Category Archive - Health News

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1/3 Of Breast Cancer Cases Are Preventable

Friday, March 26th, 2010

(Image: JOPHIELsmiles under CC 3.0)

Fighting breast cancer is an ordeal that no person should have to go through. The vast majority of sufferers are women. Not only does it take a toll on your physical and mental health, but it is also associated with financial hardship. Although the passage of healthcare reform means that your health insurance can no longer be revoked for developing the disease, it is still something you would like to avoid.

Much breast cancer is genetic or due to general environmental factors, but a new study shows that up to one-third of the diagnoses of breast cancer in America may be preventable. What do the doctors suggest? They believe that avoiding smoking, limiting sun exposure, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help ward off the cancer.

Higher screening rates have helped reduce the incidence of breast cancer (as well as increase survival rates). If you’re a woman, make sure that your individual health insurance policy covers mammograms and regular gynecologist visits.

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What will happen in 2014 with Health Bill

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

(Image: Zef Delgadillo under CC 3.0)

The sweeping healthcare bill is going to impact nearly all Americans. Some changes will take effect immediately, others will happen in 2014. Here are highlights of provisions that won’t impact people right away.

Health Insurance Exchanges will be created to make it easier for small businesses, uninsured and self employed to buy affordable health insurance. Once the insurance exchanges open health insurance companies will no longer be able to charge hike up the prices of premiums or deny sick people coverage.

Mandated Coverage will be implemented if the Senate approves the bill. Those who don’t get health insurance by 2014 will face a fine of $95 or 1 percent of their income whichever one is higher. The plan however exempts poorer families, and subsidies will be provided to families in need.

Medicaid Expansion will go into effect and will help childless adults living near poverty.

Tax breaks will be provided to families for healthcare depending on their annual income.

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What the Health Bill Means for Young Adults

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

(Image: Zef Delgadillo under CC 3.0)

People between ages 19 and 29 are more likely to be uninsured than most other groups. Young adults are also more likely to visit the Emergency Room than many other groups. No one should start out their adult life under a mountain of medical bills. Even a basic individual health insurance plan will limit exposure to unexpected medical costs. Individual health insurance plans for adults ages 18-24 can be as low as $100/month, or less. A health plan can save you thousands of dollars in the event you need emergency care.

What’s more, the health bill extends specific provisions that reach out to young adults. Effective immediately, the legislation allows those through age 26 who do not have medical insurance to remain on their parents’ policies at their parents’ discretion. Currently, states regulate the age at which children are kicked off their parents’ insurance policies. Generally, it’s around 18 years old. Plans will be much more affordable for young adults under the new bill.

There is also immediate help for uninsured individuals with pre-existing conditions. This applies to young adults and all other Americans. The health bill includes a $5 billion fund to finance an immediate, temporary insurance program for those who are uninsurable because of pre-existing conditions.

If you need help finding coverage, health insurance agents will help you compare the costs of various plans at no additional charge.

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4 Reasons Not to Wait any Longer for Health Insurance

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

(Image: Zef Delgadillo under CC 3.0)

1. Pre-existing Conditions Protection If you are refused coverage because of your health, you can get medical insurance from a new high-risk pool. The pool will be established within six months and will operate until 2014, when insurance companies can no longer refuse applicants with pre-existing health problems. Annual out-of-pocket medical costs will be capped at $5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for families.

2. Healthcare is Pricey Healthcare is more expensive when you are uninsured. Medical services are double the cost when you don’t have coverage. Those without insurance are usually charged full price because they don’t qualify for discounts others receive under good health insurance plans.

3. Uninsured Risks Often times, uninsured individuals end up in financial debt due to outstanding medical cost. In fact, medical bills are a leading cause of personal bankruptcy among Americans. The reality is you never know when a medical emergency will happen to you or a loved one, but having health coverage will reduce the chances of crippling medical costs.

4. Youth offers no protection Young adults tend to go without health insurance believing that coverage is just for seniors or sick people. However, persons between the ages of 19 and 29 are more likely to visit the emergency room because they don’t have health insurance. No one should start out their adult life with a mountain of medical bills.

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Poorer Girls Dying of Preventable Cancer

Friday, March 19th, 2010

(Image: Zef Delgadillo under CC 3.0)

Poorer girls are not getting a vaccine that would save their lives because they can’t afford it.

Mississippi and Arkansas, two of the nation’s poorest states, also have the highest death rates from cervical cancer. The reason is many girls who live in both states don’t have affordable medical insurance, and as a result don’t receive health screenings, and basic care.

The cancer prevention vaccine, Gardasil, is administered a lot more frequently in wealthier states, and the impact is quite evident. In the wealthier state of Rhode Island, cervical cancer mortality is half as high as in Mississippi and Arkansas, 55% of girls received Gardasil.

The only hope for improving such inequalities is in the government. Congressional leaders are slated to vote on a health bill this weekend. If passed, the government will cover the cost of insurance for millions of people without good health coverage.

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Small County Helps Workers Get Healthcare

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

One small restaurant is not waiting for the White House to solve the healthcare dilemma. In downtown Pueblo, Colo., a restaurant called Gold Dust Saloon is helping its employees buy affordable health insurance.

The company is one of 30 participating in a county program to provide low-cost coverage to employees of small businesses. The program is called the “three share”. The cost of insurance is split three ways; cooks and waitresses from the restaurant pay a portion, and the worker and the community cover the remaining balance. In Pueblo, two local hospitals pay the community portion.

The program is the only way such employees can afford medical coverage. Many small businesses have stopped offering workers group health insurance due to skyrocketing premiums. The three share program is helpful but only reaches out to a small group. Millions of others still have no one to help cover their insurance costs.

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Minorities Struggle with Alzheimer’s

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

The Alzheimer’s Association has released a study that says African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to develop dementia. The troubling disease is taking over the lives of more minorities due to lack of good health insurance.

The study found that African-Americans are about two times more likely and Hispanics are about 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The reason for this is not believed to be genetics, but rather their lack of comprehensive medical care.

Some family members ignore signs of Alzheimer’s, victims are unaware, and before you know it the disease matures into a stage beyond doctors’ control.

Those with the disease often times don’t have access to affordable medical insurance which lessens their quality of life. Other conditions linked to the Alzheimer’s often go untreated including diabetes and high blood pressure.

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Young Black Women at High Risk of Health Problems

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Black women are more likely than white women to have heart problems around the time they deliver a baby according to a new study. The new findings say some young black women develop a potentially deadly weakening of the heart muscle around the time they give birth.

Symptoms of peripartum cardiomyopathy, which typically occurs in the last month of pregnancy or the first few months after delivery, include shortness of breath, particularly when lying down. The death rate is between 15% and 56%.

While 55% of the women in the study were white, 93% of the 28 women who developed peripartum cardiomyopathy were black. One of the 2 women died and another required a heart transplant. Such health concerns is why it is essential for women to have good health insurance. Medical care for these type of complications are very costly without health coverage. You should get coverage before you become pregnant as many health insurance companies will consider being pregnant a pre existing condition and may deny you coverage.

According to the study, the main factor causing the heart problems is being black. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, being unmarried, smoking during pregnancy and having more than two previous pregnancies. The best way to avoid these risk factors is through the guidance of a doctor. Affordable health insurance allows you to receive regular check-ups, screenings and other needed care.

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Fighting Cavities Among Children

Monday, March 1st, 2010

The state of Massachusetts is helping keep kids teeth healthy. Massachusetts is now the first state to require tooth-brushing for kids who spend more than four hours a day or have meals in licensed centers. Children will brush their teeth themselves or get help from a caretaker during the day. However, parents who don’t want their kids to participate may opt out.

The move in Massachusetts comes after experts say the number of children with cavities is on the rise. In part, experts blame the increase on the same dietary changes causing a record number of overweight youngsters: constant snacking on processed foods, fewer fruits and vegetables, more sugary drinks at younger ages, including juice in baby bottles and sippy cups.

This program is needed because tooth decay leads to expensive dental work. It is especially pricey for parents whose children don’t have affordable medical insurance. And if parents let cavities go untreated, they spread to other teeth.

Inexpensive health insurance is a great way to reduce risk of cavities. It encourages parents to take children for regular checkups at the dentist.

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Wii Games Helping Stroke Survivors

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Those popular Wii games are offering a new benefit this time to stroke survivors. Patients who play active Wii video games are having fun and also regaining lost strength and motor skills in the process.

In a first-of-its-kind study, 11 stroke victims with weakness in their arms could reach out and grab objects more easily and more quickly after two weeks of playing the active video games. Other stroke survivors who engaged in card and block games showed no change in arm strength.

Virtual gaming is probably effective because patients are engaged and having fun for hours and at the same time improving their strength.

Until the video games prove safe in larger numbers of stroke survivors — shoulder pain being the main concern — it’s too soon to recommend people start playing Wii games after stroke, researchers say.

This is a significant finding because thousands of Americans are affected by strokes every year. A Stroke can cause death or significant disability, such as paralysis, speech difficulties, and emotional problems. Those with health insurance are at a lower risk for strokes. Also, those who engage in healthy eating and exercise decrease their chances of stroke.

Here are a few ways to help prevent stroke:

  • Avoid fatty foods. Follow a healthy, low-fat diet.
  • Do not drink more than 1 to 2 alcoholic drinks a day.
  • Exercise regularly: 30 minutes a day if you are not overweight; 60 – 90 minutes a day if you are overweight.
  • Get medical insurance and have your blood pressure checked every 1 – 2 years, especially if high blood pressure runs in your family.
  • Have your cholesterol checked. If you are at high risk for stroke, your LDL “bad” cholesterol should be lower
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