Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Health Reform is Happening!

It's been 6 months since the health reform bill was passed.  Confused about what is in the health reform bill?  Confused about what it means for you?  About when things will occur?  Then, a great resource to check out is: Health Reform Hits Main Street, a short animated "YouToons" video by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Last week (Thursday, Sept 23rd)  a number of provisions of the bill went into effect.  Six of them are as follows:   One, insurance companies (for employer plans) are no longer able to deny health insurance coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes or asthma.  Two, lifetime limits on coverage are dropped, meaning there is no lifetime limit on what you spend on hospital stays or other medical costs.  Three, free preventive care must be given by new health insurance policies purchased.  These things include preventive screenings, immunizations, and other preventive tests cannot have a copay.  Four, insurance companies are not allowed to drop you from coverage when you get sick and additionally, they can't look for an error on your application form and then deny coverage based on that.  Five, there is an expanded appeal process for denied claims, meaning you can do an external appeal to an independent third party (instead of just to your insurer directly).   Six, dependent children under the age of 26 can remain on their parent's health insurance policy, as long as their job doesn't offer insurance.  The under-26 population are currently one of the most likely to be uninsured groups, and allowing them to be on their parent's plan will generally save money (to pay for other provisions above) by allowing younger and healthier into the insurance pool to reduce the overall risk and thus, premium costs.  Go to Getting if you have questions about how the dependent coverage rules work in your state.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pop Quiz: What Disease Costs $600 Billion a Year and Has NO Cure?

The Answer:  Alzheimer's Disease.

According to the World Alzheimer's Report, released today, Alzheimer's Disease costs $600 billion, or 1% of the world's GDP.

Today is World Alzheimer's Day, a day to recognize this tremendous public health problem, create awareness, and to take action. To find events occurring world-wide, click here.

To tell your Congressional representative to vote for the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA), click here. The goal of NAPA is to create a national inter-Agency group within the Department of Health and Human Services to come up with a national plan for fighting Alzheimer's Disease.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

War Against McDonalds

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit advocacy group with a mission of promoting preventive medicine and conducting clinical research, released a controversial advertisement two days ago.  This ad shows a man on a gurney with his death grip (pun intended) on a fast food hamburger.  The end shows the McDonald's logo (the largest fast food chain and producer of high-fat, high-sodium, & high-cholesterol meals) with "I Was Loving It."

You can watch the ad by clicking here and can view the NYTimes story by clicking here.

What are your reactions?  Mine?  Finally someone is educating the television-viewing public about potential dangers and consequences of eating unhealthy.