Archive for January, 2012

Superfoods You Should Be Eating for Your Health

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

When you compare health insurance quotes, they may be lower if you adopt healthy behaviors like not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.  I wonder if you can get a discount on your health insurance quotes by eating some of the seven healthiest foods.  While that may be a stretch, keeping healthy is important and if simply eating the right foods can help you with that, why not do it.  According to Matthew Thompson’s Eating Well article, “7 of the healthiest foods you should be eating but aren’t,” there are great health benefits to some foods that you aren’t likely eating.

Kale is filled with antioxidants to fight cancer, as well as Vitamins A & C, so try to eat more of this dark green vegetable.  While many people are turned off by the thought of sardines, Rachael Ray assures me they just add a salty, nutty flavor.  They are also Vitamin D and the omega-3 fats that keep your heart healthy and your mood happy.  Pomegranates are fairly time-consuming to prepare, but are well worth it for their antioxidants that fight off cancer, Alzheimers, and heart disease.  Drinking pomegranate juice is much easier and still low in calories and rich in antioxidants.

The high fiber and slow-release carbohydrates in oatmeal help to make it a superfood.  These things help lower your bad cholesterol and your body fat.  Quinoa is loaded with both fiber and protein and cooks up fast.  The combination of high fiber and protein also helps you feel full for longer.  Kefir is a dairy product similar to yogurt but in a drinkable form.  Its filled with probiotics to keep your immune system working hard and almost one-third of your daily calcium.  Lentils are good for protein, fiber, iron, and folate.  These are surely not the only superfoods, but they are those that the author believes are most overlooked.  Health insurance companies welcome any healthy behavior by their participants and may even promote eating some of these superfoods.

Drink Coffee to Prevent Diabetes

Friday, January 20th, 2012

The Los Angeles Times published an article by Marni Jameson of The Orlando Sentinel about coffee preventing Type 2 Diabetes.  In “Coffee helps prevent diabetes, now scientists learn why,” the author says that scientists believe they have figured out why coffee helps prevent diabetes.  It is not new information that those who drink four cups of coffee a day lower their diabetes risk, but this is the first time that scientists think they have figured out why.

The substance hIAPP, human islet amyloid polypeptide, is linked to diabetes.  This new research out of China shows that coffee inhibits the substance hIAPP.  The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry published the Chinese researchers’ study.  Many scientists have been trying to find a way to block hIAPP and this research found that the caffeine and caffeic acid in coffee significantly block hIAPP.  The pancreas of a diabetic has very high levels of that substance.

While it may be a stretch to suggest that health insurance companies will start recommending coffee drinking to their plan participants, they sure aren’t likely to deter them.  Four cups of coffee per day lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 50%.  With each added cup of coffee per day, your risk is lowered by another 7%.  Since 95% of the cases of diabetes are Type 2, this is important research for everyone.  Paula Deen’s recent announcement that she is a Type 2 diabetic has the disease as a top headline in the news right now.  Eating healthy and exercising are great preventative measures, and it looks like we can add coffee to that list as well.

CIGNA Health Insurance Rates Increasing 44% in Arizona

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Federal regulators have taken over some of Arizona’s health insurance rate increase reviews.  Any health insurance company requesting a rate increase of 10% or more will be subject to a review from the federal government now.  This information comes from Ken Alltucker of The Republic’s article, “Arizona health-insurance companies targeted.”  “Unreasonable” was the term used by the federal government for Trustmark Life Insurance Co.’s requested health insurance rate increase of 13%.  If you compare health insurance quotes in Arizona, many companies are increasing them without following the federal requirements that 80-85% of collected money be spent on medical costs.

Thirty-two other health insurance companies in Arizona will be reviewed by federal regulators as well, with requested increases between 14-44%.  CIGNA health insurance of Arizona has a proposed rate increase of 44% for its small business plan.  Their individual health insurance plan has a proposed rate increase of 21%.  A company spokesperson says that these plans have been losing money for multiple years.  Insurance companies in Arizona are pushing the state’s Department of Insurance to increase their regulations so that the federal government backs off.

Trustmark’s review has already been completed and they have been told by the Department of Health and Human Services to refund consumers or give a reason for not doing so.  Their proposed 13% increase for a small group insurance plan is actually an 18.1% increase once you account for another increase Trustmark had within the last year.  DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius points out that the company is using too much money for administrative expenses and not enough on paying for medical care.  The Affordable Care Act stresses the importance of this expense ratio.  The government regulators plan to review the remaining Arizona plans soon.

Health Insurance Rates Lower with Fewer Unnecessary Dr. Visits for Kids

Monday, January 9th, 2012

It’s hard for parents to determine when they should take their sick kids into the doctor and when it is okay to ride it out at home.  With the rising health insurance rates, co-pays and deductibles, you don’t want to be at the doctor weekly when they are just going to send you home and say that time will be the healer.  Parents magazine’s Kristyn Kusek Lewis tells us the “12 Kids’ Symptoms You Should Never Ignore.”

Fevers are important to watch because they can signal serious internal problems, but a fever isn’t always dangerous.  Based on your child’s age, know the temperature your doctor wants to see your child at, no matter what other symptoms they may have.  This is typically 100.4 for infants and 103 for children up to 2 years of age.  If your child has a fever that isn’t lowering with treatment, has lasted longer than 5 days, or comes along with a stiff neck, headache or dangerous rash; they should see the doctor.

Rashes that look like a bullseye or red dots that don’t disappear when you press down on the area can be dangerous and should be checked by a doctor.  Also make sure to check your child’s moles for any changes from year to year.  Moles they have had since birth have a greater chance of becoming cancerous.  Appendicitis symptoms include lower right side abdomen pain or stomach pain that is crampy and comes in waves.  Treating conditions before they worsen is crucial to the well-being of your family.  It can also save you money with a health plan like Go Blue Florida, which covers more basic doctors visits.

A headache that occurs first thing in the morning, wakes a child from sleep, or comes with vomiting is likely a migraine.  Signs of dehydration include dry mouth and lips, excessive vomiting or diarrhea, lessened urination, and skin that is dry or stays bunched up when pinched.  Very labored breathing or irregular sounds while breathing are serious and warrant a trip to the doctor or ER.  Swelling of the tongue, lips, or eyes, or extreme itchiness or vomiting indicate an allergic reaction.  Any fall for an infant or a high fall with visible signs of injury or neurological changes should be treated by a doctor.  Finally, any cut that is wide enough to fit a cotton swab or continues bleeding after a few minutes of applied pressure should be treated by a doctor.  Parents have to go with their instincts when treating their kids, but this guide could help save some unnecessary doctor visits.