As the end of the year approaches, schedule time to review your medical needs. You may want to seek treatment that improves your health and allows you to meet your deductible.
Your health insurance deductible is the amount of money you pay before your insurance kicks in and covers your medical bills. Depending on your health insurance, you may have a low or high deductible that covers every type of medical treatment or applies to specific treatment. Call your insurance company or read your benefits paperwork to verify the deductible you owe. Your deductible will also be listed on your Explanation of Benefits (EOB).
Why Meet Your Annual Deductible
You’ll want to meet your deductible early in the year, if possible. However, it’s not too late to meet your deductible in November or December as you gain several benefits.
First, you’ll maximize your insurance coverage. After you meet your deductible, your insurance benefits will cover additional medical treatment. You pay for insurance and might as well use it.
Second, postponing important medical treatment and preventative care can increase your pain, suffering and treatment expenses. You could end up needing an even more expensive operation or extra therapy and other treatment in the future because you don’t prioritize your health now.
Finally, your deductible may rise if you switch insurance policies in January. In this case, your medical expenses will increase, so utilize your benefits and save money before your coverage switches.
How to Meet Your Deductible
Consider these ways to meet your deductible before the end of the year.
- Order a 90-day supply of your prescription medicine.
Spend a bit of extra money now to meet your deductible and ensure you have enough medication to start the new year off right.
- See an out-of-network doctor.
Now’s the time to get a second opinion or see a specialist that’s not covered in your insurance network. You’ll pay the total cost of the visit out-of-pocket, but it generally counts toward your deductible. Then, the next step in your treatment could be covered fully by your insurance.
- Pursue alternative treatment.
Visit a chiropractor, acupuncturist or other professional that provides alternative treatment for your health concerns. This specialist can help you discover your optimal health and reach your deductible.
- Get your eyes examined.
If your health insurance covers eye exams, visit the optometrist. Invest in your eye health, and purchase the new glasses or contact lenses you need.
You will save money and protect your health when you meet your annual deductible before December 31. For more information on your deductible or health benefits, reach out to your insurance agent.
10 months ago ·
by Erin Carlson ·
With more people working remotely and spending the entire day looking at computers and phones, they are at risk for eyestrain.
We recommend that they follow these basic precautions.
- Look away from the monitor for 30 seconds, every 15 or 20 minutes. Look at or scan things at least 20 feet away to allow your eyes to focus in a rest position.
- Reposition the monitor 20” to 26” from your eyes (roughly the distance from your eyes to the end of your index finger with arm outstretched). Otherwise, you’ll be forced to sit or lean too close to the screen, or sit too far away. If your eyeglass prescription doesn’t allow clear vision at the 20” to 26” range, get it adjusted.
- Reset monitor height so that the top edge is even with your view when looking straight ahead. Then tilt the screen upward so that you’re not looking at the image at an angle. The optimal screen position is 10 to 20 degrees below eye level.
- Reset the monitor screen resolution, the Internet browser text size, and the zoom and font default in the operating system and in software applications so that text is easy to read. Start with a screen resolution of 800×600 for older CRT monitors and 1024×768 or higher for LCD (flat screen) monitors. Set the monitor refresh rate at or above 75 hertz (Hz) on older CRT models. Refresh rate is irrelevant for LCD monitors and is factory set, usually 60 Hz.
- Blink often (put a sticky note on your monitor!). The average blink rate is 22 times per minute. The rate goes down to seven per minute when looking at a monitor – which causes the eye lens to dry out. If you can’t get into the habit of blinking more often, use an eye moistener (saline solution).
- Relax your eye muscles. Put the palm of your hands over your eyes for a minute or so, once every half hour. This warms the muscles around the eyes, relaxing them.
- Minimize glare. Make sure the background light level around the monitor is about the same as the screen light level. Minimize direct sunlight or bright lights in front of the monitor or directly behind it.
- Adjust the contrast and brightness to levels you use when reading a book comfortably. A bright screen causes eyestrain.
- Use a paper holder to hold documents. Put the document at the same level as the monitor, or attach it to the monitor. This prevents repetitive neck and eye movement from paper to screen.
11 months ago ·
by Erin Carlson ·
Happy Father’s Day! What do you most appreciate about being a dad? With Father’s Day approaching, there’s no better time than today to protect your health. Learn about the top health risks men face and ways to combat these risks so that you can enjoy many more years with your children.
1. Heart Disease
The top killer of men, heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease are preventable. However, you will need to address the leading causes of heart disease. Do that when you stop smoking, lower your blood pressure, reduce your bad cholesterol levels and get your diabetes under control. An exercise regimen and healthy diet also help.
2. Lung Cancer
The top cancer among men is also the most preventable. Because smoking is the cause of 90 percent of lung cancer cases, talk with your health insurance company about available cessation programs and tools that assist you in getting healthy today.
3. Prostate Cancer
The second-leading cancer in men, prostate cancer can be prevented when men undergo an annual prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and rectal exam. These tests should begin by age 50 or sooner if this cancer runs in your family or if you eat a high-fat diet.
If diabetes isn’t controlled, you could contract vascular disease, which leads to heart attacks, amputations, blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage. Medical treatment, a balanced diet, routine exercise and an active lifestyle can help you prevent or control diabetes.
Four times as many men than women commit suicide. Men are also more likely than women to resist treatment for depression, frustration and other challenges. Asking for help is a sign of strength and can help you cope with life before you feel self-hated or a desire to commit suicide.
As a dad, focus on your health this Father’s Day. Schedule a physical exam with your primary care physician, and commit to living a healthier lifestyle. Your children will thank you.
Numerous environmental conditions at your workplace and/or home can cause you to suffer an allergic reaction that ranges from mild to life-threatening. Consider these tips as you reduce allergens and protect yourself.
Depending on your job and workplace, you may be exposed to numerous allergens as you work. Consider this partial list.
- Latex gloves or equipment
- Ink toner
- Cleaning chemicals
- Floor wax
- Cigarette smoke
- Food, including nuts and dairy
- Paint fumes
- Pet dander
Possible Allergic Reactions
The allergic reaction you experience can be mildly annoying or severe and life threatening. Be aware of these possible reactions.
- Contact dermatitis
- Swelling around your mouth or elsewhere
- Trouble breathing
- Anaphylactic shock
What to do if you Have an Allergic Reaction
Seek medical treatment as soon as you suspect you’re having an allergic reaction. To provide the best possible treatment, your doctor or emergency medical personnel may ask for a list of possible allergens to which you may have been exposed.
How to Prevent Allergic Reactions
While you can’t always prevent allergen exposure, you can advocate for an allergen-free work environment. Ask about switching to natural cleaning supplies or banning peanut butter as you remove allergens that affect you and your co-workers.
You may also take protective measures. Wear gloves, use a respirator or open a window as you reduce exposure to your known allergens.
Request special accommodations, too, especially if you have a known allergy. According to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), you’re considered disabled if your allergy limits your activity level. In this case, you can request that your employer improve ventilation throughout the building or allow you to work a different shift when allergen use is limited.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
By law, your employer must provide a safe work environment. If you suffer an allergic reaction to chemicals, cleaning supplies or something else and can’t perform your job, you may be eligible to file a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Workers’ Compensation benefits could cover your medical treatment, a portion of your lost wages and other expenses. However, you must prove that the allergic reaction stemmed from something at work and not food, medication or another environmental condition you encounter at home or elsewhere.
If working conditions or environmental factors cause you to suffer an allergic reaction, you can file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Discuss your specific case with your Human Resources manager and doctor as you protect yourself at work.
Thanks to your health insurance policy, you can receive routine checkups, specialist consultations, lifesaving medications and necessary procedures for just a few dollars a month. Your premiums may be rising this year, though, because of increased health insurance policy costs and decreases in your employer’s budget. Instead of dropping your coverage or paying a fortune for health insurance, stay healthy and balance your personal budget in the new year with six tips.
1. Review Your Benefits
Does your current health insurance policy include vision, dental or prescription medicine coverage that you rarely use? Dropping these options could reduce your health insurance costs.
2. Shop for Private or Government Exchange Health Insurance
Instead of automatically accepting your employer’s coverage with higher monthly premiums or fewer benefits, shop around. Private or state sponsored health insurance could be a more affordable option for you.
3. Increase Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Put your good health to good use and elect to pay lower monthly premiums in favor of higher out-of-pocket expenses. Yes, your deductible and copays will increase, but you could save money in the long run.
4. Consider Joining Your Spouse’s Policy
If your spouse or partner has employer-sponsored health insurance, discuss the costs of joining his or her policy. You could save money by switching to family coverage instead of carrying individual policies.
You should also check out your options after qualifying events occur in your life. In those cases, you may be able to switch your health insurance coverage and save money. Those events include:
- Child Birth or Adoption
- Legal Separation or Divorce
- Death of Spouse or a Dependent
5. Rethink Insurance Options When You’re Laid Off
January is a typical month for downsizing. If you lose your job, you could be eligible for Cobra (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). You continue to pay your health insurance premiums plus a two percent administrative fee, and your insurance does not lapse.
The costs of COBRA can be expensive, though, especially when you aren’t receiving a paycheck. You have 60 days to decide if you want your COBRA benefits or not, so start researching private options as you make the best financial decision for you.
6. Get and Stay Healthy
Little things like exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet and quitting smoking can reduce your health care costs since you’ll see the doctor less often. Additionally, your employer may offer wellness incentives for healthy living that can reduce your premium costs. Even if they aren’t offered, you will save money when you get and stay healthy.
This January, take time to review your health insurance. With these six tips, you can save money, be healthy and stay on budget in the new year.
Get a good night’s sleep, and you’re more likely to wake up alert, energetic, happy and able to function. Since November is National Sleep Comfort Month, implement six tips that help you sleep better and more comfortably.
1. Invest in a Quality Mattress and Comfortable Bedding
Your sleep comfort depends largely on your mattress. If it’s lumpy, hard or scratchy, you’ll toss and turn instead of truly resting. Visit a local mattress store today and invest in the best mattress and bedding you can afford. It will quickly pay for itself as you sleep better and enjoy greater productivity and happiness.
2. Lower the Temperature
Because your body heat rises slightly as you sleep, you’ll be more comfortable when you lower your bedroom temperature by a few degrees. Opening a window or turning on a fan produces the same results.
3. Limit Big Evening Meals
Visiting the buffet for dinner tasted good at the time, but a large evening meal increases overnight discomfort. It will keep you awake and give you indigestion and heartburn. Step away from the kitchen at least two hours before bed. If you need a snack, indulge in a small portion of cereal with milk, fruit or granola.
4. Skip Alcohol and Caffeine
Your late-afternoon coffee affects your sleep 10 to 12 hours after you drink it. Your nightcap might make you drowsy, but the alcohol will wake you in the middle of the night. To boost your afternoon energy level, grab an apple, walnuts or cheese. If you want an alcoholic drink at night, enjoy it at least two hours before bedtime.
When you’re anxious, tense or stressed, your body won’t be able to relax. Practice yoga, deep breathing and visualization. As you relax your mind, your body will follow, and you’ll enjoy more comfortable sleep.
6. See Your Doctor
If you still can’t get comfortable at night, talk to your doctor. Discuss physical or mental issues that might be preventing you from getting adequate rest. Check with your insurance agent, too, about whether chiropractor visits or specialty pillows are covered by your insurance.
With a good night’s sleep, you wake up in a good mood and ready to tackle the day.