Taming the Cost of Health Care – How the Health Insurance Industry Fights High Costs

For many families, finding affordable health insurance is a task akin to the search for the Holy Grail. Depending on where in the country you live, a family health insurance plan can cost as much as $800-$1000 per month. Even when you split that cost between employee and employer, that’s a major chunk of nearly anyone’s monthly budget. And while it’s popular to swear under your breath at the greed of the health insurance industry, a look at the cost of medical care is an eye-opening shock for many people. The expenses associated with a broken arm, for instance, can easily mount into several thousands of dollars.The Health Industry has a stake in keeping people healthy.The high cost of health insurance is the direct result of the high cost of medical care. It’s a simple matter of economics. The more it costs to take care of each subscriber, the more the insurance companies have to charge all their subscribers. This cost/expense ratio is what has made most insurance companies embrace the idea of providing preventive care to their subscribers. It’s a simple matter of business sense – healthy people don’t cost the insurance companies a lot of money.Accidents may be the first type of medical need that springs to mind when people consider buying health insurance, the major insurance companies all agree that accidents aren’t the major cost drain on medical resources. That place is reserved for chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure. Because of this, it makes good business sense for major players in the insurance industry to encourage their subscribers to adopt preventive health strategies. That pays off in special benefits for health conscious consumers. Preventive Health Benefits Help Keep Costs LowAmong the benefits that have become commonplace for major health insurance providers are routine physicals, medical screenings for all subscribers, discounts on health club and gym memberships, payment of dues for weight loss groups and lowered subscription fees for non-smokers.Some health insurance companies and HMO’s go even further in their preventive efforts. Because of the high risk of serious injury or fatality for infants in automobile accidents, Fallon Community Health Plan of Massachusetts has for years teamed with local organizations to provide free infant car seats to families with newborns. In the same spirit of prevention, many HMOs offer free stress management and stress reduction workshops to all subscribers because stress has been identified as a leading risk factor in nearly every major illness. Seeking a CureThe quest for affordable health care has also prompted health insurers and HMOs to help fun research and health initiatives all over the country. The industry underwrites millions of dollars of medical research annually in an effort to lower the costs of health care. Their dollars fund grants to enroll low income and other hard to insure populations, and to offer eye, dental and health care to inner city and poor rural populations. They estimate that routine preventive eye and dental care, as well as routine medical screenings and physicals can identify illnesses at early stages and prevent conditions and costs from escalating out of reach. Get the Most from Your Health InsuranceYou pay for it – you should certainly get the most possible benefit from your health plan. Here are some suggestions for ways that you can make your insurance plan work for you:
Join a gym.
Check the benefits that your HMO or health insurer offers. Chances are good that one of them is a discount good on membership at a local gym or health club. Get fit – it saves THEM money… but it saves YOUR life.

Lose weight.
Take advantage of nutritional counseling and memberships in weight loss support groups to get down to your ideal weight. Added bonus? Many insurance plans offer a lower tier cost for subscribers who are at healthy weights.

Quit smoking.
Non-smokers are another group that often enjoy lower insurance premiums. Many HMOs and health providers offer free smoking cessation programs to help you get smoke free and healthy.

Attend medical screenings and health fairs.
Many insurance providers sponsor ‘wellness fairs’ where you can have your blood pressure tested, get free medical screenings and learn about alternative medical techniques like massage therapy, acupuncture and yoga. Take advantage of special events to learn more and get healthy.
It may be popular to demonize the insurance industry, but today more than ever, these companies have a stake in keeping you healthy. Find out what your inusrance company has to offer you by visiting their web site, or calling customer service.

A Guide to Help You Pick the Best Air Purifier for Your Loved Ones

Holidays are around the corner. This is the time of year when people start purchasing gifts for their loved ones. If you are going to purchase an air purifier for someone you love, we have some helpful tips for you. If you want to purchase the best unit, you may be able to use this guide to your advantage. Read on to find out more.

1: Set Your Budget

Just like anything you purchase, make sure you have set your budget first. The price of the unit will vary based on a lot of factors, such as the capacity, filter type, features, and brand of the unit. If you don’t have a flexible budget, we suggest that you go for a product that is available to purchase for less than $300.

2: Consider the Needs of the Recipient

Your next move is to consider the needs of your recipient. If you are going to purchase this unit for everyday use, we suggest that you go for a unit that comes with a HEPA filter. On the other hand, if your loved one has a specific need, we suggest that you consider a specialized unit.

For example, if they are more prone to respiratory issues, such as allergies and infections, we suggest that you get a UV purifier for them. The devices are designed to neutralize viruses and bacteria.

3: Think About the Available Space

Another primary factor is to consider the available space in the office or house of the recipient. For example, if they need a general-purpose unit for a small apartment, you may want to consider a filterless unit.

On the other hand, if they have plenty of free space, you may consider a bigger unit that features a higher airflow rating. These units are powerful enough to cover a large face.

4: Consider Extra Features

Lastly, we suggest that you consider additional features that they will just love. For example, some units come with an indicator that turns on when the filter needs to be replaced. This will allow the user to change the filter so that the device continues to work properly.

So, you may want to consider these features before you place your order. These features may not be important to you, but your friend may just be over the moon.

Long story short, we suggest that you consider these four tips if you are going to purchase a gift for your loved one on these holidays. Since the air is full of pollution during winter days, nothing can make a better gift than an air purifier. Therefore, you should consider these tips before looking for an online or physical store to make your purchase decision.

Commercial Finance Funding and Identifying Zombie Banks

In the world of business finance funding, the colorful terms “Zombie Banks” and “Dead Banks Walking” have been applied recently to a number of commercial lenders. Although these discussions have an element of humor and entertainment, there is a practical aspect to them as well. Ultimately it is not likely to be in the best interest of a business owner to have extensive involvement with any of the banks which these terms describe accurately. In any case it should be beneficial for commercial borrowers to understand what constitutes a zombie bank and what they should do if they are working with a dead bank walking.For any business owner currently needing a commercial loan or working capital financing, the concept of “Dead Banks Walking” is likely to be an essential part of their decision. This description has been used by several sources recently, all with a similar reference point of banks which have already gone broke. This critical but apparently accurate assessment is largely derived from a straightforward net worth approach. Such an analysis recognizes that many banks have substantial assets which are either worthless or at least worth well below the values reflected on their books, with the resulting real current value being less than the current debts of many banks.Based on the evaluation of many observers who have realistically reviewed current asset values, most of the largest banks in the United States been shown to be worth even less than Lehman Brothers (which is already in bankruptcy). Many banks have compounded their public relations nightmare by demonstrating very little common sense in how they make commercial loans and spend money. If a bank is already worthless, it certainly calls into question how businesses and commercial borrowers will benefit by the government throwing money at these “zombie banks” in the first place. This controversy has been fueled by the failure of most banks to increase their commercial lending to business owners after receiving government bailout funds. Banks who have received bailout funds appear to be determined to hoard the money in order to preserve their own solvency rather than providing commercial finance funding to commercial borrowers.This raises several questions. The emerging consensus is that giving otherwise bankrupt companies (the dead banks walking) more cash does little more than cover the internal operating expenses for the zombie banks.First, should we really believe that a bank should be “saved” simply because it is so large? There appears to be a growing majority of the public which would suggest that these banks have already lost too much good faith to ever recover in response to some arguments that the largest banks cannot be taken over even if they are already insolvent.Second, is there a better way to solve the problem than giving insolvent banks more money? George Soros and others have recently described in detail how other banking systems have successfully handled mortgage financing. Even though residential and commercial real estate loans are thought to be at the heart of the current crisis, there is no real effort underway to revise this approach.Third, can business owners really afford to wait for the government to solve this problem? Although waiting a few weeks or even several months might be viable for a practical solution which results in needed commercial loans, the current logjam impacting business finance funding shows little evidence of subsiding that quickly. Prudent commercial borrowers should seek alternative sources for essential working capital financing such as business cash advances. In case it is not obvious from the discussion above, dead banks walking and zombie banks can be avoided when seeking new commercial financing.