With health care costs soaring through the roof, the cost of health insurance premiums are increasing as well. Health insurance is a necessity, however, when you consider the costs of one visit to the emergency room, surgery to set a broken bone, scans, lab and other costs. When your budget is limited, how can you keep the costs of your health insurance premiums down? There are several steps you can take to reduce your health insurance costs and still maintain adequate medical coverage when you need it.
First step is to consider what health insurance options you have. Does your employer offer a group medical benefit? Many employers (and/or labor unions) offer health benefits to full-time employees. Group health insurance is usually the cheapest way to get medical coverage; an employer can negotiate with health insurance companies to get a group health plan at cheaper rates. In addition, many employers will pay part of the premium, reducing your health insurance cost even further. Another consideration is whether your spouse has health coverage available through their employer? If so, compare your health benefits plan to that of your spouse, and decide which health plan is the better buy. It may be possible to have one spouse carry family health insurance coverage and the other drop their health benefits. Many employers have multiple health insurance options, so review these plans as well. Choose the health plan that best meets your needs at the cheapest rate.
If no health insurance coverage is available through your employer, there are other ways to obtain health insurance coverage. Individual and family private health insurance policies are available. Shop and compare benefits and premiums from each health insurance plan. If you and your family are generally healthy, the new Health Savings Account (HSA) may be worth consideration. The HSA is an account that allows you to save tax-free dollars for your medical/health expenses. Similar to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), you are limited in the amount that you are allowed to contribute each year; however, with the HSA, withdrawals for health expenses are not penalized, and no tax is paid on the withdrawal. When paired with a health insurance policy that has high deductibles and low rates, the HSA may be ideal for you. Save money in the HSA for deductibles and co-pays, and you're set.
For those over 65 or permanently disabled, Medicare is available through the federal government. The original Medicare is an 80/20 plan (they pay 80% of eligible expenses and the insured pays 20%) with an annual deductible and a monthly premium. Supplemental health plans are available to cover this deductible and co-pay. These supplemental health plans are usually private and the insured pays a premium. In addition to the original Medicare plan, there are Medicare HMOs. In these Medicare HMO health plans, the Medicare premium is paid to an HMO to provide benefits to the insured. HMO plans are more restrictive in that patients must get care through a network provider, but often these plans cover more prescription drugs and preventive care than original Medicare does.
Recently some employers have offered lower premiums to employees who do not smoke cigarettes. This is currently a controversial topic for some, but it certainly may begin a trend. In the future, employers and their health insurance providers could offer reduced premiums for employees who maintain normal weight, exercise regularly, and receive certain wellness benefits. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle lowers the risk to the health insurance company that they will be paying big bucks in health care down the road. And health insurance, as any other insurance, is all about risk.
Bottom line: going without health insurance coverage is a big risk for you. Find health coverage that you can afford just in case Murphy comes knocking at your door!
Most people do not carry medical records when they leave home. They do not realize that in an emergency, which no one can predict, these medical records can make a big difference. In fact, they could save a life. Previous medications, history of allergy to medications, and other significant medical or surgical history can help a physician to optimize treatment. The National Health Council recommends you to keep a personal health record and take it with you to your doctor. It's one thing to document your medical information it's another to know when and how to use it.
The main components of a Good personal health record are:
* Your name, birth date, blood type and emergency contact
* Date of last physical
* Dates and results of tests and screenings
* Major illnesses and surgeries, with dates
* A list of your medicines, dosages and how long you've taken them
* Any allergies
* Any chronic diseases
* Any history of illnesses in your family
Personal health records in paper based format have been used since the beginning of modern health care services. These have several disadvantages as they cannot be accessed rapidly during emergency, difficulties in sharing of these records, security and vulnerable to physical destruction as shown in recent Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans in 2005. These records are also difficult to carry around for the individual when migrating to another medical center or health care provider.
Although there are different methods to record one's personal health, Portable Digital Personal Health Record Storage medias are popular since they offer the advantage to Individuals to enable them maintain their health information at their own computer hard drive or other storage devices. Moreover, these could be made easily accessible to any health care provider by the individual who controls the data.
Electronic management of personal health records were developed in the last 2 decades by several electronic health software vendors. Rapid growth in this sector was noticed during the dot-com bubble era.Today, with the growth of Web 2.0 in the internet, there is renewed interest in Personal health records in electronic format. Many still have confusion about Personal health records (PHR) and Electronic health records (EMR).PHRs are different. EMRs or electronic medical records are developed in Hospitals and medical centers, these legal health records are created and stored in health care settings and patients have no control over these records. They contain the longitudinal medical information of any patient over a period of time. A fully functioning EMR is described as one that includes a clinical data repository, controlled medical vocabulary, computerized provider order entry, clinical documentation or charting, pharmacy management, electronic medication administration record, major ancillary systems (for example, laboratory, diagnostic imaging, cardiology, and so on.) and picture archive and communication systems (PACS).
However, PHRs or Personal health records are created by the individuals and patients can have full control over these records. These can contain in addition to medical illness information, health related information. The models are shrink wrapped unlike the EMRs.They could also include complete demographics of the patient along with essential health insurance details. In addition they could also include record of illness over a period of time.
Personal health records have a useful role to play in health care management. Adopting technologies in health care will significantly reduce the cost and improve the effectiveness of health care delivery. Over prescription of medications, duplication of tests and lack of sharing of medical information among health care service providers has resulted in increased cost of health care in the current era.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purpose only and is in no way intended to be a substitute for medical consultation with a qualified professional. The author encourages Internet users to be careful when using medical information. If you are unsure about your medical condition, consult a physician.
The cost of healthcare is driving a difficult dilemma --- Few of us can take the risk of a major illness or injury which can often be many thousands of dollars, yet health insurance that offsets this significant financial risk can be very expensive. The combination of a High Deductible Health Insurance plan along with a tax favored Health Savings Account (H.S.A.) can be a sensible middle path; Health Insurance for major medical situations while the Health Savings Account allows you to set aside your own money for routine or future medical costs. If you are self-employed and are paying for your own healthcare insurance coverage, this can be a path to affordable medical insurance that still provides important financial protection. An H.S.A. qualified High Deductible Health Insurance policy still has the substantial protection of a major medical plan, just not the "low-end" benefits. Don't be fooled by "Cheap" Health Insurance or "Affordable Healthcare" plans that limit benefits that you might need and still leaves you vulnerable to catastrophic medical expenses.
Health Insurance Component. A High-Deductible H.S.A. compliant health insurance contract.
Savings Account Component. A tax advantaged "Health Savings Account."
It is important not to confuse the two components.
The High-Deductible Health Insurance: It is your backstop to protect you from the financial risk of a major illness or severe injury. The health insurance contract completely stands on its own but is a prerequisite for the tax advantaged Health Savings Account. These insurance contracts are really misnamed. You can indeed have a H.S.A. compliant health plan with a range of deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket limits. Insurance companies offer a range of "H.S.A. compliant plans" with different features within the IRS rules --- just find a plan that makes sense for you. Be sure that any plan you select is labeled as H.S.A. compliant or compatible. Very few of us can afford the healthcare costs of an illness such as cancer, heart attack or a severe injury. These costs can run into the hundreds of thousands. My older brother's struggle with Lymphoma, for instance, resulted in over $500,000 in healthcare costs over two years. A High-Deductible Health Insurance is often lower cost because you are not buying the "low-end benefits" but it still offers financial protection similar to any "Major Medical" health insurance plan beyond the maximum out-of-pocket. This is a critical component to this overall healthcare finance strategy.
The Health Savings Account: An optional, tax advantaged savings account that you can use to set aside your own funds toward future medical costs. You are required to have a High-Deductible Health Insurance plan to take advantage of this exceptional tax deal. In 2009, the maximum contribution to your H.S.A. is $3000 for an individual account ($5950 for a family account) plus a "catch-up" contribution of an additional $1000 for people age 55 or more. This contribution limit is adjusted for inflation by the IRS each year. One of the very important advantages of the Health Savings Account is how broadly you can use the funds for healthcare expenses while retaining the tax savings. Examples are over-the-counter medicines, eye glasses, dental expenses and more. A second important advantage of a Health Savings Account is the tax impact. Essentially, the money you set aside in a tax year in this special account and then either retained or spent for qualified medical costs is reduced from your taxable income. A third very important benefit is with a Health Savings Account, if you don't spend the money contributed, you keep it. What you contribute this year and don't spend is retained for future healthcare expenses. Don't confuse the H.S.A. with a "Health Reimbursement Account" (H.R.A.) which you may have had with an employer sponsored plan.
Lower health insurance cost. Why pay for benefits you don't use?
Insurance protection for a major injury or illness. The "major medical" insurance protection of the High Deductible Health plan is a critical component.
Tax Savings. Optional but productive tax deal with the Health Savings Account.
Broad Eligible Expenses. Your H.S.A. funds can be spent for many different qualified healthcare costs.
Use it or Keep it! Money you set aside in your H.S.A. can be spent for qualified medical bills but is retained if you don't use it.
Is it a Good Fit?
This healthcare financing strategy, a High Deductible Health Plan paired with the Health Savings Account, is a good fit for many folks but not everyone. Here are the criteria that I want my clients to consider:
Can I qualify? Normally, you have to be in good health before the health insurance company will make you an offer.
Can I save? This strategy is better for folks that are willing to save for future healthcare costs.
Can I decide? This strategy is better for folks that want to make choices on what to buy with their healthcare dollars.
Can I spend? For this strategy to work safely, you have to be willing to spend your money when you need to for necessary healthcare expenses.
I purposely have not focused on the tax rules, plan details, etc. Most folks get caught up with this extensive detail and become completely confused. The big picture is what I want you to see --- This can be a great deal! --- Buy health insurance for the catastrophic risk only and self-insure your normal healthcare costs with contributions to a Health Saving Account. You save on your insurance costs, save on your taxes and have an overall better outcome.
Home health care is allowing the patient and their family to maintain dignity and independence. According to the National Association for Home Care, there are more than 7 million individuals in the United States in need of home health care nurse services because of acute illness, long term health problems, permanent disability or terminal illness.
Home Health Care Basics
Nurses practice in a number of venues: Hospital settings, nursing homes, assisted living centers, and home health care. Home health care nursing is a growing phenomenon as more patients and their families desire to receive care in their homes. The history of home health care stems from Public Health Nursing where public health nurses made home visits to promote health education and provide treatment as part of community outreach programs. Today academic programs train nurses in home care and agencies place home health care nurses with ailing individuals and their families depending on the nurse's experience and qualifications. In many cases there is a shared relationship between the agency and the academic institution.
Many changes have taken place in the area of home health care. These include Medicare and Medicaid, and Long Term Care insurance reimbursement and documentation. It is important for the nurse and nursing agency to be aware of the many factors involved for these rules and regulations resulting from these organizations. Population and demographic changes are taking place as well. Baby boomers approaching retirement and will present new challenges for the home health care industry. Technology and medical care in hospitals has lead to shorter inpatient stay and more at-home rehabilitation. Increases in medical outpatient procedures are also taking place with follow-up home care. This has resulted in the decrease of mortality rate from these technologies and medical care has lead to increases in morbidity and chronic illness that makes the need for home health care nursing a greater priority.
Home Health Care Nurse Job Description
Through an array of skills and experience, home health care nurses specialize in a wide range of treatments; emotional support, education of patients who are recovering from illnesses and injury for young children and adults, to women who have experienced recent childbirth, to the elderly who need palliative care for chronic illness.
A practicing nurse must have the skills to provide care in a unique setting such as someone's home. The nurse is working with the patient and the family and must understand the communication skills for such dynamics. Rapport is evident in all nursing positions, but working in a patient's own living space needs a different level of skill and understanding. There is autonomous decision making as the nurse is no longer working as a team with other nurses in a structured environment, but is now as a member of the "family" team. The host family has cultural values that are important and are different for every patient and must be treated with extreme sensitivity. Other skills include critical thinking, coordination, assessment, communication, and documentation.
Home health care nurses also specialize in the care of children with disabilities that requires additional skills such as patience and understanding of the needs of the family. Children are living with disabilities today that would have resulted in mortality just twenty years ago. Genetic disorders, congenital physical impairments, and injury are just a few. Many families are familiar with managing the needs of the child, but still need expert care that only a home health care nurse can provide. It is important that a home health care nurse is aware of the expertise of the family about the child's condition for proper care of the child. There are many complexities involved, but most important, a positive attitude and positive reinforcement is of utmost importance for the development of the child.
Medication coordination between the home health care nurse, doctor, and pharmacist, ensures proper management of the exact science behind giving the patient the correct dose, time of administration, and combinations. Home health care nurses should be familiar with pharmacology and taught in training about different medications used by patients in the clinical setting.
Many advanced practicing nurses are familiar with medication regiments. They have completed graduate level programs. Home health care agencies believe that a nurse should have at least one year of clinical experience before entering home health care. Advanced practicing nurses can expedite that training by helping new nurses understand the home health care market and teaching.
Employment and Salary
According to the United States Department of Labor, there were 2.4 million nurses in America, the largest healthcare occupation, yet many academic and hospital organizations believe there is a gross shortage in nursing staff. The shortage of nurses was 6% in 2000 and is expected to be 10% in 2010. The average salary for hospital nursing is $53,450 with 3 out of 5 nursing jobs are in the hospital. For home health care, the salary is $49,000. For nursing care facilities, they were the lowest at $48,200.
Training and continuing education
Most home health care nurses gain their education through accredited nursing schools throughout the country with an associate degree in nursing (ADN), a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), or a master's degree in nursing (MSN). According to the United States Department of Labor, in 2004 there were 674 BSN nursing programs, 846 ADN programs. Also, in 2004, there were 417 master's degree programs, 93 doctoral programs, and 46 joint BSN-doctoral programs. The associate degree program takes 2 to 3 years to complete, while bachelors degrees take 4 years to complete. Nurses can also earn specialized professional certificates online in Geriatric Care or Life Care Planning.
In addition, for those nurses who choose to pursue advancement into administrative positions or research, consulting, and teaching, a bachelor's degree is often essential. A bachelor's degree is also important for becoming a clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners (U.S. Department of Labor, 2004).
All home health care nurses have supervised clinical experience during their training, but as stated earlier advanced practicing nurses hold master's degrees and unlike bachelor and associate degrees, they have a minimum of two years of post clinical experience. Course work includes anatomy, physiology, chemistry, microbiology, nutrition, psychology, and behavioral sciences and liberal arts. Many of these programs have training in nursing homes, public health departments, home health agencies, and ambulatory clinics. (U.S. Dep. of Labor, 2004).
Whether a nurse is training in a hospital, nursing facility, or home care, continuing education is necessary. Health care is changing rapidly and staying abreast with the latest developments enhances patient care and health procedures. Universities, continuing education programs, and internet sites, all offer continuing education. One such organization that provides continuing education is the American Nurses Association (ANA) or through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
There are many rewards to becoming a home health care nurse. Some rewards include the relationship with a patient and their family, autonomy, independence, and engaging in critical thinking. The 21st Century brings with it many opportunities and challenges. We must meet these challenges head on - there is an aging baby boomer population, a growing morbidity factor due to increased medical technology and patient care, and the growing shortage in nursing care.
Becoming a home health care nurse today is exciting and an opportunity to make a difference one life at a time. With clinical experience and proper education, a home health care nurse will lead the future of medical care.
We all know U.S. health care is broken. For employers the impact is that employee health care benefits are increasingly and outrageously expensive and are quickly eating away at profitability for most firms. So what is your company doing about controlling health care costs - other than waiting for the slow and uncertain process of government to fix it all for you?
Employee health benefits are considered by most employers to be a frustrating but unavoidable cost of doing business. Most employers are simply paying the increases. Many employers have found ways to save by shifting some of the increasing health care costs to employees. The impacted employees are frustrated as a result. That's why conventional wisdom asserts that, to be an 'Employer of Choice', you have to provide rich (read expensive) traditional employer health insurance, requiring very little if anything out-of-pocket from employees.
A Revolutionary Approach
However, surprising new ways of re-structuring employee health benefits are changing this budget item for savvy employers from an increasingly painful cost and employee-relations problem into a cost-saving investment that dynamically benefits both employees and the company.
To understand how employee health benefits are being restructured in these new ways, consider the old familiar concept of Risk Management. According to Wikipedia (the new font of all wisdom!) "Risk Management is the discipline of identifying, monitoring and limiting risks... In businesses, risk management entails organized activity to manage uncertainty and threats and involves people following procedures and using tools in order to ensure conformance with risk-management policies."
According to the standard ISO/DIS 31000 "Risk management -- Principles and guidelines on implementation", the process of risk management consists of several steps as follows:
1. Identification of risk in a selected domain of interest. 2. Planning the remainder of the process. 3. Mapping out the following:
the social scope of risk management
the identity and objectives of stakeholders
the basis upon which risks will be evaluated, constraints.
4. Defining a framework for the activity and an agenda for identification. 5. Developing an analysis of risks involved in the process. 6. Mitigation of risks using available technological, human and organizational resources.
Based on results from new best practices in employee health benefits, using these same principles and steps to re-structure your employee health benefits will serve both you and your employees far better than the current standard approach. Traditional 'health' benefits are really sickness benefits, focused on providing care after health risks have led to disease. Health risks are rarely if ever even mentioned in traditional health care and wellness plan designs.
Yet CDC reports that 70% or more of all U.S. health care costs are for care of preventable illnesses. CDC states that these illnesses are preventable primarily through improved daily health habits, like getting adequate regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight.
Other evidence shows that many people do not get the recommended 'preventive' screening they should be getting to detect diseases such as breast and colon cancer in their early more treatable and less-costly stages. More CDC-confirmed research shows that 59% of next year's high health care costs will come from this year's low-cost population, as people with high health risks succumb to disease.
The new best-practice employee health benefit designs take these factors into account. Pioneering employers of all sizes have discovered the cost-saving value of offering strong financial incentives to reward employees for managing their health risks.
In case you're worried about privacy and confidentiality, you should know that the best new programs meet all HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulatory requirements that protect these rights.
We are not talking here about the tried and failed old worksite wellness programs that were used only by employees who were taking responsibility for their health anyway. We are not talking about carrier-sponsored or other programs that simply refer enrollees to online health information and effectively say 'good luck'. We are referring to the new employee wellness strategies and programs that far more effectively involve even those with the highest health risks who have not been taking personal responsibility for getting and staying healthy.
Saving on employee health care costs can mean saving jobs or the company itself, or at least making far better use of those funds. As some successful firms have already shown, employers who adopt these worksite wellness strategies reap huge rewards, and so do their employees. Experts agree it's a new economy. It's time for businesses to do more than just think outside the box. It's time for companies to take action to reduce costs or risk losing their competitive advantage and quite possibly their business.
The very nature of managed care health insurance plans increases the likelihood of a legitimate health insurance claim being denied. Bear in mind that managed care (health maintenance organizations, or HMOs, and preferred provider organziations, or PPOs) exist for the purpose of controlling costs for the health insurance company. Many health care procedures, surgeries, durable medical equipment and drugs, particularly the more expensive ones, require prior authorization from the health insurance plan before the plan will pay. Claims are reviewed to determine "medical necessity" of the claim. Health care services or products deemed "not medically necessary" will almost certainly be denied for payment by the health insurance plan.
Health insurance companies do make mistakes, however, and it's certainly possible that a covered expense will be denied. What recourse does the health plan member have when one disagrees with the decision of the health plan? Here are some steps to take in dealing with a denial of payment.
1. Review the explanation of benefits (EOB) sent to you from the health insurance company. The EOB should state what services or goods were billed and briefly why benefits were denied.
2. Review your particular health insurance policy. What benefits does the health insurance policy state for the particular service or product? Should the claim be covered according to the policy?
3. Does the health plan have special criteria to be met in order for an particular expense to qualify as "medically necessary" and be considered a covered expense? For example, many managed care plans will cover drugs on their formulary. Other, nonformularly drugs may not be covered at all, or may be covered only if the formulary drugs have been tried and failed. An expensive MRI procedure may only be covered if certain symptoms are present. Check your policy to determine whether the expense qualifies as "medically necessary" by the health insurance company. Your health care provider must submit sufficient documentation to the health insurance plan to justify the need for the expense.
4. Is the health care provider "in-network" (contracted) with your health insurance plan? If not, does your managed care plan cover "out-of-network" (non-contracted) providers? Most HMO plans do not cover "out-of-network" providers; many PPOs will pay for services by "out-of-network" providers, but usually at at lower rate than paid to "in-network" providers.
If, after reviewing the health insurance policy and the EOB, you feel that the claim should have been a covered benefit by the insurance company, you should first request in writing that the insurance company provide you with the information that they used to base their denial of benefits. The health insurance company is required to provide you with this information on request. Review this information carefully. Many times the health insurance company was not provided with appropriate or sufficient documentation from the provider to justify the claim. If this is the case, contact the provider and request that they submit more medical records that support the claim for benefits. It may also be helpful for the provider to write a letter to support the claim in addition to the medical records. Your claim may be resolved in this manner.
All health insurance companies have a process in place by which plan members can appeal the decisions of the health insurance company. If providing further documentation does not resolve the dispute, then an appeal must be filed with the health insurance plan. Your provider may help you with this, and they may not. Read the member handbook and/or policy and follow the procedure for appealing the denial of the claim. Be prepared to submit more documentation to support your appeal. Keeping a record of all interactions with the insurance company is vital. Record all phone conversations and include the name of the person you spoke with, a brief summary of the conversation, and the date and time. File all correspondence sent and received, and have it readily accessible.
Bottom line is that health insurance plans are "for-profit" entities; in business to make money. They look for reasons not to pay. Indeed, their goal is to not pay, increasing their profits and keeping costs down for the members. It's up to you to ensure that legitimate claims for covered benefits are paid.
Everyone, at some time in his or her life, will need to seek medical care. The American health care system is a billion dollar industry, and it discards people that can't afford its services. The current health care system is divided into two groups--health care for the insured and no health care or limited care for the uninsured. The kind of medical and personal care that an individual receives under the current American health care system depends on the person's insurance status. In the land of equal opportunity, segregation is still practiced.
It is a well known fact that people that have health insurance receive much better medical and personal treatment from health care providers than people that don't have health insurance. The insured are treated with dignity and respect. Sadly, the uninsured are treated with indifference and disdain. For uninsured people, obtaining health care can be an extremely demoralizing and frustrating experience.
When a person calls a medical practitioner for an appointment, the first question of the medical office staff is if the person has health insurance. If the person doesn't have health insurance, the attitude of the office staff changes dramatically. A lot of times the person is asked abrasive and invasive financial questions. Cash payment is requested before the visit will be scheduled, or at the time of the visit prior to services being provided. Some medical offices refuse to provide medical care if there is no health insurance and the person is unable to pay cash in advance. Uninsured people seeking medical care face embarrassment because they cannot pay in full for medical services without benefit of a monthly payment plan. They are made to feel like their health does not matter because they are uninsured.
In some hospitals and physician's offices, the type of medical care that is rendered to uninsured patients is much different the medical care that is provided to insured patients. During a personal interview with Carolyn Hagan, an uninsured Oregon resident, it was revealed just how shoddily uninsured patients are treated. According to Hagan, because she doesn't have health insurance, she is unable to obtain the necessary medical care for her heart condition. Hagan stated, "I have so much trouble getting medical care because I am uninsured, and I can't afford the cost of health insurance. I can't afford the high cost of the medical tests that I need. None of the doctors will treat me except for occasional brief checkups because I am not profitable to them. Every health insurance company that I contacted to see if I could get insurance refused to insure me because I have heart trouble. I have had to cancel medical tests because funding that I applied for to help with the cost became unavailable. The care that I need is expensive, and it is so frustrating because no one is willing to help me. I feel like no one cares."
Hagan is a productive American citizen that works and pays taxes, and she is among the working middle class that is wrongfully victimized by the American health care system. Due to health insurance company exclusions, she is not insurable, and she is unable to pay cash in advance for the care that she needs. What the current health care system in America is telling her is that even though she is a hard working American citizen, she doesn't matter because she can't help increase the bottom line of the health care industry.
Many practitioners refuse to work with uninsured people, and won't allow them to pay for medical care on a monthly payment plan. This additional exclusion prevents thousands of Americans from obtaining necessary health care. The American health care system has become so convoluted and expensive that American citizens are forced to seek health care outside the United States. Places like Argentina, Singapore, Manila, Bangalore, and Costa Rica provide high quality, low cost health care to American citizens that America should be providing to its own people.
American society is insurance poor--people are unable to get health insurance. Private insurance policies are too expensive for most people to afford, and the policies that are affordable to people of middle class and lower are frequently inadequate in the medical services that they cover. American insurance companies have exclusions that prevent many people from qualifying for health insurance even though having the insurance would prevent further illness and allow maintenance for current illness, consequently reducing medical costs.
America has some of the best trained medical professionals, and the cost of their education is enormous. No one can expect them not to make a good living at their profession; however, the migration of medical care to countries outside the United States is a glaring indication that the American health care system needs to be revamped and made affordable to everyone.
There have been many attempts at health care reform in America; by the time it finally happens, there might not be enough people seeking medical care in the United States for the reform to make any difference. America will still be health care poor while other countries will be getting rich by providing Americans the health care that America places beyond reach.
How can health insurance help you out? Being an investment, it is imperative that people prioritize this expense along with many other financial responsibilities. Health insurance coverage should be there to support you and your family in times when you need immediate health care. Think of it as a nest egg where you can get funds from to pay for the various costs of medical treatment, hospitalization, medication, and more.
There are various types of health insurance plans that you can obtain, and there is an equally innumerable number of firms that offer such services. It can be a little challenging to choose one that is right for your budget, as well as tailor made to suit your health needs. Note that you don't have to spend a fortune to be able to get insurance coverage. There are ways by which you can earn discounts and save, while at the same time receiving quality and reliable services from your insurance provider. All it takes is the right knowledge to be able to evaluate your health insurance priorities and lock down your choice of provider.
In line with this, this article presents some interesting statistics that you might want to keep in mind regarding health insurance plans in the United States. Knowing these important notes will help you make a wise decision with regards to choosing a plan for you and your family. Mentioned here is also vital news regarding the direction that the health insurance system in the US is headed.
How many people in the United States are without health insurance? Regardless of how important it is to be covered, there is a significant percentage of the population who has no resources to obtain their needed health policies. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, about 45 million people in the US have no health insurance. And that translates to roughly 15 percent of the population. The Hispanics have the most number of uninsured children and adults, which is about 32 percent of the total Hispanic population. On the other hand, 19 percent of the total African American population does not have health insurance, and around 10 percent of all whites are uninsured as well.
If you are interested to know, there are specific states that contribute the most to the uninsured adult statistics in the country. If nearly 20 percent of Americans aged 19 to 64 have no form of health insurance, which states significantly add to that number? To be more precise, Texas and New Mexico have almost a third of the total aged 19 to 64 population uninsured. On the other end of the spectrum, Massachusetts has the least number of uninsured adults in that age group, with only about 10 percent accounted by the Kaiser Health Foundation statistics.
How many children in the US are without any form of health insurance? This age group is considered as the minor group, comprised of children aged 18 and below. The CDC stated in a 2007 report that about 10 percent of the total minor population does not have health insurance. That means that there are 7 million children out there who may not be able to get afforded medical treatment. Which states have the most number of uninsured children? The Kaiser Health Foundation accounts that Texas ranks at the top of the list, with about 22 percent of the ages 0 to 18 population having no health insurance. Massachusetts is still the state with the least number of uninsured children, with only about 5 percent having no coverage.
In terms of the performance of insurance companies in the country, which are the ones that write the most number of health policies? As of the year 2007, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners reports ten of the largest insurance firms in the US, with respect to their market shares. Topping that list with approximately 12 percent of the market share is the UnitedHealth Group. Second is WellPoint, Inc, having almost 10 percent of the market share. The third largest with 7.7 percent market share is the Kaiser Family Foundation. Blue Cross, which is among the oldest health insurance providers in the country, ranks ninth, with a market share of 1.7 percent.
On a final note, what does the American government intend to do in response to the ever growing health insurance needs of the country? Among the highest priorities of the new Obama administration is to focus on revamping and further developing the health insurance system in the US. About $150 billion is expected to be allotted for provision of more accessible and more affordable health insurance options for the population. In line with the recession which led to the loss of over 7 million jobs, $25 billion will be used to cover for nearly 65 percent of health insurance premiums for these employees.
To be able to answer to the health needs of children, it is expected that 5 million kids will be granted health insurance, as $87 billion will be for funding state health insurance programs, including the SCHIP or State Children's Health Insurance, which assists minors from low income families as well. The rest of the funding will be for modernization of medical facilities, including access to records, as well as research for diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and heart conditions.
Health insurance plans have been forced to take action to contain costs of quality health care delivery as health care costs have skyrocketed. Health insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays have steadily increased, and health insurance companies have implemented certain strategies for reducing health care costs. "Managed care" describes a group of stratgies aimed at reducing the costs of health care for health insurance companies.
There are two basic types of managed care plans; health maintenance organizations, or HMOs, and preferred provider organizations, or PPOs. So which health plan is best? How do you choose what type of health insurance best suits the health care needs of you and your family?
Both HMOs and PPOs contain costs by contracting with health providers for reduced rate on health care services for its' members, often as much as 60%. One important difference between HMOs and PPOs is that PPOs often will cover the costs of care when the provider is out of their network, but usually at a reduced rate. On the other hand, most HMOs offer no coverage for health care services for out-of-network providers.
Both HMO and PPOs also control health care costs by use of a gateway, or primary care provider (PCP). Health insurance plan members are assigned (or select) a primary care practitioner (physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner). usually a family practitioner or internal medicine doctor for adult members or a pediatrician or family care practitioner for childern. The primary care provider is responsible for coordianting health delivery for plan members. Care by specialist physicians require referral from the primary care provider. This cost containment strategy is intended to avoid duplication of services (for example, the cardiologist ordering tests that have already been done by the PCP, or a sprained ankle being referred to an orthopedic) and avoid unnecessary specialist referrals, tests and/or procedures.
HMO and PPO plans also contain costs by requiring prior approval, prior authorization, or pre-certification for many elective hospital admissions, surgeries, costly tests and imaging procedures, durable medical equipment and prescription drugs. When such services are required, the provider must submit a request to the health insurance plan review department, along with medical records that justify the service. The request is reviewed by the health insurance company to determine whether the services are justified as "medically necessary" according to the health plan policy and guidelines. Review is usually performed by licensed nurses, and, if the reviewer agrees that the service is necessary, approval is given and the service will be covered by the health insurance plan.
As health care costs continue to rise, many indemnity health insurance plans, or "fee for service" plans are being forced to adopt some managed care strategies in order to provide quality health care and keep health insurance premiums affordable. And as long as health care costs continue to rise, the distinctions among PPO, HMO, FFS and other health insurance plans will become blurred. Rest assured, however, that managed health care is here to stay.
Home health care is health care that is provided to patients inside their home, and usually by either health care professionals or family and friends. The term "home care" suggests that the care provided is non-medical and more of a custodial nature, whereas "home health care" may suggest licensed staff members. The differences here are similar to the differences between assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Much like assisted living facilities, home health care lets seniors enjoy a good measure of independence. An elderly individual or couple will appreciate having privacy as well as assistance in daily living needs.
What Home Health Care Provides
What kind of services does home health care provide? Home health care may help seniors with daily living needs such as bathing, dressing, house keeping and cooking and dining preparation. Depending on the needs of the resident, there may be special provisions such as transportation services and errands, volunteer programs, exercise and walking, and toileting assistance. More extensive forms of home health care would also provide rehabilitation programs, including visits from physical therapists and nurses. Other qualified home health care professionals may include respiratory nurses, occupational nurses, social workers, mental health workers and physicians.
Who pays for home health care? This type of outside assisted living program can be paid by private resources from the resident or family, by public payers such as Medicare and Medicaid or by employer-sponsored health insurance plans. Medicare will usually not pay for home health care on a long term basis while Medicaid is more likely to help low-income families with little or no assets. Employer-sponsored home health care is likely to be on a short term basis unless the insurance plan is very generous. Most of the time home health care will be paid for by a family's own resources.
Comparing Home Health Care with Assisted Living
How does home health care compare with in-house stays at nursing homes and assisted living facilities? Most seniors would prefer home health care, of course, as people always do value their privacy. However, there are also circumstances that would necessitate constant supervision of the resident at an assisted living facility, and not only occasional visits. Home health care is basically assisted living, but with even more independence. Therefore a resident that cannot be left alone for long periods of time would be better suited in a nursing or board and care type home.
It might appear that home health care would be cheaper than a stay in a nursing home. However, home health care costs can be just as expensive, depending on the number of hours aides work. Some residents have admitted that full time home health care usually costs twice as much as a stay in a board and care or assisted living home. Most home health care agencies will charge about $20.00 an hour or over. If the resident is relatively independent then the fees associated with the service can be controlled. However, don't forget that if your needs are minimal to begin with, you could hire a trusted individual to perform the same tasks and save money from paying an agency fee.
Home health care is ideal for seniors who feel well and can easily get around but who need occasional doctor visits and help with housekeeping. It is also a preferable choice if a senior needs full time care but does not want to become a resident in a public nursing home. Full time home health care provides the most privacy and personal attention possible. If you are looking for this type of senior assistance, you should always be mindful of the qualifications of workers, as opening one's home to a stranger could always be a security risk. The best home health care agencies have screened workers who are well qualified in their field.
How We Can Help You
ElderHomeFinders is a company dedicated to helping seniors locate assistance in the southern California area. We inspect assisted living facilities and retirement communities in the area so that our clients will find the perfect home at a price they can afford. Can ElderHomeFinders also help seniors find home health care? Yes. Our company can put you in touch with the right home health care agency, according to your special needs and budget limitation. We can also advise you on the differences between home health care services and assisted living and board and care facilities and which choice would better work for you. Seniors have worked hard all their life and surely deserve the best health care possible - whether in a senior living facility or in their own home.
Health is often pictured out as taking supplements and doing workouts. So health investments are usually channeled to them. However, physical condition and appearance are just one aspect of it. Other equally pressing health concerns should be given weight. Health that works is holistic.
Looking Good But Sick
To some extent, muscle workouts fight off stress. Especially when one's environment and life situation are favorable. But in another sense, pumping iron and treadmills alone are no match to the ill effects of massive distress when the other aspects of holistic health are ignored. Physical workouts can sometimes even do more harm than good when other holistic health factors are not balanced. There are bodybuilders who register dismally during blood chemistry tests due mostly to over-stress.
Other Aspects of Holistic Health
1. Mental health. Mental stress alone is deadly. What more when partnered with emotional stress? Mental stress triggers chemical reactions that upset natural functions in our body systems, like the immune system. Thus, people with mental stress have their immune defenses down and easily get sick.
Worse, it can lead to overeating that, if unchecked, may cause the blood pressure to abnormally increase. Combine this with a stressful workout and the effect can be lethal. However, with the right attitude and program, workouts can stave off mental stress. Health that works gives due credence to mental strength.
2. Emotional health. Once the emotions take over a person, overeating may set in. Among the tough enemies of fitness is overeating, and among the most powerful fuel of overeating is emotional distress. A single miscalculated weight gain can sometimes ruin an entire slimming program and negate whatever gains one may have.
Lots of body builders can't figure out their inability to reduce weight or flabby fat despite their ardent workouts. It is due to their non-holistic approach to fitness. They workout at the gym but never fix their emotional stress. Few realize this, but a broken marriage or family, for instance, has dire effects in overall health. Holistic health that works keeps emotions under control.
3. Financial health. The need to be financially able cannot be overstressed. Sustained quality health entails lots of expenses, simply put. Healthy food doesn't come cheap, especially organic ones. All-natural health supplements cost a fortune when taken religiously. And they have to be taken thus to get their full benefits. Taking them now and then will not work. Even juicing alone costs plenty.
Furthermore, regular executive check ups are a must for both men and women. Thus, added income generation is crucial to support a quality program for health that works and lasts a lifetime. Moreover, a lack in the family income is another source of distress that can trigger harmful chemical reactions in the body.
4. Spiritual health. This is not about having a religion. It is about connecting to a higher spiritual Source to have peace within oneself. You can have all the religion you want and yet remain spiritually disquieted. The spiritual is really intertwined with the mental and emotional. The three cannot be separated in holistic health. Health that works is holistic.
Some attain gratification in this area by being one with nature. Some by immersing in mystical Eastern cultures. Generally, it is intimacy with God taken to a subliminal level that goes beyond religious rituals and boundaries. Spiritual health explains why tai-chi practitioners possess an incredible source of energy and power which are beyond scientific explanation. God-fearing men in the bible retained excellent health even in ripe old ages. Inner tranquility and composure begets a resilient spirit.
5. Social health. Even powerful animals, like lions, weaken when segregated from their kind. Fellowship is not only inherent in mankind; it is crucial for survival. Mental, emotional and spiritual sanity are hinged on a vigorous social life. Financial triumph is equally dependent on a network of contacts.
Hence, health that works is holistic. It invests equal time, effort, and resources on all its aspects.
Choosing the best health insurance plan involves the following:
Finding the health insurance plan with the lowest cost (but only with respect to the other two criteria)
Finding the health insurance plan with a network that meets your needs
Finding the health insurance plan with coverage that meets your needs
Choosing the right health insurance policy involves finding the lowest price amongst the policies that meet your needs as to network and coverage. Choosing the lowest price is of course very easy. Determining whether the health insurance plan's network of doctors meets your needs is only a little more difficult. Choosing a health insurance policy that covers you well can be complex. Most of this article focuses on this area. I've been a health insurance agent since 1985 and have helped many families find affordable health insurance. You can find out more about me by visiting 1800insuranceCT.com. These are the strategies that I use when helping a family find good medical coverage in my home state of Connecticut. To help find out what health insurance plans are available and approved in your area, I've put together a list of Insurance Departments for each state.
Choosing the Health Insurance Plan with the Right Network
Most companies have websites that will list the doctors and hospitals that participate in their plan. All that I'm aware of will have a printed list that they can mail to you. The right plan will have your doctor on their list or at least doctors who serve your home area. If you travel it is important to find a plan that covers you well in other geographic areas as well.
Choosing the Health Insurance Plan with the best coverage
Health insurance contracts may be the most complex of the insurance policies purchased by the average family. Understanding how your health insurance policy will pay for your medical bills can be difficult. Fortunately most of the brochures and outlines of coverage that you may receive from a health insurance provider will have a similar structure.
They will have sections similar to the following: What is Covered? Health Plan Exclusions and Limitations What is Covered?
This section will detail what medical procedures your health insurance policy will cover. The policy should have a phrase like "reasonable and customary" or "usual, reasonable and customary" or something similar when describing how much they will cover.
Watch out for health insurance policies with:
Dollar amount limits for each procedure
A long list of procedures that the health insurance policy will cover Better health insurance policies will not list dollar amounts for each procedure. They will pay using a formula that is based on what other doctors or medical providers will charge you in the same geographic area. A phrase like "usual and customary" indicates that they use such a formula. The cost of medical care rises so quickly that a dollar amount that seems impressive today may not fully reimburse you even a year from now.
Solid health Insurance policies will not have a long list of procedures that they will cover listed on the policy. The long list seems impressive because the list takes up a lot of space. Look at the statements below. It should be easy to choose between one and two.
"Our health insurance policy will cover you for everything except for expenses caused by self-inflicted injuries and substance abuse." ("I've been to every state in the union except Alaska.")
"Our health insurance policy will cover your nose, your ears, your toes, your hands, your right lung, your calf and your knee" ("I've been to New York, Connecticut, Nebraska, Washington DC and Vermont")
Health Plan Exclusions and Limitations This section will tell you what is excluded. Typically elective surgery will not be covered. Also experimental procedures and expenses caused by self-inflicted injuries will not be covered. You should understand each of these exclusions and limitations before you commit to a policy. Most policies will not include maternity insurance, so if you want to get pregnant, make sure that you know how your policy will cover maternity expenses. Unfortunately, maternity insurance is not available in many states except as part of a group insurance plan. To summarize:
* Determine what health insurance plans will cover you in your area
* Determine which health insurance plans offer adequate coverage
*Choose the plans that offers the best value based on price and coverage
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health care field is the largest industry in the United States today--employing over 13 million wage and salary workers in 2004. Of the twenty fastest growing occupations today, eight of them are in health care. It is anticipated that 20% of the new jobs created between now and 2014 will be in the health care industry--and most of these jobs require four years or less of college.
Many of these jobs will be in the area of health care referred to as Allied Health. The term Allied Health is used to identify a cluster of health professions and covers as many as 100 different jobs (but not physicians and nurses). What are the Allied Health careers anticipating the most growth? While all Allied Health careers can anticipate growth in the coming years, these ten careers are all expected to grow over 25% each year--meaning that these careers will provide the greatest long-term job security. This top ten list includes educational requirements and average salaries.
1. Medical Assistants. These Allied Health professionals perform administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners running smoothly. The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office, depending on the location and size of the practice and the practitioner's specialty. Medical assistants perform many administrative duties, including answering telephones, greeting patients, updating and filing patients' medical records, filling out insurance forms, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments, arranging for hospital admission and laboratory services, and handling billing and bookkeeping.
As the health care industry expands because of technological advances in medicine and the growth and aging of the population, more Medical Assistants will be needed. In fact, this is anticipated to be the fastest growing career through 2014.
Education Requirements: Most Medical Assistants complete postsecondary programs that last either one year, resulting in a certificate or diploma, or two years, resulting in an associate degree.
Salary: The average salary for Medical Assistants is $24,610.
2. Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians. These Allied Health professionals assist physicians in diagnosing and treating cardiac (heart) and peripheral vascular (blood vessel) ailments. Cardiovascular technologists may specialize in any of three areas of practice: invasive cardiology, echocardiography, and vascular technology. Cardiovascular technologists specializing in invasive procedures are called cardiology technologists. Technologists prepare patients for cardiac catheterization and balloon angioplasty. During the procedures, they monitor patients' blood pressure and heart rate with EKG equipment and notify the physician if something appears to be wrong. Technologists also may prepare and monitor patients during open-heart surgery and during the insertion of pacemakers and stents that open up blockages in arteries to the heart and major blood vessels.
Rapid employment growth is expected for Cardiovascular Technologists as the population ages, because older people have a higher incidence of heart problems and use more diagnostic imaging. Employment of vascular technologists and echocardiographers will also grow as advances in vascular technology and sonography reduce the need for more costly and invasive procedures.
Education Requirements: The majority of Cardiovascular Technologists complete a 2-year junior or community college program, but 4-year programs are increasingly available.
Salary: The average salary for Cardiovascular Technologists is $38,690.
3. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. Also known as ultrasonographers, these Allied Health professionals use special equipment to direct nonionizing, high frequency sound waves into areas of the patient's body. Sonographers operate the equipment, which collects reflected echoes and forms an image that may be videotaped, transmitted, or photographed for interpretation and diagnosis by a physician.
As the population grows and ages, increasing the demand for diagnostic imaging and therapeutic technology means incredible growth in this field. Additionally, sonography is becoming an increasingly attractive alternative to radiologic procedures, as patients seek safer treatment methods, further increase the demand for sonographers.
Education Requirements: Colleges and universities offer formal training for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers in both 2- and 4-year programs, culminating in an associate or a bachelor's degree. Two-year programs are most prevalent.
Salary: The average salary for diagnostic medical sonographers is $52,490.
4. Physician Assistants. These Allied Health Professionals practice medicine under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. Physicians Assistants are formally trained to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive health care services, as delegated by a physician. Working as members of the health care team, they take medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret laboratory tests and X rays, and make diagnoses. Physicians Assistants may be the principal care providers in rural or inner city clinics, where a physician is present for only 1 or 2 days each week
Employment of Physicians Assistants is expected to grow much faster than average, ranking among the fastest growing occupations, due to anticipated expansion of the health care industry and an emphasis on cost containment, resulting in increasing utilization of Physicians Assistants.
Education Requirements: Physicians Assistants must complete accredited, formal education program and pass a National exam to obtain a license. Physician's Assistant programs usually last at least 2 years and are full time.
Salary: The average salary for physician assistants in full-time clinical practice is $74,264.
5. Respiratory Therapists and Respiratory Therapy Technicians. These Allied Health professionals--also known as respiratory care practitioners--evaluate, treat, and care for patients with breathing or other cardiopulmonary disorders. Respiratory Therapists assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care therapeutic treatments and diagnostic procedures, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Respiratory therapy technicians follow specific, well-defined respiratory care procedures under the direction of respiratory therapists and physicians
Job opportunities are expected to be very good, especially for respiratory therapists with cardiopulmonary care skills or experience working with infants. But all areas of Respiratory Therapy expect substantial growth due to the jump in the numbers of the middle-aged and elderly population--a development that will heighten the incidence of cardiopulmonary disease--and because of the expanding role of respiratory therapists in the early detection of pulmonary disorders, case management, disease prevention, and emergency care.
Educational Requirements: An associate's degree is required for entry into the field. Most programs award associate's or bachelor's degrees and prepare graduates for jobs as advanced respiratory therapists.
Salary: The average salary for respiratory therapists is $43,140.
6. Athletic Trainers. These Allied Health professionals help prevent and treat injuries for people of all ages. Their clients include everyone from professional athletes to industrial workers. Athletic trainers are often one of the first heath care providers on the scene when injuries occur, and therefore must be able to recognize, evaluate, and assess injuries and provide immediate care when needed. They also are heavily involved in the rehabilitation and reconditioning of injuries.
Job growth for Athletic Trainers is expected to be extensive, and will be concentrated in health care industry settings, such as ambulatory heath care services and hospitals.
Educational Requirements: A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university is required for almost all jobs as an athletic trainer.
Salary: The salary of an athletic trainer depends on experience and job responsibilities, and varies by job setting, but the average salary for athletic trainers is $33,940.
7. Surgical Technologists. These Allied Health professionals, also called scrubs and surgical or operating room technicians, assist in surgical operations under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. Before an operation, surgical technologists help prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment, sterile drapes, and sterile solutions. They assemble both sterile and non-sterile equipment, get patients ready for surgery, and transport patients to the operating room. During surgeries, Surgical Technologists also observe patients' vital signs, check charts, and assist the surgical team with putting on sterile gowns and gloves.
Because the number of surgical procedures is expected to rise as the population grows and ages, job prospects for Surgical Technicians are extremely good.
Educational Requirements: Surgical technologists receive their training in formal programs offered by community and junior colleges, vocational schools, universities, hospitals, and the military.
Salary: The average salary of surgical technologists is $34,010.
8. Clinical laboratory Technologists. These Allied Health professionals--also referred to as clinical laboratory scientists or medical technologists--perform most of the clinical laboratory tests that play a crucial role in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Clinical laboratory personnel examine and analyze body fluids, and cells. They look for bacteria, parasites, and other microorganisms; analyze the chemical content of fluids; match blood for transfusions; and test for drug levels in the blood to show how a patient is responding to treatment. Technologists also prepare specimens for examination, count cells, and look for abnormal cells in blood and body fluids.
In the coming years the number of job openings in this field is expected to continue to exceed the number of job seekers, particularly as the volume of laboratory tests continues to increase with both population growth and the development of new types of tests.
Educational Requirements: Medical and clinical laboratory technicians generally have either an associate degree from a community or junior college or a certificate from a hospital or a vocational and technical school. The usual requirement for an entry-level position as a clinical laboratory technologist is a bachelor's degree with a major in medical technology or in one of the life sciences.
Salary: Average salary for medical and clinical laboratory technologists is $45,730.
9. Medical and Health Services Managers. Health care is a business and, like every other business, it needs good management to keep it running smoothly. These Allied Health professionals--also referred to as health care executives or health care administrators--plan, direct, coordinate, and supervise the delivery of health care. Medical and health services managers include specialists and generalists. Specialists are in charge of specific clinical departments or services, while generalists manage or help manage an entire facility or system. Increasingly, medical and health services managers will work in organizations in which they must optimize efficiency of a variety of related services--for example, those ranging from inpatient care to outpatient follow-up care.
As the health care industry continues to expand and diversify, job opportunities for Medical and Health Services Managers will be especially good in offices of health practitioners, general medical and surgical hospitals, home health care services, and outpatient care centers.
Educational Requirements: A master's degree in health services administration or business administration is the standard credential for most positions in this field. A bachelor's degree is adequate for some entry-level positions in smaller facilities, at the departmental level within health care organizations, and in health information management.
Salary: The average salary for medical and health services managers is $67,430, but can go as high as $117,990.
10. Dietitians and Nutritionists. These Allied Health professionals plan food and nutrition programs and supervise the preparation and serving of meals. They help to prevent and treat illnesses by promoting healthy eating habits and recommending dietary modifications. Dietitians also manage food service systems for institutions such as hospitals and schools, promote sound eating habits through education, and conduct research.
The increasing emphasis on disease prevention through improved dietary habits, along with the growing and aging population, will boost the demand for meals and nutritional counseling in hospitals, residential care facilities, schools, prisons, community health programs, and home health care agencies. Public interest in nutrition and increased emphasis on health education and prudent lifestyles also will spur demand, especially in management.
Educational Requirements: Dietitians and nutritionists need at least a bachelor's degree in dietetics, foods and nutrition, food service systems management, or a related area.
Salary: The average salary for dietitians and nutritionists is $43,630.
Why should you work with a health coach? What is a health coach and how do you use the services of one? Five years ago a health coach was an unknown profession except in the world of corporate executives or large corporations. Now it is a growing business with health coaches, wellness coaches and fitness coaches. In our age of growing baby boomers people are turning to coaches more and more for help with health or fitness related issues that they cannot resolve. We are in a movement of people acquiring more knowledge about health risks and wanting to make sound choices in their lives and prevent catastrophic problems. People are living longer each year and it is of utmost importance to keep ourselves healthy to live those extra years with a good quality of life.
A health coach is there for you to be your partner in taking charge of your health, recognizing bad choices and teaching you to make wise choices. Included in the job description of a health coach is the training that they incorporate into an action plan for you. They empower you, support you, motivate and inspire you, encourage you and challenge you.
A health coach gives you a new approach to your lifestyle in terms of getting fit, understanding what beneficial habits are and learning to stop non-beneficial habits. You and the coach focus on health changes you need to make and also on managing chronic health conditions enhancing your life.
There are some important points to consider when you are trying to stay healthy, reach a fitness or nutritional goal or manage a chronic health issue. Listed are some points to consider;
1. You need to have a goal to reach. That goal is specific for each individual. Examples would be a goal to lose 10 pounds, a goal to increase your endurance so you can go hiking for 5 miles with your kids, a goal to learn to eat nutritionally and decrease junk food, a goal of becoming more fit when you have severe arthritis. You can see what I mean, that goals are different for everyone. When you work with a health coach you and the coach decide what the goal should be, and put it in some concrete fashion. Concrete fashion could be a contract, written goals with specific time lines, you get the idea. Your coach works for you and with you to persevere towards that or those specific goals. Your coach should be able to motivate you, understand what needs you may have and continually promote progress. Your coach should also be able to listen to you and respect your concerns and issues that may be holding you back from reaching your goals.
2. Any wellness program has a fitness program. Your health coach works with you to research and plan for a specific program. The coach also motivates and inspires you to perform the program and push yourself.
3 A change in lifestyle is usually necessary to reach a goal of optimum health. A health coach has the knowledge to promote those changes in you and is your advocate when you are working against yourself.
4. Your health coach educates you about wellness, nutrition and fitness. Your coach should be knowledgeable about anatomy, physiology, disease processes and many other facets about health and disease. A health coach should provide you with informative articles, news, or places of value to you in bringing you to your optimum level of wellness.
5. Your health coach should have the knowledge base to understand your health and potential health issues and involve a medical professional when necessary.
6. A health coach should be persistent, dedicated to you and patient with you.
A health coach is a motivating and inspiring force behind you. A health coach wants to bring you to your optimum level of health. Teaming up with a health coach can help you to achieve success, to emulate models of health and have an advisor who supports you and is a positive change agent in your life.