Better Health Today

BETTER HEALTH TODAY

What Actually Is Health?

What Does Good Health Mean?

The Old English word for ‘health’ was simply hale, meaning ‘wholeness’ or being whole, sound, or well.

A more modern definition created by the World Health Organization says that… “health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

More recently the definition presented by the WHO states that health is not a: “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being: Nor is it “merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

To fully understand Health and the definitions of Health in our present age one must introduce an era embracing new understanding of disease at the molecular, individual, and societal level. Today, most people recognize Health can be divided into two broad aspects: Physical Health and Mental Health.

PHYSICAL HEALTH

Physical Health or physical well-being simply means good body health which is healthy because of regular physical activity (exercise), good nutrition, and adequate rest.

Physical Health or physical well-being is something a person can achieve by developing components of a health-related lifestyle. This type of fitness would

Include: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, flexibility and body composition.

Other components of physical well-being may include proper nutrition, body weight management, abstaining from drug use, avoiding alcohol abuse, responsible sexual behavior, and getting the proper amount of sleep.

MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health includes a person’s cognitive and emotional well-being. A person who does not enjoy good mental health usually has some sort of mental disorder.

Again according to the WHO, mental health is “a state of well-being in which the:

individual realizes his or her own abilities;
can cope with the normal stresses of life;
can work productively and fruitfully; and
Is able to make a contribution to their community.”

Unfortunately, measuring mental health has been a very subjective assessment. Often times it has been easier to tell what mental illness is, rather than mental health.

Most of us agree that mental health again refers to the “absence of mental illness.” Unfortunately that measurement varies greatly from individual to individual.

In reality mental health includes:

the ability to enjoy life;
the ability to bounce back from adversity;
the ability to achieve balance or moderation;
the ability to be flexible and adapt;
the ability to feel safe and secure; and
the ability to make the best of whatever you have.

Quite naturally each individual must personally learn the attributes of good health. You can go through life learning them the hard way or you can seek out advice or information that helps you develop a course of action. Developing a course of action seems like the BEST WAY.

49 Plus and Holding, Inc. offers, guidance, counseling, understanding, and knowledge concerning HEALTH. Go to: [http://49plusandholding.com] for information on HEALTH.

Copyright © 2012 by 49 Plus and Holding. Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The developers and producers of 49 Plus and Holding, Inc. are Carolyne W. Bailey and Gerald N. Calandra. Carolyne is a widely recognized instructor and expert in Fitness, Strength Training, Flexibility and Exercise on both the College and Community levels. She is presently teaching at the Health Place, Associated with Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia. Jerry Holds a Doctorate in Exercise Physiology and has done research and instruction in Biology,Human Anatomy and Physiology, Physiology of Exercise, Kinesiology, Biomechanics, Research and Design on the university, college and high school levels. He is presently retired and concentrates on 49 Plus and Holding, Inc. They can both be found along with HEALTH at: [http://49plusandholding.com].

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Gerald_N_Calandra/1295611

 

Who Needs Health Savings Accounts And Health Reimbursement Arrangements?

Employers and the self-employed are using two main strategies to keep the cost of health insurance low and to reduce their taxes. Known as an HSA, a Health Savings Account can make most health care expenses tax deductible, and provide tax-deferred earnings. Individuals and business owners can start an HSA once they purchase a health plan that’s certified to be HSA compatible. These plans are available in the individual market for much lower premiums than plans in the group coverage market.

Can Health Savings Accounts Be Combined With A HRA?

Employers and people who are self-employed if the spouse works in the business may add a Health Reimbursement Arrangement to substantially increase the tax savings available with an HSA alone.

To put it simply, a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) is an employer-funded medical reimbursement plan for employees. Someone who is self-employed cannot have an HRA in his or her name, but can reimburse the spouse, who works in the business as a W-2 employee, through an HRA. All of the family’s qualified health care and insurance expenses can be reimbursed, and that includes the expenses of the self-employed business owner by virtue of being a member of the HRA-covered family.

The big rush to get HRAs in place by Dec. 31 resulted because the cost of health insurance premiums could then be reimbursed for the whole year back to January 2011. Reimbursement for other kinds of health care is not retroactive, though. Those who start a HRA in January 2012 can reimburse their employees for health care, including premiums.

Since group coverage has become an expensive option for both employers and employees, HRAs present a less expensive choice that can help both parties save on health care costs. Compared to group plan rates, policies in the individual market can save employers up to 50 percent. Certain of these plans, known as Health Savings Accounts, This makes if feasible for more employers to provide health care coverage to more employees. By setting up a HRA, employers can legitimately reimburse their employees for individual health insurance premiums and other health care costs.

How Do Health Reimbursement Arrangements Work?

On a regular basis, an employer contributes a pre-determined amount to an account on an employee’s behalf. The employee can submit a reimbursement request for qualified medical expenses, and such reimbursements are not taxed.

What’s Required To Start A HRA?

The primary requirement is that the plan must be funded solely by the employer. It cannot be funded by salary reduction. In addition, the plan may only provide benefits for substantiated medical expenses.

HRAs may be designed in many fashions to suit the specific needs of employer and employees alike. It is one of the most flexible types of employee benefits plans, making it very attractive to most employers.

How Do Employers Benefit From A HRA?

HRAs are most commonly offered in conjunction with a high-deductible health plan. As a rule, these plans keep premium costs low, so employers can use the savings to fund the HRA. All employer HRA contributions are tax deductible for the employer, and tax-free for the employee.

Employers may establish when HRA funds may be used. This can range from comprehensively covering all health care to a limited plan for emergency room expenses only. Because they are so flexible, HRA plans enable employers to control costs of providing healthcare benefits while providing a valuable employee benefit.

With an HRA, employee healthcare expenditures are visible and clear to employer and employee alike, thereby fostering a greater understanding of the costs of health care. In addition, employees who can monitor and control their health care costs become smarter health care consumers.

Studies show that only 20 to 50 percent of employees actually use their health care coverage, meaning employers often pay health insurance premiums for employees who are not utilizing the coverage. A HRA allows employers to determine the best type of coverage for their employees based on the demographics of their employee group.

HRA plans may also cover retired employees (and their spouses and tax dependents). Employers may wish to consider a HRA as an alternative to more expensive traditional retiree health care options.

Employee benefits, like a HRA, enable employers to recruit and retain quality employees. With a HRA in place, the employer is perceived in a positive light by current and prospective employees because a benefits package is being provided with their interest in mind.

By Wiley Long – President, HSA for America – The nation’s leading independent health insurance firm specializing in individual and family HSA Insurance plans that work with Health Savings Accounts.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Wiley_P_Long/46226

 

Don’t Hire a Rural Health Consultant Until You’ve Read This Article

As a rural health consultant myself with over twenty years in this profession and twelve years as a Fiscal Intermediary (MAC), I have seen what bad advice can do to a rural health clinic. Many times, I’ve been called in to pick up the pieces and help the practice get back on its feet. Let me give you some examples of the types of mistakes I have encountered and how an experienced rural health consultant would mitigate them.

Example 1

A Rural Health Clinic in central Florida had a contentious recertification by the State Agency. The surveyor was giving the business office manager a difficult time over their CLIA status and lack of Patient Care Policies. The physician intervened and the surveyor and physician got into a heated debate. The surveyor said that based on his findings, the clinic was out of compliance and he was going to recommend termination. The clinic called me and I spoke to the surveyor. He cited the discrepancies and I asked how he could recommend termination without giving the clinic the opportunity to take corrective action? When the surveyor returned 30 days later, the CLIA certificate still had not been issued and in spite of documentation that the business manager had, it was regarded as defiance. Additionally, the surveyor would not accept the adoption of the Nurse Practitioner Protocols as the clinic’s patient care policy. The surveyor again was going to recommend termination. I contacted the State Agency regional office and explained the situation but it fell on deaf ears. I contacted the CMS Ombudsman in Atlanta and furnished her with all the documentation showing that the surveyor and Regional Office were not following the State Survey Guidelines, but were, in fact, disregarding them. I assured her that the clinic was in compliance and had just received the CLIA approval. The clinic then received a visit from another surveyor and he was completely satisfied and the clinic was recertified.

Example 2

A Rural Health Clinic in west central Florida had a desk review of the prior year’s cost report and it was determined that a field audit would be warranted due to the lack of response for documentation. Apparently the office staff did not get the requests for additional information in a timely fashion. The physician contacted me and asked if I could assist the practice during the on-site field audit. A review of the case revealed that the MAC determined that the physician was well over the MD salary limits according to the MAC. The MAC used a Federal salary study by region for the basis of their determination of the reasonableness of the salary. The field audit lasted for four days and the exit conference indicated that there would be a substantial adjustment of more the half of the physician’s salary and fringe benefits. The adjustment would result in the cost-per-visit rate being sharply reduced which would impact the current year. I asked the auditor for the study which was used as the basis for the adverse determination and noticed that the study was more than 5 years old. The study was further flawed in it did not take into consideration the specialty, (this MD was an Internist) with advanced training (Board certification) and length of practice experience. I was able to secure a more current version of the study which had been updated and found that the physician was very close to the salary range when the other qualifications were taken into consideration. The result was that the adjustment was only 10% of the original determination and had no material effect on the clinic’s rate.

Example 3

A Rural Health Clinic in middle Alabama had a desk review of their prior year cost report bad debts. The MAC requested a statistically valid sample of bad debts that were in need of the EOMB (Explanation of Medicare Benefits) to justify the balances that were written off. Some of the bad debts were more than several years old and the documentation had been shredded by the clinic’s billing service. The MAC decided that without the EOMB the bad debts would be disallowed. The clinic was ordered to pay back a substantial amount resulting from the disallowances. Since the statistical sample was randomly selected, it was considered to be representative of the entire population. Unfortunately, the cases that had no EOMB were the very old ones which made up a small percentage of the entire bad debts but all were to be denied which skewed the sample. I argued that the sample was skewed and the percentage to be applied to the whole was not valid. The MAC did not agree and suggested that an appeal should be filed. The clinic would have to file a formal appeal through the PRRB. This could take up to several years and I knew this was not true so I suggested that the clinic contact Sen. Jeff Sessions, a friend of the clinic’s medical director and bring him into the case. Within three weeks the clinic was contacted by the MAC and told that most of the EOMBs had been found. The clinic was refunded most of their payback.

As you can see, hiring a rural health consultant with limited or no experienced can be just as risky as not hiring a consultant at all. In today’s market, most rural health clinics deeply depend on receiving the maximum Medicare reimbursement rate possible. One mistake by an inexperienced rural health consultant may result in an audit, and one failed audit could bring a clinic to its knees in short order. So what should you look for when hiring a rural health consultant? There are some obvious and not so obvious qualifications to consider.

First, the rural health consultant must have a detailed knowledge of all aspects of the Medicare Rural Health Program (Public Law 95-210). Technical, as well as practical knowledge of the conditions of participation, application submission, coverage issues, billing issues and most important Medicare cost reimbursement are critical to a Rural Health Consultant.

Second, an experienced rural health consultant should have a detailed knowledge of cost reporting and the factors which prompt red flags and potential desk audits. Additionally, if an audit is scheduled by the MAC, the rural health consultant should be available to the clinic to provide advice and technical assistance on a priority basis either by phone or on site.

Third, the rural health consultant must be able to engage not only the MAC staff and the State Agency staff on matters of findings and correct them when they are wrong or expressing their personal preferences even though those preferences may not be permitted in the regulations or operating instruction. The rural health consultant must be prepared to go to the CMS Regional or Home Offices to get a resolution to the problem. The rural health consultant must have contacts in higher places to present credibility of his knowledge and expertise in the areas of the issues.

By no means is this the entire list, but hopefully it will get you off to a good start. There are a number of rural health consultants in the market who have practice management experience, but zero experience when it comes to the Rural Health program. If you are having difficulty finding a tried, tested, and experienced consultant, contact me at (800) 592 – 3051.

Don’t turn your practice over to an inexperienced rural health consultant; you cannot afford the consequences!

For more information on hiring a Rural Health Consultant [http://www.ruralhealthamerica.com], you can contact us at: Rural Health America (800) 592-3051 and ask for Mike Smith.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Michael_Anthony_Smith/1310061

 

Rewards and Discounts That Private Health Funds Can Provide

When you make the choice to sign up with a private health plan provider, you can benefit from the many advantages that Australians hope to have in their health care plan. You will have a choice of physicians, shorter waiting periods for medical services, and a basic improvement in the quality of health care you receive.

Your health insurance fund may also be able to provide you with members-only discounts on varying products or services through your policy. With so many health insurance providers competing for your business, comparing health plans can definitely pay off when you discover the various perks each offers as an incentive to win your business.

Additional services – that is, services not covered by Medicare, and perhaps not covered or only partially covered by other private plans – may be part of an incentive package offered to earn your business. For instance, if you would really like to have vision cover in your health insurance plan, it’s a great idea to find a provider who offers this as a bonus in a plan that fits your budget and needs. Some health plan funds will offer other perks that aren’t directly medical related, such as a gym membership that will probably benefit your health and subsequently lower your health care expenses.

Preventative dental care is another perk that you may be able to secure in your health insurance plan, if you find a provider who offers it. These types of perks will come in very handy when you go to the dentist and pay little to nothing out of pocket for certain services. For the provider, the plan is to keep the insured individual’s dental care costs at a minimum through preventative care.

Some health cover funds offer certain benefits and rewards to customers, thanks to a mutual relationship with other providers. For example, glasses and contact lenses; some private health care funds do business with opticians and optical centers throughout Australia, and cultivate mutually beneficial relationships that can also benefit you. You may find a provider who will include special savings opportunities and eye ware packages, glasses, and eye exams in your health insurance plan.

Some health plan providers may even offer a perk that has nothing to do with medical services but can be inviting, such as discounts on sporting goods or apparel.

In addition to health related discounts and services, some health plan providers will offer rewards packages as an incentive to sign with them, and to show their gratitude for your business in this competitive industry. These types of benefits can include anything from discounts on holiday lodgings, magazine subscriptions, movie tickets or even tickets to sporting events or concerts. In some instances, the longer you keep your health insurance policy with one provider, the better the rewards offered can become.

Every health care fund offers something different, which is why it really pays to compare health plans and choose the best one for your health insurance needs and rewards offered. Although the perks shouldn’t be your main reason for choosing a policy, it may be the determining factor between two health care funds that may seem equally appropriate for your needs.

###

Author Liz Ernst writes on health insurance matters in Australia and the U.S.

Private health insurance is a cost Australians should at least consider factoring into their budget. Different funds have products that better suit different groups of people. Visit the Your Health Insurance website (http://www.yourhealthinsurance.com.au) to compare pricing and policies, and learn more about buying health insurance in Australia.

It really does pay to shop for health insurance.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Liz_Ernst/664712

 

Will Child-Only Georgia Health Insurance Plans Be Restored?

When the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law, it changed the way health care was provided for millions of Americans. The health care reform law made several changes in the health insurance industry, but not all of them were intended.

One of the unintended changes in the insurance market involved child-only health care policies. In Georgia and other states, as the Affordable Care Act took hold, insurance companies stopped offering this type of healthcare plan.

Child-only Georgia health insurance plans are usually bought by parents who have an employer-provided health plan that does not include dependent coverage, or has dependent coverage they just can’t afford. Sometimes these plans are bought by parents who can’t get health coverage for themselves due to health reasons and still want to provide coverage for their children. And sometimes, these are bought by parents whose income does not qualify for their kids to get coverage under Medicaid or PeachCare.

How Did The Affordable Care Act Affect Child-Only Policies?

One of the mandates of the act is that no children with pre-existing conditions can be denied health coverage. In response to this mandate, insurance companies in various states, including Georgia, stopped offering new individual plans that only cover children.

According to the insurance industry, under this new requirement, parents could postpone getting health care coverage for their children until the kids were sick. The industry said that this would cause a rise in unprofitable health care plans and skyrocketing expenses for the insurance companies to budget.

Will Child-Only Georgia Health Insurance Plans Return?

An increasing number of states have made a move to address the loss of availability of child-only health care policies, either through legislation or regulation.

In Georgia, House Bill 1166 was presented to address this problem. HB 1166 plans to restore these child-only health policies that can be offered by the private Georgia health insurance market.

Legislation recently passed the House Insurance Committee that would require Georgia health insurance companies that sell individual health coverage to also offer child-only health care plans during an open enrollment period. The bill would permit insurance companies to impose a surcharge of 50 percent of the premium if a child has been without health coverage for more than 63 days prior to the application for coverage. By doing so, this will motivate parents to keep their children insured and not wait for their child to get sick before getting a Georgia health insurance plan.

According to Graham Thompson, executive director of the Georgia Association of Health Plans, the healthcare insurance industry has signed off on the legislation.

It was Cindy Zeldin, executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future, who pushed for the bill. She said that fixing up this unintended consequence of reform is relatively easy. This will help kids get the Georgia health insurance coverage they need since having health coverage is very important. Hospital admission records from 37 different states all showed the dire consequences of not covering children with health insurance. Regardless of the hospital where they were admitted, children without health insurance died 60 percent more often than kids who were covered. The reason for admitting them to the hospital did not alter the outcome, either. Children without health care, like adults, died more often even in the hospital. Zeldin also added, “It’s unfair that some parents are willing to pay for healthcare coverage for their kids, and it’s not available.”

The bill just covers one year (2013) since the problem will be taken care of by 2014 when federal health care reform will be totally implemented. By then, the new state-based Georgia health insurance market should be up and running with new Georgia health coverage options.

By Wiley Long – President, eGAHealthinsurance.com – Georgia’s leading independent online health insurance agency specializing in individual and family Georgia Health Insurance plans [http://www.eGAHealthinsurance.com/georgia-insurance-plans.php]. Get an online Georgia Health Insurance quote [http://www.eGAHealthinsurance.com/georgia-health-insurance-quotes.htm], compare plans, apply online, and Save!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Wiley_P_Long/46226