Most of the changes to healthcare that go into effect in 2012 apply more to the industry than to individuals. We’ve posted before about changes to age limits on family health insurance plans, as well as pre-existing conditions insurance.
In 2012, however, there are four major changes that will take place:
“Linking payment to quality outcomes:” Relating to Medicare, this law will encourage high-quality care and services by rewarding hospitals that perform well.
“Encouraging integrated health systems:” In this law, doctors are encouraged to form “Accountable Care Organizations,” which are groups that provide great care at a reduced cost.
“Reducing paperwork and administrative costs:” Because healthcare is one of the few remaining sectors that still relies on paper records, this law sets standards for billing to ensure that information becomes securely available an electronic format.
“Understanding and fighting health disparities:” According to this law, federal agencies must collect demographic information to ensure that people of all ethnicities, languages, and races are receiving the same quality of service.
If you’d like to read more about upcoming changes to healthcare, check out the federal government’s website.
Our last blog post focused on how to improve your diet in 2012, so this week we’d like to take some time and discuss easy ways to get in shape in 2012. As with any exercise plan, make sure you check with your doctor before beginning this so that you don’t injure yourself.
The great thing about this plan is that you can do it in your own home and in short increments. One of my major obstacles to exercising more is feeling like I have to belong to a gym or that I need to own expensive equipment. However, that isn’t necessary at all.
How to Get in Shape: A Ten Minute Plan
Set a timer for ten minutes. For the first two minutes, do some lunges or squats to warm up. For the next two minutes, do jumping jacks. For the next two minutes, do some stomach crunches. For the next two minutes, do push-ups (remember, go slow at first). For the final two minutes, jog lightly in place.
Start by doing this little routine once a day, then gradually increase to up to six times a day, for a total of one hour of exercise. You don’t need fancy clothes or even very much room to do this plan, but if you stick to it and increase the number of times per day, then you’ll eventually be exercising quite a bit!
One of the best ways to keep your health care costs down is to take care of yourself. However, everybody knows that keeping your health-related New Year’s resolutions is incredibly difficult once your motivation has cooled. Instead, we propose the following steps to gradually changing your lifestyle to make a more permanent change in your life.
A Calendar to Eating Healthier
While extreme dieting may help you lose weight fast, it rarely helps you keep the weight off once you’ve lost it. Instead, consider following this schedule in 2012 to help you gradually change your eating habits:
January – February:
Choose one day a week to skip all sweets and desserts. Instead of desserts, pastries (even muffins and croissants), candies, and sweetened sodas or beverages, drink three extra glasses of water and snack on cucumber slices, celery dipped in nut butter (unsweetened) or hummus, and berries like strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries.
March – April:
Add another day to your week without sugary sweets and drinks. Make sure to add in extra fresh vegetables. Also, try to drink one extra glass of water every day of the week.
May – June: Add a third day to your week without sugary sweets and drinks. By this point your body should be craving a lot more fresh vegetables in general. Now, on one of your regular days (days that include sweets) try substituting white rice, white bread, or other refined grains with brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole grains.
July – August: Add a fourth day without sweets. Remember, this includes muffins, scones, and all those other treats you can get from the coffee shop, as well as sweetened coffee, sodas, and other sweet drinks! Also, add another day of whole grains only so that now you’re only eating sweets three days a week, and two days a week you’re eating only whole grains.
September – October: Add a fifth day without sweets. You can do this! You’ve already come so far! Now, sub out whole grains two more days a week, so that you’re eating whole grains four days a week. Don’t forget to drink more water! Drinking 8oz of water is incredibly easy. In fact, those little cups at the water cooler are often 6-8oz, and they’re tiny. Drink three extra while you’re standing there chatting with your co-workers.
November – December: This is it. One more day of no sweets, and two more days of whole grains. That means you have one day a week when you can eat whatever you want, and six days a week of eating healthy. See, you did it! It was gradual and I bet your body is so pleased that you made it this far.
As the parent of a toddler, I can confidently state that kids get sick. A lot. Their immune systems are developing and they’re constantly exposed to viruses that they haven’t had a chance to develop immunity against yet.
Also, kids play hard. They jump and run and take risks that adults don’t. This can result in broken bones, the need for stitches, and regular visits to the doctor.
So how then do we ensure that we can provide healthcare for children, even when we’re faced with tough economic times? Well, as we’ve mentioned before, even if you feel like you can’t afford healthcare for yourself, most health insurance plans include child-only healthcare options so that your family has the safety-net it needs in case your child gets sick or injured.
After the Affordable Care Act was enacted in September of 2010, 2.5 million young adults under the age of 26 gained access to health insurance.
As we mentioned in an earlier blog post about age limits for family health insurance plans, one of the immediate changes to the Affordable Care Act was to ensure that adults under the age of 26 are able to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan.
Initially the CDC expected that the provision would only affect approximately one million young adults, but the results have already surpassed their expectations by more than double.
COBRA, which stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, allows families that lose their employer-sponsored health insurance to remain on the plan for a certain amount of time, though your former employer will most likely not cover the expense.
COBRA generally applies to those who are on a company plan hosting twenty or more employees, so if you work for a very small business you may not qualify.
To find out more about COBRA Continuation Health Coverage, including recent amendments and changes, visit this site.
If your COBRA is set to expire, contact us today and we can help you find a health insurance plan that you can afford.
As the end of the year nears, many families that purchase health insurance have received notices that their healthcare costs are rising.
This is the last thing we want to hear at the holidays, but in some ways it’s inevitable. Even if your premiums will remain low, you might find yourself faced with other rising healthcare costs if you get sick, injured, or wind up hospitalized.
Here are some tips to help you and your family manage rising healthcare costs.
Take advantage of preventative care: many plans cover preventative care, such as well-child and well-woman office visits. Studies have proven that preventative care can save a substantial amount of money, and overall your health benefits from seeing a doctor before you get sick or injured.
Exercise: experts recommend getting at least thirty minutes of exercise a day. I know it seems like a lot, but there are many ways to ensure that you get in your exercise. One–take a brisk walk in the evening with your family. Two–take six five-minute breaks throughout your day to jump rope, kick a ball, or run around the block. You’d be surprised how easy exercise is when you break it into smaller chunks.
Consider switching to a more affordable healthcare plan: if your plan has become too expensive for you to afford, chances are we can help you find one that matches your budget. You might not be able to remain with the same provider, but you can still find a quality plan that gives you coverage you need and can afford.
Contact us today to find a plan that better fits your budget.
We’ve been receiving quite a few questions lately about family medical insurance, so we’ve decided to begin a series of blog posts to answer some of these frequently asked questions.
Keep in mind that Medical Plan Quotes focuses specifically on health insurance in California, Nevada, and Arizona. If you live in a different state, make sure to seek out information that is specific to your region.
Today we’ll be answering this question: when do you officially drop your son or daughter from medical insurance policy?
How Long Can My Child Stay On My Health Insurance Plan?
Beginning in March of this past year, the Affordable Care Act requires that insurance companies cover children under their parents’ insurance plan until they are 26.
Even if your child is married, in school, not financially dependent on you, lives elsewhere, or is eligible for their employer’s plan, you may still provide health insurance for them under your family medical insurance plan.
The purpose of this is to secure more health insurance access for young adults, who are typically less insured over all than the general population.
If you’re interested in finding out more about our family medical insurance plans, please fill out the contact form to the right so we can get started!
For more information about the Affordable Care Act and what that means for young adult children covered by your family medical insurance, check out this site.
As social media becomes an increasingly popular and accessible way to communicate, more and more people are turning to social networks to find out information about their doctors and health care providers.
This can be both positive and negative for patients and doctors, so make sure to consider the following when checking out your doctor on Facebook.
Doctors on Facebook: Business Pages
Though it’s not as common as other types of organizations, your doctor’s office might have a business page on Facebook. If this is the case, then “liking” them may allow you to easily access their hours, last minute cancellations, and other information, though Facebook should not be the only resource you rely on for details about your doctor.
Unfortunately, in our research we’ve found that it is not yet a common practice for doctors’ office to have a public business page on Facebook. There could be industry regulations that make it more difficult for doctors to have a business presence on Facebook, or it’s possible that doctors don’t think a business page is a useful service to provide.
Your Doctor on Facebook: It’s Personal!
Even if your doctors’ office or private practice doesn’t have a business page, there is a good chance that your doctor has a personal page on Facebook. After all, Facebook has 800 million active users!
Before you send your doctor a friend request, consider the following: is it in your best interest or your doctor’s best interest to share personal information with one another? Many professionals prefer not to “friend” their clients online, especially if their profiles are private.
With this in mind, don’t be offended if your doctor refuses your Facebook friend request. Your doctor is on Facebook for her own reasons, just like you. She might want to share photos with her friends and family, discuss current events and activities, or socialize with long-distance acquaintances.
If your doctor does friend you on Facebook, make sure that you have your Facebook set up in a way that you’re only sharing information with him that you truly feel comfortable about. Facebook allows you to set up filters for each post. Consider filtering out your doctor from all your posts.
Finally, if you’re trying to find your doctor on Facebook to discover more information about him or her, instead, try doing a search on review sites such as Yelp, Insider Pages, CitySearch, and Google. You can read what other patients and clients have said about him or her, without prying into your doctor’s personal life.