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Don't Lose Your Beach Body

You worked hard for that beach body. Hours at the gym, making sure that you ate food that was fueling your body and not packing on the pounds! But fall is here, and winter is coming *cue game of thrones theme song here*. And sometimes that is a natural excuse to let yourself fall into bad habits. We can start to indulge in not working out as much because it’s colder now or allowing ourselves have a second helping of dessert because apparently, this is the season for baked goods and candy. But here are some suggestions to help you keep fit during the fall and winter:

Join a Gym

Some of you may already have your gym membership, but for those who don’t, having a membership can be a great motivator. This is especially helpful if you purchase a few one and one sessions with a trainer. They can tailor your workouts to help you reach your goals.

Buy some DVD workouts

If going to the gym is not a good fit for you, working out in your home is a great option. You can find such a range of workouts that will fit your level of intensity. There are also countless options for types of exercises. If you like to dance, you should try Zumba. Want to be more limber, try yoga. If you’re going to hold off on buying DVD’s there are thousands of workout videos available on Youtube.

Switch it up

For those of you that work out regularly already, sometimes it’s good to switch things up in the fall and winter months. If you work out in the evenings, it can be helpful to move your workouts to the mornings. When the sun sets earlier, it’s easy to feel like your day is done and working out is not as big of a priority. But if you start your day out with a workout, it can help with motivation, your mood, and metabolism.

These are just a few options for how to stay motivated during the winter months. Keeping your health a priority helps you live longer and enjoy your life more.

Flu Season

Flu Season

The beginning of October not only ushers in the fall season, but it also ushers in the Flu Season. Many people experience sickness during the fall and winter, but the flu can be much more dangerous. Especially for children, adults over 65, people with compromised immune system and pregnant women. One of the best ways to help yourself during this flu season is to participate in preventative care:

 

Get the Vaccine:
Getting a flu vaccine can help significantly lower the probability that you will get the flu. You develop antibodies to the flu just two weeks after getting the shot. You can get the flu shot at your doctor’s office, but they are also available at most pharmacies as well. Click on this link to find where you can find the vaccine locally: https://vaccinefinder.org/

 

Don’t be around sick people
One of the easiest ways to avoid getting sick is to avoid going around people who are sick. But that can be difficult. You can’t just avoid going out of your house from October to May. But to the best of your ability, try and avoid being in close contact with people who are ill.

 

Stay at home if sick
Another great way to avoid spreading the flu is to avoid going to work or school if you are sick. One of the best ways to get over your illness is to rest, and you are not getting sufficient rest when you are working. Also, you are helping all of your work and schoolmates by not spreading your germs to them.
Cover your mouth and wash hands.
This may seem like common sense, but these ordinary acts can help a lot. Whenever you sneeze or cough, you can cover your mouth and keep the spread of germs to a minimum. We also suggest that you wash your hands regularly and with soap. You will want to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth if at all possible. And disinfectant hand gel is always good to have on you if you don’t have access to soap and water.

 

We hope that these suggestions will help keep you and your family healthy during flu season. If you are in need of changing your health insurance coverage, please feel free to call us at any time.
Its that time of year again

It’s That Time of Year Again

The leaves are soon going to change, and we are transitioning into a busy holiday season as well as saying goodbye to 2017. But in the midst of shopping and holiday parties, there is an additional thing to consider. From November 1st to January 31st, Covered California has open enrollment.

In the past year, we’ve watched while there have been many attempts at changing the way our healthcare system works. But for now, it looks like things are staying the same. So during this time, it will be essential to ask yourself a few questions: Am I happy with my current provider? Was there anything in the last year that was particularly difficult for me? Were there any unexpected costs associated with my healthcare? Do I get along with my doctor? Am I getting the best care for my particular needs? Were there any changes to my health this year that will cause me to need additional attention in the future? Was there any significant life changes that happened recently that will cause me to need extra coverage for dependants? Am I getting the most out of my health care coverage?

All of these questions are excellent and need to be considered with your health care. At this time you have an option or changing your health plan to one that could better fit your needs; whether those needs be that you require different types of deductibles or that you need a lower monthly premium. If you would like to change doctors, it is always good to do some research ahead of time. A quick call to a doctor’s office can let you know if they are accepting new patients and what medical insurances they accept. It would not be good to switch coverages just to find out afterward that they doctor you want will not be able to take your insurance.

As always, if you have any questions about your health insurance, we are always here to answer them. We love helping you find the best coverage for your needs.

SAD

SAD

It’s Fall Y’all! Well, it almost is. We are on the cusp of being done with our summer season. In just a few short weeks we will pass the date that marks the beginning of pumpkin spice everything, golden hued wreaths being sold in the store and of course the plethora of Halloween paraphernalia. But how does the season change affect the residents of Southern California? For awhile we may not see any significant changes to our weather systems for quite some time. But this is the time to have an eye out for the effects of seasonal affective disorder otherwise known as SAD.

SAD is a type of depression that has links to the changes of the seasons. During the fall and winter seasons, the sun is out for less time during our waking hours. This shift can upset our biological clocks which affect our sleep and the production of serotonin in our brains. SAD usually shows the symptoms of listlessness, hunger for more carbohydrates, less interest in normal activities and problems with your relationships.

Now I know what you may be thinking, that in sunny Southern California there is no way that someone would suffer from SAD. We have the sunshine all year long. And where this is true, we do have more sun than many other states that does not mean that we can discount SAD. In fact, because people suffering from SAD are living in Southern California, they may be more likely not to seek treatment because they do not recognize what they are actually suffering from.

If you think that you are suffering or have suffered from SAD in the past, please talk to your doctor. There are a variety of treatments that can help alleviate the strain of this disorder and help you maintain a healthy emotional outlook.

Zika Virus and Cancer Cells

Healthcare in the News – September Edition

There have some interesting findings as a team of researchers discovered that the Zika virus kills off the cells that make a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma. This is the most common and most aggressive form of brain cancer and is the kind of cancer that Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with as well as the type of cancer that ultimately lead to the death of Beau Biden and Senator Ted Kennedy. This kind of cancer is severe, and many patients do not live past five years of their diagnosis; making the potential of this discovery invaluable.

 

The Zika virus has been getting a lot of press lately, and that leads people to have some basic information but not the full picture of what the Zika virus does. The Zika virus it is not considered to be a severe infection for a healthy adult except for when it infects pregnant women because then it has the propensity to attack the developing nervous system of the child leading to a variety of abnormalities.  So knowing that investigators realized that this particular virus attacks early cells in the development of the nervous system. With this particular type of cancer, it was surmised that if you could infect these cells with Zika virus, they would selectively destroy the tumor cells and leave the mature components of the nervous system in the brain. And the first series of experiments did show that in a test tube situation the primitive cells were highly susceptible to being destroyed by the Zika virus. The researchers went further and tested mice that had been infected with glioblastoma and as it turned out the mice which were infected with the Zika virus lasted longer than the mice in the control group.

 

These are still very early experiments done in the test tube and a mouse model, but it at least opens the door to the possibility that you might utilize the capability of this virus to destroy cells in the nervous system that are early in development to become cancer cells. The researchers are excited about their findings but realize that in these beginning phases there is no way to tell if these tests will lead to any real treatments. We will have to keep an eye out for the future of these discoveries.
Legalized Marijuana

Legalized Marijuana Coming in 2018

Since November of 2016, we have seen many changes come into effect. One of the most blatant has been the office of president and all of the sequential transitions, upheavals, and changes that came with that shift of power. While that may be normal with any significant shift of power, this presidential change has seemed to be much more drastic. Another change for Californians, which we have not seen implemented yet, is the passing of recreational marijuana usage. It was passed in November of 2016, but we will not see any implementation until January of 2018, giving the government office 14 months to make these changes. Eleven months have gone past, and we haven’t heard a lot about how this plan is moving forward.

 

Under the new laws, an adult over the age of 21 may legally now buy and possess and consume an ounce of marijuana. Adults may also grow six plants and keep all of the products of the plants on their private residence as long as it is in a secure area and not readily available to a member of the public getting access to it.

 

But as simple as this might sound, there are massive implications and changes that the state must make in order properly regulate and ensure that these laws are being abided by and not endangering any people of the great state of California.

 

Here are a few news articles about what the state is doing to prepare for this change coming in 2018:

 

 

And here is a news article that is a little closer to home:

 

What do you think about the law change? How do you believe that this will affect our community and our state?
Health Insurance for College Students

What a College Student Needs to Know About Health Insurance (Part 1)

College can be such a crazy season. Not only are you being challenged more than ever academically, for many students it is their first foray into the adult world. No more is mom around to take care of laundry or make sure that you’re eating a balanced meal (hello Freshmen 15). And to help college students better understand more about health insurance, we thought we could cover some key things college students need to know about health insurance.

Why you need health insurance

Many college students may be under the thinking that they are young, healthy and in no need of health insurance. But that is just not the case. Young people are just as much at risk, and at times more so to need medical care as the rest of the population. Young people, while only making up 14% of the US population also makeup over 50% of all vehicular accidents injuries. Also, one in five young adults will suffer from a chronic illness. A recent study showed that young adults (ages 18-25) are the most likely to suffer from mental illness. Youth does not equate health.

And if you do happen to fall anywhere in these demographics and do suffer from an unexpected illness, accident or mental health issue, medical insurance can be a great help to you. College students also have higher rates of getting STD’s and unexpected pregnancies. Health care is expensive and having insurance can keep you from being in medical debt before graduation.

What kind of coverage you can get

First and foremost, college students can remain on their parent’s health insurance plans until the age of 26. This applies not just to college students, but even if you’re married or financially stable. This coverage can be beneficial because you do not need to foot the bill for this coverage and there is an opportunity for excellent coverage. There can be some issues if your parents suddenly lose their insurance. But if that happens make sure to read our next blog for more ways you can get coverage as a college student.

80/20 Rule

Did you know… about the 80/20 rule?

We realize that many people may have health care but don’t know how the systems work or what their premiums are going to each month. We understand that life is busy and that you may not have all the time in the world to research and learn an argumentatively complex system of health care insurance and providers. So we thought that we would start a new series of posts focused on “Did you know…” With this blog, we will be looking at the 80/20 rule.

 

Did you know… that health insurance companies are required to spend a mandated amount on your healthcare? Insurance Companies are mandated to $.85 of every dollar on your Health Care.

 

This 80/20 rule is also referred to as Medical Loss Provision Ratio in the Affordable Care Act. The rule states for 80% of premiums collected must be spent on health care or on improving actions for the person. The other 20% can go to administrative needs of the medical insurance company such as marketing or other financial needs. These numbers specifically apply to individual and small group markets. If you are part of a large group market, then the numbers change to 85% and 15% of healthcare and administrative needs respectively. The thought process with this rule is to ensure greater transparency within insurance companies so we can truly see where the money is going. If an insurance company does not spend the 80 to 85% of premiums toward healthcare, then they are required to provide a rebate for the portion that was not spent. This rebate looks at the entire corporation and their spending and not just on one individual’s health care expenditures. Are you someone who has received this kind of rebate in the past? If so you know that the rebates usually come in the form of a check to the individual, are applied as a credit to their account or are reflected in the rates of the following year of insurance. Or if you are part of a small or large group then the rebate is given to your employer who passes it along to their employees. We hope that this “Did you know” blog was helpful. If you have any more questions about the Medical Loss Provision Ratio, please feel free to call and ask us.
Healthcare in the News

Healthcare In the News – August Edition

In the past month, we have seen some seriously dramatic news stories about our nation’s health care laws. Usually, dramas of that sort are kept to cable television, but maybe art does imitate life, especially as we watched the news coverage of the US Senate. If you have been living under a rock or just don’t enjoy listening to the news, let us give you a quick fly over.

In May, the House voted to pass the ACHA which had a series of changes to our current Affordable Care Act. The Senate then decided to write their bill however they delayed the voting until they could work out their details within the Republican party. It failed to pass. Then a series of votes continued to try and repeal and possibly replace Obamacare. None of those passed either. The Republican party needed every representative to vote yes, and with some dramatic conversations between party members, the numbers didn’t rally.

When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked about the future of healthcare reform, he stated that they had suffered a setback and that the future was “murky.” This murkiness has started talks with Democrats about single payer healthcare. If you are unclear about what single payer healthcare is, you can read about it on our previous blogs: www.bdhealthinsurance.com/single-payer-healthcare and how it doesn’t work here: www.bdhealthinsurance.com/single-payer-healthcare-cons-part-one and here: www.bdhealthinsurance.com/single-payer-healthcare-cons. Representative John Conyer (D- Mich) has already introduced his single payer bill called Medicare for All. He already has the support of about half of the House Democrats behind his bill. Senator Bernie Sanders says he will propose his bill shortly. It will probably look very similar to the plan he posted on his website last year, and we heard him speak about on the campaign trail. We will have to wait and see how this unfolds in the next few months.

Summer Sunshine Loving

Summer Sunshine Loving 

The longer I live, the surer I am that life is about trying to find a balance. Of course, sometimes balance can be defined as the split second that a pendulum swinging from side to side hits the equilibrium and then passes it to keep swinging. But regardless, I do feel like it is a worthy aspiration. Today, we will be looking at the benefits of spending time in the sun. A lot of the messaging that we hear today will point out the evils of the sun and sun exposure leads to skin cancer. I am in no way am I trying to deny this fact. But I do think there is a balance in finding the benefits of being in the sun and also appropriately not over doing our sun time.

 

Sun exposure helps with mild depression. Most of us have heard of SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This type of depression comes from a sunlight deprivation. Some reasonable time in the sun helps release serotonin which helps you fight off the blues. Also being in the sun can help regulate your sleep. When you spend a proper amount of time in the sun, and then it sets, that will signal the brain to start to release melatonin which helps us sleep.

 

A new study by the University of Edinburgh is showing that time in the sun can lower blood pressure. Having lower blood pressure can help you live a longer life as well as reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Sun exposure can also contribute to bone health and help improve brain function. Both of these health benefits come from the production of Vitamin D which is produced in the body through sun exposure.

 

Again, let us stress that we are not promoting a sun-fest binge that will leave you lobster red and very sore. But instead, in finding a balance between sun exposure and protection you might be helping yourself live a mentally, physically and emotionally healthier life.