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December 06th, 2021
Healthy Lifestyles

health insuranceThe world of healthcare can be confusing to navigate. Before the prevalence of health maintenance organizations and various other health and wellness insurance groups, obtaining medical assistance involved going to the doctor and then paying the bill. But today people must navigate copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, and savings plans, which can make it difficult to understand what’s going on with your insurance company. 

Healthcare is standardized in some areas of the world and publicly financed with little to no out-of-pocket costs for participating citizens. Elsewhere, access to health insurance is provided through employers or government assistance programs or individually purchased.

Understanding some health insurance-related jargon is a great way to better educate oneself about the industry.

  • • Benefit period: The benefit period refers to the duration of time services are covered under your plan. It is usually a calendar year from the point of start to end. It may begin each year on an anniversary date when you first received coverage.
  • • Coinsurance: This is a percentage of the cost of services rendered in specific areas outlined by the health plan that you are responsible for after a deductible is met. For example, a plan may cover 85 percent of costs, with patients responsible for the remaining 15.
  • • Copayment (copay): A copayment refers to the flat rate you pay to a provider at the time you receive services. Some plans do not have copays.
  • • Deductible: The amount you pay for health services before the insurance company pays. You must meet a set limit, which varies by plan and provider, before insurance will kick in and cover the remaining costs during the benefit period. Many plans have a $2,000 per person deductible. This deductible renews with each calendar year.
  • • HMO: A health maintenance organization offers services only with specific HMO providers. Referrals from a primary care doctor often are needed to see specialists.
  • • HSA: A health savings account enables you to set aside pre-tax income up to a certain limit for certain medical expenses.
  • • Long-term care insurance: A specific healthcare plan that can be used for in-home nursing care or to pay for the medical services and room and board for assisted living/nursing home facilities.
  • • Network provider: This is a healthcare provider who is part of a plan’s network. Many insurance companies negotiate set rates with providers to keep costs low. They will only pay out a greater percentage to network providers.
  • • Non-network provider: A healthcare provider who is not part of a plan’s network. Costs may be higher if you visit a non-network provider or if you are not covered at all.
  • • PPO: A preferred provider organization is a type of insurance plan that offers more extensive coverage for in-network services, but offer additional coverage for out-of-network services.

Navigating health insurance is easier when policy holders understand some common industry jargon. 

 

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visionVisual impairment affects people of all ages and all walks of life. The American Foundation for the Blind defines visual impairment, often referred to as “low vision,” as any vision problem that is severe enough to affect an individual’s ability to carry out the tasks of everyday living. Millions of people have some degree of visual impairment that requires corrective lenses, and some still struggle even while wearing glasses or contact lenses. 

People with low vision can experience difficulty performing daily activities, such as cooking, shopping, reading, watching television, and more. Some practical solutions can help people address changes in their vision.

  • • Use more light. After about age 60, many people require additional light to perform most indoor tasks as well as outdoor activities. After age 60, the pupil no longer opens as widely as it once did, which affects the amount of light that reaches the retina, where vision processing occurs. Brighten areas of the kitchen, garage, crafting table, and other areas where fine details are examined.
  • • Rely on darker contrasts. Contrasting colors can make it easier to see edges and lines of demarcation. For example, use a dark tablecloth and white dishes to see table settings and food more clearly.
  • • Label items. Bold-colored labels or those of different shapes can help set items apart when reading containers or boxes becomes challenging.
  • • Use filters and shields. Certain devices, such as lens filters and shields, can reduce glare and improve vision. Individuals also can invest in shields for their computers or tablet screens to reduce glare.
  • • Choose “large print” formats. At local booksellers, seek books that are available in large print. This makes it easier to enjoy reading.
  • • Switch bulbs at home. The eye care resource All About Vision suggests swapping fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs with warm-toned LED bulbs. These bulbs emit less blue light and can be more comforting with reduced glare.
  • • Invest in adaptive devices. Large-button phones with speed dial, large-print calendars, watches that speak the time, and digital home assistant devices also can help men and women overcome vision loss.

Low vision impacts daily living, but there are ways to counter the effects of impaired vision. 

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burnBurns do not discriminate and can affect men, women, children, and seniors. The Miami Burn Center advises that burn injuries are the nation’s third largest cause of accidental death, resulting in 6,000 fatalities each year and annually causing 300,000 serious injuries. Because burns are largely preventable, it is important to understand how they’re caused and how to prevent them. Understanding the treatment options available to get on the road to recovery can help burn victims and their families, too.

The health and wellness resource Healthline defines burns  as injury to the tissues of the body resulting in skin damage that causes the affected skin cells to die. Burns can result from exposure to heat, flames, ultraviolet radiation, electricity, steam, and chemicals. While many people can recover from burns without repercussions, serious burns can lead to complications and even death.

Burn stages

Burns are classified in one of three stages.

  • • First-degree burn: These are superficial burns that only affect the epidermis, or the outer layer of skin. The site of the burn can be painful, red and dry. Long-term skin damage is rare.
  • • Second-degree burns: Burns of this nature affect the epidermis and part of the dermis layer of skin. Symptoms include red, blistered, swollen, and painful skin.
  • • Third-degree burns: With third-degree burns, the epidermis and dermis are destroyed. These burns also may impact underlying muscles, tendons and bones. The burn site appears charred or white, and there is little to no sensation since nerve endings are destroyed.

Burn treatments

Minor burns usually can be treated at home. Avoid ice and cotton balls. Ice can make damage worse, and the cotton fibers can stick to the injury and increase risk of infection, warns Healthline. A cool-water soak, pain relief medicines and the application of lidocaine or aloe vera gel to soothe the skin is advised.

If the burn is oozing, lightly cover it with sterile gauze if available; otherwise, use a clean sheet or a towel. Seek medical attention immediately. Do not try to pull away clothing or fabric from a burn. Cut away as much as possible and then go to the hospital, states the American Academy of Pediatrics. Electrical and chemical burns also require prompt medical attention.

Burn prevention

To help prevent burns, follow these tips.

  • • Check smoke alarms regularly to ensure they’re functioning at full capacity.
  • • Do not play with matches, flammable materials or fireworks.
  • • Do not leave food cooking unattended.
  • • Exercise caution when handling plugs and outlets.
  • • Apply sunscreen and adhere to sun-safety time limits.
  • • Read labels for all chemical products and use them in the manner in which they’re intended to be used.
  • • Adjust hot water heater temperatures.

Burns are almost always preventable. Learning about burns and how to prevent them is a great first step toward reducing your risk of suffering a burn. 

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