Archive for February, 2012

Health Insurance Not Likely to Pay for this Surgery

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Did you know that it’s possible to have surgery and make yourself grow?  A man from New York has undergone two surgeries now to make himself taller, and so far, they have been successful.  ABC News’ Denise Martinez-Ramundo and Bill Ritter talk about this cutting edge surgery in the story “New York Man ‘Grows’ Six Inches Through Surgery.”  He is 37 years old and wishes to stay anonymous until everything is complete and he knows that it was a success.

The man has gone from 5’6″ to 6′ tall through his leg lengthening surgeries.  In the surgery, the leg bone is broken in two and a metal rod is inserted right into the center of the broken bones.  This telescopic rod pulls the bone apart approximately one millimeter each day.  Soon new bone grows around the area and other body parts, like muscle, regenerate around it.  This surgery costs $85,000 and is not likely to be covered by health insurance, so you better be sure that it’s your wisest investment.  The healing process can take months as well.

Not many doctors in the United States perform this leg lengthening procedure, but one in West Palm Beach, Florida performed 650 of these surgeries last year.  While most were related to dwarfism or deformities, there are definitely a growing number of cosmetic surgeries as well.  Height dysphoria, or people unhappy with their height, is one of the only psychiatric disorders that a doctor can cure through surgery.  I bet health insurance companies are watching this story and waiting to see what the future holds for this kind of height increasing surgery.

Health Care Reform Changes Affect Doctor’s Visits

Friday, February 17th, 2012

If you are wondering what changes you’ll see at your doctor’s office when all of the health care reform takes effect, U.S. News & World Report did some research to let us know.  Their article, “4 health reform changes to expect at your doctor’s office,” was written last year, so you may have already begun seeing changes.  Since all of the health care reform changes haven’t taken effect, you will continue to see these four things starting at your doctor’s offices.

The article says that doctors will need to embrace change and work with other specialists to reduce health problems, therefore reducing health care costs.  First of all, you will start getting the exact amount of care that you need.  This means that extra tests and medications will not be used when they aren’t medically necessary.  A Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute will work to help doctors determine exactly what tests are needed and when medications are needed so that unnecessary things are cut out.  Compare health insurance care in the past and many doctors ordered extra tests and medications to cover their behind because they weren’t exactly sure what to do.

A team of health care professionals will now work with you.  This includes your doctor, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, physicians assistants and more, depending on your health needs.  You may even get contacted by someone from your team to remind you of follow-up or preventative care.  You team will have incentives to keep you healthy, cutting down the cost of health insurance rates and health care in general.  All doctors will be expected to use electronic medical records and prescriptions, cutting down on the mass amounts of errors of the past.  Many have already started this and the hope is that all doctors and hospitals will be able to work together to increase efficiency and your overall health.

Gossipers Should Have Lower Health Insurance Rates

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

According to Linda Wasmer Andrews’ Yahoo! Health article, “How gossip is good for you,” some gossip is good for your health.  Researchers from Berkeley’s University of California found that gossip helps ease frustration as well as lessening the increased heart rate that goes hand in hand with your frustration.  Maybe you can lower your health insurance rates if you can prove to your insurance company that you are a big gossip!  Prosocial gossip, or that which helps others avoid a bad circumstance by letting them know about someone’s bad behaviors, is what was researched.

One of the studies involved volunteers watching people playing a game, including someone who was cheating at the game.  As the volunteers watched, their heart rates increased watching the cheating.  But those volunteers who passed notes to the other participants letting them in on the cheating did not have the increased heart rate associated with the frustrations.  The study seems to show that letting someone know that their potential mate has been a cheater or that their potential business contact has a shady past can help your health as well as helping them avoid a conflict.

Studies have shown that gossip is both natural and normal.  Group behavior can be enhanced with a little gossip and people tend to behave a little better when the potential for gossip is there.  While there is some gossip that is just plain selfish and can be hurtful, “good” gossip can help groups build alliances and keep group members’ behavior in check.  While it’s unlikely that Aultcare or other health insurance companies will start promoting gossip for it’s health benefits, ads promoting gossip would likely be a good way to garner attention.


Susan G. Komen For the Cure Suffers a Loss

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

After the raging battle between Susan G. Komen For the Cure and Planned Parenthood last month, a top official from Komen has resigned.  The breast cancer charity organization revoked funding to Planned Parenthood because they are under investigation for using federal funding to pay for abortions.  It is against the law to do that, but Planned Parenthood has always asserted that they do not nor have they ever used federal funding in such a way.  Sadly, this political debate really affected women who use Planned Parenthood for an array of health care services.

The decision by Komen was reversed after a few days and heavy backlash across the country.  Komen’s Vice President for public policy, Karen Handel, resigned today because of this ordeal.  According to Ray Henry’s Associated Press article, “Komen exec quits after funding flap,” Handel fully supported the decision to cut funding and is displeased that Komen reversed their decision.  Handel believes the funding cut was in the best interest of both Komen and the women they help.

Nancy Brinker, the founder and CEO of Komen, says that the company has made mistakes in the past few weeks and is planning to learn from them and strive for better in the future.  Brinker denies the criticism that Komen gave in to anti-abortion groups and pressure from Republicans.  After a failed run for Governor in Georgia last year, Handel was brought on as Vice President at Komen.  She has never denied her anti-abortion stance and  source at Komen says Handel was the driving force in this funding cut decision.  Regardless of whose decision it was, the reversal not only helps millions of women with little to no health insurance get breast cancer screenings, it also brought in sizable charity donations for both organizations over the past few weeks.