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Health Care Provider

Updated: 2018-03-06T02:30:54.698-08:00


Tattoo Removal Austin


Choose the removal technique you would like to try. Simply exactly how efficient the methods are on tattoo removal will depend on the experience of the artist that did your tattoo, exactly how big it is, where it is located and your capability to heal. The more recent the tattoo, the more difficult it can be to remove, and the more skilled the artist that did the tattoo the much easier it will be to remove. Consider among the following techniques to get your tattoo eliminated skillfully:.

Laser tattoo removal - Laser tattoo removal is one of the few techniques of tattoo removal that does not involve cutting into the skin and rather makes use of rhythms of light at a really high concentration to remove the tattoo. It could not be ensured that this will remove the tattoo 100 % and is a painful procedure. Patients are normally provided an anesthetic gel prior to undergoing the laser treatment. It ought to also be noted that laser tattoo removal usually requires numerous treatments and could trigger scarring, blisters or scabs.
Dermabrasion and salabrasion - These techniques of tattoo removal have been around for a long time, however are now only made use of when laser removal is not a choice. These 2 techniques could be very painful, could cause peeling and bleeding and are not as efficient as some various other tattoo removal options.
Surgical removal - In this intrusive procedure, the doctor will puncture numerous layers of skin and eliminate the tattoo. The skin is either extended and sewn up or a skin chart is introduced.

Do your research. The efficiency of any expert technique depends on the abilities of the professional. Try to find testimonials online of any potential physicians you find or request the names of former clients that you could talk with.
Save up money. Specialist tattoo removal is pricey, so make certain that you correctly research the different choices you could make use of to fund the treatment, or that you have sufficient time to pay it off without damaging your bank account too much.
Ensure that you follow the specialist's instructions relating to care of the site right away after each treatment. The tattoo removal website must be kept dry and generally treated really thoroughly for a few days after every treatment.

Just exactly how effective the techniques are on tattoo removal will depend on the experience of the artist that did your tattoo, how huge it is, where it is found and your capacity to heal. The more recent the tattoo, the more tough it could be to remove, and the more skilled the artist that did the tattoo the simpler it will be to eliminate. Laser tattoo removal - Laser tattoo removal is one of the couple of approaches of tattoo removal that does not include cutting into the skin and rather uses rhythms of light at an extremely high concentration to remove the tattoo. Dermabrasion and salabrasion - These methods of tattoo removal have been around for a long time, but are now only made use of when laser removal is not an option.

Are Root Canals Really that Painful?


People talk about root canals like they're the worst experience in the world. How did they get this bad rap? Are root canals really that bad? In all actuality, the anticipation is probably worse than the procedure.

A dentist might consider giving you a root canal if the nerves inside the tooth are infected or inflamed. The first step is to drill into the tooth once you're properly numbed. Next, your dentist will use a specialized file to remove dead nerve tissue from the roots. Finally, your dentist will inject a rubber sealer to prevent bacteria from regrowing. The days following your root canal, you may feel some pain. Your dentist can prescribe medication for this.

After your root canal, you'll need a crown placed over your tooth to protect it from breaking. In some cases your dentist might recommend an inlay or onlay, which will displace less of your natural tooth. This procedure may take a couple visits, but it will be relatively painless.

Of course there are risks with any procedure. It's possible that the dentist's tool will break off in your root or that the dentist might miss some infected nerve tissue. If this happens, it may be necessary to redo the procedure or even remove the tooth. These kinds of mistakes are rare, but they happen. If you're nervous about something like that happening you should see an endodontist who specializes in root canals. He or she will likely have a great deal of experience in the procedure.

If it comes down to a choice between a root canal or having your tooth extracted, note that despite popular opinion, an extraction is much more difficult during and after the procedure. Even though an extraction is cheaper up front, going with a missing tooth can mess up the alignment of the rest of your teeth depending on where the hole is. A dental implant may solve this problem and give you a natural looking and functioning replacement, but it will be expensive.

Choosing between a root canal pulling your tooth is a big decision, and one you should consult your dentist on. Don't let everything you've heard about how terrible root canals are keep you from considering the option. If you can't abide the sound of drilling, most dentists and endodontists offer sedation dentistry.



TradeRush Tricks as a Forex Trading Scam

TradeRush claim concerning guaranteed income using small or even zero risks tend to be symptoms that the clients are to not be trustworthy. In fact, the very dynamics associated with forex trading markets belies these kinds of statements. The reality is purchasing foreign exchange involves a lot of risks. Foreign exchange trading is extremely volatile; foreign exchange prices are influenced by a great deal of components and can modify speedily as well as, from time to time, in an exceedingly unstable fashion. An intelligent guideline in forex currency trading is basically that you should not spend the amount of money you cannot find the money to lose, such as your retirement savings or perhaps emergency cash. A good smarter imagined is always to steer clear of trading SCAM SITE that advertise almost everything less than your celestial body overhead along with megastars; almost all they're certainly going to leave you with could be the dust as soon as they back off together with your money.

Whenever a company markets by itself as being a dealer in the interbank market, you best ensure that it truly is a new bank or a significant corporation. In any other case, it's just tempting a person using a well-concocted rest. Interbank buying and selling gives better prices so it will be enticing for you to traders. Since the title suggests, however, the only real participants with this circle are usually banking institutions, purchase financial institutions, and large monetary organizations.


Applying For Bad Credit Loans Online

Due to the existing monetary state progressively more payday loans online provides precisely what are generally referred to as low credit score lending options. Such credit card bank loans are meant for anyone who has absolutely no guarantee to place up and have a poor credit rating. This sort of payday loans online can be employed regarding eliminating obligations, paying for house construction, paying out health care fees, masking car upkeep, or simply catching up fiscally.

When looking for easy with below-average credit there are many of products which should be regarded as. These ought to include the quantity the person really wants to borrow, their particular credit rating as well as the existing finances. Every one of these may be utilized by the bank to sort out a person's eye charges to become paid for. The benefit of this specific payday loans online is because let the customer to be able to restore his or her credit rating. As a way to do this, it is crucial the customer settle on a regular basis as well as amount of time in conformity using the terms agreed on. The bank therefore studies this sort of monthly payments to the credit reporting agencies that credit score the actual repayments on the client's records causing their particular credit standing to rise.


How to Get Payday Loans Online?

The opportunity to getting payday loans online has grown to be well liked. It's very easy tasks to filling out the internet form. Generally, it takes below an hour pertaining to acceptance as well as authorization will be acquired without an appraisal of creditworthiness. In the event the companies have decided on is not authorized, this is great ideas to remain his or her lockup till she or he has identified an authorized firm current.

Reliable firms know that there exists a requirement for economic services in case you cannot use standard financial loans. However, many people seek out payday loans online throughout New York without 1st checking out the setting of the lending’s company. It’s important to do a detailed lockup just before doing on the corporation with which to do businesses.

The concept of payday loans online is that folk may obtain needed money placed instantly directly into their bank accounts that may get into pay back on their upcoming pay day advance. A person's eye prices will certainly increase as the length of time till payment will be expanded, for this reason you will need to pay back these types of short-term lending options at the earliest opportunity. The applying method is very simple along with structured along with declares all terms and conditions within plain English.

How to Keep Your Teeth Well into Your Later Years


Many people may assume that losing your teeth and eventually getting dentures as you get older is just the way things are. You may have grown up around grandparents with dentures, or you see commercials promoting denture adhesives throughout your life, and you just assume that you’ll lose your teeth when you get old. Well, that doesn’t have to be the case. Many people live their whole lives without losing any or only losing a few of their adult teeth.

Part of the reason it seems so many old people have dentures may be because of dental practices several years ago. It may have been cheaper and easier to simply remove decaying or damaged teeth rather than performing root canals and other more complex procedures to restore and preserve the tooth. That’s not the main cause of tooth loss, though. Periodontal disease is what primarily causes tooth loss in adults.

Even when little or no tooth decay is present, periodontitis (or disease of the gums and other tooth support structures) can be causing damage below the gum line. Bacteria can eventually destroy the gums and bone tissue that are vital to keeping teeth healthy and firmly in place. As bone loss occurs, teeth become loose and can eventually fall out.

For these reasons, it’s every bit as important to care for the health of your gums as it is to make sure your teeth are free of decay. Arizona Periodontal Group (or another qualified periodontist in your area) can assess the health of your gums and let you know if any steps need to be taken to restore and maintain periodontal health. Using a variety of procedures, including periodontist laser treatment, a skilled periodontist can eliminate infections in the gums and even recontour the gum line in cases of gum recession.



Pilates Club in the Fort Collins Area

The fitness for lots of people could need getting an excellent athletic club; Fort Collins gyms provide fantastic kinds offered to include the exercising requires. These gyms offer the opportunity increase your physical fitness, fitness, Pilates, yoga, court sports activities and several other options included.

The health rewards that you'll really benefit from these kinds of packages are only area of the positive aspects. You will probably obtain your confident outlook and also have a much better total perspective on your well-being through subscribing to the fitness club, Colorado based, if you live in the area.

Pilates is liked by those people who are searching for something to add to their sports activities strength training schedule. Colorado Pilates club may improve the particular key of your body that helps using improving your functionality and make preparations a person many different types of sports activities presented in Colorado, the game of golf resistance training simply getting one of these.

You will also find that you will be more powerful inside everyday activity, even tiny problems as standing up as well as walking is going to be easier after starting doing work at your conditioning, fitness, athletics resistance training or even courtroom sporting activities being a few of the ways to enhance your overall fitness in a very good sports club Colorado provides. When you get discouraged just remember the level stomach you will have on account of doing your training with your personal fitness trainers.

Once you have located a great health club throughout Fort Collins, Pilates is a superb education strategy, which usually conforms and also elongates muscle tissue, providing you a good edge within the competition within your sports activities strength training along with professions including boating, Colorado centered or elsewhere.

Performing Pilates at a fitness club Fort Collins will strengthen your own primary and reduce just about any healthy posture difficulties that may cause again difficulties. To boost the conditioning, fitness that features Colorado Pilates is incredibly successful, and you might need to inquire your own trainer concerning including Colorado Pilates in your gymnasium regimen.

Keeping your Teeth Straight


In 2008 about 4.8 million Americans had braces. That is a lot of teeth being straightened. Usually when people think of braces they picture a pimple faced adolescent. But this is not true anymore. The percentage of adults with braces is on the rise. Many people are getting braces for the first time in their 30's or 40's. Many are also getting them for the second time. Usually because they neglected to maintain the straight teeth that resulted from their first stint with braces. If you have had braces or if you have them now there are a few things you should know so that you don't have to get them again later.

Teeth Shift

Teeth are not like bones they don't stay in one place. They can shift quite often. As you grow your jaw changes and your teeth change with it. The general consensus is that boys and girls both stop growing in their 20's. This is years after braces. If you experienced a growth spurt in your late teens your mouth could have changed a lot.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are another mouth disruptor. Depending on how these teeth are coming in they can create a lot of problems. If they are impacted they can push on your other teeth and severely disrupt their alignment. This is part of the reason why your dentist in Hilliard, OH usually will recommend that you get them removed as soon as possible. Not only are wisdom teeth hard to clean and so they get easily infected but they also can really mess up your mouth. The sooner you get them out the better off you will be.


If you have had braces you know that you are supposed to wear your retainer to keep your teeth straight. Of all the things you can do to influence the straightness of your teeth this is the most crucial. Wearing your retainer every night will keep your teeth from moving to the extent that you need braces again. Wearing your retainer is much cheaper then having to pay for braces again. Also it is a lot less painful and annoying. If you don't want to have to mess with metal mouth follow the advice of your Hilliard dentist and wear your retainer.

Image Credit: Zawezome, on Flickr

Crowns or Veneers: What is the Difference?


You finally decided you need to visit your Boston cosmetic dentist and now you are going in for a new smile design. You may have heard your dentist using the terms veneers and crowns, but you probably don't know what they mean. This is a handy guide to the difference between the two. So you can understand what your dentist is talking about.Crowns:How they workA crown is a cap usually made of porcelain or ceramic that is placed over the entire visible portion of the tooth. In order for this to work the dentist trims off a large amount of the enamel. The crown is then cemented directly to the dentin. The process is very involved and can require a number of visits. Typically the first visit consists of tooth reduction and preparation for bonding. On the second visit a crown, that has been manufactured specifically for you, is attached.When they are usedCrowns are used when the patient has had a great deal of tooth damage, when restructuring is necessary, or if a root canal has occurred. Crowns are a good option because they are very strong and can take a lot of wear. They also can be used to make drastic changes in the shape of the tooth which is advantageous if the teeth are impeding the proper function of the mouth. Cosmetically, crowns make the teeth even and change their color, making them look much better.Veneers:How they workVeneers are thin coverings for the front of the tooth. They are usually made of the same substance as crowns. To attach them, your dentist only needs to remove a small amount of enamel. This is generally better for the tooth, since more of the healthy structure is preserved, and for the patient, because there is less discomfort as well as less time and cost involved in the procedure.When they are usedUnlike a crown, a veneer only covers the front of the tooth so any structural changes will be minimal. Changes to tooth coloration are also less drastic because most of the tooth is still intact behind the veneer. Although they are made of the same substance as crowns, veneers are slightly less durable because they are thinner. But when used correctly they produce the same even white teeth as crowns.Now you know some of the basics of cosmetic dentistry. For more specific information you should consult a Boston dentist and get an expert opinion.Image Credit: Dr. Alper, DMD, Cosmetic Dentist, on Flickr [...]

Life Insurance


A good life insurance quotes is important to the financial safety connected with your family. The time to plan when getting death protection insurance is right now. Whether it is past too far, it is in its final stages along with your current family doesn't have one to help them with all the monetary trouble of your mortgage and other bills-not to mention the too much to handle memorial service charges.

The purpose connected with this protection coverage should be to financially protected ones family within the sad event whenever you pass away. Whenever you expire, your debts still to get compensated. Your financial obligations don't die along with you. If perhaps you were the leading breadwinner in the family, that is going to look after your family members financially wherever you might be eliminated? That is where this sort of protection comes in to experiment with.

This specific on the internet search and then finishing various user friendly life insurance quotes forms, provides you with the specified details. The you'll be able to help make an educated selection based on your current monthly spending budget in comparison with the amount of financial coverage you think your own family will have to be monetarily secure.


Minuman Herbal Dari DragonNoni

Dragon Noni mempunyai bahan dasar minuman herbal ini tidak lain adalah buah naga, buah berkulit merah muda yang kerap jadi idola masyarakat. Disamping itu, obat herbal ini juga mengandung sari dari buah mengkudu yang sudah tidak asing lagi akan khasiatnya untuk mengobati berbagai penyakit seperti penyakit gula, kolesterol, dan lain lain. Obat kolesterol alami ini sudah terbukti berkhasiat dan tidak ada efek sampingnya. Tentu, obat ini jauh lebih aman jika dibandingkan obat kimia yang kerap beredar.

Obat herbal ini memang sudah bukan sesuatu yang asing lagi. Dengan kandungan yang sangat beragam menjadi faktor utama obat herbal ini sangat mampu mengobati berbagai penyakit yg mungkin anda derita. Rasanya dan harganya yang hanya 150.000/botol tidak akan membuat anda tidak nyaman. Selain dapat mengobati penyakit gula, Anda juga akan dapat menikmati berbagai manfaat lain yang diantaranya kandungan kalsium, vitamin C, zat antioksida, serat, flavonoid dan lain-lain.

Kandungan nutrisi seperti vitamin C, magnesium, dan antioksidan yang ada dalam buah naga akan memperlancar sistem sirkulasi darah anda, kemudian scolopetin yang akan memperlancar kinerja pembuluh arteri, serta kandungan tertentu buah mengkudu akan mampu meningkatka kinerja hormon xeronin sehingga sirkulasi darah akan menjadi lebih baik. Jika anda berminat untuk mengkonsumsi kedua buah tersebut, maka sangat dianjurkan anda mencoba minuman kesehatan DragonNoni.

United Healthcare Medicare plans


(image) United Healthcare is a well-liked alternative along with based on the firm, these people register one in five Treatment heirs into their health plans. In addition they present insurance coverage by means of SecureHorizons, AmeriChoice, and Evercare.

You might want to think about a United Healthcare Medicare plans for those who have recently flipped 65 and so are just turning out to be eligible for Medicare insurance. You might presently always be enrolled in a Medicare health plan yet are not content and wish to alter suppliers. You could be in times where you proceed to a whole new spot as well as are unable to obtain insurance coverage through your old strategy. You may be considering a new Medicare health plan in case you are concerned about receiving coverage on your medications.

United Healthcare Medicare plans can be obtained in many possibilities including HMO plans, product insurance plans, special wants plans, and Medicare part D prescription medication plans. These plans provide kinds of insurance coverage and also the best brand out there will be based on about your very own health problem.

As an example, United Healthcare Medicare HMO plans are super easy to utilize and comprehend. Simply pay out a set fee whenever you will need healthcare providers. You understand upfront precisely what the expenses will be and are not surprised by a huge physician's expenses. An HMO plan charge you a collection price with an doctor office visit, emergency room go to, and hospital stay. The particular fees are generally under you'd probably pay using conventional Medicare health insurance insurance coverage. The sole probable issue with the HMO program's you need to utilize physicians inside community until you need crisis attention. If you are using a doctor outside of the system, you should spend entire out-of-pocket price.

United Healthcare Medicare plans likewise incorporate supplement insurance. This insurance policy helps you deal with the expenses accrued in Medicare medicare part a as well as part B expenditures. The particular unique needs programs are only for those with selected health conditions and also existence scenarios and are not available for common sign up.

Employers complain to Obama Administration that ACA requirements are still unclear


Nervous because you still aren’t certain about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) rules will impact your company’s bottom line? You’re not alone. At a hearing on September 12 to discuss implementation of the ACA’s health insurance exchanges and related provisions, Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) complained in an opening statement that the Obama Administration has relied too heavily on interim final rules for implementing ACA mandates on pre-existing conditions, dependent coverage, and grandfathered health plan policies. The problem with this, explained Johnson, is that the regulations then take effect before employers or health care providers group can submit comments on any particular regulation’s effects.Johnson also complained that the Administration has issued guidance in an informal format such as bulletins and FAQs. Guidance in those formats can change at a moment's notice, he noted. According to Kaiser Health News senior correspondent Mary Agnes Carey, who attended the hearing, (, panelists declared that "We really need those regulations because they really have more of the force of law, and we need them now."November 16, 2012 is the deadline for states to notify the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding their intent to operate a state health exchange, and enrollment in exchanges is to begin in approximately one year from now, but there are nearly 100 areas where exchange-related regulations are still forthcoming, Johnson said, adding, “How are states supposed to commit tens of millions of dollars towards exchange implementation in the face of such uncertainty? How can states be expected to make decisions without so much as a final regulation to inform their decisions?”With regulations on the mandated benefit package and expected out-of-pocket costs in plans offered via the exchanges still lacking, and without knowing what the mandated benefit package will look like, employers, said Johnson, have no way of knowing if they will be subject to the rather substantial employer mandate tax, making it difficult to make investment decisions regarding new employees, equipment or facilities. Johnson also highlighted tasks insurance plans will have to complete, including the design, price and marketing of plans, education of agents and brokers, and the establishment of provider networks.Employers are understandably nervous, but Carey reported that the administration’s explanation for not having the actual rules in place was that it wanted to take all the stakeholder input it had received into account when drafting the regulations. Carey added that the administration pointed out that “…states have until November to say whether or not they actually want to run an exchange. So once they know how many states are involved, then they can decide when the federal government has to step in and in what states. And also, they’re talking about more regulations coming out in early 2013.”Carey also said that “…one statement that was made was, ‘Look, if we get to the spring of 2013 and these regulations aren’t out, then we’ve got something to worry about. But with enrollment starting in the fall 2013 and the exchanges up and running in 2014, we’ll still have plenty of time to give you the certainty you want.’"[...]

Survey Finds that Wellness Programs Provide Savings for Employers


Employers who have analyzed the financial impact of their wellness programs have discovered overall positive results. According to the report titled, A Closer Look: Wellness ROI by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, most of these employers reported $1 to $3 decreases in their overall health care costs for every dollar spent. The report surveyed organizations that have analyzed the financial impacts of their wellness programs and compared the answers of those who attained a positive return on their investment (ROIs) and those who did not (non ROIs).

“Without question, employers are beginning to understand the direct connection that wellness initiatives can have on both employee health and health care plan cost savings,” said Michael Wilson, Foundation CEO. “While the primary goal is reducing health costs, we’re also seeing other advantages from wellness initiatives, such as higher employee morale, increased productivity and reduced disability.”

The report also found that wellness program incentives and communications tools are used more by ROI organizations than non ROI employers. ROI organizations were much more likely (40% to 29%) to provide insurance premium reductions for participation in wellness programs, as well as incentives for participating in health screenings (65% to 43%), health risk assessments (74% to 51%) and for accessing health care coaches/advocates (43% to 22%). 

Employers credited communication as an important tool in achieving ROI. These organizations were more likely to provide wellness information and electronic communications through web links, social networks and wellness seminars and speakers as compared to their non-ROI counterparts. 

Overall, almost 74% of organizations experiencing ROI had a broader value-based health care strategy that included incentives for employee participation in health screenings, stress management programs, health risk assessments, and fitness and nutrition programs.

Roundup of 2012 Health Care Reform State Ballot Initiatives


  Five states have approved ballot initiatives for the upcoming November election in response to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In Alabama, Florida, and Wyoming voters will be asked to vote on proposed amendments to their state constitutions. Missouri and Montana voters will also decide questions on the federal law’s reach within their states.In Alabama, Montana, Wyoming and Florida, the initiatives use similar language seeking to prohibit individuals and employers from being compelled to participate in any health care system or purchase health insurance coverage. This is the Florida legislature’s second attempt at bringing such a question to a vote. In 2010, a similar measure was removed from the ballot when the state Supreme Court held that the measure was misleading and could confuse votes. The offending language is not included in the version that appears on this year’s ballot.Missouri has framed the issue differently than other states. Voters there will be asked to approve an initiative that focuses on the health insurance exchanges that the states are required to set up under the ACA. If approved, Missouri would be barred from creating a health insurance exchange without prior approval from voters or the state legislature. The state would also be barred from accepting federal funds to use in establishing an exchange.The outcome of the vote may well be affected by an August 28th ruling by Missouri Judge Dan Green. Judge Green held that the original ballot language drafted by Democrats was not “fair or sufficient.”  The original version asked voters, “[s]hall Missouri law be amended to deny individuals, families, and small businesses the ability to access affordable health care plans through a state based health benefit exchange unless authorized by statute, initiative or referendum or through an exchange operated by the federal government as required by the federal health care act?”  Instead, the judge accepted the Republican-drafted summary.The ballot question will now read, “[s]hall the Missouri law be amended to prohibit the Governor or any state agency from establishing or operating state based health insurance exchanges unless authorized by a vote of the people or by the Legislature?”[...]

Romney Revises Health Reform Message


In an interview yesterday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney told host David Gregory, "I'm not getting rid of all of healthcare reform."  Although that statement appears to differ from the campaign’s earlier messages that the candidate would "repeal Obamacare," the Romney campaign clarified that this is not a change in position.

The Governor still intends to repeal the Act, but plans to re-implement certain aspects, noting that "there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I'm going to put in place.”  Romney identified ensuring that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage, providing access to coverage for unemployed people, and enabling families to be able to insure members, including children, for an indefinite period as provisions in the current law with which he agrees. He also explained that he wants “individuals to be able to buy insurance, health insurance, on their own as opposed to only being able to get it on a tax advantage basis through their company."
In response, according to The Washington Post, the President Obama’s campaign asserted that these statements do not reflect the Governor’s plan entirely. Rather, the campaign said that Governor Romney’s plan would cover preexisting conditions only for individuals who have been continuously insured. Those who have never had private coverage or who have lost it due to unemployment would not be covered for preexisting conditions. The Post also reports that independent health-care analysts have found that Romney’s plan to cover preexisting conditions would not be viable if the law does not require an individual mandate, which the GOP opposes.

American Health Care Reform - The Benefits to Women


The American health care reform act signed into law on March 2010 means different things to different people. To the women, it's a great stride to ending gender discrimination prevalent in the insurance market.It is a known fact that in the past women experience difficulty in accessing health insurance more than their male counterpart. They were made to pay more because of their gender thereby making it impossible for a lot to be covered. If they are pregnant or require an operation during delivery or suffer domestic abuse, they are often denied coverage. Now, American women can heave a sigh of relief because of the benefits coming their way through the health act.The current law was enacted to be effective in phases. Some have taken off while some will be fully effective in 2014.Some of the provision for 2010 mandates the insurance companies to end rescission, to eliminate life time coverage limits and to restrict the use of annual limits in all new plans and existing employer's plans. Others include a prohibition to insurers from denying children coverage irrespective of their state of health and to provide affordable insurance for the uninsured Americans with existing conditions. It also makes provision for a mandatory prevention and wellness benefit in all new policies at no cost.Starting from 2011 the law requires insurers to spend at least 80% of customer's premiums on medical services to ensure quality health care for every policy holder. It also stipulates that insurance companies should no longer increase premium without a written submission to justify the increase and those already over charging will be exempted in participating in the new exchanges.Starting from 2014, the law prohibits companies from denying women coverage under any condition or to charge them higher based on gender or health status. It also stipulates the establishment of state based health insurance exchanges that will provide women with private insurance choices and multi-state plans that will encourage competition and offer additional options.The exchange offers coverage for prevention health services, maternity benefits and places a cap on what insurance companies can require women to pay in out of pocket expenses. It provides tax credits for women who can't afford health insurance and provides for coverage on all basic pediatric services as well as dental, eye care for the children.The act indeed is a good one, having successfully removed all past bottlenecks against the women and brought hope for a better future healthy life. It is timely to take advantage of this new dawn and get yourself protected.You can get several quotes from different insurers simply by working with trusted online insurance brokers. Working with insurance brokers saves you time and eliminate unnecessary stress.You must understand that it is not a must that you accept the quotes you get from any insurer. These quotes are absolutely free. If you are unsatisfied with your quotes, you can simply look somewhere else for your insurance. With this information, you can get started immediately.[...]

Acne Treatment Right From Home


Acne is an uncomfortable and embarrassing skin condition that affects thousands of people across the globe. It develops when oily substances and bacteria get into the skin and clog the pores. It most commonly appears on a person's face, neck, or back, but can show up on almost any area of the body. If acne is a concern for you, it is a good idea to visit a dermatologist, however, there are several things that a person can do right from home for acne treatment.Daily Cleansing- This is the number one acne remedy. It is important to find a gentle face cleanser that works well with your skin type. Regular deodorant soaps or body washes should never be used on the face or effected area. They will strip the skin of its moisture and make matters worse. After cleansing, use a mild moisturizer. It is essential to do this twice a day.Cucumber- Peel a cucumber and put it into a food processor until a paste is formed. Apply the paste to the skin and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. This is an effective acne prevention method and also works to refresh the skin.Cumin Seeds- Grind cumin seeds with a few drops of water into a paste and apply it to the skin. Leave the paste on the skin for about an hour, then rinse and pat dry.Aloe Vera- Aloe Vera gel can be applied directly to the acne areas. This will sooth the skin and help to reduce any swelling and redness that may have developed. Aloe Vera is also available in a pill form and may be taken orally to help prevent the onset of acne.Rose Water and Sandalwood- Make a paste from sandalwood and rose-water and apply it to the skin. Allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing and patting dry.Fresh Garlic- Although it will produce a bit of an odor, garlic paste can be applied directly to acne irritated skin. Garlic is known to have very effective antiseptic properties and will begin to dry out the acne.Lavender Oil- Lavender oil can be applied to acne irritated skin to cut redness and swelling and ease any discomfort. Allow the oil to sit for as long as you would like.Cooked Oats- Cook unflavored oatmeal as directed on the package and apply it to the irritated skin. Allow it to sit and dry for 15-25 minutes. The oatmeal works to dry out the acne and sooth the skin.Egg Whites- Apply egg whites to the skin and allow them to sit for 20 minutes. Rinse the skin and pat dry.Fruit and Vegetable Mixture- This is a popular acne treatment. Combine one peeled and seeded apple, ½ cucumber, 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt, and 1 tablespoon of honey. Use a food processor to make the mixture into a paste. Apply it to the skin and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry. This will help to reduce scarring.All of these home acne treatments are effective. Try some of them to find the acne remedy that works best for your skin.[...]

ERIC Urges Obama Administration To Clarify Dependent Coverage Requirements


The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) is urging the Obama Administration to clarify and support the interpretation that employers are not required to offer dependent coverage in order to meet their shared responsibility obligations under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In an August 27 letter to Deputy Assistant to the President for Health Policy Jeanne Lambrew, ERIC expressed concern that the executive branch agencies might inappropriately interpret the ACA to require employers to offer dependent coverage regardless of whether the dependent coverage is affordable or sufficiently valuable. ERIC argued that this interpretation is not consistent with the statute and would have significant negative effects on the nation’s large employers without producing a meaningful increase in dependent coverage.

“We urge the President to support regulations or other guidance clarifying that employers are not obligated to offer dependent coverage and are not liable for a shared responsibility penalty if they decline to cover dependents,” said ERIC President & CEO Scott Macey and Senior Vice President for Health Policy Gretchen Young.

ERIC’s letter explains that, although the shared responsibility provisions refer to health coverage for full-time employees and their dependents (the latter being referred to in a parenthetical), the penalties are based solely on the number of an employer’s full-time employees: dependents do not enter into the penalty calculation. An employer that offers affordable health coverage to all of its full-time employees is not subject to any shared responsibility penalty, regardless of whether the employer offers dependent coverage.

“If Congress had intended to create a dramatic new mandate that penalized employers for failing to offer dependent coverage, Congress would have done so much more directly (and more effectively) than the statute achieves with its parenthetical reference to dependents,” Macey and Young wrote. ERIC believes that the reference to dependents in the shared responsibility provisions is merely a drafting error (resulting from the legislative confusion during the passage of the ACA), one that should be corrected in agency guidance, they added.

The letter also warns that, while some commenters have suggested that the statute should be interpreted to require employers to offer dependent coverage on an employee-pay-all basis, a mandate to offer unsubsidized dependent coverage would impose substantial burdens and costs on the employer without increasing the dependents’ access to affordable health coverage.

ERIC contends that this suggestion misperceives the administrative burden that an employer must bear if it introduces dependent coverage, even on an employee-pay-all basis, and that such a mandate would not accomplish ACA’s central goal, which is to increase access to affordable health coverage.

“In fact, an employer might do its low-income employees a disservice by offering unsubsidized dependent coverage, since the availability of the coverage might make the employee ineligible for premium tax credits and other financial assistance with respect to the dependent,” ERIC argues.

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Guidance Issued On ACA Shared Responsibility For Employers, Waiting Periods


The Internal Revenue Service, and the Departments of the Treasury, Labor (DOL), and Health and Human Services (HHS) (the Departments), simultaneously, but separately, have issued two notices, Notice 2012-58 and Notice 2012-59, respectively, providing guidance on two provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Notice 2012-58 describes safe harbor methods that employers may use (but are not required to use) to determine which employees are treated as full-time employees for purposes of the ACA-added shared employer responsibility provisions of Code Sec. 4980H. Specifically, the administrative guidance in Notice 2012-58 modifies and expands on previous guidance and includes a safe harbor method that employers may apply to specified newly-hired employees.Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, Code Sec. 4980H provides that an applicable large employer (generally, an employer who employed at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, on business days during the preceding calendar year) is subject to an assessable payment if either of the following situations exists:1. the employer fails to offer its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan and any full-time employee is certified to receive a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction; or2. the employer offers its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage and one or more full-time employees is certified to receive a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction (generally because the employer’s coverage either is not affordable or does not provide minimum value).Coverage under an employer-sponsored plan is considered affordable to a particular employee if the employee’s required contribution (within the meaning of Code Sec. 5000A(e)(1)(B)) to the plan does not exceed 9.5 percent of the employee’s household income for the taxable year. Code Sec. 4980H(c)(4) provides that a full-time employee with respect to any month is an employee who is employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week.Safe harbor method. The safe harbor method described in a previous notice provides employers the option to use a look-back measurement period of up to 12 months to determine whether new variable-hour employees or seasonal employees are full-time employees, without being subject to a payment under Code Sec. 4980H for this period with respect to those employees. An employee is a variable-hour employee if, based on the facts and circumstances at the date the employee begins providing services to the employer (the start date), it cannot be determined that the employee is reasonably expected to work on average at least 30 hours per week.In addition, the safe harbor: gives employers the option to use specified administrative periods (in conjunction with specified measurement periods) for ongoing employees (generally an employee who has been employed by the employer for at least one complete standard measurement period, a defined time period of not less than three but not more than 12 consecutive calendar months, as chosen by the employer) and certain newly hired employees;facilitates a transition for new employees from the determination method the employer chooses to use for them to the determination method the employer chooses to use for ongoing employees; andprovides employers reliance, at least through the end of 2014, on the guida[...]

Happy Labor Day


In honor of Labor Day, Health Reform Talk will take a short break. Be back Wednesday.

Effective Cost Containment Requires Targeting Drivers On Multiple Levels


So, what can we do to continue to expand health care coverage through health reform without breaking the U.S. bank?  In an article titled “A Systemic Approach to Containing Health Care Spending” published in the August 2 New England Journal of Medicine, 23 health policy experts convened by the Center for American Progress set out nine major strategies to effectively contain health care costs both for public and private payers.These experts insist that to effectively contain health care costs, strategies must target drivers of both the level and growth of costs and the role of medical prices and quantity of services; and eliminate administrative costs that do not improve health status and outcomes. The United States spends nearly $360 billion a year on administrative costs, accounting for 14 percent of excessive health spending. “Although these solutions are not intended to be exhaustive, they have the greatest probability of both being implemented and successfully controlling health costs,” the report noted, emphasizing that it would be most effective to implement as a package the following recommended solutions.• Negotiate uniform payment rates to apply to all payers and providers in a state; install an independent council to enforce a global spending target with growth per person limited to the average growth in wages. States will publicly report measured of quality, access, and costs with bonuses to be paid to high performing providers and payment rates adjusted for quality.• Use payment alternatives to fee-for-service with fixed bundled payments for all the services and care a patient needs, including related rehabilitation and follow-up care for 90 days after discharge. Begin implementation as soon as possible using the bundles for 37 cardiac (heart) and orthopedic procedures used in the Medicare Acute Care Episode program.• Implement competitive bidding for all medical equipment and devices, laboratory tests, radiological diagnostic services, beginning with Medicare and health insurance exchanges negotiating for private payers and state employee plans.• Health insurance exchanges should offer tiered products based on high quality and low cost providers tied to reduced cost-share for insureds who use the high quality providers.• Simplify administrative systems by electronic exchange of eligibility and claims information; use a single standard physician credentialing system; electronically provide monthly explanation of benefits statements; implement electronic health records integrating clinical (test orders, for example) and administrative tasks (billing, prior authorization, and payments).• Require full transparency in medical provider pricing, including out-of-pocket costs, quality of care, and patient volume; prohibit “gag clauses” (which forbid contracted providers from disclosing to patients the discounts negotiated with insurers) on price information. Have state insurance department and health insurance exchanges collect, audit, and publicly report pricing and claims data.• Expand use of non-physician providers such as advance practice nurses or nurse practitioners.• Expand to private sector payers the Medicare ban on physician self-referral to facilities in which they or their families have a financial interest.• Reduce costs of defensive medicine by providing a “safe harbor” for providers who use qualified health information technology and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. In conclusion, th[...]

New Standardized Identifiers For Health Care Providers Will Save Time, Money


Federal government efforts to reduce unnnecessary spending on health care administration continue with the backing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Most recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a final rule expected to save time and money for physicians and other health care providers by establishing a unique health plan identifier (HPID) and a data element that will serve as an “other entity” identifier (OEID) for entities that are not health plans, health care providers, or individuals, but that need to be identified in standard transactions. The rule also specifies the circumstances under which an organization-covered health care provider, such as a hospital, must require certain non-covered individual health care providers who are prescribers to obtain and disclose a National Provider Identifier (NPI). The final rule is scheduled to be published in the September 5 Federal Register.The adoption of the HPID implements an administrative simplification provision of the ACA, and one of a series of changes required to cut red tape in the health care system. The measure is projected to save up to $6 billion over ten years. Currently, when a health care provider bills a health plan, that plan may use a wide range of different identifiers that do not have a standard format. As a result, health care providers run into a number of time-consuming problems, such as misrouting of transactions, rejection of transactions due to insurance identification errors, and difficulty determining patient eligibility. The final rule will simplify these processes.Future administrative simplification rules enacting HIPAA will address adoption of:• a standard for claims attachments;• operating rules for claims attachments; and• requirements for certification of health plans’ compliance with all HIPAA standards and operating rules.“These new standards are a part of our efforts to help providers and health plans spend less time filling out paperwork and more time seeing their patients,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.The rule also makes final a one-year proposed delay—from Oct. 1, 2013, to Oct. 1, 2014—in the compliance date for use of new codes that classify diseases and health problems. These code sets, known as the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition diagnosis and procedure codes (ICD-10) will include codes for new procedures and diagnoses that improve the quality of information available for quality improvement and payment purposes.This rule is the fourth administrative simplification regulation issued by HHS under the ACA, including the following with anticipated savings over ten years:• On July 8, 2011—Operating rules for two electronic health care transactions to make it easier for health care providers to determine whether a patient is eligible for coverage and the status of a health care claim submitted to a health. Savings from this measure could be up to $12 billion.• On Jan. 10, 2012—Standards for the health care electronic funds transfers (EFT) and remittance advice transaction between health plans and health care. Savings could be up to $4.6 billion.• On Aug. 10, 2012—An IFC that adopted operating rules for the health care EFT and electronic remittance advice transaction. Savings are anticipated to be up to $4.5 billion.The regulation is effectiv[...]

10 Tips For Choosing the Perfect In-Home Health Care Agency


When caring for your aging parent or loved one becomes overwhelming and you need a break, or when extra help is needed with bathing, feeding, dressing, household duties or if caring for them yourself is just not possible anymore, selecting an in-home health care provider is a good alternative.Proper screening is essential to ensure that the person you choose has, not only the skills to provide excellent care, but also the right personality for the job. Consider these tips and hints and you will find that hiring an in-home heath care provider does not have to be stressful.1. Evaluate Your Loved One's NeedsWhile some older adults just need assistance with basic living skills, others have additional health care needs that require a special skill set. Therefore, it is necessary to make a list of all of the duties that an in-home health care professional will need to provide so you can narrow down the list of candidates early on. If you are hiring through an agency, give them as much information from the start so they can match you up with someone who possesses all of knowledge and capabilities to give the best care possible to your loved one.If your home health care worker will be assisting with bathing or dressing, it is important to discuss this with your loved one to make sure that they are comfortable with the gender of the companion. Women or men may become embarrassed when opposite gendered health care workers assist them with personal care and this may cause bath time to become stressful.2. Speak With Local ExpertsBefore you go to the yellow pages or check out the classifieds for home heath aids, speak with neighbors, doctors, and elder care providers locally who can give you some recommendations and advice. Find out where other families have found in-home help and have them tell you about their experience. An administrator at a local nursing home may also have some suggestions for you on where to locate the best care giver. Support groups are a wealth of information, as well.3. Create a Job DescriptionWhen you are ready to begin speaking with applicants and conducting interviews, start by writing a job description. The job duties can serve as talking points for your interview and also give the applicants a clear picture of what will be required of them.4. Prepare Interview QuestionsIf you are not experienced at conducting formal interviews, you will benefit greatly by having a prepared list of questions. It will help you stay in control of the interview, not miss any key points, and make the best use of your time. Write it all down.5. Outline an Employment ContractEven if the person you select comes highly recommended and you and your family really hit it off with them, make sure to remain professional. This includes having them sign a contract that outlines your expectations, their duties, as well as boundaries. You can then refer back to the contract should a situation arise in the future. Often Home Health Agencies prepare the contracts themselves. Be sure to read them carefully and add anything that you wish to be included.6. Personally Screen CandidatesSince the person you hire will be spending time alone with your parent or loved one, it is essential that you approve them yourself. Having an agency just send someone over is not acceptable in this situation. Even if they can paint a picture of a candidate's qualifications, because the job of health care provider is so intimate, personality is eq[...]

A Systemic Problem in Our Healthcare System


Those of you who are old enough to remember the Australian bush nurse Sister Kenny (1880-1952), will no doubt recall the brouhaha she caused within the medical establishment of her time. Elizabeth Kenny had devised a treatment for polio that was universally castigated by doctors of the day. In fact her methods proved time and again to be efficacious and became the forerunner for the practice of physical therapy as we know it today.The reason Sister Kenny, and her struggles with the established order of medicine, is brought to mind is that licensed medical doctors all too often behave like members of a closed-shop union. In such an environment, no one is allowed to do work that is perceived as encroaching on their specialty, without consequent castigation and sanction. And, they vigorously lobby for laws to protect them from perceived interlopers.In Sister Kenny's case, she struggled for years to get her therapeutic methods accepted, even in the face of observable success, and admiring testimonials from patients. The medical profession cast aspersions on her methods and her person, largely because she wasn't an accredited practitioner (only a nurse), and her methods contradicted generally accepted treatment standards.In today's contentious health care environment, alternative treatments are greatly frowned upon, and their practitioners ridiculed. Ask licensed doctors what they think of acupuncture, chiropractic, aroma or muscle activation therapy, and they will almost always turn up their noses. In fact, they have convinced the insurance industry that these methods are nothing more than palliatives bordering on quackery. Thus, patients are channeled into much more expensive surgical and drug treatments that often times provide no relief.This is not to say that there aren't quacks hovering around the practice of alternative medicine, just as there are quacks who are licensed to practice the approved variety. It is also not claimed that there alternative methods for all sicknesses or diseases. But it is also true that in most professions, wherever there is a buck to be made, a surfeit of willing hands will extend to accommodate. We see desperately sick people try all sorts of last gasp treatments, especially after traditional medicine has given up on them. And these alternative methods seldom work.However, in the less well defined areas of pain management, due to a variety of causes, modern medicine has proven to be quite fallible. Countless thousands of people suffer through painful days of agony with only the promise of relief provided by dangerous drugs. Doctors prescribe many unproven medications because their pharmaceutical rep told them this was the cutting edge drug du jour for pain management. Big Pharma and the medical profession work hand and glove to push their latest (and expensive) drug on suffering patients. And since only licensed doctors can dispense them, this conduit is exploited by both parties. Why there might even be a financial incentive for the prescribing doctor. Heavens!Because of the built-in aversion to examining or even testing alternative therapies, the healthcare system is saddled with more expensive, "accredited" treatments that push the insured patients in that direction.Even though back surgery has been shown to be less than 50% effective, and much less costly alternative therapies have proven efficacious, they are ignored. Worse, just as in Sister[...]




States Proceed With Health Insurance Exchanges


California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Nevada, New York, and Vermont have received new grants from the federal government to help support the establishment of Affordable Insurance Exchanges, provided by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Starting in 2014, consumers and small businesses will have access to high-quality, affordable health insurance through an Exchange—an online marketplace where consumers can choose a private health insurance plan that, it is hoped, will fit their health needs and, maybe, budgets.According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Exchanges will level the health insurance playing field, so that small businesses will have a better choice of plans and insurers at a lower cost, the way larger employers do now. These competitive health insurance marketplaces will make purchasing health insurance easier and more understandable and offer consumers and small businesses increased competition and choice, HHS said.In addition, small employers will be eligible to receive tax credits for coverage purchased for employees through the Exchange. And, consumers will be able to learn if they are eligible for tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, or other health care programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This latest round of awards will give states additional resources and flexibility to establish an Exchange. On August 23, California, Hawaii, Iowa, and New York were awarded Level One Exchange Establishment grants, which provide one year of funding to states that have begun the process of building their Exchange. Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, and Vermont were awarded Level Two Establishment grants, which are provided to states that are further along in building their Exchange and offers funding over multiple years. Previously, 49 states, the District of Columbia and four territories received grants to begin planning their Exchanges. With the new grants, 34 states and the District of Columbia also have received Establishment grants to begin building their Exchanges.In June 2012, HHS announced an initiative to provide states with ten additional opportunities to apply for funding to establish a state-based Exchange, state Partnership Exchange, or to prepare state systems for a Federally-facilitated Exchange. States can apply for Exchange grants through the end of 2014, and may use funds during the initial start-up year. This schedule ensures that states have the support and time necessary to build an Exchange that best fits the needs of their residents.[...]

Health insurance exchanges aiming for real-time eligibility determinations using Treasury, IRS data


Health insurance exchanges should be able to make real-time determinations of eligibility for various types of coverage using data from the Treasury Department and the IRS, officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said at a recent regional forum on implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in Washington, D.C.

The PPACA generally requires states to establish American Health Benefit Exchanges by January 1, 2014. If a state decides not to establish an exchange for its residents, HHS will operate a federally facilitated exchange (FFE). Qualified taxpayers will be able to purchase health insurance coverage through the exchanges. Some taxpayers may be eligible for the Code Sec. 36B premium assistance tax credit to help them obtain coverage. The Treasury and the IRS have issued guidance on the Code Sec. 36B tax credit (I.R.B. 2012-24).

HHS officials said that, through the exchanges, individuals will be able to learn if they are eligible for programs to make insurance more affordable, such as eligibility for the premium assistance tax credit, or health programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). HHS is aiming for real-time determinations of eligibility for coverage, the officials said.

Federal agencies are planning a "data services hub" to facilitate the exchange of information, the officials said. An inter-agency task force is currently meeting to develop the parameters of the hub. "There is an incredible amount of complex work going on," one official said.

HHS establishes safe harbor for adverse benefit notices of non-federal governmental plans


The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established an enforcement safe harbor with respect to the content of the adverse benefit determinations and final internal adverse benefit determinations issued by non-federal governmental plans. Guidance issued on August 17 indicates that HHS will not enforce the requirement, under Public Health Service Act (PHSA) Sec. 2719, that non-federal governmental plans provide notice of the private right of action under ERISA. Similarly, HHS will not enforce the requirement that non-federal governmental plans provide contact information for the EBSA or a state department of insurance. This safe harbor is applicable as long as such a plan provides contact information for member assistance provided by any third-party administrator or health insurance issuer that is hired by or contracts with the plan, and, if available, consumer assistance offered directly by the plan such as applicable member services, employee services, human relations or fiscal or personnel department, or consumer support services, if applicable.Notice requirement. PHSA Sec. 2719 requires that non-grandfathered group health plans and health insurance issuers offering non-grandfathered group or individual health insurance coverage have an effective internal claims and appeals process. PHSA Sec. 2719(a)(2)(A) requires that such plans and health insurance issuers in the group market provide an internal claims and appeals process that initially incorporates the procedures of 29 CFR 2560.503-1 (the Department of Labor claims procedure regulation) and update such procedures in accordance with any standards established by the Secretary of Labor for such plans and issuers. The Department of Labor claims procedure regulation clarifies the manner and content of notification of benefit determinations, which include certain disclosures. Among these required disclosures is a statement of the claimant’s right, under ERISA Sec. 502(a), to bring a civil action following review of an adverse benefit determination. ERISA Sec. 502(a) permits a plan participant or beneficiary to bring a civil action, among other purposes, “to recover benefits due to him under the terms of his plan, to enforce his rights under the terms of the plan, or to clarify his rights to future benefits under the terms of the plan.” In addition, the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS have provided model notices for adverse benefit determinations. The model notices outline information that must be provided to claimants, including contact information for EBSA or a state’s department of insurance, as well as contact information for a consumer assistance program established under PHSA Sec. 2793 if one is available in that state.Private right of action not available. The private right of action under ERISA Sec. 502(a) is not available to participants or beneficiaries of non-federal governmental plans, and the EBSA does not provide services to these participants or beneficiaries. In some cases, state departments of insurance do not provide services to these participants or beneficiaries. However, PHSA Sec. 2722(a) requires that non-federal governmental plans comply with the requirements found in the Department of Labor’s claims procedure regulation and the rules implementing PHSA Sec. 2719, i[...]

House committee spotlights IRS need to prepare for health reform law implementation


The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., held a hearing recently to examine the IRS’s implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Issa said the law "has raised serious concerns about big government intrusion into Americans’ private lives," including questions about the "privacy of personal information once held only by the IRS but now shared with state [health care] exchanges." Issa also raised questions about the ability of Americans to comply with the law’s requirements, such as a requirement to provide, within 30 days, notification to a government agency about "key information": changes in income, household composition, marriage status and insurance coverage.IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman testified that "important progress on implementation has been made." In response to questioning from Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., Shulman said that the IRS will not have access to private health care information and will only get "barebones information. The IRS’s role has been way overstated. The IRS won’t have access to health care information except for the fact of coverage." The information provided will include whether the taxpayer has coverage, how many months the taxpayer has had coverage, and the identity of the insurer, Shulman indicated.Shulman said that 92 percent of the IRS’s budget request for PPACA implementation for fiscal year 2013 is for operations support, information technology and operations investments. Shulman denied reports that the IRS will be hiring 16,000 agents to verify health insurance coverage and to enforce the health care law. "Generally, revenue agents…would not work on resolving these types of issues. Typically, these issues are addressed and resolved through written correspondence," he said.Communication, education needed. IRS National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson told the committee that "the IRS has made significant progress toward ACA implementation," but "there remain significant concerns." Olson said a top IRS priority should be "communication and outreach to the many Americans who will not interact with the IRS on health insurance for the first time. In particular, these taxpayers may need education on the method by which the premium assistance tax credit is advanced to insurers and later reconciled with their tax returns. Finally, channels must be open for taxpayer referrals where another agency [such as the Department of Health and Human Services] makes a determination that the IRS must execute, and vice versa."Olson testified that "certain ACA provisions have tax consequences that require Americans to understand their role beyond traditional return-filing at year-end. In particular, taxpayers at certain income levels may qualify for a premium assistance tax credit advanced by the government to their insurer. If their income at year-end turns out to be more than anticipated, the credit may be less than the amount advanced, and the IRS may recover the excess as a tax. To avoid receiving an excess, taxpayers may need to update information if their income or other relevant circumstances change. In effect, the premium assistance tax credit requires not only an initial application and a year-end tax return but ongoing upda[...]

GAO: estimates on post-ACA decline in employer-provided coverage vary


Researchers believe that certain provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) could affect employers’ future willingness to offer coverage, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), but as yet little consensus exists as to what the future holds for employer-provided coverage.As noted in the report, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Estimates of the Effect on the Prevalence of Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage (GAO-12-768), ACA provisions that could affect employer-sponsored coverage include the individual mandate, the establishment of health insurance exchanges, group market reforms, and the “Cadillac” tax.Tasked with a review of the "research" on this topic, the GAO examined two types of data. First, it reviewed five microsimulation model studies (those which estimate the combined effects of multiple ACA provisions, based on multiple data sets and assumptions) Second, it consulted 19 employer surveys published between Jan. 1, 2009, and March 30, 2012. In both instances, GAO examined (1) estimates of the effect of the ACA on the extent of employer-sponsored coverage; (2) factors that may contribute to the variation in estimates; and (3) how estimates of coverage vary by the types of employers and employees that may be affected, as well as other changes employers may be considering to the health benefits they offer. Microsimulation models. The GAO found that the microsimulation model studies generally predicted little change in prevalence of employer-sponsored coverage in the near term. The five microsimulation study estimates ranged from a net decrease of 2.5 percent to a net increase of 2.7 percent in the total number of individuals with employer-sponsored coverage within the first two years of implementation of key ACA provisions, affecting up to about 4 million individuals. Two of these studies also indicated that the majority of individuals losing employer-sponsored coverage would transition to other sources of coverage, the GAO noted. Employer surveys. Among the 19 employer surveys examined, 16 reported estimates of employers dropping coverage for all employee types. Among these 16, 11 indicated that 10 percent or fewer employers were likely to drop coverage in the near term, but estimates ranged from 2 to 20 percent. Most surveys were of employers currently offering coverage and therefore did not also address whether other employers may begin to offer coverage in response to the ACA; however, the three that did found that between 1 percent and 28 percent would begin offering coverage as a result of the ACA. Some of the 19 employer surveys indicated that the ACA may have a larger effect on small employers and certain populations and may prompt some employers to change benefit designs, according to the GAO. For example, four surveys found that smaller employers were more likely than other employers to stop offering health coverage in response to the ACA, and five found that employers in general were more likely to drop coverage for retirees than for all employees. Nine surveys also indicated that employers are considering key changes to benefit design, some of which may result in greater employee cost for health coverage. [...]

Mercer: ACA challenges acute for firms with part-time, low-wage workers


Companies with the greatest number of part-time and low-paid employees will face the greatest challenges from the reforms provided in the Affordable Care Act, a new Mercer survey has determined. Although 60 percent of the 1,203 employers Mercer surveyed expected some increase in cost as a result of the key ACA provisions effective in 2014, nearly half (46 percent) of retail and hospitality industry firms and two-fifths (40 percent) of health care industry employers anticipated cost increases of at least 3 percent. These industries have large part-time employee populations. Only 31 percent of service industry employers expected such an increase.

"With health benefit cost already rising at twice the rate of general inflation, an additional increase of 3 percent or more will be very tough for employers to absorb," said Sharon Cunninghis, leader of Mercer’s U.S. Employee Health & Benefits business.

Also, in companies where pay is low, employees who are eligible for coverage are more likely to opt out of enrolling, Mercer noted. For example, among large wholesale/retail and health care employers, opt-out rates average 19 percent and 18 percent, respectively, compared to just 8 percent among transportation, communication, and utility companies, where pay is higher. Once the individual mandate requiring all individuals who can afford coverage to obtain it (or pay a penalty) goes into effect, employers with high opt-out rates could experience a significant increase in enrollment.

Beginning in 2014, employers with at least 50 full-time employees working at least 30 hours weekly must extend health care coverage to these employees or pay a penalty. One-fourth of the respondents to Mercer’s survey said they will have to act to avoid penalties—ranging from 16 percent of financial services employers to 46 percent of retail and hospitality industry employers. Firms with low populations of part-time employees likely will make those employees eligible for the full-time employee plans or add new, low-cost plans (68 percent). However, employers with large part-time employee populations that do not currently offer coverage to these workers are more inclined to change their workforce strategy so that fewer employees would be eligible (67 percent of these employers, compared with 41 percent of manufacturing industry firms).

Employers counting on the ACA-provided Medicaid expansion for some of their low-paid employees may be foiled by the Supreme court decision that allows states to opt out of this expansion. One-fifth of survey respondents, but half of companies with large part-time employee populations, have employees that could qualify for coverage under the Medicaid expansion.

"Because state Medicaid eligibility already varies greatly, it’s difficult to predict what states will do about expanding their programs to more individuals, and the impact of their decisions on employers," said Branch McNeal, leader of Mercer’s Government Consulting business.

Source: Press release,

ACA rebate: you could get a check


In an effort to boost the overall popularity of the Affordable Care Act, the White House is touting the August mailing of a projected $1 billion in rebates that are required by the medical loss ratio provisions of the ACA.

Under the MLR provisions in the ACA, health insurance companies are now required to spend at least 80 percent (85 percent for large group plans) of premiums directly on health care, as opposed to advertising, administrative costs and executive salaries. Companies not meeting this requirement were required to send rebates to customers by August 1.

A White House e-mail, sent from and captioned "Did you get your check," states that "nearly 13 million Americans will receive more than $1 billion from insurance companies this summer."

Group plan participants: don't get your hopes up. "There may be many employees who are expecting to receive a rebate check in the near future, but will receive nothing in hand," Garrett Fenton, Miller & Chevalier Chartered, Washington, D.C., told CCH. With respect to group health insurance coverage, even where an employer receives a rebate check from its insurer, that does not necessarily mean the employer will pass through the rebate directly to its employees, Fenton observed. He added, “In the context of ERISA plans, Department of Labor guidance provides employers with some discretion as to how to use or dispose of their MLR rebates, as long as they ‘act prudently, solely in the interest of the plan participants and beneficiaries, and in accordance with the terms of the plan.’”

And, of course, if you do get a rebate, you have to consider potential tax consequences.

In April 2012, the IRS posted FAQs addressing the federal tax consequences of MLR rebates. The FAQs explain that rebates are generally taxable if the individual policyholder previously deducted them on 2011 Form 1040, either on Schedule A or on line 29 as a self-employed individual. Rebates are also taxable if previously pre-tax premium payments are refunded to an employee participating in a group health plan, whether in a check from the insurance company, in a check paid through the plan’s administrator, or in the form of a premium reduction for the current 2012 year. The MLR rebates in those cases are considered a return to the employee of part of untaxed compensation that is no longer being used to pay for health insurance. MLR rebates are not taxable in cases of 2012 premium reductions based on 2011 premiums that had been paid on an after-tax basis. In such cases, the MLR rebate is considered a purchase price adjustment that reduces the cost of the participant’s 2012 insurance premiums.

Due to health reform, open enrollment planning more complex for employers


With annual open enrollment for 2013 rapidly approaching for most employers, Mercer, a benefits consultant, has created a checklist to help employers with their open enrollment planning, a task made even more difficult by health reform. "Health care reform has made open enrollment planning even more complex and daunting for plan sponsors," says Rich VanThournout, Health & Benefits business leader, Mercer’s Outsourcing business. This checklist can help “organize and prioritize key initiatives” to make this open enrollment season a successful one for employers, participants, and their vendors, alike, suggests VanThournout."Best-in-class health benefit strategies place a very strong emphasis on flawless implementation and administration, especially during the critical open enrollment season," adds Stephen Kreuger, Partner, Mercer’s Health & Benefits business. “Even with the impact of health reform top of mind, Kreuger suggests, Mercer’s checklist brings into focus the broader array of issues and ideas that plan sponsors need to consider well in advance of engaging participants in their health programs.”Checklist. For employers with health plans, Mercer recommends considering the following factors:Use open enrollment to reinforce the value of your health and benefits program—Employees clearly appreciate their employer-sponsored benefits; 79 percent of respondents say their benefits are one of the primary reasons they work where they do, and 91 percent say that getting health benefits through work is just as important as getting a salary. Open enrollment is also a great opportunity to promote the tools and educational materials that help employees make better enrollment decisions, Mercer suggests.Understand the implications and scenarios of health care reform—Even before the recent Supreme Court ruling on the federal health care reform law, more than one-third (36%) of employees expected employers to change health plan benefits due to health care reform, more than double the level reported one year earlier. It is important that employers work with consultants, administrators and other stakeholders now in order to finalize all the requirements to be in compliance and allow enough time to implement and communicate plan changes. Leverage online/electronic communications—90 percent of employees of Mercer’s health and benefits administration clients enrolled online during the 2012 open enrollment period. In light of the fact that employees are receptive to receiving information online, employers consider, too, the cost savings of e-delivery of open enrollment materials. Other electronic communications, such as personalized emails, micro-sites and text messages, also have proven to be both popular and effective at driving informed employee enrollment behaviors.Consider adding a wellness program - Employees are increasingly appreciative of, and engaged with, wellness programs. Of the 61 percent who report that their company offers such benefits, 30 percent say they take advantage of these benefits "a great deal"—a number that is up significantly from 23 percent in 2010. These programs provide effective forums to driv[...]

Employers look to expand onsite health centers services


A significant number of U.S. employers with onsite health centers are planning to expand the scope of services offered, as well as the audiences eligible to use the centers, in the next 12 months, according to a survey by benefits consultant, Towers Watson. This expansion is expected to occur as pressure continues to remains strong to keep workers healthy, productive and on the job.The 2012 Onsite Health Center Survey looks at 74 large employers that have established or are planning to establish onsite health facilities. Services offered at onsite centers can include onsite coaching, immunizations, biometric screenings, physical therapy, pharmacy and other medical services. According to the survey, most companies (62 percent) establish or keep their centers open to gain improvements in employee productivity that come from eliminating visits to offsite medical providers. Other factors for establishing a center include cost reduction (57 percent) and improved access to care (46 percent). What services are offered. According to Towers Watson, currently, a majority of onsite health centers offer biometric screenings (81 percent), wellness counseling (73 percent), urgent care and first-responder services (70 percent each), and primary care services (63 percent). However, many companies plan to add new capabilities in 2013. Most notably, 28 percent of employers plan to add telemedicine, up from 8 percent that currently offer the service. In addition, 8 percent plan to add primary care services (63 percent currently offer); 6 percent plan to add full onsite pharmacies (24 percent currently offer), and 6 percent plan to add physical therapy (up from 41 percent currently offer). "Employers believe onsite health centers can effectively address the key needs of increasing productivity, controlling costs and improving employee health," said Greg Mansur, senior consultant at Towers Watson. "It's important to note that onsite health centers will not be a fit for all companies. However, many of those companies that have embraced them believe they can pay even greater dividends in the future. Specifically, these employers are planning to offer new services and expand the audiences that can use them."Who can use the onsite centers? Currently, over one-third (36 percent) of employers with onsite health centers allow spouses and children of employees to use their centers. Within 12 months, those numbers are expected to jump, Towers Watson says. An additional 13 percent are planning to allow spouses to use the centers, and another 11 percent are planning to allow children. More employers are also planning to allow former employees on COBRA, as well as temporary and contract employees, to use their centers."Treating covered dependents can provide as much value to an organization as treating an employee," said Patti Friedman, senior consultant at Towers Watson. "In fact, when evaluating the expected costs and savings of implementing an onsite health center, more use tends to translate into higher returns."Other findings. Although employers and employees alike view the onsite health centers positively, Towers Watson found that [...]

Heart Health: Which Fats Are Good for the Heart?


Hardly a day goes by without the nutrient 'fat' making a headline or two. How come? Eating too much fat is now widely recognised and linked to heart-health. How do we know which fats are healthier and which ones to eat less of? Is all fat bad for us?Eating too much fat can lead to obesity. Eating too little fat can under-nourish us. What is the right balance of fat? Firstly, fats are actually a nutrient that are included in one of the main food groups and are part of a balanced diet. But there are many different types of fats available and it can sometimes be confusing to know which ones to buy and which fats to eat less of.Solid Fats, Liquid FatsHave you noticed how chilled butter and most cheeses are solid, that you need a knife to cut them? Well what you are cutting through is basically a solid wall of fat. The same is true for ice-cream, you need a scoop to extract it from the tub as it too contains a high percentage of solid fat.Solid fat is solid at room temperature and is also known as saturated fat. It includes: cream, cheese, full-fat milk, the skin of chicken, bacon rind, the white streaky bits in ham and meats and butter.Cakes, biscuits and chocolate sweets are usually high in saturated fat content also. So any foods that are made with hard cheeses, full-fat milk and cream may also be high in saturated fat content.Saturated fats are useful in small amounts and provide warmth and protection for some of our vital organs like the adrenal glands. But let's say that a person eats large doses of saturated fats and carbohydrates over long periods of time, with little or no exercising and spends most of their day sitting down, well then this person may start to increase their weight as unused fats and carbs will be stored.Saturated fats have developed a bad name for themselves, as when they are eaten in large quantities they have become linked to contributing towards thickening arterial walls.Heart-Healthy FatsSome fats have become known as the so-called 'good fats.' These are known as the unsaturated fats or ones which are liquid at room temperature. This includes olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, peanut oil and soya oil to name a few. Any oil that is basically a liquid at room temperature is considered to be one of the healthier oils. These are usually known as the vegetable oils and they are rich in so called fatty acids.Unsaturated fats are linked to being heart-healthy. It is widely recognised that eating less saturated fatty acids helps to support cholesterol reduction and thus helps to support a healthy heart. Vegetable oils tend to be high in Omega 3 and Omega 6, both of which are considered to be heart-healthy fatty acids.Read the Labels in Supermarkets!If you want to find out the fat content of the food you buy contains, start by looking at the labels in supermarkets. Nearly all labels now have the fat content of the foods listed. So it is easy to see how much fat the food contains and now also most labels will say 'Low' or 'Reduced Fat.' So if you think you need to cut down on the amount of fat you eat, then check with the labels as this really can make[...]

Health Tips for Women of all Ages


There are many health issues that women should be aware of and they should be taking preventative measures to avoid. Many of these issues are specifically woman-centered, such as ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancers. However, women also make up more than half of Alzheimer's patients, approximately 3.4 million out of 5.4 million Americans living with this disease. Helping women to know the risks and symptoms of certain woman-specific diseases, as well as preventative and treatment options, is important.The big cancers that can affect women are uterine cancers: cervical, ovarian, and endometrial. Breast cancer also primarily affects women, though there are cases of male patients diagnosed with breast cancer. These cancers, for the most part, can be prevented, but sometimes your family history is enough to cause the disease.Cervical cancer can be caught early if you are regularly going to your gynecologist for a pap smear. You should also consider quitting smoking if you do smoke, or avoiding secondhand smoke if you do not. Cigarettes have been linked to the development of many cancers, and besides the obvious ones like lung and mouth cancer, they do also cause cervical cancer. You may want to consider also getting the HPV vaccine if you are under 27 years of age.Ovarian cancer is one of the more frustrating diseases to diagnose because there are no effective screening tests and no one really knows what causes it. Taking Fenretidine, which is a synthetic form of Vitamin A, might help to protect women against ovarian cancer as well as breast cancer, but there are not enough scientific studies that prove this to be an absolute. Your best bet, sadly, is to have your ovaries surgically removed. This may not rule out your chances of getting ovarian cancer entirely, but it is the most commonly recommended solution for patients who are high risk because of their family history.Endometrial cancer's cause is also unknown, and unfortunately, this is also the most common type of cancer within the uterine area. High levels of estrogen seem to be a factor in whether a woman develops this disease. Also, if you have diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), have never been pregnant, or are infertile, your risk factor increases. To help prevent endometrial cancer, you should try exercising, changing your diet to introduce soy-based foods, and if you still are able, getting pregnant and breastfeeding.Alzheimer's disease is a sad and difficult disease to deal with. Imagine losing your memories of those you love. It can be upsetting to know there may be nothing you can do to prevent its onset; thankfully, there are a few things that may help. Regular exercise 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes can diminish your risk factor. You should also consider changing your diet to include heart-healthy foods such as salmon and tuna, and excluding red meat and fried foods. Try adding in a few cups of green or white tea as well. Getting a quality amount of sleep is beneficial in all cases, but most especially when attempting to prevent Alzheimer's. Work on reducing stress in a[...]

Medical Supplies and Medical Equipment


How do you know what to consider when purchasing medical equipment? There are different aspects to consider in selecting medical supplies and medical equipment. It is not an easy task because of the wide variety of products available. Choosing quality medical supplies and medical equipment should be given thought and attention as you may end up with inappropriate items. Supplies may be deemed inappropriate if they are incompatible with the existing equipment, or if accessories and spare parts are no longer available.The term medical supplies refer to items that are replaced on a regular basis. It can be classified into three categories; disposables, expendables and reusable items. Disposables are single use items like syringes and needles while consumables are items that can be used within a short span of time like laboratory stains, cotton wools and tape. Reusable items, on the other hand, are items that can be utilized in a limited amount of time such as thermometers and catheters. Medical equipment in contrast consists of durable items that can last for several years and are considered to be capital equipment. Examples of medical equipment include examination tables, beds, microscopes, weighing scales, sterilizers, and bedpans. In purchasing medical supplies and equipment, it is best to label items to help set priorities. There are items that are vital to health services, as well as items that are considered beneficial but are not quite critical and lastly, things that are only used for minor issues. Placing medical supplies and medical equipment in these categories will help in focusing on which items to purchase, especially if there are limited funds.Once you determine which items are vital and essential, the next thing to consider would be the appropriateness of the items. For instance, equipment should not be replaced just because there are newer models available in the market. Some items are too technically complicated so it is best to consult with a member of the facility who is familiar with using the apparatus. A spare or replacement part, on the other hand, should be compatible with the existing equipment. Another thing to take into consideration is quality. If the item is expected to be used frequently for a long period, then it should be considered an investment and it is advised to purchase one of exceptionally high quality. Ask the manufacturer about the maintenance information and life span expectancy of medical equipments before purchase. Check the labels and packaging of any item for storage instructions and expiration dates for medical supplies.It is also necessary to scout high-quality manufacturers. Only buy supplies and equipment from licensed, reliable and reputable sources. It is best to ask the supplier for their safety standards and performance warranties before completing any purchase. As a tip, it is more cost-effective to purchase new equipment rather than used, as used equipment has a much more limited life span. Apart from the manufacturer, the facility should also be checked to make sure that it h[...]

Benefits of Natural Health Products


These days, more and more people are opting for natural health products over synthetic ones. People are now looking towards more natural means to improve their health and cure their sicknesses. Many experts have tried to prove the effectiveness of these natural health products, but although they have good results, some people are still skeptical about it. Some believe that synthetic medicines are still far more superior that these herbal alternatives. But come to think of it, people didn't have antibiotics and thousands of synthetic vitamins to keep them healthy centuries ago. They relied on natural health products to keep their bodies healthy.

Before discussing the benefits one can get from taking natural health products, let us first take a closer look on synthetic medicines and how they work. Synthetic medicines commonly contain a mixture of different chemicals. The best thing about these drugs is that they work fast and you can see the effects right away. However, since they are made up of lots of chemicals, synthetic medicines can leave harmful side effects on your body which could turn into something serious in the long term. Another downside is that regular use of these medicines could make the body dependent on it instead of its own natural defense. So as an effect, you end up buying these medicines for life which could be quite expensive.

Synthetic drugs are not the only form of medication available to cure diseases. Yes, there are natural alternatives available which work equally well. It is indeed possible to cure diseases without involving side effects. Natural health products are all about improving your immune system so that it can defend yourself from infections and other diseases. What's good about natural products is that they're all natural and made from natural herbs. It does not contain any synthetic chemicals so you don't have to worry about side effects and adverse reactions. Natural health products can help treat different kinds of diseases. It can help treat obesity, acne, diabetes, hypertension, stress, and many more. What's also good about these products is that they help treat the problem right at the source to avoid it from coming back. Some synthetic medicines only treat the symptoms but not the actual source of the problem.

Regular intake of natural supplements and products along with proper diet and a healthy lifestyle, could help you achieve optimum health. Natural medications may not be as fast acting unlike their synthetic counterparts but they're 100 percent safe and very effective. Your body deserves only the best so perhaps you may want to treat your health problems the natural way starting today.

Go natural today for your healthier future. Jem's Natural Living offers a wide assortment of eco friendly home products, organic baby products and natural health products.

Foods Not to Eat on a Healthy Diet


There are certain foods that, no matter how much we love them, we should avoid eating. At least for the most part!Foods that cause inflammation:    cheddar cheeses    fast food    fat free salad dressings (most contain sugar)    french fries    fruit juice cocktails (high in sugar)    ice cream    oils - vegetable, corn and canola    pasta    processed foods    snack foods    soft drinks, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages    sugar, in any form    white breadFoods that contain trans-fatty acids:    anything with partially hydrogenated oil    artificial cheese    chips - potato, corn/tortilla    cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, pie crust, pastries    commercial baked goods    crackers    deep fat fried foods    margarine and shortening    prepared mixes - cake, muffins etc.Foods that are genetically modified such as:    Canola Oil    Corn    Cottonseed Oil    SoyAlso watch out for common "diet" foods that may actually sabotage your weight loss efforts:Cereal. Check your labels to be sure your cereal contains whole grains and avoid cereals that are high in sugar.Diet frozen dinners. Sure they're convenient but unfortunately most of these are very high in sodium.Ground turkey. I have to admit that I've always believed that ground turkey is better as far as a healthy diet goes than ground beef. But it turns out when you compare 90% lean beef to 90% ground turkey the ground turkey actually has more calories and total fat than the ground beef. Although you can find ground turkey that is 97% lean and most ground beef sold in stores is 80% rather than 90% lean. But if you personally prefer beef it's good to know!No-fat/Low fat ice cream and frozen yogurt. Sadly these types of frozen treats can contain up to twice the amount of sugar as regular varieties.Prepared tomato sauce. While tomato sauce (which is high in lycopene) is good for you, most store bought brands are also high in sugar.Sugar free, artificially sweetened drinks and snacks. These have actually been shown to cause weight gain.Veggie chips. They are delicious but they are still fried and can contain as much fat as regular potato chips.Yogurt. Presweetened yogurt is loaded with sugar and the sugar free varieties contain artificial sweeteners, which we know are also bad. I choose Greek yogurt and add fresh berries and nuts to it. I also use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. They're similar in calories but Greek yogurt is much higher in protein.[...]

Tips and Information on Natural Animal Health Care for Your Horses, Pets and Birds


Poor weight gain and lack of condition in our horses, pets and birds.Since time began horses were naturally herd animals roaming and grazing in the wilds eating grasses and any in season herbs, weeds and flowers they naturally come across during the four seasons of the year.Horses are now expected to eat large amounts of food once, twice or three times a day which is against their natural instinct. This is done simply because of our life styles but it greatly undermines the horse's natural eating habits and health.Poor weight gain is a condition where the horse and pets fails to thrive in spite of being fed what may seem to be a normal diet.To be able to provide the animal a balanced diet it is necessary to look at its original feeding habits. The bulk of their diet comprises of roughage, a variety of pasture grasses, herbs, flowers and weeds. Concentrates were eaten only when available as seed heads formed. Changes to diet were gradual and dictated by how far they moved per day and seasonal changes. Horses eat for most of the twenty four hour period during the day.There are several reasons why your animals might be in poor condition despite the fact you might think it is eating a balanced diet, with simple tests from your veterinarian and the aid of a dentist you will be able to address this problem.It is possible they could have;A poor immune system.An imbalance of vitamins and minerals in its diet.An un-diagnosed low grade infection.A slow digestive system that is not absorbing all of its nutrients.An imbalance ratio of concentrates and roughage.An incomplete metabolism of glucose and fluctuations in glucose levels.A change to its feed regime.Exposed to dust in stables, kennels and lofts, fungal spores carried in the air causing bronchial conditions and infections.A nervous disorder like wind sucking and weaving or it could be highly strung.A mouth infection or teeth problems.These are just some of the problems your animals could be encountering.Why maintaining our animals and birds body condition is so important.Being underweight is unhealthy for anyone or anything and can reduce their athletic and reproductive performance. If an animal does not receive enough energy in its diet for a long period of time it will begin to lose body condition because its stored fat will be burned for energy.When our they lose body condition and become thin any physical activity will be reduced.Mares coming into breeding season also have difficulties and reduced conception rates in comparison to mares in good condition.How can we address this problem?As with any illness it must be addressed by a veterinary first followed by a diet high in recuperative antioxidants and plant substances that address the immune system.A poor immune system can be maintained by using a good herbal supplement and with our Condition Enhancer that has been designed to aid and maintain good healthy condition for any living creature.Vine Herbal Products makes no medicinal claims with this pr[...]

Integrated Healthcare Systems


The world of healthcare is always changing.  When you think back to healthcare and health services back when our parents and grandparents were children and then compare things to healthcare today things are drastically different.  One thing that has changed and developed and also continues to change and develop as we speak is what is called the integrated healthcare systems.  Sometimes also referred to as multi-care providers or multi-care treatment, these systems intend on focusing on convenience for the client or patient and ease of working through the system.  Typically these systems cover a wide area of travel and are operated through multiple levels.  The systems also incorporate many different types of services including medical services and general health and wellness services as well.  The goal is the get you healthy and to keep you that way with this type of integrated system.A system such as Manhattan Illinois healthcare has many different offices and services connected to it.  There is typically a large hospital that would be the main center and then many other clinics, offices, and even smaller hospitals that feed into and work off of or from the larger hospital.  Patients can visit a doctor in a medical center or office and expect to the same level of service if they visit a different doctor, hospital, or other provider that is within the same integrated healthcare systems.  There is also the benefit of having your medical records contained in the same system so that you don't have as much trouble trying to track down a get your medical records to all your different doctors.Information is many times also maintained in the integrated healthcare systems information center so that if you visit Monee healthcare instead of another center then your information can be located because it is all consider the same provider.  In a way this is like an umbrella system that covers the patient.  There can be advantages for a patient and the goal of the integrated healthcare system is to make the experience better for both the patient and for the healthcare providers as well.This way of providing care for patients is drastically different than how the doctors and nurses may have provided care in the past but one could say that it is an attempt on a large scale to make patients feel similar.  A doctor from Manteno healthcare is not likely to come to your home to provide care but the hope would be that because you are in this network of healthcare and provided quality and uniform care that you may feel somewhat like your father or grandfather felt with the doctor at their home.A great website to check out if you are interested in an integrated healthcare system is Riverside Medical Center where you can get a good idea of how the system works and what they offer. You can visit the Manhattan Illinois healthcare [[...]

Nutrition for Female Triathletes


Most women triathletes know intellectually that the right diet will enhance their training and produce far better results. In practice though, this is often harder to implement. When the chocolate bar, cream cakes and cola are calling our name it is easy to justify to ourselves that we exercise so much that it won't matter!However success comes from the little things done well day after day after day.In fact a good diet makes a huge difference! It will decrease overall stress levels, help maintain or achieve optimum racing weight and give us more energy to train before and after a hard day at work (even when we don't feel like it!).Remember that exercising at high intensities causes damage in the cells of the body, high levels of lactic acid and stress in the actual cells. This is why we sometimes feel tired after exercise and experience muscle soreness. There is a high production of free radicals which cause cell damage. On top of this, pollution, stress and heat also damage cells.Everyone has heard of the importance of anti oxidants. These clean up free radicals and reduce stress in the body. As a female triathlete you constantly need to replenish your level of antioxidants to combat the free radicals. This requires a proper diet packed with the right nutrients.Whilst there are may books written on the triathlete's diet, they all come back to the same basis- eat natural food, loads of fruit and vegetables and plenty of water. Triathletes need more anti oxidants than the average sedentary person. Ditch processed foods, junk food, excessive coffee, alcohol and sugar.As a rough guide I have listed some foods that are full of antioxidants to give you an idea of what you should be eating on a regular basis to help boost your levels and fight the free radicals in your system.Pineapple, bananas, broccoli, chicken, fish, beans, peas, carrots, eggs, fish oils, oranges, nuts and seeds, peppers, cucumber and so on. There is so much choice you can never get bored. Use your imagination. Smoothies are another great way to get in a few servings of fruit in the one serving.If you choose not to eat a majority of antioxidants, your training will suffer, you will take longer to recover from sessions and you will not be getting the results you deserve from all your training. So reach for the fruit and vegetables- organic where possible and you will feel the difference very quickly.We hope you enjoyed our article. for more you can visit us at and you can download our free book "The Top 5 Mistakes Most Triathletes Make And How To Avoid Them!"[...]

Dropping heath coverage in favor of paying ACA penalty not a money saver


Ever wondered whether it’d be cheaper for a company to simply drop its health insurance coverage and pay any required fines under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)? Many have speculated that it’d be more cost effective for employers to follow this route. Recent research from Truven Health Analytics disproves this notion, saying that “what is clear is that employers should not see the existence of an option not to cover their employees as a ‘slam dunk’ cost-saving measure.”Employers opting to drop their health care plans in 2014 and pay the penalty imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) instead of maintaining coverage for their employees will not benefit economically in the short- or long-term, according to Truven Health Analytics. Beginning in 2014, employers with 50 or more full-time employees will be required to provide "minimum essential" health care coverage for their full-time employees or pay an annual penalty of $2,000 per employee (excluding the first 30 employees). The study, Modeling the Impact of "Pay or Play" Strategies on Employer Health Costs, analyzed four separate benefit design scenarios in which employers eliminate their group health coverage to determine how employers fare under this "pay or play" system.Research findings. The report found the following:Employers will not experience immediate or long-term cost advantages if they choose to eliminate group health benefits.It will be more costly for employers to "make employees whole" when shifting their benefits to a Health Insurance Exchange than to continue existing group health plans.Dropping employer-provided coverage will result in a significant reduction in overall employee compensation, as the incremental costs of benefits will shift to the employees.Conclusions. Truven Health Analytics offers several conclusions from its research. For instance, the researchers say, The potential penalties for dropping group plans, as well as the net gain most employees would need to receive in their compensation packages to make up for not receiving health benefits, should be enough to discourage most companies from discontinuing such services to their workers.”However, the firm cautions that future research is needed to determine whether the patterns it current observes will persist after the Health Insurance Exchanges take effect in 2014. For example, “the economics of Pay or Play for midsized and large employers will be greatly dependent upon how the market for Exchange-based plans develops and whether Exchanges can offer plans that are as efficient or more efficient than existing group health plans. There may also be opportunities for an employer to selectively Pay or Play on a group-by-group basis.” Truven Health Analytics notes that it didn’t reflect this “more nuanced approach” in this current research.“An employer’s cost calculation[...]

Federal Court Dismisses Challenge to Affordable Care Act’s Contraception Requirement


U.S. District Court Judge Warren K. Urbom dismissed a case brought by attorneys general from Nebraska, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas that challenged the rule under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires health care plans to include contraception coverage, even for employees of certain religious institutions. The lawsuit, Nebraska v. HHS, which was joined by three employers associated with the Catholic Church and three employees of similar organizations, claimed that such a requirement violated the rights of non-exempt religious employers who oppose the use of contraception and threatened states’ budgetary stability.The case was dismissed on July 17, 2012 on the grounds that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue. The judge explained that the plaintiffs failed to show that they had suffered an injury that is concrete and not merely hypothetical.  Because the ACA provides that employers who have “grandfather status” are exempt from the rule governing contraception, the decision first examined whether the plaintiff employers would even be required to comply with the rule. The judge did not have to delve farther than this to find that the plaintiff employers and employees did not have standing to sue. Judge Urbom ruled that because two of the employers did not provide evidence that they were ineligible for grandfather status, they did not show that they were subject to the rule, and thus did not suffer a concrete injury. The third employer admitted that it would be grandfathered, but argued that under the rule it could only maintain its grandfather status if it did not change its current plan. However, the employer did not assert that it was contemplating changes that would threaten its exempt status. As such, this employer also failed to show that it would be required to comply with the rule. The individual plaintiffs’ standing to sue suffered from the same deficiencies. One plaintiff could not show that her plan was not grandfathered, and the other only asserted that her plan (which is grandfathered) might change at some indefinite time in the future.Finally, the states’ claim failed to meet the standing requirements as well. In short, the state plaintiffs argued that, in an effort to avoid subsidizing contraception, religious employers would drop health insurance coverage for their employees. Those employees would then enroll in state Medicaid programs and cause the states to suffer budgetary strain. In addition, religious employers who continued to provide health coverage for employees would attempt to qualify for an exemption in the law that would result in the termination of charitable services to persons who do not share their religious views. Those underserved people would then rely on state resources. Judge Urbom ruled that this scenario merely recounts hypothe[...]

Update on Health Insurance Exchanges: State Strategies, Progress Vary


Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), states are required to establish health insurance exchanges by 2014. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision affirming the law, some states are progressing toward making the exchanges a reality, while others are choosing not to do so. Under the law, states that do not set up such exchanges by January 2013 will have to pay to set up the exchange, but the federal government will take over the administrative operations.Alaska:  Alaska Governor Sean Parnell announced on July 17th that the state will not set up a health insurance exchange, instead allowing the federal government to do so. The Governor explained that such action would eliminate uncertainty over implementation and federal approval and that using state funds to design and implement the program would have been too expensive.Kentucky:  Governor Steve Beshear issued an executive order on July 17th establishing a statewide health insurance exchange for Kentucky.Michigan:  Although the state has $9.8 million in federal funds due to expire in November, it remains at an impasse in its effort to establish a health insurance exchange. The Michigan Senate approved legislation for the exchange, but is waiting for action by the House. As some Republican legislators have indicated that they wish to wait until after the election to act, the Republican House Speaker stated last week that he would not move forward on the issue until the House holds hearings. Although the Governor could establish the program by executive order, at this point he continues to encourage legislative leaders to make progress on creating an exchange.  Minnesota: On July 16th, the state announced that it signed a $41 million contract with Maximus, a Virginia-based firm, to design and maintain its state health insurance exchange through 2014. [...]

Are Our Colleges and Universities Missing the Mark?


Colleges and Universities often "miss the mark," when it comes to preparing professionals for success. When students leave our college campuses, they often leave with a deficit in two areas: Experience and People Skills. A lack of experience is expected but an absence of people skills is often a big surprise to employers.Of course, a lack of either is an obstacle to higher performance, but while cognitive ability often steers an inexperienced employee clear of mistakes, there is no quick fix for mistakes employees make when dealing with people. Discovering that employees with higher level of people skills are quicker to succeed, our colleges and universities are taking note. No longer is it only about thinking skills.For example, some colleges are screening applicants for admission to professional studies that require higher levels of people skills by using a series of behavioral type interviews that surface a need for listening, communication and emotional skills among candidates. Many applicants are being rejected for professional degrees, simply because they do not have the people skills necessary to succeed. Still other colleges are offering people skills training and evaluation in the form of emotional intelligence testing and training, listening assessments and communication labs and workshops.One university, for instance, received 2700 applications for Medical school, they reduced the number to be considered to 239 as a result of cognitive testing, but plan to make even more reductions based upon the results of behavioral interviews over a 6 month period. Class size is set at 42, so nearly 200 more will be eliminated based on their emotional skill level. It does seem to make sense that the process could be enhanced even farther by assessing candidates on their Emotional skills at the same time cognitive skills are evaluated. In all, the combination of the two processes: emotional assessment and behavioral interviewing of candidates, while not the perfect solution, may be far more successful at turning out professionals that are "High Touch" rather than "High Tech." That will be a good thing.Stephen J. Blakesley, Managing Patner, GMS Talent L P ( ) is an Entrepreneur, Author, Radio Show Host, and Speaker. His two, most recent books, "The Target-The Secret to Superior Performance; ( ) and Strategic Hiring - Tomorrow's Benefits Today are top resources for business owners, mangers and C-Level executives around the world.[...]

Personalized Graduation Gift Ideas for the High School Graduate


Graduation gift ideas for the high school graduate are sometimes hard to come by. After all, we are talking teenagers! Who can ever please a teen, right?But I have found one avenue that opens up all sorts of ideas, and most of the time, it's a sure thing teens are going to love their gift. Try giving them a personalized graduation gift. There are tons of categories that can be investigated here, and because you went to the extra trouble to personalized it, the graduate will especially appreciate and cherish your gift.Now, when choosing a gift, don't worry so much about what the graduate will be doing after high school. True, a monogrammed laundry bag or luggage might be more appropriate for those going away from home, and you can take that into account. But remember that the essence of the gift is to recognize their achievement in graduating. What they are doing afterward is really not what you are celebrating. It's a celebration of what they have accomplished thus far!Practical gifts are great, and I will mention some. But you might want to go more in the keepsake direction for that personalized graduation gift. These are especially appropriate for commemorating the occasion, and create the feeling that you really care about the graduates accomplishments.I'm really not putting down gifts that have a common sense value. Many, many people would prefer this kind of gift. So just take into consideration the personality and plans of the graduate before choosing. Practical gifts would be those laundry bags, duffle bags, luggage tags, cosmetic kits, book ends, stationary and journals, and laptop or ipad covers and cases. All of these can be found personalized, and make terrific gifts!Keepsake gifts are the personalized gifts that recognize or commemorate the actual graduation in some way. Many gifts are engraved with the graduates name or initials, and the date of the graduation. Some of these personalized gifts would be a pen and pencil set, or an engraved locket, bracelet charm, or key chain. Photographs in personalized frames, or some sort of wall art with the graduation details, would also be really appropriate.And, based on the recipient's personality, a really casual personalized gift might be perfect. Some kids just want a t-shirt with their name and graduation year, or a personalized pillow case or maybe just a coffee mug or water bottle that has been made personal in some way.For more specific details on appropriate personalized graduation gifts, and for lots more ideas, check out Personalized Graduation Gifts [] at []. You don't want to miss all the unique and creative ideas available![...]

Homeschooling Preschool Activities Ideas


Even if you don't intend to start homeschooling your child until the age 4 or 5, you could still consider some educational preschool activities. Scientific tests have shown that the first 3-4 years of life are extremely important in a child's future development as this is the period when the most brain cell connections are formed. A child that is neglected during this stage may end up by having speech troubles or attention deficit disorders.  Homeschooling preschool activities have the aim of stimulating the child's brain, thus preparing it for acquiring new skills. No activity is silly at this age, so you can develop a huge list of crazy game and activity ideas. One such silly idea is, filling the bath tub and tossing ducks into it which will help the toddler understand and improve eye-hand coordination. Art and crafts activities are welcome, as they will stimulate the child's creativity and sense of beauty. You can combine unusual materials such as pasta, rice, beads, buttons or paper clips, and have the child create 3D craft paintings which you can then organize into an exhibition on a wall in your home. Make sure that all materials used are non-toxic, including the glue, the watercolors and the paints. During this kind of activity it is strongly advised to closely watch the child, because of choking hazards. Small children will always attempt to put small objects into their mouths, so if you can't supervise them well, forget about this kind of activity.  This is definitely a 'hands on' activity.Counting games can be very enjoyable for small children. Buy your kid a bed cover with some birds or animals designs in a repetitive pattern and have him count them repeatedly. Celebrate progress when it occurs. If today he can count up to six and tomorrow he remembers up to seven, that's a good reason for outlining his performance by showering praise on him. This will boost his self-confidence and make the learning experience more enjoyable.The Zoo can be a great place for lots of entertaining homeschooling educational games such as naming the animals, comparing them so see which one is taller, or fatter, or uglier. You can ask the kids to indicate to you only the birds, then, at a second tour, you could ask them to show you the monkeys or you could have him try to count the stripes on a zebra, or anything else that may pop into your mind on the spot. This could be an excellent opportunity to teach them about different habitats of various species, thus emphasizing the idea of unity in diversity on the planet. This is an example of how to use physical things to demonstrate abstract concepts.As you can see, almost anything has educative potential as long as the child enjoys it.My Homeschool Software is a site dedicated to providing [...]

Research Papers - The True Definition


"Research Paper"- the very name conjures up images of hoards of books and journals piled on top of each other as one undertakes the unenviable task of scanning ideas and arguments from numerous different sources.

Regardless of the picture that this term creates in one's mind, it's almost certain that one is on the look out for sources of information-books, articles, paintings, and criticisms while composing a research paper. However, what distinguishes a research paper from an ordinary review of a subject or a summation of the various ideas related to a topic is its analytical and argumentative approach.

No matter which field one's paper focuses on, it ultimately highlights his or her own views on a particular subject that are supported by factual proofs derived from existing ideas and arguments.

Let us deal with a few specific examples; a lawyer writing a research paper on a specific case will read up case histories of similar nature to support his or her ideas; while a scientist may rummage through numerous case studies to establish his idea about a scientific principle. Thus, ideally we can define a research paper as an extended essay that represents or reflects the writers' own evaluation or interpretation of a specific facet of a subject.

However, while writing an ordinary essay a person tries to bring forward his own ideas and opinions about the topic in question; whereas in a research paper one attempts to develop ones' own knowledge about the topic in question and deliberately attempt to find out what other competent people know and feel about the subject.

Thus we can comment that a research paper involves the survey of a specific sphere of knowledge with an aim of producing the best possible and most competent argument regarding that topic. With the right approach, a research paper can be the most ordered and well-directed guide of the topic under consideration.

More Answers at: Writing Research Papers and How to write a research paper in MLA style

Joe, a reporter, has been travelling around the world for more than a decade now and has extensive experience in many fields. Now he has a blog along with other article writers. To know more about him, do visit: Random Rants []

Teaching English in Mexico - Your Four Options


As a foreign English teacher in Mexico, you really only have four different teaching options open to you. However, first you will need to ask yourself some serious questions about your abilities to speak Spanish, and answer them with the up-most honesty. Do you speak Spanish? What level is your Spanish? Could you explain an English class in Spanish? etc.Options1. If you do not speak Spanish, your only option is to work in one of the many Franchised English Schools, such as Harmon Hall, Quick Learning, Individual English, or Interlingua. They teach 100% in English, and offer their students no explication in Spanish. Working conditions are excellent, and teachers are usually either American or Canadian. Students get given an Internationally recognized English certificate at the end of their course. Pay is usually very low, although these schools do tend to pay at the end of each day.2. If you speak Spanish, then your options begin to widen a little. You may find work in one of the many Private Schools, where students pay for their studies. The level of education is high, as good teachers are attracted to the schools by the offer of better pay. Contracts are usually for one year, after which may be renewed for a further period of time. You may be offered a house to live in as part of your contract, or your rent paid for which could be worth up to several thousand pesos a month. Also the benefit of medical insurance is usually included.3. Government Schools and Universities are another option. Although these schools and universities are usually reserved for the lower grade Mexican English teachers. An excellent level of Spanish is required, as most of the teachers explain the English to their students in Spanish. However, the teachers level of English is usually very low, and it is normal for students when they finish school, still not to speak any English at all. It is usually very difficult to find work here if you are not Mexican, although not impossible.4. Working from Home is your last option. Your Spanish level will need to be about 85% good, as you will be expected to explain your English classes in Spanish. You get paid either by the hour at the end of each class, or in advance having charged for a block of classes beforehand. Mexicans are not very punctual, so be prepared for your students to either turn-up late for classes, or not to turn-up at all. It is common for students to cancel five minutes before classes are due to begin.Note: To teach English in Mexico you have to be residing in the country legally. If you are in Mexico on a tourist visa, then you are not permitted to work. However, this is usually seldom respected by foreigners!Philip Albert Edmonds-Hunt is from the[...]

Polls Shows No Clear Consensus on Affordable Care Act


A majority of Americans believe that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will improve circumstances for individuals who do not currently have health insurance and for people who get sick, according to a Gallup poll released on July 16, 2012. However, most people also believe that the law will have detrimental effects on taxpayers, businesses, doctors, and people who currently have health insurance. As for themselves, only 38 percent of respondents believed that their personal circumstances would be better as a result of the law.  Forty two percent of those surveyed predicted that, under the ACA, their personal situation would be worse.As you might expect, there was huge difference in the way Democratics and Republicans perceive the law's potential effect. Most Democrats believe that the law will make things better for themselves, people who are currently uninsured, people who are currently insured, people who get sick, hospitals, doctors, businesses and taxpayers. About half of Republicans agree that the law would benefit people who are currently uninsured, but a majority believe that things will be worse rather than better for all of the other groups.  An NPR poll, released a few days later, also refected those mixed feelings. While a majority of Americans disapprove of the ACA, (48 percent to 43 percent), a small majority (51 percent) prefer to amend the law rather than repealing it outright. That position was also favored by voters in key battleground states, where 53 percent agreed that amending the law was preferable to repealing it..[...]

Interest in Private Insurance Exchanges, “Defined Contribution” Plans Likely To Increase Due To Health Reform


Federal health care reform legislation and the desire of employers to limit their health insurance costs are likely to fuel interest in "defined contribution" (DC) health benefits and private health insurance exchanges, according to a recent report published in the July EBRI Issue Brief from the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).The combination of insurance market reforms, especially the health exchange structure in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as rising health costs, have brought a renewed focus on limiting employer's health care cost exposure, the EBRI report noted. A private health insurance exchange is the vehicle that some employers are interested in using to provide coverage, according to Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI's Health Research and Education Program and author of the report. Through these exchanges, together with a DC funding approach, employers can accelerate the drive toward an insurance market that is more mass-consumer-driven and gain more control over their health care contribution costs, capping their contributions, and shifting to workers the authority to control the terms (and to some extent, the costs) of their own health insurance."Ultimately, whether and how the movement to private health insurance exchanges and DC health plans will occur is still subject to various influences and remains highly uncertain," Fronstin said. "But the enactment of ACA and employers' interest in reducing the risk of their health benefit costs indicate this is a field that is likely to grow."EBRI noted that employers have long been interested in the concept of DC health benefits, but never moved in that direction for a number of reasons, both because they were hesitant to drop group coverage in favor of individual policies, and because they were concerned that many employees would not be able to secure coverage in the individual market.Recently, however, the combination of insurance market reforms and the embodiment of the exchange structure in ACA has brought a renewed focus on an approach that limits employers' health care cost exposure by providing fixed-dollar contributions that workers could use to purchase individual policies.According to EBRI, there are a number of potential advantages to both employers and workers in this structure. Employers could benefit from a higher degree of cost certainty, certainly if they were able to fix their costs at the level of their contributions. Workers could benefit from competition among insurance carriers, greater choice of health plans, and portability.Employer issues that need to be addressed in adopting a private exchange/fix[...]

CBSE Schools Make Learning More Enjoyable


Hyderabad is the capital city of Andhra Pradesh. It is also known as Cyberabad due to the numerous IT companies mushroomed in the city. Due to these companies, people from almost all the states have migrated to Hyderabad in lieu of jobs. This has made Hyderabad a multicultural city, which makes the city a mini India. Due to the high flow of migration of people from other states of India to Hyderabad, the need of educational institutes has aroused. This led to the increase in the establishment of educational institutes in Hyderabad. Most of the educational institutes are of International standard. CBSE schools in Hyderabad are established in every nook and corner of the city.These schools impart quality education by maintaining all the norms of the CBSE board. The curriculum of CBSE is somewhat easier for the students. It is on par with the entrance examinations for higher education. The CBSE schools in Hyderabad offer a perfect and effortless learning for the students to make the learning process more enjoyable. They offer good facilities to the students to make the learning process more comfortable and focused. The modern technology is very much used in the classrooms to make the students to learn the lessons in a proper way through participation in creative ways.They offer the best coaching on a priority of individual attention as required by the student. In addition to those mentioned above, CBSE schools in Hyderabad are focused on bringing the creativity of the students and encourage them to take part in extra curricular activities like music, dance, sports etc. They also encourage students to inculcate healthy habits and boost them to participate in yoga classes. Yoga and meditation is good for health and increases concentration. So, these schools encourage their students to do yoga and meditation so as to increase their concentration and to keep the students physically and mentally healthy. They believe that only a healthy body can have an active and intelligent mind. This in turn helps the student to perform well in his / her studies. The schools offer a student friendly atmosphere which enables the student to have self-confidence in his / her abilities.The faculty is highly qualified and has the ability to identify each student's potential and take necessary action to impart training as per their capability. They also guide and make them compatible for higher studies with all the knowledge required to face the examinations. The CBSE schools in Hyderabad are highly popular among the migrants to the city in lieu of jobs in the Information Technology industry. It is said the migrants were able to[...]

CBO Concludes Supreme Court Decision Lowers Projected ACA Cost, Number Of Covered Individuals


The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will reduce the federal government’s projected net cost of the law’s insurance coverage provisions by $84 billion over the 2012–2022 period, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have concluded. In March 2012, before the Supreme Court decision was issued, the CBO and JCT had projected a net cost of $1,252 billion for that 11-year period. The two agencies explained that those figures do not include the budgetary effect of other provisions of the ACA, which in the aggregate reduce budget deficits. These projected net savings to the federal government arise because the reductions in spending from lower Medicaid enrollment [in states that do not expand Medicaid eligibility, as provided in the ACA] are expected to more than offset the increase in costs from greater participation in the health insurance exchanges.The Supreme Court’s decision in effect allows states to choose whether or not to expand eligibility for coverage under their Medicaid program pursuant to the ACA. Under that law as enacted but prior to the Court’s ruling, the Medicaid expansion appeared to be mandatory for states that wanted to continue receiving federal matching funds for any part of their Medicaid program. Hence, CBO and JCT’s previous estimates reflected the expectation that every state would expand eligibility for coverage under its Medicaid program as specified in the ACA. As a result of the Court’s decision, CBO and JCT now anticipate that some states will not expand their programs at all or will not expand coverage to the full extent authorized by the ACA. CBO and JCT also expect that some states will eventually undertake expansions but will not do so by 2014 as specified in the ACA.The CBO and JCT now estimate that fewer people will be covered by the Medicaid program, more people will obtain health insurance through the newly established exchanges, and more people will be uninsured, 30 million nonelderly residents, by the end of the coming decade. Before the Supreme Court’s decision, the latter number had been 27 million, the CBO noted. In 2022, for example, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are expected to cover about 6 million fewer people than previously estimated, about 3 million more people will be enrolled in exchanges, and about 3 million more people will be uninsured.For the average person who does not enroll in Medicaid as a result of the Court’s decision and becomes uninsured, federal spending will decline by roughly [...]

Final Rule On Essential Health Benefits Issued


The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a final rule that would establish data collection standards necessary to implement aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which directs HHS to define essential health benefits (EHB). The final rule outlines the data on applicable plans to be collected from certain issuers to support the definition of EHB. Also, the final rule establishes a process to recognize accrediting entities to certify qualified health plans (QHP). The rule was published in the July 20 Federal Register. The ACA directs that EHB reflect the scope of benefits covered by a typical employer plan and cover at least the following ten general categories of items and services: ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.The HHS issued a proposed rule on this issue in June. The final rule incorporates most of the provisions of the proposed rule, with a few substantive changes. For example, the final rule changes the definition of "treatment limitations" to include only quantitative limits and removes the requirement for insurers to provide data on nonquantitative limits.This final rule includes data reporting standards for health plans that represent potential state-specific benchmark plans. Specifically, the final rule establishes that issuers of the largest three small group market products in each state report information on covered benefits. The final rule requires that the three largest insurers (determined by enrollment as of March 31, 2012) in each state provide the HHS with a report, by Sept. 14, 2012, with the following information: Administrative data necessary to identify the health plan;Data and descriptive information for each plan on the following items:All health benefits in the plan;Treatment limitations;Drug coverage; andEnrollment;In addition, the final rule establishes the first phase of a two-phased approach for recognizing QHP-accrediting entities. These accrediting agencies will implement the ACA's QHP-accrediting standards on the basis of local performance. Each accrediting entity must be recognized by the HHS on a timeline established by the Exchange and includes some data sharing and performance req[...]

Learn the ABCs of SBCs before open enrollment


Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA), don't forget that the requirement for the provision of Summaries of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) pops up soon, starting with enrollment periods beginning on or after September 23, 2012. According to final regulations issued in February 2012 by the IRS, DOL, and HHS (77 FR 8668), group health plans and health insurance issuers in the group and individual markets must provide participants and beneficiaries with SBCs and a uniform glossary. There's a $1,000 penalty for the failure to comply. Sixty days' advance notice of any changes to the SBCs must also be provided.Speakers from the law firm of Trucker Huss who presented a webinar on July 11 (Health Care Reform After The Decision - What Should Employers Be Doing NOW?) have pointed out that SBCs must be provided at enrollment for each and every benefit package offered for which participants or beneficiaries are eligible. Therefore, they said, unless all of a company’s employees are eligible for all plans, employers should not be tempted to put the information for all plans on just one SBC for the sake of convenience.“Under the SBC regulations, as an employee, I am entitled to an SBC for my enrolled plan but I must also be able to view the SBC for any plan I am eligible for. In corporations with multiple plans and many employees, it is an enormous logistical and communications challenge,” said Kim Buckey, principal, Compliance Communications Practice, HighRoads. Tasks for employers. In the next few weeks HighRoads recommends employers focus on these four key tasks when it comes to SBCs: 1. Evaluate your plan design – evaluate what plans you currently have and where you can consolidate SBCs.2. Decide who will produce your SBCs – time is of the essence. Figure out who will handle your SBCs and who will provide the data needed to complete them.3. Create your communication plan – The SCOTUS decision was a landmark case. Employees will have many questions, and clear, informed communication to employees is essential. Be sure to provide some context — explain what the employee should do with the SBC and why it’s important now (and why it will be in the future).4. Maximize your distribution methods – SBCs follow ERISA electronic distribution regulations – you will need to distribute and track these documents. And, if employees do not regularly have access to a computer as part of their jobs, you must obtain their consent to receive the materials electronically. Using an automated delivery an[...]

Creative Fundraising Ideas for Schools


In today's tough economic times with schools enduring budget cuts, it's more important than ever to have fundraisers. Families are also suffering from the economy so coming up with unique school fundraising ideas, that will earn money without causing too much strain on anyone, poses a challenge.Some of the more popular fundraising methods are becoming a thing of the past. It's no longer safe for children to go door to door selling things. Although schools still use the sale of products as fundraisers, parents seem to be doing most of the work by contacting family, friends and co-workers to buy the items. Car washes are another fundraising event that may not be safe for children, especially young ones. In today's world we need to get creative and come up with new ideas.Here are a few ideas that are fun, and involve students, their families and even school staff:School Jumble SaleThis type of yard sale can be held on the school playground and is sure to draw attention from the community. Students, parents and staff can drop off items to be sold prior to the day of the event. Volunteers sign up to work the day of the sale, and 100% of the proceeds go to the school. Schools might want to consider combining this with a bake sale, or even set up games that can be played by purchasing tickets. This becomes a fun day for the community as a whole! Flyers, road signs and other advertising should e done ahead of time. In addition to people bringing items from home to sell, the school may want to inventory their supplies and see if there are any that can be added to the sale.Many local businesses are happy to help schools with fundraisers. Why not, it helps them too by bringing in business! The school contacts local businesses to set up a date where a percentage of their sales go to the school fund. Restaurants, ice cream parlours, miniature golf centres, retail stores, the possibilities are unlimited. Advertising can be done on both ends. Schools send home notices with students, and businesses advertise to their customers. This is another great way to include the entire family and school staff in the fundraising event.Student Art Show and SaleChildren are amazingly creative and most enjoy showing off their talents. How about spending class, and homework, time having students create all kinds of art projects that will be used to raise money for their school. The school then holds an art show, showcasing the students work and selling it to the public. This type of fundraiser may need to be combined with ano[...]

Different Chemistry Science Fair Project Ideas


There are plenty of different chemistry science fair project ideas to choose from that will both be interesting to the student and allow them to understand the principles of this science. Obviously, the level of understanding will play a role in how advanced the project should be, otherwise the student will either be too bored or confused. If the student is in middle school, from seventh grade to the 9th grade, then they may enjoy an experiment involving metal. Considering all the different properties and types that there are in nature, testing which type of metal protects against radiation the best is a good idea to present at a fair.

Another idea with metal is to consider testing which lubricants are the most effective at reducing friction on the different surfaces. The results of this kind of experiment would be very interesting to see at a chemistry science fair. Of course, if the students are in high school, then they might consider doing something a little more advanced, such as testing how hydrochloric acid reacts with the different types of metals. Other ideas that aren't related to metals include biomass and fuels. A great experiment would be to test which types of oils are the most effective at powering lawn equipment.

Students might be interested in experiments that deal with physics and research. One great example is the project of building a biomass generator. This would make a fantastic group project that would attract plenty of attention at any chemistry science fair and is possible for students in middle school or high school to complete. Experimenting with salt is always interesting as well, and a great idea is to see just how much salt is required to make different objects float. It can also be compared to sugar by testing which substance dissolves more quickly in certain liquids.

The key to a good chemistry science fair project is one that will be both interesting to the person doing the experiment and the ones that will view it on display. Different students will have varying tastes in regards to what is entertaining and what isn't, but fortunately there are more than enough ideas to choose from.

Special Education


Special education refers to unconventional education services designed to cater to the needs of individuals suffering from physical and mental drawbacks such as physical handicaps, sensory (visual and hearing) impairments, intellectual capacity (mental retardation and autism), learning disabilities (reading and writing skills), speech impairment and those with behavior disorders. It seeks to address problems of the individual, as well as provide effective solutions through a set of formulated instructions, service aids and supports, learning techniques and transitions services.

The goal of special education is to address the needs of these special individuals (children, youth and adults) and ensure that they gain equal access to quality education regardless of their condition. In effect, it encourages them to keep up with the challenges of normal education and help improve their chances for success in life.

Specialized method of education

The primary focus of this special type of education is to provide support and learning techniques to the individual. Children are properly educated in the most learning-conducive environment to help them discover their in-depth skills and abilities hidden behind the disabilities they might have.

But not everyone can employ this educational service. As such, before the person can avail of it, different levels of evaluations must take place. The processes can vary, though the primary stages include referral, parental consent, child evaluation and review and recommendation of appropriate institutionalized methods.

An afterthought...

In today's society there are more than 6 million children and youth estimated to be suffering from disabilities, and the demand for special education has grown by leaps and bounds. By properly dealing with the issues and problems concerned and finding solutions, special education can give them the chance to stand up and be on equal footing with their peers, drawing out their true potentials as key movers and prime contributors to society regardless of their physical and mental difficulties.

Special Education provides detailed information on Special Education, Special Education Degrees, Online Special Education Courses, Journal Of Special Education and more. Special Education is affiliated with Teacher Education Philosophies.

Student Loan Myths Debunked


The amount of incorrect information about student loans is incredible. Part of the problem is that the media goes for a headline that will get viewers and it rarely is the whole story. You see it everywhere, some sensationalized headline screaming at you, but when you read the actual article you see that there's little to support the headline. The news media has become all about ratings (read money).The new student loan changes that were included in the Healthcare Reform Bill is a good example. The reason it was included was to help offset the cost of healthcare. How? By taking the loan guarantees away from lenders (thereby not having to pay all the unpaid student loans) and directly collecting the interest from student loans. They essentially took out the middleman who was guaranteed to not lose money and got all the profits from the interest on these loans.And due to the interest rates being so low to banks and other lenders (like 1%) and now getting a guaranteed interest of at least 4.5%, that's a lot of money changing hands. The private lenders get even more since their rates are sometimes double the government rates. Student loans are big business and even with a high default rate, it's still a strong area of activity regardless of the economy.OK, let's get to the biggest myths about student loans now that the government has changed many of the basic rules. I'm not sure how these myths ever got started since the language is very simple and easy to understand in the new bill. And rumors and conjecture never tell the whole story.Student Loans Will Now Be More ExpensiveThe biggest changes involved extending and reducing the amount of payments after graduation. The bill reduced the payments from 15% of discretionary income to 10% and loans can be forgiven now at 20 years rather than the 25 years as it was before this bill. So these changes actually made it easier and more affordable during the pay back period.Available Financial Aid Will Be ReducedFinancial Aid covers many areas from grants, private subsidized scholarships, college or university grants and discounts, and student loans. Due to the less than stellar economy there has been a drop in private grants and related programs but that had nothing to do with any government student loan changes. Student loans have always been the predominate method of student financial aid and are still available just as they were before any changes occurred. You won't know w[...]

Classroom Teaching - Horizontal Management


Bureaucracy, hierarchical bullying, leaders and lowly followers, and any other form of governing at the expense and exploitation of the governed... these are hurtful and criminal systems for the benefit of the few and the misery of the many. There are better ways of living and working together. I have proposed and exercised a much simpler, balanced, harmonious, and successful guideline for a good teacher and willing students to truly work and learn together.Leadership and responsibility are shared equally, as long as all members of a group first understand how it works and second, are eager to enjoy its productivity and share joy of learning and working together.Much of the old "system" must necessarily be dispensed with: the pressures of fear, punishment, totalitarian authority, ugly competition, and a resulting lack of learning, joy, and boundless lack of productivity. Replacing these "traditional" habits of non-learning with fresh new attitudes of caring for one another's qualities and abilities, sharing and helping, and developing a sense of confidence and trust in one's own integrity and that of your fellows... and seeing and experiencing the infinite benefits... this is what we were all able to accomplish together.Each individual is given the experience of planning and carrying out an agenda drawn up by each and every member of the group, with the teacher's guidance and experience as a resource of good use. First, the agenda of varied skills is drawn up and agreed upon, each one contributing to and approving of our outline of what we want to learn. Thus... we have a plan, a syllabus, from which to draw our daily activities of curriculum and learning.Next, we determine what kind of leadership or management qualities are necessary, in order to accomplish real learning skills together. The literal qualities: subject preparation; understanding group dynamics; and making the best possible use of our time together. Also... collecting our work material together, for daily use. The abstract qualities: variety of different ways; caring for the productivity of each member of the group; having a well-earned pride in the advancement of each individual; concern for individual and group behavior and harmony; enjoying the vast variety of skills and experience that can be achieved; transferring the learning skills and subject content beyond the classroom, as life lessons.What specific duties must [...]

Research Paper - MLA Format


What is a research paper in MLA Format? MLA is an acronym for Modern Language Association, and such research papers follow specific guidelines for citing sources. A research paper written in MLA format adheres to the MLA rules and guidelines. It has twelve-point font, double-spacing within the text, in-text parenthetical citations, as well as sources referenced on a Works Cited Page, a header addressed appropriately (student's name, course name, title, professor, etc.), as well as a title page that is formatted according to MLA rules and guidelines.One benefit of a research paper in MLA format is that it shows students how to write papers in the liberal arts and humanities disciplines. MLA is the research format used for cinematic studies, cultural studies, art history, English, History, comparative literature, languages, and other classes. Students can only be approved in these disciplines by writing within the research framework these disciplines require.Another benefit of a research paper in MLA format is that it shows mastery of MLA style. The best way to test students' knowledge of a research format is to demand that students produce a research paper in the required format. Knowledge is not knowledge until it is incarnated in application. Students who properly format their papers well need to say nothing of their knowledge---it is evident. Any professor can read students' research papers and distinguish those who have studied the format from those who have not. This is a huge benefit for professors of English classes. Grades are often (though not always) a reflection of hard work and effort.Lastly, a benefit of MLA format papers is that, by studying MLA reference style, students will gain an appreciation for the research format. The longer students study how to do MLA format, the better they will become. The better their efforts at learning MLA reference style, the more they will use it; and the more students use the format, the more cherished it will become for them. What was once a tedious, monotonous, and boring exercise will become an acquired skill that will help them better understand research and the scholars that produce it. MLA format could possibly work to increase the number of scholars in academic scholarship!A research paper in MLA is the culmination of a research effort with the help of the MLA format. Students can ttrn in their papers on th[...]

Better Speed Reading Strategies


Research shows that there is a big connection involving reading rate and reading understanding.Some people read swiftly and comprehend effectively; others read little by little and comprehend badly. For that reason, there is some reason to consider that the items leading to slow reading are also uneasy in lowered comprehending.Wise understanding depends on whether you can extract and sustain the crucial views that you've read, not on how fast you read them. If you can do this fast, then your reading speed can be increased. If you pair fast-reading with worrying about comprehending, your reading pace will drop because the mind is occupied with your fears and you are not paying attention to the opinions that you are reading. But, if you focus on the aim of reading (obtaining primary thoughts and finding answers to your inquiries), your pace and knowledge really should increase. Your concern should be not with how fast you can get through a chapter alone, but with how immediately you can notice the facts and ideas that you desire.ComprehensionKnowledge during speed reading is simpler than during standard reading. This is because the mind is active in search of information, not rereading phrases and sentences. The average reader spends about 1/6th of the time rereading text words than truly reading them. Rereading words interrupts the flow of comprehension and slows down the activity, that's why the habit of it should be taken out. How to realize easily? Scan the chapter first. Determine the sections to which the author devotes the most amount of space - what where the text focuses. If there are lots of diagrams for a special subject, then that must also be an significant concept. If you're really under time pressure, you can skip the sections to which the minimum amount of space is dedicated. Take notice on headings and read the first sentence of every paragraph more meticulously than the rest of the paragraph. The greatest concept is have a tendency to situated there. Read the important parts and the main ideas. Focus on nouns and main propositions in each sentence. Look for the noun-verb combinations, and focus the mind on these. Then, close the book and ask yourself what you now know about the subject that you didn't know before you started.Reducing Skip BacksCrucial: Don't reread the same phrases from the text! Poor readers read and[...]

Preschool Recipes For Fun


All preschoolers love arts and crafts activities. With a little preparation, you can save money and have fun by making your own paste, playdough, and finger paints for all your preschooler's craft projects. Let your child help you measure and stir for a fun learning activity!Finger Painting1/2 c. cornstarch1 1/2 tbsp. sugar1/2 tsp. salt1 c. cold waterFood coloringIn a medium sauce pan, mix all the ingredients together. Cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes, stirring until mixture is smooth and thick. Cool. Separate into storage containers and add food coloring as desired.Pudding Finger PaintingPuddingVinyl tableclothThis activity is fun for all, and safe for young children who can't help but put their fingers in their mouth. Cover a table with a vinyl tablecloth. Put some pudding at each child's place. Let them play!Homemade Paste1/2 c. flourCold waterAdd some cold water to the 1/2 cup flour until it is as thick as cream. Simmer and stir on stove for 5 minutes. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container when not in use. Boiled paste lasts longer and sticks better than no-cook paste.Playdough2 c. flour1 c. salt4 tsp. cream of tartar2 c. water with food coloring2 tbsp. vegetable oilMix all ingredients together in a non-stick sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until mixture becomes a hard ball. Knead while warm for a smoother consistency. Recipe can easily be doubled or cut in half.Flubber1 1/2 c. warm water2 c. white school glue1 1/3 c. warm water3 tsp. BoraxFood coloringMix 1 1/2 cups warm water, glue, and food coloring together. In a separate bowl, mix 1 1/3 cups warm water and Borax together. Pour the glue mixture into the Borax mixture and take out of the bowl to knead until flubber is soft and consistent in form. Store in Ziploc bag or tightly sealed container. This stuff is really fun!Homemade Bubble Solution1 c. water2 tbsp. light corn syrup1/3 c. dishwashing liquidCombine all ingredients. Mix solution well and allow to sit for 1 hour before using. Cover and label any leftover solution and store in the refrigerator.Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of four. For resources for the Christian family, including parenting, toddler and preschool activities, homeschooling, family traditions, and more, visit[...]

Top Universities in Asian Nations to Fulfill Your Study Abroad Ambition


Students in search of high quality education are no longer hesitant to adopt a foreign destination. International education has come a long way with thousands of students studying in numerous universities and colleges in Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Australasia, and Africa. Many Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China and India have brought about welcome changes to their higher education systems to draw students from various parts of the world. These countries are nowadays home to some of the world's leading universities and colleges. In this article, you'll find a number of reputable universities in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.Singapore has made its mark on the world map by offering an absorbing learning atmosphere to international students. The country boasts three chief domestic universities along with numerous study centres of foreign universities. Even though technology and management are the two most dominating disciplines here, equal stress is given to other disciplines like law, education, nursing, and engineering. The three top universities in Singapore include the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University, and Singapore Management University. The NUS is the oldest as well as the biggest university in Singapore offering both bachelor and master level courses in many subjects. While bachelor level courses are offered in architecture, business administration, accounting, computer engineering, dental surgery, law, industrial design, chemical engineering and civil, master level courses have specializations in urban design, management, pharmacy, bioengineering and computing. Nanyang Technological University is famous for its research works involving scholars from different cultural backgrounds.Various universities in Malaysia can be categorized as public and private universities. While public universities are funded by the Malaysian government to upgrade the standard of education in the country, private universities are established in joint collaboration with other prestigious universities from countries like the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The names of top universities in Malaysia are the University of Malaya, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia and National [...]

Going The Distance With Online Education


Working professionals, who wish to pursue higher education, are sometimes unable to pursue their aspiration because of unavoidable constraints of strict timings and demanding job schedules. These act as barriers in enhancing qualifications for the working people. Online education is the ideal solution for people from all walks of life who wish to earn a degree but are not able to devote time to pursue regular education courses. According to a report by U.S. Bureau of labor statistics, Individuals with master's degrees make $558 more weekly in 2009 than those without a college degree.Earning an online degree is one of the best solutions for working professionals who either want to switch their fields, get better career options or broaden their educational qualifications. They go for web-enabled learning service as it creates a balance between their work and study. With no geographic restrictions and constraints of traditional classroom teaching, they can easily access higher educational qualifications. It gives you the option to study from anywhere and anytime. Though there are some strict deadlines and restrictions for the classes and other related assignments, students are given the choice to set the schedule within those deadlines as per their convenience. While there are all kinds of benefits associated with e-learning, some of the underlying advantages of online education for the working professionals are listed below:    Work and Learn: Online degree provides access to education for working people without affecting their current job. It also cuts down the chances of violating the bonds, if any, between employee and the organization. They can continue their regular jobs and complete the course structure side-by-side.    Better job performance: Educating yourself online helps you keep yourself up-to-date with current knowledge, retain more information and use it in current job as well. It will also help in increasing the efficiency and level of productivity at the job.    Improving Career prospects: Job profile is mainly determined by educational qualifications one has. Online executive programs help working people to rise ahead in their profession and find their niche in the company. It increases their po[...]

Homeschooling Pros And Cons Are Certainly Thought Provoking


Homeschooling is becoming an increasingly popular option for educating American children with an adoption rate of about 10 percent per year. Listing out homeschooling pros and cons can help make the decision about homeschooling an easier one for most parents. About 2 million students are currently homeschooled in this country and these students do well on standardized tests and are widely accepted along with their conventionally schooled peers at colleges and universities.When I investigated homeschooling pros and cons awhile back during our own family's educational crossroads, I found it extremely helpful to list out the various positives and negatives. I wanted to share those points with others who may be struggling with that same decision, hoping it will help make the decision more clear for you and your family.Homeschooling Pros and Cons:Homeschooling ProsYou are on your own TimeUndoubtedly there is an adjustment period when you migrate from a standard school to a home schooled schedule but the benefits soon outweigh any adjustment. Students and parents are free from school mandated calendars and days off, hours and homework. This often allows more time for family vacations off-peak times and permits time for visits to museums or parks for non-traditional learning opportunities.Social NormsPeer pressure, bullying and competition come with the territory in many public and even private schools. This can be excruciating for boys and girls alike and distract from the main reason students are in school - to learn. Homeschooling allows more time at home and time for socializing by choice, with those fellow students with similar ideals and interests.Religious ChoiceDifferent religions have various belief systems that often differ from what is taught as part of the mandatory curriculum in public schools. Varied beliefs around sex education, marriage and alternative lifestyles permit the homeschooler to approach and discuss these topics how the parents want, when the parents feel their child is ready.Sufficient RestAs children get older they need more sleep during peak growth periods. Often this is in direct conflict with most public and private school schedules. Just when teens need more sleep, school starts earlier and homework l[...]

List of Scholarships for High School Seniors Graduating in 2012


Finding the best list of scholarships for high school seniors graduating in 2012 is easy if you know a few basic techniques. It is important to recognize the types of qualifications required for different scholarships before beginning your search. Grade point average (GPA), athletic or other in-school extracurricular participation, church or other civic group volunteer work, letters of recommendation, and personal essays are all important elements in successful scholarship applications.There are two primary ways to find the most complete listings of scholarships. First, talk with your school's guidance (or career) counselor. These trained professionals can help you find the best matches for financial aid based on on your student record and your standardized test scores. Remember to talk to the counselor about your parents' employers and any backgrounds that might qualify you for a diversity scholarship.Many companies -- McDonald's, IBM, Wal-Mart, just to name a few -- offer scholarships to the children and other close family members of existing employees. Diversity awards are designed to encourage under-represented groups of people to attend and graduate college. Most diversity awards only require one parent have a non-caucasian background, so biracial students often qualify.The second way to find thorough listings of scholarships is through the internet. Using Google or Bing, simply use a query string such as "high school 2012 scholarships" or "best scholarships 2012" (without the quotes) then follow the links for more information. Be sure to avoid any sites with links featuring warnings from the search engine about malware or potentially harmful content.Links to some sites contain dangerous content (like viruses) that can execute on your computer without your permission. It is a good idea to gather information about scholarships from the internet including requirements for approval, deadlines for submissions, and types of essays or letters of recommendations considered appropriate. Take this information to your school guidance counselor or have your parent or another trusted adult help you complete the applications.Applying online is fine provided you are sure the website is legitimate and the prot[...]

High School Football Days


It's fourth and eleven with ten seconds left on the clock. All we need is a touchdown to win the game and then we advance to a bowl game. My best friend is in at quarterback and I am right behind him at tailback. My hands are sweating as I wait for the ball to be hiked. The play that was called is a toss to the left to put the ball in my hands and hopefully bring the team to a win. The stands are silent as the ball is hiked, I swing out to the left of the line and feel the ball hit my hands. I am running with all my heart and can see the endzone twenty yards away, I have an open lane, now fifteen yards, ten, five, touchdown! I hit the endzone and throw the ball into the air. We did it! My best friend comes running up to me screaming and hollering, "we are going to a bowl game!"That was me my senior year of high school. Our best season in school history we won ten out of twelve games that year and I can say I helped out. Football was my life and all I ever wanted to do. I always dreamed of getting scholarships to play college ball and then go pro, but of course those were dreams and none of that happened.I started playing football when I was seven years old and played all the way through to my senior year of high school. My dad got me started on football at an early age because he played football his whole life until he broke his ankle in a game on year and that ended his career. My dad played tailback and so of course that was the only position I ever wanted to play. It wasn't easy playing tailback and you really had to prove to everyone especially the coaches that you could do it because tailback is a main aspect to the game. I took some hard hits, including having been knocked out before. I also broke quite a few bones and tore all the ligaments out of my shoulder, but I never once fumbled the ball and that's why the coaches liked me. They knew they could count on me to hold a ball until the play was over.Now that I am out of high school and can't play football anymore I really miss it. That is my story of high school football and how I loved the sport.Football can be a rough sport at times, but can also be the time of your life whenever you get to play under those Frida[...]

Personalized Graduation Gift Ideas for the High School Graduate


Graduation gift ideas for the high school graduate are sometimes hard to come by. After all, we are talking teenagers! Who can ever please a teen, right?But I have found one avenue that opens up all sorts of ideas, and most of the time, it's a sure thing teens are going to love their gift. Try giving them a personalized graduation gift. There are tons of categories that can be investigated here, and because you went to the extra trouble to personalized it, the graduate will especially appreciate and cherish your gift.Now, when choosing a gift, don't worry so much about what the graduate will be doing after high school. True, a monogrammed laundry bag or luggage might be more appropriate for those going away from home, and you can take that into account. But remember that the essence of the gift is to recognize their achievement in graduating. What they are doing afterward is really not what you are celebrating. It's a celebration of what they have accomplished thus far!Practical gifts are great, and I will mention some. But you might want to go more in the keepsake direction for that personalized graduation gift. These are especially appropriate for commemorating the occasion, and create the feeling that you really care about the graduates accomplishments.I'm really not putting down gifts that have a common sense value. Many, many people would prefer this kind of gift. So just take into consideration the personality and plans of the graduate before choosing. Practical gifts would be those laundry bags, duffle bags, luggage tags, cosmetic kits, book ends, stationary and journals, and laptop or ipad covers and cases. All of these can be found personalized, and make terrific gifts!Keepsake gifts are the personalized gifts that recognize or commemorate the actual graduation in some way. Many gifts are engraved with the graduates name or initials, and the date of the graduation. Some of these personalized gifts would be a pen and pencil set, or an engraved locket, bracelet charm, or key chain. Photographs in personalized frames, or some sort of wall art with the graduation details, would also be really appropriate.And, based on the recipient's persona[...]

No Shortage of Options With Apprenticeship Programs


When one thinks about apprenticeship programs, certainly there are several obvious industries that come to mind. For example, automotive mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and welders are some of the few categories of employment associated with apprenticeship-style training. What most of these have in common is their obvious hands-on technical skill-set.But today, not all apprenticeship positions are reserved for just these kinds of industries. Many new areas of expertise are taking advantage of the combination of theoretical and practical education given through colleges with apprenticeship programs. Here are some examples of programs and how they utilize the apprentice system to best prepare aspiring career professionals.Child and Youth WorkersChild and youth workers are specialists working with young children, teenagers, and their families, helping them establish optimal environments for the children with an emphasis on self-esteem and positive growth. With sufficient in-class training activities will get the opportunity through an apprenticeship program to get agency placement to continue learning while working as an apprentice.Early Childhood EducatorsEarly childhood educators, or child development practitioners, work with very young children to encourage and ensure a meaningful experience for the child's independence and decision-making skills. Mixing theoretical training with a college's on-site family-resource programs helps the smooth transition from learning to doing. Placements for the apprentice can be in daycare centres, nursery schools, and parent-child drop-in centres. One could also focus on working with children with special needs or learning disabilities.Social WorkersDevelopmental social workers use a variety of skills to help improve the quality of life of individuals, families and communities that must deal with developmental disabilities. Some of the skills taught in a college program and continued through apprenticeship work include psychology, social policy, public administration and human development studies. Apprentices can expect to continue their training in community agencies, sp[...]

Guide to Renting Student Accommodation


This will be more than likely the first time you will encounter private rented accommodation and although this sounds like a simple process to follow there are several important decisions you will have to make before you gather all your belongings and move in.What Kind of Student Accommodation is Available?There are many types of student accommodation available for you to choose from, each having advantages and disadvantages. For first year students the popular choice will be halls of residence, this gives students time to settle into their new environment and make friends. One of the main advantages of halls of residence is that the majority will offer rent inclusive of bills which allows you to concentrate on studying and meeting new people.Other options also include house/flat sharing which are predominantly occupied by 2nd or 3rd year students who are a bit more experienced. One of the main advantages on house or flat sharing is freedom and private space. Halls of residence can be very short on space and there can be more distractions as you are living with more people, with a house share you have more privacy and more importantly the ultimate freedom of living in your own house. This comes at a price however with more responsibility with utility bills, landlord checks, and general maintenance. In addition you will need to be more considerate and conscious about your own living habits.If you are struggling to find people to live with or have simply left it a bit late then you can rent a room in a privately owned property, whilst this may not be the most sociable way to live at University you will be guaranteed a secure, well maintained property.Once you have picked your preferred choice of student accommodation it is useful to consider the following points to make sure you make the best of your student property.Signing the contractIt seems very simple but making sure you read the contract thoroughly and raise any concerns with the landlord or letting agency is essential. If you are unsure of anything then query it, gain a second opinion if necessary or seek advice, the last thing you want[...]

College Life Tips


College is a place where one learns various aspects of Life along with having fun with friends. If one keeps the following things in mind, college life can become even more beautiful.

Study is the Main Cause

The most important thing to do in college is study. Students get involved in other activities and just forget studying which can result in failures or poor grades. Studying on a daily basis will help you in enjoying your college life without any academic worries. Studying for an hour or two can really be helpful during the final exams.

Eating Habits

Students sometimes just get carried away and disturb their eating routine which could cause a poor health condition. In a boarding college one has to take care of his health on his own, so eating properly is an important task. Enjoying with friends, night outs, camping are the best part of a college life but enjoying at the stake of one's health is never advisable.

Widening Social Circle

The best friends are made in the college. You will meet people from different states, countries. A college is a best place to learn about different cultures, languages and people indeed. Students must interact with each other in their class so as to learn new things and build confidence.

An Overall Development

College is not meant for studies only. It includes a lot of other things like music, games, management. Participating in cultural, sports related activities will widen your horizons. One should join a club of his or her interest as soon as one enters the college. One can be a poet or a painter and college is the best platform to sharpen your skills.

It should be remembered that colleges shape futures and there is no better place to learn and enjoy than a college.

Tom Tessin is an author for that is geared toward students looking for student credit cards.

3 Tips To Make College Life For Students With ADHD Easier


While the transition from high school to college is no picnic for anyone, it can be even trickier for students with ADHD. The only way to make it less stressful is to find a college for ADHD students. At such a school, classes are tailored specifically to youth diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.The best way to find such a specialized educational facility is by checking the listings of colleges for learning disability. Many directories are listed online, and will give detailed information on courses, teachers and staff, as well as life on campus. By reading these notes you will already know which schools you should consider, and which ones are unsuitable.When enlisting in a college for ADHD students, keep the following tips in mind.Tip #1 - Be persistentYour college education will help you establish a future. Through your college degree, you will be able to find a job and to care for yourself. To be independent is a wonderful experience that you do not want to mess up by slacking off. Be persistent in your studies and help others if you can. Make friends and enjoy their company. It will make life on campus a lot sweeter.Tip # 2 - ExploreDo not be afraid to try new things. At colleges for learning disabilities all students are in the same boat. Nobody will point the finger at you if you try something new and it does not work out the first time around. Give it a chance, and do not be afraid to ask others for help.Tip # 3 - Have a planDo yourself a favor and always plan your courses ahead of time. Enrolled in a college for ADHD students, you have to act responsible and truly think about your future. Knowing what classes to take each semester will help you reach your goals, and reduces your chances to drop out.Beacon College is a ADHD college, accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award Bachelor and Associate of Arts degrees.[...]

Colleges And Universities Offer Alternative Ways For Commuters To Get An Education


For students who are planning to commute to school, the college search will be a little different. After all, non-resident students will have different needs than students who choose to live at school. While the quality of campus housing will be of little concern to you, you'll likely be very interested in the layout of the parking lot. As a prospective commuter student, the typical campus tour may not answer all your questions. When deciding if a college or university meets your needs, you'll likely have to do some detective work on your own.If you are planning to commute to your college or university, you may have one of many reasons for doing so. For many students, saving money is a big factor in the decision to commute to college. For returning adult learners, living in a dorm is likely not very feasible, and these students may have homes of their own. Some students even decide to take courses online, which eliminates the need to be on campus. Whatever your reason for deciding to commute, you have the right to expect your college or university to be accommodating.One of the first calculations you should come up with is the length of your commute and the time it takes you to make the trip from home to school, and vice versa. You should make an effort to drive to your prospective college or university during rush hour, so you can get an accurate picture of what it will be like to commute to a morning class. Is there a lot of traffic? Can you take an alternate route in the event of an accident? Also pay attention to toll fees, as these can add up. If you are taking public transportation, you should similarly consider all that your commute entails.Next, check out the parking facilities on campus. If your college charges you for a parking permit, you'll want to make sure your money is being put to good use. Are there enough parking spaces for every student even during the busiest days and class times? If there is overflow parking, you may want to find out how far of a walk it is from the buildings where you'll be [...]

Nontraditional Students Welcomed at Colleges and Universities


Major shifts in the job market and increasing costs at public and private universities have combined to create a new phenomenon: Increasing numbers of adult students are deciding to attend college, either to improve their job skills or prepare for a career change; and the colleges are welcoming them with open arms.The days of joining a company's workforce after completion of high school or college and staying until retirement are gone, probably for good. Outsourcing, downsizing, and changes in business structure create a work environment that is much more unpredictable, and unstable, than ever. Workers with a variety of up-to-date job skills, who can adapt and grow with change, are much more likely to survive than workers who can't or won't adapt.New Programs for Continuing Education StudentsColleges, universities, and trade schools, impacted by rising costs and looking at capital reserves depleted by stock market downturns, are welcoming these workers, creating or expanding continuing education programs and even creating online courses. Computer courses range from instruction in the latest office and management software to basic and advanced website design courses; computer graphic design programs offer students even more skills needed in the new computer-dominated work environment. Other popular course offerings include business and management classes, psychology courses (sometimes including work psychology), and personnel management classes.Many continuing education programs offer associates', bachelors', and even masters' degrees; some provide career counseling ordinarily offered only to full-time students. In addition, benefits offered to traditional students are often extended to continuing ed students as well; this may include student discounts, free or reduced entrance to events at the college, and even use of the college pool and / or gym - a great perk for workers otherwise unable to afford a gym membership. Some continuing education students even find themselves involved in [...]

What does ACA decision mean for state Medicaid cuts?


Yes, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that Americans seemed to be concerned about, but could its refusal to allow the federal government to withhold all Medicaid funding for states that opt out of the ACA's Medicaid expansion provisions mean that they don't have to comply with the ACA's maintenance of effort provision? Governor Le Page of Maine thinks so. You see, under the ACA, state Medicaid plans may not adopt eligibility standards that are more restrictive than those in effect on the date that the ACA was enacted (March 23, 2010). This requirement is called the maintenance of effort, or MOE. States with budget deficits may limit the application of this requirement by certifying to the HHS Secretary that they have a deficit for the current fiscal year or are projected to have a deficit the following fiscal year. If they receive a waiver from the HHS, then the MOE will not apply to determinations of eligibility of adults who are neither pregnant nor disabled and whose incomes exceed 133 percent of the federal poverty level until January 1, 2014. Governor Le Page was originally planning to obtain such a waiver, based on Maine's budget woes, but has recently proclaimed his belief that, based on the Court's recent decision, a waiver is unnecessary, which, for his purposes would be a good thing. A letter dated January 26, 2012, from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to Rep. Margaret Rotundo, of the Maine House of Representatives stated that: "It is important to note that the Secretary’s authority under section 1115 of the Act to waive a provision of the law, including the MOE provision, is limited to 'experimental, pilot or demonstration projects' that are 'likely to assist in promoting the objectives' of Medicaid ... Reductions in eligibility solely for budgetary purposes would not be experimental, pilot or demonstration projects that further the purposes of the pr[...]

Worried about the Cadillac Tax already?


One provision of the ACA that seems to be causing more and more employers to lose sleep is the so-called “Cadillac Tax” on high cost health plans, even though this tax isn’t scheduled to take effect until 2018. Sixty-eight percent of respondents to The Chelko Group’s Employer Survey, conducted from July 2d through July 9th to measure plan sponsors’ reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, are concerned about its impact on their plans. The topic also came up at recent Webinars conducted by the law firms of Drinker, Biddle & Reath (Health Care Reform & the Supreme Court Decision, July 12, 2012) and Trucker Huss (Health Care Reform After The Decision – What Should Employers Be Doing NOW?, July 11, 2012).Why are employers so concerned about this tax this early in the game, especially since many of them have been sitting on their hands and failing to comply with the ACA’s other assorted provisions in advance, in the hope that the Supreme Court would find the individual mandate, and perhaps the whole law, to be unconstitutional?Perhaps it's the potential high cost (40% on certain excess benefits), and the fact that the tax applies to both grandfathered and non-grandfathered plans, so employers who were hoping to escape some of the ACA’s more onerous provisions can’t get out of paying this. Also, since employers will have to start disclosing the cost of employer provided health insurance on their employees’ W-2 forms starting in 2013, for the 2012 tax year, the government is going to be able to fairly easily ascertain who owes the tax, and how much is owed.The Cadillac Tax is an excise tax that will be imposed on health coverage providers starting in 2018 to the extent that the aggregate value of employer-sponsored health coverage for an employee exceeds a threshold amount (see IRS Code Sec. 4980I, as added by Act Sec 9001(a) of the ACA (P.L. 111-148), and amended by the Health Care and Education Reconc[...]

Most Retirees Are Confident They Can Pay For Future Health Care Costs


Despite the rising costs of health care and the hit many took from the recession, a recent survey from Nationwide Financial found that nine in ten retirees with at least $250,000 in household assets are not concerned about paying for their future health care costs beyond Medicare coverage. But nearly two in five retirees (39 percent) say they wished they understood Medicare coverage better.According to the Harris Interactive survey of 1,250 Americans with at least $250,000 in household assets—including 625 retirees—93 percent of Americans in retirement say they are at least somewhat confident they can pay for their future health care costs. Baby Boomers are not so optimistic--nearly half (46 percent) of Boomers nearing retirement with the same amount of assets say they are “terrified” of what health care costs will do to their retirement plans. “The good news is we’re not seeing the panic that many Boomers nearing retirement are having, but we hope this isn’t over-confidence that could lead to a lack of preparedness down the road,” said John Carter, president of Nationwide Financial Distributors, Inc., a subsidiary of Nationwide Financial. “For many of the retirees we surveyed, most of their health care costs have yet to come.”One of the reasons retirees are confident in their ability to pay for health care costs may be that, so far, they have already been doing it successfully. Also, many current retirees have pensions and employer-paid health care—a luxury many Boomers nearing retirement do not, the survey report pointed out.“Most Boomers can expect a very different retirement than that of their parents,” Carter said. “In addition to higher health care costs and longer life expectancies, Boomers likely won’t have pensions or employer-paid health care and realistically they’ll need to be prepared to pay for their own health care costs in retirement.”According to the surv[...]

Accountable Care Organizations Aim For Improved Care


Opponents of the health reform law claim that the law will do nothing to lower costs, even as it would expand coverage, and they neglect to consider the law’s quality improvement provisions. The ACA’s many provisions to improve care and care coordination, and thus control costs, include Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). ACOs are organizations formed by groups of doctors and other health care providers that have agreed to work together to coordinate care for people with Medicare. The ACA created the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), and other initiatives related to ACOs. Federal savings from this initiative could be up to $940 million over four years, the Department of Health and Huma Services (HHS) has noted. Participation in an ACO is purely voluntary for providers and patients.As of July 1, 89 new ACOs began serving 1.2 million people with Medicare in 40 states and Washington, D.C. These latest 89 ACOs announced by the Centers for Mediucare and Medicaid Services (CMS) bring the total number of organizations participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives to 154, including the 32 ACOs participating in the testing of the Pioneer ACO Model by CMS’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) announced last December, and six Physician Group Practice Transition Demonstration organizations that started in January 2011. In all, as of July 1, more than 2.4 million beneficiaries are receiving care from providers participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives.These 89 new ACOs have entered into agreements with CMS, taking responsibility for the quality of care they provide to people with Medicare in return for the opportunity to share in savings realized through high-quality, well-coordinated care. “Better coordinated care is good for patients and it saves money,” noted HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “We applaud every one of these [...]

ACA Exchange Participation Applications Available For Review


Even while awaiting the Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the health reform law (the ACA), the federal agencies in charge of implementing the law continued their tasks in that regard. Then, on July 2, just a few days after the High Court’s decision, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published on its website four items regarding data collection to implement ACA provisions to extend health insurance coverage under the new Affordable Insurance Exchanges and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges. You may recall that the ACA requires states to establish by 2014 state-based American Health Benefit Exchanges and SHOP Exchanges to be administered by a governmental agency or nonprofit organization. Through these Exchanges, individuals and small businesses with 100 or fewer employees can purchase qualified health insurance coverage. The Exchanges will become operational by Jan. 1, 2014. The open enrollment period for Exchanges begins on Oct. 1, 2013, and ends on March 31, 2014, but individuals may apply outside of the open enrollment period if they qualify for a special enrollment period.CMS anticipates that 90 percent of Exchange applications from individuals and small employers will be submitted online. For small employers, this figure reflects CMS’ expectation that 85 percent of applications will be facilitated by a broker who will be required to submit information electronically. In all instances, as required, the individual and SHOP enrollment applications will be a single, streamlined form that will be used to determine Exhange eligibility and to collect the information necessary for a qualified individual, employer, or employee, to purchase coverage through an Exchange. Application may be made online, using a paper application, over the phone through a call center operated by an Exchange, or in pers[...]

Opinions on ACA remain divided after Supreme Court ruling


The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has done little to forge a consensus on the law. Unions came out uniformly in favor of the ruling, while employer groups generally attacked it. And, according to at least one poll, Americans’ views are divided on the court’s opinion.Unions react. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) praised the decision, which it called “an important first step toward true health care reform.” Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, also commended the decision, saying that the country “can continue moving full speed ahead to implement and build upon the Affordable Care Act.” He acknowledged that more work must be done to “achieve our dream of quality health care for all.” Employers face challenges. AHIP CEO Karen Ignagni wrote an op-ed for Modern Healthcare saying now that the Supreme Court has ruled, the number one focus must be affordability. “Affordability is the issue that keeps millions of Americans awake at night. It is the issue that agonizes small-business owners struggling to keep their doors open…Affordability is what will ultimately determine whether or not healthcare reform works.”American Benefits Council President James A. Klein focused on the challenges that employers face after the ruling."For the nation's major employers who provide health coverage for tens of millions of Americans, [the] decision by the Supreme Court means that their sights are set on the challenges that lie ahead, especially as they prepare to meet the law's core provisions that become effective in 2014," American Benefits Council President James A. Klein said."Throughout the legal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the vast majority of employers remained focused on meeting their obligations under the l[...]

Happy Independence Day! Enjoy our health reform briefing


In honor of the Fourth of July, Health Reform Talk will take a short break.

In the meantime, please see our briefing summarizing the Supreme Court’s decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as well as the most significant steps the administration has taken so far in implementing the law.

House Plans July Vote on Repealing Health Care Law as Republicans Intensify Attack on President


Reacting swiftly to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, House Republican leaders on June 28 immediately called for a vote on July 11 to repeal the law in its entirety. "The president’s health care law is hurting our economy by driving up health costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio in a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision. "Today’s ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety." Democratic strategists however, called the ruling a victory for President Obama that would likely re-invigorate his sagging re-election campaign. For his part, the president asked Congress and the country to move beyond divisive politics and to focus on improving the economy. "With today’s announcement, it’s time for us to move forward—to implement and, where necessary, improve on this law," he said, speaking in the East Room of the White House. "And now is the time to keep our focus on the most urgent challenge of our time: putting people back to work, paying down our debt and building an economy where people can have confidence that if they work hard, they can get ahead."The president acknowledged that the law was politically unpopular, but as he briefly outlined the positive aspects of health care reform, he re-affirmed his belief that it was a move in the right direction. "Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it," said Obama. Having lost the legal battle over President Obama’s signature policy victory, GOP leaders in both the House and the Senate said the [...]

ACA decision: some Friday thoughts


Ok, we’ve all had a day to digest more fully the decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.  Here are some additional questions (and possible answers) that come to mind. How many dissenting opinions were there?As we said yesterday, there were two opinions labeled in their entirety as dissents. However, Justice Ginsburg’s opinion of course dissented in part from the judgment, both with respect to the Commerce Clause, and with respect to the Medicaid expansion.What’s the immediate impact of the decision on employers?“Since the Supreme Court found the entire healthcare law constitutional, it should now be ‘business as usual’ from an employer’s standpoint,” according to Benjamin Lupin, director of compliance for Corporate Synergies Group, LLC. However, what that actually means can vary, depending on whether the employer has been taking an active role in complying with the law through 2011 and 2012. For those who have, “there shouldn't be much to be concerned with based upon the Court's ruling,” he said. “If, however, an employer was waiting for the Court’s decision before taking the actions needed to comply with the law, the time is now to ‘get into gear’ and think about 2012 requirements and the approaching 2013 and 2014 requirements.”“For 2012, this means that employers will need to make sure that they are issuing summaries of benefits and coverage (SBCs) after September of 2012 and continuing to gather information to report on 2012 W-2s,” he explained. “Employers will also need to make sure their ERISA plan documents are in order. In addition, contributions to FSA accounts will be limited to $2,500 in 2013, and employers will need to prepare for the upcoming release of the state [...]

Supreme Court upholds ACA individual mandate in 5-4 vote


In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has held the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act to be constitutional, but not as a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce. Instead, the mandate, codified as Sec. 5000A of the Internal Revenue Code, is upheld as within Congress’s power under the Taxing Clause. Chief Justice Roberts was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan to reach this result.Because the five justices agreed to uphold the mandate, they did not need to reach the severability issue.Commerce clause battleIn the short term, the Court’s ruling in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. ___ (2012), decides the fate of the Affordable Care Act (at least until November). Those taking the longer view might come to see the debate over the individual mandate as the latest battle in the Court’s long-running dispute over the power of Congress to enact sweeping legislation via its Commerce Clause authority.Ginsburg opinion. Only four justices (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan) saw the mandate as an appropriate use by Congress of its commerce power.  Speaking for this group, Justice Ginsburg began by noting that Congress enacted the ACA in part to address a national problem: the burden placed upon the national health-care market by the large number (50 million in 2009) of uninsured Americans. Given the difficulty those with preexisting conditions have in acquiring health insurance in the private market, the so-called “guaranteed issue” and “community rating” provisions contained with the ACA play a key role in addressing this problem. However, in order to avoid an adverse selection problem [...]

Supreme Court: ACA individual mandate is constitutional


In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has held the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act to be constitutional, but not as a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce. Instead, the mandate, codified as Sec. 5000A of the Internal Revenue Code, is upheld as within Congress’s power under the Taxing Clause. Chief Justice Roberts was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan to reach this result.
In addition, the provisions expanding Medicaid have been narrowed, but not invalidated. The remainder of the ACA, including all reforms of the individual and group insurance markets, remains intact.
It’s a complicated decision, with multiple concurrences and dissents. We’ll provide in-depth analysis of the ruling later today.

Wanted in 2020: Five million more health care workers


Demand for healthcare will grow twice as fast as the national economy over the next eight years, creating 5.6 million new jobs, according to a study released last week by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Work in the healthcare industry is supported by people in a host of related jobs, such as hospital accountants, pharmaceutical sales representatives, doctor's office secretaries and the like. If you include all of these behind-the-scenes players, the healthcare industry will grow from 15.6 million jobs in 2010 to 19.8 million jobs in 2020 — 13 percent of all jobs. By 2020 we will be spending 1 out of every 5 dollars we earn on healthcare. The demand for postsecondary education in healthcare will grow faster than in any other field except in the so-called "STEM" occupations (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and in Education-related jobs, the study shows. A total of 82 percent of those 5.6 million new healthcare jobs — 4.6 million — will require postsecondary education and training. "In healthcare, there are really two labor markets: professional and support," said Anthony P. Carnevale, the Center's director and the report's lead author. Professional jobs demand postsecondary training and advanced degrees while support jobs demand high school and some college. There is "minimal mobility" between the two, he added, "and the pay gap is enormous: The average professional worker makes 2.5 times as much as the average support worker."Among the study's other findings:---Healthcare successfully competes for science and engineering talent. Because healthcare, science, and technology fields tend to require[...]

Supreme Court agrees to hear an ERISA health benefits case for 2012-2013 term


While all eyes were focused this morning on whether the U.S. Supreme Court would issue its widely-anticipated ruling on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), lost amidst all the hubbub is the fact that the Court agreed to hear another health benefits-related case during the next term. In legal parlance, the Court “granted cert” in the U.S. Airways v. McCutchen case.The issue presented is whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit correctly held, in conflict with several other circuits, that equitable relief under ERISA Sec. 502(a)(3), available to health benefits plan administrators, can be limited by equitable defenses, such as unjust enrichment. According to the Third Circuit, these equitable defenses can override express plan terms that would otherwise allow for full reimbursement from beneficiaries.In this case, after a health plan participant was injured in a car accident, the health plan paid $66,866 in medical benefits on his behalf. After a lawsuit, the participant recovered $110,000. However, once attorney’s fees were taken out, the participant received less than $66,000, which is less than the amount the participant was required to repay to the health plan, leaving him worse off than if he had not sued at all.A decision in this case is expected during the Court’s next term, which starts in October, 2012.[...]

Still waiting: no Supreme Court decision on ACA today


The Supreme Court did not announce its ruling on the Affordable Care Act today. The decision is expected to be released on Thursday of this week.

HHS claims 3 million young adults covered due to ACA


A report released last week by the Department of Health and Human Services says that 3.1 million young adults have gained health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. As a result of the health care law, the proportion of insured adults ages 19 through 25 has increased to nearly 75 percent.The ACA requires insurers to allow young adults to remain on their parents' family plans until their 26th birthday, even if they move away from home or graduate from school."Because of the health care law, more than 3 million more young adults have health insurance," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a press release. "This policy doesn't just give young adults and their families peace of mind, it also gives them freedom. It means that as they begin their careers, they will be free to make choices based on what they want to do, not on where they can get health insurance."A similar report released in December 2011 showed that 2.5 million young adults who would otherwise have been uninsured had gained coverage through June 2011. Using the most recent information on insurance coverage from the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, the latest report shows that from September 2010 to December 2011 the percentage of adults ages 19 through 25 with insurance coverage increased from 64.4 percent to 74.8 percent. That translates to 3.1 million young adults with coverage.A recent private report found the number of  young adults newly insured as a result of the law to be even higher. In any event, analysts expect the young adult [...]

IRS clarifies rules on health FSA contribution limits under ACA


Although there are currently no dollar limits on health FSA contributions, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires companies to limit pre-tax health flexible spending account (FSA) contributions to no more than $2,500 per calendar year. This law change is slated to take effect for “taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012.”Many employers with non-calendar year FSAs, however, were fearful that they needed to act now to implement this limit, believing the $2,500 limit to be tied to the participant’s tax year, which is almost always the calendar year. However, these companies can now breathe a sigh of relief as the IRS has clarified the effective date of the $2,500 FSA limit. The reference to “taxable year” in the $2,500 limit rules refers to the plan year of the cafeteria plan, not the participant’s tax year, the IRS says, as this is the period for which salary-reduction elections are made. Plan amendments required by end of 2014In Notice 2012-40, the IRS has clarified that the $2,500 FSA limit does not apply for plan years that begin before 2013. In fact, the IRS indicates that employers may adopt any required plan amendments to reflect the $2,500 limit (or any lower limit specified in the plan) at any time through the end of the 2014 calendar year. An amendment to conform a plan to the $2,500 limit that is adopted on or before December 31, 2014, may be made effective retroactively, as long as the cafeteria plan is being operated in accordance with the plan limit rules for plan years beginning after December 31, 201[...]

Benefits decision makers doubt their ability to comply with key upcoming ACA regulations


Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, an ADP Research Institute survey offers an interesting look at what human resources and benefits decision makers are feeling about their confidence in their ability to comply with health reform provisions.According to the ADP Research Institute survey, a significant number of HR and benefits decision makers at U.S. companies of all sizes expressed a lack of confidence that their organizations clearly understand their new responsibilities under the requirements of the ACA. The study also found that preparedness for key upcoming ACA regulations varies greatly across different sized companies.Largest firms most confident. The ADP survey of more than 800 HR and benefits decision makers in U.S. organizations of all sizes found that decision makers at small businesses (1-49 employees) were the most vocal in confirming their belief that the U.S. health care landscape is undergoing profound change (64 percent). However, 52 percent of their counterparts at midsized (50-999 employees) and large (1000+ employees) organizations hold the same view.“The ADP Research Institute’s recent survey clearly shows that confusion and lack of preparedness surrounding ACA provisions is a widespread issue for U.S. companies of every size, although small and midsized companies seem particularly challenged,” said Jan Siegmund, Chief Strategy Officer of ADP. “For example, our study shows that h[...]

SBC coverage example calculator released under ACA


Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), starting September 23, 2012, group health plans and health issuers are required to meet the reporting and disclosure requirements of Public Health Service Act (PHSA) Sec. 2715, namely, to provide a summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) that accurately describes the benefits and coverage under the applicable plan or coverage. The SBC is required to include 12 content elements, and one of these elements is coverage examples that illustrate benefits provided under the plan or coverage for common benefits scenarios (such as pregnancy and chronic medical conditions).On June 5, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) provided health insurance plans and issuers with a coverage example calculator on its website. The calculator is for plans and issuers to use as a safe harbor for the first year of applicability to complete the coverage examples in a streamlined fashion. This tool is intended to provide plans and issuers with time to develop accurate methods to populate the coverage examples treatment tables in the SBC template. However, the CCIIO noted that because this approach will be less accurate, it is being allowed as a transitional tool for the first year of applicability. Plans and issuers will be required to provide comprehensive coverage examples that are based on the coverage information specific to the benefit package no later than January 1, 2014.The calculator allows plans and issuers to input a number of elemen[...]

Most Employers Working To Make Their Health Insurance Benefit Plans ACA Compliant, Pending Supreme Court Ruling


Most single employers and corporations (86 percent) will or are likely to continue to provide health coverage to their employees in 2014, the year when most of the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) take effect, according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ Health Care Reform: 2012 Employer Actions Update survey. The survey focuses on the most important issues raised by the ACA facing employers this year. Topics addressed include employer concerns regarding plan design and funding, methods for communicating with employees, grandfathered plan status, reactions to health insurance exchanges and the potential impact on health care benefit costs. “These employers recognize that offering health care coverage is an important benefit that helps retain current employees, attract future talent, and increase employee satisfaction,” said Michael Wilson, chief executive officer at the International Foundation.“Employers are redesigning their health plans to remain in compliance [with the ACA] and to curb anticipated costs,” added Julie Stich, director of research at the International Foundation. “The research told us that increasing participants’ share of premium costs is the most common technique, followed by increasing in-network deductibles and out-of-pocket limits.”The research showed that only 1 percent of the respondents will definitely not provide coverage to all full-time employees in 2014. Among the 54 percent[...]

6.6 Million Young Adults Might Have Been Uninsured In 2011 If Not For Health Reform


In 2011, 13.7 million young adults ages 19 to 25 stayed on or joined their parents’ health plans, including 6.6 million who likely would not have been able to do so before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund. However, not all young adults have parents with health plans they can join, and many still experience gaps in coverage and face medical bill problems and medical debt. Nearly two of five (39 percent) young adults ages 19 to 29 went without health insurance at some time in 2011, and more than one-third (36 percent) had medical bill problems or were paying off medical debt. The report, Young, Uninsured and in Debt: Why Young Adults Lack Health Insurance and How the Affordable Care Act Is Helping, found that 13.7 million young adults stayed on or joined their parent’s health plans from November 2010 to November 2011, with about half of those likely gaining coverage because of the provision in the ACA requiring that health plans that include dependent coverage insure children until age 26. Young adults in low-income households were most at risk for remaining uninsured. Seventy percent of young adults with incomes under 133 percent of poverty ($14,484 for a single person) had a gap in coverage in 2011, more than three times the rate of those with incomes over 400 percent of poverty ($43,560 for a single person). Only 17 percent of young adults ages 19 to 25 in low[...]

U.S. Companies Think ACA Will Be Partially Overturned, IFEBP Finds


American employers believe that the Supreme Court will overturn the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), but will allow different provisions to remain in the law, according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans' Supreme Court Affordable Care Act Survey. In anticipation of the Supreme Court's ruling on the ACA, the International Foundation in early May surveyed plan administrators, trustees, and organizational representatives from single-employers/corporations, multiemployer trust funds and public/governmental employers and received 1,027 responses. The respondents represent a comprehensive range of organizations with respect to size and region, providing a wide ranging look into how American employers view the ACA, the International Foundation said. While 66 percent of the respondents think the individual mandate will be struck down but other pieces of reform will be kept intact, the remaining one-third is split between those who think the entire law will remain intact (19 percent) and those who think the entire law will be thrown out (15 percent)."While the Foundation recognizes that reaching a consensus on the ACA among our membership would be difficult, it's clear that our members agree that steps must be taken to address the access to quality, affordable health care in America,"said Michael Wilson, chief executive officer of the International Foundation. When as[...]

Issues of Contraception and Reproductive Procedures at the Forefront in Missouri, Federal Courts


The Missouri House of Representatives approved legislation allowing health care workers to refuse to provide contraception or carry out procedures that violate their religious or ethical beliefs. The bill states that "notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary" employers and health plan providers and sponsors cannot be forced to provide coverage for abortion, contraception, or sterilization procedures "if such items or procedures are contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of such employee or person." Under the bill, S. 749, doctors, nurses and other medical workers could not be disciplined or discriminated against for their refusal to participate in abortions, embryonic stem-cell research, or other procedures. Following the 117-37 vote in favor of the legislation, it heads back to the senate. The senate must then either accept the house version or request negotiations.  On a similar vein, a judicial response will likely be forthcoming on the question of a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception for their employees.  Last week, 43 Catholic groups, including the archdioceses of Washington, D.C., and New York and prominent Catholic universities, filed 12 lawsuits in U.S. District Courts throughout the country challenging the requirement. The religious groups cla[...]

Many Small Employers Ineligible for Affordable Care Act Tax Credit


Although up to 4 million small employers may have been eligible to claim the Small Employer Health Insurance Tax Credit in 2010, only 170,300 small employers actually claimed the credit, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report, Small Employer Health Tax Credit: Factors Contributing to Low Use and Complexity, noted that few small employers took advantage of the credit because most do not offer health insurance. According to the report, employers, tax preparers and brokers explained that the tax credit, alone, was not enough of an incentive for small businesses to begin offering insurance.The tax credit, created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), allows a credit of up to 35 percent of premium costs for small employers who offered health insurance. Under the provision, an eligible small employer may claim a tax credit if it makes nonelective contributions that pay for at least one-half of the cost of health insurance premiums for the coverage of its participating employees. Aside from these issues, eligible small employers failed to claim the credits because of complex rules on full-time equivalents (FTEs) and average wages. Others declined to take advantage of the tax credit citing the amount of time needed to calculate the credit deterred claims. To remedy these [...]