Monday, 17 December 2012

US Government Announces Regulations for the Affordable Care Act

The Obama administration released the definitions on Tuesday for the Affordable Care Act, two years after the act was initially signed in 2010. They had been delayed as the government had been trying to avoid criticism and controversy before the election. However, the Health Reform regulations are not final, as the government have a 90 day comment period in which they could change their minds- involved participants can negotiate and amend them. This will end on the 26th of December and they will be implemented on the 1st of January 2014.

The Regulations

Insurers can no longer charge more for insurance or refuse service to people who have pre-existing or chronic health conditions. Insurers cannot charge senior citizens more than three times the amount they charge young people. At the moment, insurers in 42 states can charge seniors five or more times the amount they charge young adults.
Insurers to charge smokers more, as well as adjust premiums based on family size.
Insurers cannot use claims history, health status, gender and occupation to discriminate and increase premiums.
States are required to have ten essential benefits, such as prescription drug coverage or hospital care, provided in the new health care exchanges.
Employers to use wellness programs to promote health and try to control health care costs. Employers may reward people for annual exams or regular work outs, but they are prohibited from punishing those who don't engage in these activities.
Propose implementing and expanding employment-based wellness programs to promote health and help control health care spending, while ensuring that individuals are protected from unfair underwriting practices that could otherwise reduce benefits based on health status.

Essentially, Obama is attempting to reshape the existing system in which the average, as well as the anomalous American isn't discriminated against and their health isn't dictated by another, whether that is the insurer or their employer.

Alissa Fox, senior vice president of policy for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, says that insurers and employers have already begun implementing their packages to comply with the proposed rules, such as offering lower premiums to people who undergo wellness checks. In some cases, a wellness check that catches a heart condition early through a blood test could save an employer several thousand dollars. "The Affordable Care Act recognizes that well-run, equitable workplace wellness programs allow workers to access services that can help them and their families lead healthier lives," said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. "Employers, too, can benefit from reduced costs associated with a healthier workforce."

Private healthcare, covering treatments from physiotherapy to hernia surgery is something that British citizens have the privilege of choosing, and if they choose not to, they are looked after by the state free of charge. Of course, no system is perfect and there is wide criticism about the cost and quality of the NHS as much as America is crying out that they cannot afford ObamaCare.    

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Tips for a healthy pregnancy

When you are pregnant your health – which encompasses the health of your foetus - should be your highest priority. There are plenty of things you can do to look after yourself and to make sure you are a healthy mum-to-be. Here are a few tips that you should consider:

Stay/get active 

It is beneficial for pregnant women to stay active, so don’t think pregnancy is an excuse to sit on your bum for nine months. Of course you shouldn’t overdo it but 30 minutes of walking a day is very beneficial and will help you to return to your normal weight after childbirth.

Eat healthily

Healthy eating is always important, but this is truer than ever when you are expecting. A balanced diet is a must at this time but don’t think you need to eat for two, because this is a myth. It’s only in the final three months that you need an extra 200 calories a day, so you don’t need to stuff yourself.

Take vitamins

There are various supplements and vitamins for pregnancy that will top up your natural levels. Vitamin D and folic acid are very important during pregnancy and often supplements are the best way to ensure you have enough in your system. Products such as this from may be beneficial but always read the label and consult your doctor if you are unsure.

Avoid alcohol

Whatever you drink, your baby drinks too. However, your baby’s liver is not developed until the last month of pregnancy so any amount of booze can be harmful. Swap your glass of wine of bottle of beer for a cup of tea or fruit juice and you and your baby will be healthier than if you drink even a little.

Don’t smoke

As with drinking, with smoking your baby absorbs what you do from cigarettes. This includes poisonous chemicals and smoking while pregnant increases your risk of miscarriage and cot death considerably. In short: don’t do it.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

What is BMI and How is it Calculated?

Many people may hear the term "BMI" frequently banded around their workplace or hear reference to it on the television - but what exactly does the term mean and how is it relevant to an individuals personal health and all round well-being?

     The term BMI stands for Body Mass Index and is essentially a fairly simplistic way for a person to quickly make a rough judgement of whether they may be over or underweight in relation to how tall they are. You can quite easily work out your BMI at home by finding your weight in kilograms and dividing it by your height in metres squared.

     In a rough sense, individuals that have a high BMI score can be considered to be at a greater potential risk with regards to a number of important health issues - although it is important to understand that BMI scores can be unnaturally warped and affected by factors such as an extremely athletic or muscular physique, and those currently pregnant or breastfeeding which can easily scew their BMI scores.