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Medicare Isn’t Sustainable

During a New Hampshire town meeting Jeb Bush was confronted by a senior citizen after a comment about entitlement reform. The women commented by saying, “My Medicare right now is wonderful and I paid into it for all these years. Why are you always attacking seniors?” Where Bush called it the entitlement system the woman rebutted that she had earned it.

I can see where the woman is coming from in the thought that she has paid into the system, and she has, but not nearly enough to contribute to the cost of her medical care. The level of funding is not adequate to support the current and future Medicare participants. It is expected that the Medicare fund will be insolvent by 2026 . According to Grace Marie Turner, “At best, she will have paid for less than half of the expected cost of her lifetime Medicare expenditures and possibly as little as 8%. Medicare is not sustainable as it is currently structured, and reform is indeed vital.” Take a look at this graph on the cost versus what is actually paid.

Medicare
As you can see the benefits received far outweigh what was “paid for” and as a common misconception of those currently receiving Medicare it’s a hard issue to reform. As time goes on with the cost of inflation the difference continues rise. This will be an issue that will have to be looked at in the upcoming Presidential term. Have you previously thought that Medicare is completely covered by what you have paid into over your working years? Do you agree that we need reform to the Medicare system?

Read the full article from Grace Marie Turner HERE

 

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Health Insurance, In The News and tagged , , , ,

Which Group Fitness Is For You?

I’ve often wondered which group fitness is better for each person as I see different styles and types pop up constantly. You can take your pick these days whether it’s Orange Theory, Curves, Crossfit, Yoga (Allllll the styles of yoga), Zumba, or Spinning. The list goes on and on so which one is better for each body type and moreover which body type I’m trying to achieve. A great article on SELF.com digs deeper into many styles of working out and the benefits of each. Here are the “Goal” and “Try” snippets from the article:

Group Fitness
Goal: “I want something to balance out my cardio”

Try: Yoga or barre classes

I’ve done Barre class and I have no idea how that balances your cardio other than kicking your derriere so much that you just lay on the floor. Taaa daaa balance achieved. These are not my snippets though so I will continue with what SELF recommends.

Goal: “I want a one-stop-shop so I don’t have to run.”

Try: Zumba, kickboxing, Spinning, boot camp or step aerobics

Don’t worry there won’t be any need for running after these and lets face it walking could be a challenge the next day as well.

Goal: “I want to firm up my trouble spots, fast.”

Try: Classes targeted at those specific body parts

I believe I just signed up for every class on the schedule with this recommendation.

Goal: “I need something to help me relax.”

Try: Restorative yoga or kickboxing

I’m a big fan of sleep for this one, but restorative yoga is amazing as well. Kickboxing, well maybe that’s how Rhonda Rousey relaxes, but I don’t see it being my cup of tea.

Goal: “I want to look longer and leaner.”

Try: Barre workouts or Pilates

Or you can just grab a different set of parents because I don’t believe at my age I will be looking any “longer”.

In all seriousness there is a world of group exercises and each has their benefit for what you are looking to achieve. Don’t just jump into any class, rather look at your goals and research which type of class would help you meet your target most efficiently. Are you already going to group exercise classes? If you are which ones do you enjoy and if not which goals are you looking to reach?

Read the full article on Self.com HERE

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in Active Lifestyle, All Posts and tagged , , , , , , ,

Good Decisions For Small Business Healthcare

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a small business above 50 employees is required to provide healthcare for healthcaretheir employees. These companies that have 50 or more full-time employees must provide health insurance to 95% of their employees and dependents up to age 26 or risk paying a tax penalty of $2,000 per full-time employee. An article on Forbes says, “many small businesses still do provide health care for their employees, either out of a sense of responsibility or out of a desire to attract quality candidates (or both).” Although, depending on how those plans are paid for you could run into some trouble.

Kelly Phillips Erb a writer for Forbes goes over ways to make the best choices as a small business to avoid that trouble. She states, “If it doesn’t make good fiscal sense for you to provide health insurance coverage for your employees, or if the coverage you do provide is less than ideal, consider setting up an additional health benefits plan. A Section 105 plan…allows tax-free reimbursements for expenses.”  She also goes on later to recommend using a broker and lists the benefits.

The biggest issue is that companies aren’t informed of their options and there ARE options. It is no longer just the black and white opt in or opt out group plans available to businesses. As a company are you informed of the different options available to you? Is your current situation still affordable? Let me know and in the meantime look at the recommendations from Kelly’s article on Forbes HERE

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Health Insurance, Small Business and tagged , , , ,

Workplace Healthy Snacking

healthysnackWhether you are a morning person or not I don’t know, but either way the morning tends to get away from those of us that head off to your typical 9-5 job. I am not a morning person and am lucky to get in a cup of coffee before running out the door. Starbucks knows me by name and my choices for breakfast are often a jar of caffeine rather than something of sustenance. Without a full meal I need to turn to healthy snacking instead.

A few keys to maintaining a healthy lifestyle are eating throughout the day with your first meal being right when you wake up or close to it and remaining hydrated. The thought of eating in the morning repulses me and I often don’t find myself hungry until lunch, but then I’m too busy and I look up and it’s already 5 o’clock with nothing having been consumed. Coffee is basically brown colored caffeine infused water though, so I’m good on at least half of this equation.

Bad habits all around, and I know that, so where do my habits need to change and what can be implemented to make changes? Preparing meals ahead of time is one way to remain on track, keeping a food journal is also beneficial, and accountability. Small frequent meals throughout the day help to curb hunger and give you the boost of energy you need to continue on with your tasks. Even a handful of almonds suffices as a “snack” to keep your metabolism on the up and up instead of the sedentary state mine is currently in for only eating a few peppermints nabbed from the bowl at our reception desk.

Habits start in the initial decision to make a change then develop from there. Do you consciously eat healthy throughout your workday or do you struggle with this like I do? Would you try meal prepping to stay on track? Read some tips on the Cooking Light website for healthy workplace snacks.

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in Active Lifestyle, All Posts, Wellness and tagged , , , , ,

The ACA Boasts Fewer Uninsured

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has boasted an increase in healthcare enrollment, which is to be expected as it’s Uninsuredmandatory. What do those numbers look like on paper though? In Colorado alone the uninsured have been cut by more than half over the past two years. The disheartening news is that the drop is due almost entirely to a surge in Medicaid enrollment, according to Biz Journals.

The Colorado Health Institute (CHI) and The Colorado Trust released its findings from the 2015 Colorado Health Access Survey and the increase in Medicaid enrollment was one of many things the survey revealed. Another is the way that Coloradans are buying health insurance. In a once employer-sponsored dominant healthcare market it showed 42,000 fewer workers receiving health insurance from businesses of 50 or fewer employees. This is a drop of 12% from the previous year. I’m not a betting woman, but I am betting this is due to the rising cost of employer-sponsored insurance and the fact that the ACA does not require companies that employee less than 50 to offer insurance. “That does not mean that fewer small-business employees are insured, however, as many of those workers have moved from group insurance plans to individual plans or to Medicaid, whose eligibility levels were expanded by the state in 2014”, said Michele Lueck, CHI president and CEO.

Ned Calonge, president and CEO of the Colorado Trust said, “The first big intent of the Affordable Care Act was to expand coverage. It’s achieved that. Those next pieces need the coverage piece to happen in order to work on that. We’re exactly where we need to be.” The numbers are there for individuals who are enrolled in healthcare, but now the number of under-insured individual’s needs to be looked at.

All in all the ACA has done well as its first goal was to insure Americans that were uninsured or under insured. What other areas of the ACA do you see that need to be fine-tuned?

Read the full article on Biz Journals HERE.

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Health Insurance, In The News and tagged , , , , , ,

Pro or No Vaccine?

vaccinateThe battle continues from parents on Pro or No Vaccine. As the school year starts there are many children walking through the doors without their recommended vaccines due to medical, religious or philosophical reasons. Parents who are pro-vaccine believe that those that don’t vaccinate their children are putting their children at risk. Please inform me of something though, if their children are vaccinated they are no longer at risk, so why are they worried? It is the parents that don’t vaccinate their children that are putting each others children at risk and they all sit on the same side of the fence, so why the big issue?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests vaccination schedules for children and adults but there are no federal requirements. All states have their own policies to require children to be vaccinated, but parents are able to obtain exemptions. After a large outbreak of measles that originated at Disneyland in California those that don’t vaccinate have come under more ridicule. California and Vermont have now taken away the choice of parents to exempt their children for religious or philosophical reasons.

The possible excuse of not having or not being able to afford healthcare is eliminated as well due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Preventative care is typically covered at no cost to the individual and includes routine vaccinations against diseases. The CDC puts out a recommended vaccination list for all ages and can be found HERE. If it is an issue of healthcare coverage I urge you to look into health plans for your family to ensure that your family is protected if you desire to be.

If you are one that is anti-vaccination let me know, why do you choose not to vaccinate your child? If you do vaccinate your child please tell me, what are your thoughts on those that don’t and why you choose to vaccinate?

 

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Health Insurance, In The News and tagged , , , , ,

Core Strength is the Center of it All

Core-Abdominal-MusclesWhen it comes to exercise we all want a quick fix and to snap our fingers and see results, but results take time. Exercise is not just about lifting weights or heading to the gym and running on a treadmill. Exercise is a science and core strength is at the center of it all. When we base our strength at our core we are protecting ourselves. The core is made up of several different muscle groups and those lovely rippling abdominal muscles you see are the last ones that should be worked. So which ones should we be working first?

Lets take a look at each different group of muscles that make up our core. The Transverse Abdominis are the deepest muscles and lie just under your obliques and wrap around your spine. The Multifidus Muscle rests deep in the spine and stabilizes each joint enabling each vertebra to work more effectively. The Internal Obliques lie just under the external obliques running in the opposite direction. The upper layer are the External Obliques located on both the side and front abdomen and rest on the internal obliques. The Rectus Abdominis extend along the front of the abdomen and are often referred to as the “six pack”. The Erector Spinae run from your neck to your lower back. So now that you see that the core is not just that lovely six pack what is the importance of strengthening all of these muscles.

One of the largest reasons is for protection. When the core is strong is allows you body to be rooted in its strength and can build upon that strength. In a way you can think of your core as the roots of a tree. The stronger and deeper those roots the stronger the entire tree. Much like that trees growth originating from the root so does our movement. When we move each extremity we are originating that movement in our core. Best Health Mag says, “a simple but effective exercise for building core stability is to draw in the abdominal muscles (think about your belly button pulling away from your pant line), hold for five breaths, and then relax. Repeat 10 times and is recommended 10 times a day.” This exercise is one that is practiced in yoga as well. Going into the deeper abdominal muscles first before the “six pack” is even thought of results in a better overall exercise regime.

Do you strengthen all of your core muscles or do you focus on the “six pack” abdominal’s the most? Now that you know the benefits of strengthening your deeper core muscles will you focus on those muscles now? More benefits of strengthening your deeper core muscles are on BestHealthMag.com HERE

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in Active Lifestyle, All Posts and tagged , , , , ,

Small Business Work Relationships

Business peopleEveryone wants good and healthy work relationships, but do you know how to cultivate and obtain those? There are books upon books of how to develop relationships within business partnerships, or even personal relationships outside of the workplace, but move inside of the workplace and it’s a subject that often gets pushed under the rug. There is a great article from the Houston Chronicle online that addresses just that. The article goes through a six step process, and I’ll touch on each of those.

Step 1 urges leadership to create a “clear and concise company mission statement.” As an employee it is important to understand what your companies mission statement is and to embrace it. For a true understanding of your purpose in the company then know what the mission is and take ownership in it.

Step 2 encourages teamwork. When you are part of a team you feel as if you belong and believing in what you do comes easily. Teamwork helps bond closer relationships between employees and supervisors creating more of a level playing field without the superiority feeling. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences found that respect and trust among co-workers and between supervisors and staff leads to greater collaboration, innovation and efficiency in the workplace.

Step 3 says to communicate group expectations. With expectation employees have an ability to measure their work against the expectations given. This allows for self-motivated goals to be set within the ones given by leadership.

Step 4 promotes goal setting for employees. When goals are set employees tend to want to achieve those goals. Many people are competitive by nature and setting goals and deadlines lets employees strive for the finish line.

Step 5 gives the idea of rewarding employees for a job well done or addressing issues quickly. People like to know that they are doing a good job or like constructive criticism to help them do their job better. When edification is received the desire to achieve is heightened.

Each of these items constitutes structure, but not overwhelming micromanagement. When employees are able to cultivate their relationships with each other and supervisors freely then the work environment stays a happy place to be a part of. Try to have a group outing where employees can get to know each other on a more personal level away from work. How do you think your company does on maintaining and cultivating work relationships?

Read the full article from the Houston Chronicle HERE

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Small Business and tagged , , , ,

HSA for Retirement

Open Enrollment for 2016 healthcare plans are around the corner and we don’t want you to miss the benefits that a HSAHealth Savings Account (HSA) can offer you. An HSA is a tax-exempt trust of custodial account that can be set up to pay for future medical expenses. This type of plan is incredibly beneficial who are looking to save money for retirement and here is why.

HSA accounts allow you to put tax deductible contributions into your account up to $3,300 for an individual or $6,550 for a family. If you were 55 or older in 2014 you can add an additional 1,000 dollars to each of those numbers. The money you contribute accrues interest and the earnings are tax-free and you are able to pay for your qualifying medical expenses out of that account also tax-free. This can be a wise way for both older and younger individuals looking to invest, that know their investment capital is around the maximum contribution allowed or less. If the ability to contribute more than the maximum contribution amount you might want to look at an IRA instead.

Another great bonus to an HSA account is that the funds remain in your account year after year even if you do not use them for medical expenses that year. Once you hit retirement age you can withdraw those funds tax-free even if you are not using the funds for a medical expense. The stipulation to have an HSA is that you must be enrolled in a high deductible health plan. That said in order to take advantage of the tax breaks this plan works best if you are relatively healthy and have low medical expenses. It can also save you money on taxes if you are spending significant dollars annually on healthcare.

This year when you are looking at plans for yourself or your family make sure to ask your broker about Health Savings Accounts and if it would be a wise choice for you. Are you already familiar with HSA’s or is this something new for you?

Read the full article on U.S. News HERE

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Did You Know?, Health Insurance and tagged , , ,

1/3 The Healthcare Providers?

In a recent Washington Post article it was reported that, “Consumers who bought insurance on the health exchanges last year had access to one-third fewer doctors and hospitals, on average, than people with traditional employer-provided coverage” This is not necessarily a negative though as the smaller networks are typically negotiated contracts with the healthcare provider to offer lower costs which results in a lower premium price.

Healthcare Providers
An analysis by Avalere Health said, “Compared with traditional employer coverage, exchange plans had networks with 42 percent fewer cancer and cardiac specialists; 32 percent fewer mental health and primary-care doctors, and 24 percent fewer hospitals.” As stated above the negotiated contracts between healthcare providers and insurance carriers helps control cost. There are plans on the healthcare exchange that provide broader networks, but you are paying for that network in higher premium.

The real issue is not that the network is small, but whether a doctor stays on the network for the entire calendar year. At Design Health we have seen instances where an individual signs up for their health plan in January and their doctor is in network, but by March the doctor has ended their contract and is no longer participating in that network. Unfortunately a consumer is locked into their health plan for the calendar year, unless there is a qualifying event, whereas the healthcare provider can jump ship.

Often times consumers are informed of the network access their health plan provides and understand that there are both in and out of network providers. When the consumer is informed they go to great lengths to make sure their provider is in-network so they do not end up with a full out of pocket payment for services. Although, for those not informed they believe they can go to any doctor because they have insurance. In this instance it doesn’t matter if the network is narrow or broad, if a consumer doesn’t do their research they run the risk of paying much higher prices.

Are you a consumer that understands your healthcare network? When you enrolled in healthcare did you make sure that your doctors were included in the health plan you chose?

Read the full article from the Washington Post HERE

 

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Health Insurance, In The News and tagged , , , ,