average man is running without knowing where he is going.

Leading psychiatrists while trying to manage problems like anxiety, depression and phobias have realized that man is not just a combination of body and mind but has a soul as well which survives the death of the body. Specialists in other fields have also realized that man has a spiritual dimension as well. Many reputed scientists including a few Nobel Prize winners are convinced about the existence of soul. Hence there is a need to redefine health and include the spiritual dimension of health.

We still do not know the exact cause of many diseases. Extensive research in the field of past life regression has revealed that many health related problems have their roots in our previous lives. Reincarnation is not a myth but a fact. Searching for reincarnation research or reincarnation proof will yield a long list of results.

Mere redefinition of health by itself will not solve all the problems. But if more and more people understand the cosmic law of cause and effect and realize that their actions come back to them they will certainly try to reform themselves. When leading doctors in every country start organizing seminars, radio talks and TV shows about the scientific evidence for the existence of soul and reincarnation people will certainly take interest in the topic. People will begin to understand that the purpose of human life is to grow spiritually and realize our true nature.

WHO should encourage every member country to accept the new definition of health which includes the spiritual dimension and modify the medical education accordingly. Doctors have to play an important role in helping people to enjoy sound health. In order to do this effectively doctors should first have comprehensive understanding of health.

Physical health cannot be maintained without taking care of psychological health and psychological health cannot be protected without tackling spiritual ignorance. Needless to say psychological disturbances lead to social problems.

Modern medicine has been a predominantly disease centered and treatment oriented system. There is a need to change this approach and give primary importance to prevention of disease and maintenance of health.

It is also desirable to combine modern medicine with Ayurveda in order to promote holistic health. Ayurveda which is at least five thousand years old gave the most comprehensive definition of health incorporating physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of health.

Ideally everyone should have some social responsibility. Doctors perhaps should have it to a greater extent as they are responsible for health. We are affected by what happens in our society. No one can be safe in his house if his neighbor’s house is on fire.

Humanity has paid a heavy price for neglecting spiritual development. Another equally serious threat to world peace is religious fundamentalism. By promoting scientific spirituality we can counter both the threats and establish a new world order based on Truth, Right conduct, Peace, Love and Non-violence.

Overall Body Health

If our eyes are the windows to our soul, then our mouth is the front door to our body and the teeth may well be the windows to our health, according to mounting evidence that suggests there is a strong link between them. Which is something I have been saying as a holistic dentist for many years.

If the scientists are right – and the evidence is becoming hard to ignore – our oral health can play a big part in our risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even the health of a newborn child. And this may be only the tip of the iceberg.

“There’s a whole lot of research out there at the moment trying to focus on the links between oral health and general health in both directions – poor oral health affecting general health and poor general health affecting oral health,” says Dr Matthew Hopcraft, president of the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch Inc.

It’s not surprising really. The whole body is connected, but for such a long time people and medicine have thought about the mouth as being a separate part of the body and that dentists work in isolation from the rest of the body. That clearly doesn’t make any sense anymore, anatomically or physiologically as the mouth and teeth are a part of you and are connected to the body by a vast myriad of blood vessels and nerve supply, plus all our food and drinks enter the body via the mouth.

ORAL HEALTH AND HEART DISEASE

It appears that poor oral health, and in particular the presence of inflammation in the form of gum disease, increases your risk of heart disease as well as stroke. A study conducted by the University of Queensland found that it was the bacteria found in the mouth, and more specifically in infected gums, that are so damaging. The group was able to locate T cells that are reactive to oral bacteria in the arteries of people with atherosclerosis, where damage to the arteries is caused by a build-up of fatty deposits.

Finding oral bacteria inside coronary arteries in people with heart disease is not something you would expect to find but bacteria from the mouth sitting in a blood vessel in the heart suggests that this is where the link between gum disease and heart disease is coming from. As the mouth acts as a kind of portal, allowing bacteria to travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body especially in a person with gum disease as the blood vessels become more swollen and more permeable, and more likely to allow bacteria or bacterial toxins from the infected gums into the bloodstream where they travel to other parts of the body.

Our gums are too often neglected, despite the fact that the health of your gums can be just as important as the health of your teeth. In fact, it can be hard to have healthy teeth without healthy gums.

DIABETES LINKED TO GUM DISEASE

Less is known about the link between gum disease and diabetes, but the evidence is mounting. People are now starting to do the research and understand the links much more closely and it appears there may be a link between gum disease and diabetes, but it’s probably more the other way around. Thus people with diabetes are more at risk of developing gum disease or gum disease becoming more aggressive and causing more problems due to the altered immune response experienced by people with diabetes that makes them more susceptible to the bacteria that cause gum disease. Poorly controlled diabetics often have problems with the microvascular system, so the small blood vessels tend not to work so well, which affects the way the gums respond and heal to gum disease.”

Treating gum disease can help with diabetes as if you can control gum disease, the diabetes becomes easier to control. Diabetes is much harder to control if there is an ongoing connection.

FROM MOTHER TO CHILD

The effects of dental health can even be carried from the mother to the child. Gum disease or gingivitis is associated with increased rates of premature birth so it is important to make sure very early in pregnancy that expectant mothers have a dental visit to treat any issues. Around 18 per cent of premature births are related to gingivitis. Pregnancy itself can also affect dental health; there is an old folk belief that you lose a tooth for every child. The idea is that pregnancy can affect your general health and certainly tooth problems can become worse during pregnancy, so it’s even more important to stay on top of any potential problems with regular dental visits during this time.

DRY MOUTH SYNDROME

A dry mouth can indicate a number of conditions and lifestyle factors, which can have a big impact on both oral health and overall health.

Dry mouth is a fairly common side effect for people taking a wide range of medications, particularly if when someone is taking a lot of different medications as they tend to all work together to impact on saliva flow. Saliva is really important to be able to talk and chew and gives lubrication, which protects teeth from decay. It helps to wash away food and acid and provides a buffer against harm. People with low saliva flow are often at much higher risk of tooth decay.

Alcohol and illegal drugs can also produce dry mouth syndrome. A person’s mouth gives you a lot of clues straight away as alcohol and drug use can affect the teeth. Cocaine, ecstasy, heroine, amphetamines can cause a lot of damage. Then there are some medical conditions which can lead to dry mouth, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Also as the mouth is a part of the gastro-intestinal system it also gives you some clues as to what’s going on in other parts of the gut and with digestion.

The state of the mouth and gums and oral health can paint an even broader picture of where a person is at. People with oral problems often report lower overall quality of life, lower self esteem and psychological wellbeing; and because of pain or the appearance of their teeth, they don’t feel so great about themselves.

LINKING GPS TO DENTISTS

With links being drawn between oral health and the rest of the body, there has been a concerted push to link GPs and dentists more than they have been in the past. GPs need to be able to detect abnormalities of the mouth and oral health. Doctors don’t necessarily need to know how to treat these conditions but should at least be able to detect them and then refer to the appropriate dentist or specialist.

The AMA agrees saying: “Part of what we do is to educate GPs and nurses. The doctor should know, for instance, that their diabetic patients are more at risk of gum disease and should be telling them that part of their management should be regular dental checkups.”

So simplistically if we can improve someone’s oral health we can potentially reduce their risk of other significant health problems they may have and this is the main focus of holistic dental practice.

Increased Health Insurance Rate and Health Plan

Everybody is getting large health insurance rate increases this year. The size of the increase is making many people look for alternative health insurance plans. One type of plan is being especially hard hit with double digit increases, and those are grandfathered health plans. We’ll cover what’s happening and what you can do to protect yourself from the rate increases that are taking place.

You may be thinking, “What’s a grandfathered health insurance plan?” The answer is, if you have a health insurance plan that was in place on March 23rd of 2010, and you haven’t made any changes to your plan, you’re still in the same plan, then you have a grandfathered health insurance plan. If you’ve been in the same plan for 5, 10, 15 years, then you have a grandfathered health insurance plan.

Grandfathered plans have some special exemptions and characteristics, so we need to go over those in a little bit more detail. The easiest way to do that is to tell you a story about a recent client. That client’s name is Barry.

Barry and his wife are 52, and they have two daughters; one 21, and one that’s 16. Barry shared with me that their letter basically told them their new rate was going up almost 24% and they would be paying $1389 a month. They were in an Anthem PPO Share 5000 plan, and they’d been in that plan so long, he didn’t even remember when they actually started it. The rates had increased progressively from one year to the next.

But this year, the rates were finally high enough that he said he didn’t want to pay that much anymore, he wanted to find an alternative. So he called his agent, and then he called Anthem Blue Cross directly. In both cases, they told him to “just ride it out” and wait to see what happened in 2014, after the Affordable Care Act kicked in. That wasn’t an answer Barry was willing to live with because he wanted a solution today.

So when Barry called he shared the above information and his fear that he would have to pay higher rates. When queried about the health characteristics of his family, he said they were all healthy, and that other than one or two colds, they did preventive care and that was pretty much it. Their current plan was very rich in benefits that they weren’t making use of, based on what he’d described.

After running a set of quotes for the family, and scanning all of the different options, it became clear that one of the best options for them was the Health Net PPO Advantage 3500 plan. The reason is because it gave them two office visits for a simple copayment, and then all of the preventive care was free. That’s not something that they had in their PPO Share plan. They actually have to pay for their preventive care as part of their deductible costs in that plan.

The monthly premium on that Health Net plan was only $480 a month, so they were saving a little over $900 per month, or $10,900 per year. Barry really liked that. But he said, “There’s a big difference in benefits between these two plans. Can you show me a plan that’s a little bit closer to the benefits we have in our grandfathered plan, but at a lower cost?”

So looking through the list again, the closest match was the Cigna Open Access 5000/100% plan. It has a $5000 deductible and has unlimited office visits, which is very similar to the plan they currently have. But the monthly premium is only $928 a month. They could still save almost $500 per month, and $5500 in savings over the course of a year. Now, I don’t know about you, but saving $5500 to $10,900 is a pretty substantial amount of money for any family. Barry loved the heck out of that.

But he was still a little bit concerned. He said, “I like those plans, and I’m glad that there is an option that looks like it could save us a ton of money. But what am I giving up if I leave this grandfathered plan?” He needed to know what the advantages and disadvantage of a grandfathered plan are.

Advantages Of Grandfathered Health Plans

The advantage is that it’s outside of the Affordable Care Act. It’s not regulated, so it doesn’t have to have all the essential health benefits, and it doesn’t have to add all the extra benefits required by the Affordable Care Act. So hopefully, it’s going to have a lower cost. But that’s the only advantage of a grandfathered plan.

Disadvantages Of Grandfathered Health Plans

There are a number of disadvantages to grandfathered plans. First of all, they don’t free preventive care. For a family that has people over 50, that can actually be pretty substantial when you start looking at colonoscopies once every few years or so.

Secondly, in all health insurance plans, when it initially starts and gets to its largest size, there’s a pool of people that are inside of that plan. The premiums that the pool of people pay, covers all of the medical expenses for everyone in the plan. But over the years, as people leave that plan and move to lower cost plans or plans that better fit what they currently need, the number of people in the plan shrinks. This the typical lifecycle of a health insurance plan. At some point, the people that are left in the plan are either people that just never bothered to leave, or people that have health conditions that prevent them from being able to leave the plan. At that point in time, the rates for the plan start to climb much faster than the rates in other plans.

The last nail in the coffin for grandfathered plans is that because it is outside of the Affordable Care Act, come 2014 when the rates go up yet again, people on the grandfathered plans are not going to be able to qualify for subsidies. So they’re going to get no financial assistance at all, they’re going to have to pay for all their preventive care, and the rates on their grandfathered plan will increase again, so it probably isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense to stay in the old plan.

At that point in time, Barry was pretty much ready to change plans. He understood why his plan was going up so much; he liked the fact that there was a solution for him; and he actually started to get kind of frustrated. He said, “My agent and the Anthem Blue Cross representative both told me I should ride this out. Why did they do that? That doesn’t make any sense.” Not wanting to say something bad about somebody else, I told him that if he had asked the same question a year ago, I would’ve said to let it ride. Just stay in there and wait for more information, because nobody knew what the Affordable Care Act plans were going to be, and nobody knew what the rates were going to look like on the new plans.

However, a lot has changed since January of last year. During the summer and fall, the Affordable Care Act “metal” plans were described. Not the specific benefits, but what they’re going to look like in terms of benefit levels. The insurance companies, have given indications about what the pricing is going to look like for these new Affordable Care Act plans. What they’re saying is that the average cost is probably going to be anywhere from $300 to $500 per person each month. So for a family like Barry’s, it’s anywhere from $1200 to $2000 per month. The cost of the Affordable Care Act plans and his current grandfathered plan are pretty much even right now, and his plan is going to go up even more next year.

Barry decided there’s really no benefit to staying in his grandfathered plan, because he’s not going to get any subsidy help, and he’s not going to get free preventive care in the grandfathered plan.

The end of the story is that Barry’s family was accepted, and they were going to take a dream vacation this year, using some of that $11,000 they’re no longer paying to a health insurance company.

As you can see from this case study, it’s really important that you stay on top of what’s happening with the Affordable Care Act, because things are going to start moving very quickly this year. States and the feds are beginning to quickly build the exchanges, and the insurance companies are creating the new metal plans to go inside and outside the exchanges. Knowing what steps you should take to position yourself and your family to be able to make a smooth transition to the new Affordable Care Act plans is important.

If you have a grandfathered health plan there are some exemptions that you have to consider, along with determining where your grandfathered plan is in its lifecycle, to determine if it makes sense to stay with the plan you currently have, or if making a change is a better option. There’s no sense going down with the ship if you don’t have to.

Tim Thompson is the founder of SPF Insurance Services in San Diego, CA.

At SPF Insurance, we’re Affordable Care Act experts. We analyze the health insurance plans from the major California insurance companies in making our recommendations. We analyze the regulatory changes to determine what strategies our clients should use to protect themselves. You won’t find boilerplate information at the SPF website. For more information about health insurance rate increases, see the post “Health Insurance Rate Increases A Regulatory Tsunami”.

Child Health Insurance Plan

Finding Affordable or No Cost Insurance For Your Child

Every child needs dependable health insurance. However, not all parents can afford the full cost of private medical insurance. As a result, there are a variety of programs offered by the state of California and private organizations that can provide health care to financially strapped families. Through these programs, there should be no child in California that doesn’t have health insurance.

In the sections below we will give an overview of the child health insurance programs that are available in California. Some of these plans provide complete coverage for children at no cost, and others provide just the basic services. Then we’ll outline the steps parents should take to find the best program for their children.

Medi-Cal

This is the name for California’s Medicaid program. The program is administered by California, and is financed equally by the Federal and State government. Medi-Cal provides no cost health insurance to low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities. People that qualify for Medi-Cal can receive free preventive care, treatment for injuries and illnesses, dental care, vision screening, and mental health treatment.

This program is one of the cornerstones of the Affordable Care Act, and will expand considerably to take in new people in 2014.

Healthy Families

The healthy families program provides low cost health insurance to the children of low income families. This program provides a variety of services such as medical, dental, visions, and preventive care.

The Healthy Families program is being rolled into the Medi-Cal program during 2013. The transition plan will ensure that families do not see a disruption in services, and will increase the benefits that children receive once inside of Medi-Cal. Healthy Families is still accepting applications for new children.

Child Health and Disability Prevention Program (CHDP)

This is not an insurance program. However, the program does assist low income families in obtaining preventive care and health assessments for their children. CHDP provides checkups, nutrition evaluations and guidance, immunizations, hearing, and vision screenings. This program is administered by the state Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). The program helps families determine their eligibility for assistance programs, and enroll in the appropriate care program, such as Healthy Families and Medi-Cal.

Children’s Health Initiative (CHI)

Children’s Health initiative is run by an independent non-profit known as The Institute For Health Policy Solutions (IHPS). CHI works with many counties to reach the low-income families with children that don’t have health insurance. CHI works with families whose income is less than 300% of the Federal Povery Level. By providing technical support and guidance, programs are created in each county to create “Healthy Kids” insurance plans in a partnership with the local communities and businesses.

California Children’s Services (CCS)

CCS is a state program that provides health care assistance to children up to age 21 with special health problems. The program works with Medi-Cal and Healthy Families to provide case management and ensure that children receive the right care and see the right physicians for their special health needs. Examples of special health problems are cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, cerebral palsy, heart disease, cancer, and traumatic injuries.

Steps You Should Take To Find Affordable Child Health Insurance

If the mother of a baby is enrolled in Medi-Cal or the Aid for Infants and Mothers (AIM) program, then the steps below will not apply for getting baby health insurance after birth. In this situation, the baby will be transferred into Medi-Cal with the mother, or into Healthy Families or Medi-Cal if the mother is in the AIM program. For all other situations, use the steps outlined below.

  1. The first step is to look at the coverage map for the Children’s Health Initiative above. If CHI has an active program in your area, then this program can act as your partner in helping you get into the correct health program.
  2. If CHI is not active in your county, then contact the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program. This office can help you through the process of finding the correct program and assist you in filling out the necessary forms, or they will put you in contact with a local office for assistance.
  3. If neither of the steps above works, then you should contact your local Medi-Cal office. Medi-Cal will be your lowest cost solution, so start with this program
  4. If you do not qualify for Medi-Cal, then contact the Healthy Families program.

No child in California should be left without health insurance. By providing the proper care and nurturing, we ensure a better future for our state. The programs we have outlined above can provide families with financial difficulties, the health care their children need. The first move is to follow the outlined path, taking one step at a time, and enrolling your child or children.

Tim Thompson is the founder of SPF Insurance Services in San Diego, CA and has been writing about insurance topics for over 10 years.

What makes SPF unique in the health insurance industry is the updated analysis we provide to the website visitors. If you need to know what the “Best” plans are for your situation, we done that analysis and published a report. The website provides a search function so you can quickly get the information you need.

Is It Really Cheaper Health Insurance If You Are Healthy?

Insurance companies have various ways of determining health insurance premiums. The laws which regulate these practices vary from state to state. Currently many insurance companies charge rates according to the health of each applicant for individual policies. Generally the person’s age, gender and occupation are factors in determining rates. Current and pre-existing conditions are also factors in establishing prices.

The Health Status Rating is a rating system which charges higher premiums to people who have medical conditions or a history of medical conditions. Oftentimes, a health status rating is used for people who are joining a health plan for the first time. This is primarily used for individual and small group health plans.

The Health Status Rating system specifies certain conditions which could increase the likelihood that new clients may need health care. In these cases a person who might need health care could pay more than one who does not indicate a need for health care. Currently insurance companies can decide to offer or decline insurance coverage to people with certain underlying conditions. However, beginning in 2014 under the new health care insurance law they may not be able to do this.

Employers seeing their health insurance costs increase are raising rates. They can do this by requiring some workers to either pay higher deductibles or increase the costs of their policies. Individuals and families who don’t have employer-provided health insurance are particularly vulnerable to high rates because they must pay for the total insurance bill on their own.

One national company has requested that employees must reveal their weight, height, body fat and blood pressure. The company referred to this as a “health screening and wellness review.” Employees who refuse to provide the information will be required to pay an extra $50.00 per month for their health insurance.

Let take a look at this requested information. First of all the company wants to know the height, weight and body fat levels. This means they want to know the percentage of body fat relative to your overall height and weight. Your body fat percentage is calculated by taking your age, height, weight, gender and waist measurement into account. This will determine if you have too much or too little body fat. Body fat levels affect the immune system. Too much or too little can increase the risk of developing health problems.

High levels of body fat can be dangerous to your health because excess body fat increases your risk of developing serious health problems. High blood pressure is one of the primary risk factors. Excess amounts of body fat also increases your risk of developing high cholesterol, cancer and diabetes.

Low levels of body fat can be detrimental to health in numerous ways. Extreme low levels of body fat decrease the function of the immune system. This increases the body’s susceptibility to illness. It can also deprive the body of stored energy and lead to a loss of bone density which can increase the risk of stress fractures.

Your health insurance costs may definitely be cheaper if you are in good health. Therefore, your best option to avoid an increase in your cost of future health insurance is to be as healthy as you can be. In general, eating right and exercising will go a long way towards achieving this goal.

Go to Truckingsos.com to read more articles about health insurance and truck driver issues such as health insurance for truck drivers and health insurance costs. Trucking sos.com is your premiere source for trucking industry information.

Parlous Community Health Insurance in Australia

With the introduction of the original Medicare scheme by Gough Whitlam in the early seventies, it was the general hope that Australia would be ushered into a new era of public health insurance for all, met by a levy on all tax payers, this, it was hoped, would ensure that no-one in Australia would experience sub standard access to necessary health care. With the defeat of the original Labor government, successive liberal and labor governments have meddled with the original scheme, so that today we now find ourselves with a two tier scheme consisting of a minimal health insurance scheme for the uninsured public, and a private health insurance scheme targeting that proportion of the population that can afford it, which by and large is run as a profit making enterprise by various companies. At the time undoubtedly vigorous lobbying by companies in the industry set the tone of how the system would be run to ensure that it would operate to the benefit of the industry first and foremost, while paying lip service to the needs of the Australian public. What began as a noble and just cause by Whitlam was soon dismantled and degraded by the self interest of the free enterprise cowboys.

Today, we are faced with a two tier system of private health insurance cover which is supposed to guarantee that a person has access to the best possible medical facilities and a long line of people who are just as much in need of those facilities, but who simply do not have the financial power to access them, and are therefore, faced with long public health queues. Scaremongering continues to drive more working Australians into the arms of private health insurers and any attempt to reign in the excesses of companies in the sector was abandoned long ago when the Government privatised its insurer, Medibank. The current state of affairs is tantamount to a cynical exploitation by private enterprise, to bleed as many members of the Australian public as possible whilst offering as little as possible, in return.

The reason for this is two-fold. People are encouraged to take out health insurance at an age when they become members of the workforce and by and large in good health, a time when they, have, statistically, very little need for the insurance the companies provide. However, once these people retire just at a time when their access to the health services will start to increase, they are no longer able to afford the premiums, and are, therefore, denied the insurance they have paid for so many years. This leads to the interesting situation of someone who may have worked thirty plus years, during which time they made relatively little use of the insurance scheme, then find themselves debarred from accessing it because of their inability to afford the premiums in retirement.

Of course, the insurance companies will tell you that their mission in life is to ensure the best possible health coverage for their members, but they normally gloss over the fact that once you are no longer able to pay your premiums, you are automatically no longer a member either, and therefore, their concern for your health and wellbeing, evaporates. Undoubtedly, these companies who have enriched themselves in this system are also influencing governments to increasingly raise premiums because it is in their own economic interest to do so, and as we have seen in recent rises, they are able to do so beyond the increase in the CPI, which in itself hints at a cynical exploitation of their members. Furthermore, even those of us fortunate enough to be able to afford the highest premiums, and would therefore expect to be fully covered, will find that a percentage of the costs associated with any medical treatment will still be sheeted home to themselves, as the insurance companies seldom, if at all, cover one hundred percent of all medical expenses incurred.

One needs to ask the question, when increases in health insurance premiums are announced, to what extent companies in the industry influence the determination of these premiums? Can they be traced back to the profit making organisations in the health insurance industry, in other words, are the government bureaucrats who determine that the permissible rise in health premiums unduly influenced by the commercial interests of the profit making health insurance companies?

Whether this is occurring or not, is more difficult to find out than one could imagine. Try Googling who sets health insurance premiums in Australia and your search query will come back with zero results. Try any combination of these or try to look through the Health Insurance Act, to determine how actual details of how insurance premiums are set, (supposedly in the interest of all Australians); it is simply not readily available. It begs the question, whether we ought to look at the post Public Service careers of some of our health bureaucrats?

Similarly, not all companies offering health insurance are run for a profit, there are some middle funds etc., which purport to be non profit, and are run for their members. This is all well and good; however, when we look at premium movements, even these organisations tend to follow fairly closely the premium rises put forward by the profit based health insurance companies. They may well argue that by doing so, they can better support their members, but again, one needs to bear in mind that one can only be a member of these funds, as long as you have the capacity to pay. Once that finishes, you revert back to the public health system, whether you have been a lifelong diligent member of the fund, or not.

For any person starting out in the Australian workforce, I would urge you to set up a savings account and into that account pay the premium you would normally pay to your insurance company religiously. You will find that by doing this, not only will you accumulate quite a large amount, it will earn you interest, and once you have a reasonable sum in there, accessing the short term deposit market will ensure that you earn even higher interest, and then at the end of your working life, start drawing on this nest egg, to provide for the medical necessities you will face towards the end of your life. Meanwhile, during your years in the workforce, access the public health system as much as possible, and only touch your nest egg at those times where you have no alternative. I would argue that by and large, you will be better off following this course of action than to throw your money at an insurance company which will simply disown you the moment you are unable to maintain your premiums.

The Importance of Health and Media

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.”

What is the Relation Between Your Health and the Law of Attraction?

How important is our health? Pretty important right! Your health is actually by far the most valuable asset in your life, you can have all the material possessions in the world, an abundance of wealth and shiny object’s yet it will mean little to nothing if you’re in poor health.

In fact I can assure you there are people out there who have wealth and material possessions in abundance who are in poor health and they’d more than likely happily trade their wealth and possessions for optimal health.

Many people often over-look this important fact when applying the Law of Attraction. Just because you may be in good health doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to maintain and improve your health. Far to many people become absorbed by the material riches that the Law of Attraction can offer and neglect both their physical and mental health.

If you’re in good health physically then you operate better on a mental level and the same rule applies in reverse. If you want the Law of Attraction to improve your quality of life then you need to focus on your health, if you’re feeling fit and well your mind will be a lot clearer and thus your manifestation efforts will improve.

So how can we improve our health through the Law of Attraction?

Firstly you need to remove yourself from the mindset of being deserving of optimal health and understand that thought manifestation alone won’t bring you the results you desire. The Law of Attraction is an aide for re-programming your subconscious not a miracle worker!

If you’re to experience the health you desire then you must commit to educating yourself on maintaining a proper diet and invoke certain lifestyle changes. The underlying principle of maintaining good health is to ensure the body gets the nutritional requirements it needs and to engage in exercise.

So simple isn’t it! Yet most people become a victim of society and corporate advertising believing they can ruin their bodies (literally) and then take some wonder pill or go on some absurd crash course diet to restore their health. WRONG!

This is where the Law of Attraction fits in. You need to understand that as with EVERYTHING your mind is the key. If you truly want to be fit and healthy then you’ll need to want for this in your life and want it with a passion. This will mean you’re so set on your end goal that with continued effort it will manifest this into reality!

How can I boost my manifestation efforts?

Apart from the obvious such as diet and exercise you can adopt certain lifestyle changes that will have a positive impact on your health and more importantly will help you develop a more positive mindset. Try to think outside the box, refrain from over-priced pills your doctor recommends, resort to spiritual practices such as meditation and yoga, these are great for improving both your mental and physical state of being.

Yoga actually integrates nicely when using the Law of Attraction and is great for improving your physical health as well as mental well-being. It involves strict disciplines which few actually master, I am constantly working on my Yoga practices, it’s an art not a science!

Practicing Yoga though can add clarity to your thoughts and help you keep the positive frame of mind required to get the desired results you long for when applying the Law of Attraction.

What if my health is poor? If you’re in poor health and focusing your thoughts towards being in poor health and not being in good health then you’re only dampening your manifestation efforts for improved health!

Let’s say for instance you get a crippling headache (I get migraines a lot), ever notice how if you concentrate on how bad the headache is it will only worsen yet if you take your mind away from it seems to get better. These are your thoughts influencing this process.

The same as secret service personnel may be able to stand pain beyond most people’s recognition (yes this stuff does go on in the real world)! Why can they? Did they kill the nerves in their body? NO! They learned through training that “pain” is controllable, it’s your brains way of saying that hurts, that isn’t good, stop doing that. They simply shut out pain through their mind.

Basically if you’re focusing your thoughts and energy towards your poor health then you’re only fueling it! Instead focus on having improved health, there are a number of tools and techniques for doing so which go beyond the scope of this article but commit to change, certify the fact in your mind, visualize yourself as the healthy, energetic and vibrant person you desire and take continued action to making these thoughts a reality.