Lyme Disease: The Great Imitator
Spring is my favorite season. Warmer weather, budding flowers and lots of greenery in yards, gardens and parks encourages outside activities and fills me with energy. The spring season also brings out lots of crawling and flying critters like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, as well as some of the more unpleasant pests like ticks and mosquitos. If you enjoy spending time outside like I do, hiking, gardening or walking the dog, be aware that ticks and their bites can be not only annoying, but dangerous.
The Single Senior STD Epidemic
If you think your retired parents who have settled into a low-key retirement home or senior living community are spending their time playing checkers and watching soaps, think again! They may be running around having sex just like college kids let loose in a dorm for the first time. Senior citizens, contrary to popular belief, are often still sexually active. And they are spreading sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Which is More Uncomfortable: The Colonoscopy or Treatment for Colon Cancer?
Michelle was a healthy, active 47 year old. She tried to eat right and she exercised. It looked like the hard work was paying off: no health issues and lots of energy. Her work in the healthcare field motivated her to see her doctors regularly for checkups, to get mammograms and to have her blood work done annually. She knew she was getting close to the magical age of 50 and that soon she would need to get a colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer. Since she had no family history of the disease she wasn’t worried. She felt certain that, just as all her previous testing had come back normal, this one would too.
Heart Disease – It Looks Different From a Woman’s Perspective
Lara D. knew that heart disease ran in her family. Her father had his first heart attack at 46. His second, two years later, took his life when she was in high school. She learned intimately the impact that a heart attack has on a family. She saw her mother struggle to keep her children on track while trying to manage her own feelings of loss. Her college years were spent working full time and going to a community college in the evenings to get her degree and become a CPA. While many women work hard to get a degree, holding full time jobs, raising children and supporting spouses, this wasn’t what her parents had planned for her.
If It’s Not Your Heart or Your Age, It Could Be Your Thyroid
If your heart starts pounding and skipping beats what is your first thought? For Mary M., 49, it was, “Oh No! Is this a heart attack? Is it heart arrhythmia? I know my mother has an irregular heartbeat and my grandmother died from a stroke. Is it my turn?” So, off she went to the doctor. Her pounding heart had been waking her up at night and she was ready for the diagnosis and sat pretty calmly through the EKG test. Her mother took heart medication, exercised and watched her diet so she knew how to handle it. When the doctor returned to the room and told her “Your heart looks fine and your heart rate is normal,” she was confused. The call that came from her doctor a few days later threw her into a panic.
It’s Holiday Party Time: Are You and Your Guests Safe?
This month many of us will enjoy festive holiday parties. Maybe you will be the one hosting the party. You’ve probably got an image in your head about what the party looks like, who is there and what you will serve. Perhaps champagne toasts or eggnog will be involved. Maybe you know that some of your guests will even share a couple of joints. Have you thought about how people will get home safely after your party? In addition to all of the holiday events in December, there will also be nearly 30 deaths due to alcohol or drug related car crashes every day.
Struggling with Diabetes? You’re Not Alone
If you know someone with diabetes, you know how much disruption, discomfort and inconvenience it can cause: dietary restrictions to control blood sugar, frequent finger pricks to monitor glucose levels, injections to deliver insulin and the constant fear that your levels will spike or plummet. All of this effort is necessary to manage the ubiquitous disease. Not managing it well or ignoring it could cause a seizure, a coma, or some other truly unpleasant side effects of irregular blood sugar levels.
Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse: Are You Doing Your Part?
Do you know what your teen is up to when you’re not looking? What about your spouse, your parents and your friends? Hopefully they aren’t rummaging through your medicine cabinet to find something they can take to get high. Many of us would never think to use a prescription drug for something other than its intended purpose, or to take something that wasn’t prescribed for us and absolutely necessary.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of other people who not only consider this, but act on the impulse to misuse and abuse prescription drugs. Sometimes they work the system and see a doctor, or multiple doctors, and get the prescription for themselves, but often, they are looking through your medicine cabinet when you’re in the other room, getting them for free from friends or buying them online or from dealers.
Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem; according to the Centers for Disease Control it is an epidemic. Just like any addiction, it can ultimately ruin or even end someone’s life. More people are turning to prescription medications to escape from problems, to fit in or, to achieve more success, academically, athletically or at work.
Federal Changes in Lab Results Access Can Make Personal Health Management Easier
Have you ever received a phone call from the doctor’s office with the message, “Hello Ms. X, Your test results are normal. Make an appointment next year.”? All you know is what the healthcare provider tells you over the phone. Maybe this conversation happened in the physician’s office during your visit. Your doctor swoops in, glances at your test results and breezes through the test results. If you are healthy and have never had any major health issues, this may be enough information. You continue on for another year, or 6 months, without a worry. But, maybe you wonder, “What does ‘normal’ mean? Can I do anything to improve my health?” How do you know? Are you at the high end, the low end, just barely in the range?
– See more at: http://www.disruptivewomen.net/2014/09/17/federal-changes-in-lab-results-access-can-make-personal-health-management-easier-2/#sthash.KHst1Yhj.dpuf
Food Sensitivity and Intolerance Testing Changed Their Lives
Susan was tired; tired of feeling foggy, bloated and unable to lose weight. Her thyroid levels were out of whack and she felt awful. Having just recently passed her 50th birthday, she assumed that this was what it meant to be a woman of a “certain age”: A little heavier and slower than she would have liked, not quite as sharp, and generally, just feeling old.
It wasn’t until she watched other people coming into a lab that she co-owns and heard them talk about food intolerances did she consider that food might be causing her problems, not her age. Changes to their diets, made after food intolerance testing, seemed to have worked miracles for her customers.
Is the Positive Outlook On the Affordable Care Act For Children and Families Here To Stay?
August 8, 2014
“Today’s decision is a clear victory for children of all ages, races and incomes in America,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund. “I am delighted the Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act”. With hopes high, the Affordable Care Act initially proved to be an all around positive step for children and family healthcare. Children are believed to receive an immense amount of benefit through these changes. The Affordable Care Act aims to extend benefits of healthcare to millions of women, children, and families who would otherwise go without.
“Children have been some of the biggest winners in the health reform law, and now millions of American families can breathe easier knowing that care will be accessible and affordable,” said Bill Bentley, president and CEO of Voices for America’s Children.
The Affordable Care Act proved to initially be a great leap towards providing and protecting the necessary health care to all children. However, it is important to remember that this is just the first step. As the ACA has been in effect, concerns over whether or not all children are benefitted arise. These concerns are geared towards whether or not there will be limitations excluding millions of children with poor parents. With the initial excitement of the Affordable Care Act, it will be crucial to see if all American children and families are guaranteed access to comprehensive, affordable health care coverage.
Employers’ Reaction to the Affordable Care Act
August 4, 2014
Most employers believe that the Affordable Care Act will have a negative effect on their business. Nearly 90% of employers are concerned that their healthcare expenses will increase their healthcare costs. Although small businesses find themselves exempt from mandates, they have responded to the ACA and expect their expenses to significantly increase. These expectations have caused small business employers to have employee layoffs and cutbacks due to their expectations; in fact, one sixth of small business employers have reduced their workforce. In addition, more than 10% of employers have reduced hours and limited hiring. These changes in behavior by employers have a huge impact on the employees and their overall business.
“We are seeing firsthand how the Affordable Care Act has had major implications on employers and their employees,” Michael Wilson, CEO of the International Foundation, said in a prepared statement. “Employers are taking a variety of actions to mitigate costs and in most cases are sharing the cost impact with their work force.”
Behaviors will continue to change as employers react to the Affordable Care Act. Over half of employers expect to see their costs increase significantly in 2015. Stay up to date on the latest at www.anylabtestnow.com/aca.
Delete Blood Cancer: What You May Not Know About Bone Marrow Donation
Special Co-Author and Survivor, Mirena Peed
We all know about blood drives and the importance of blood and platelet donations to save lives. And millions of people are registered organ donors (usually when they get their driver’s license). But did you know that there is another renewable, life-saving resource you could give? It’s your blood stem cells/bone marrow. Only 11 million Americans are registered with the National Marrow Donor Program to help save lives if their blood stem cells match a person fighting any one of 70 blood cancers and diseases. Each year, nearly 20,000 people are in need of blood stem cell/bone marrow transplants as their last hope for a cure to a terminal blood cancer or disease. The majority of those people rely on matched unrelated donors to receive the healthy, matching blood stem cells.
3 Fun and Easy Ways to Get Fit, Give More, and Live Well: WellnessProposals.com
In our third and final post of the series, we dive into a one of the largest resource bases of free wellness programs available to employers. If your business is interested in trying out a program that motivates employees and helps lower healthcare costs for you, don’t skip this valuable website.
In addition to a library containing over 15,000 free resources like handouts, brochures, and policy recommendations, the website provides specialized tools for addressing important concerns that range from heart-health and smoking cessation, to safety and stress-management. Browse the full library to learn more about how your business can get started today.
Visit www.anylabtestnow.com/aca to learn more about the Affordable Care Act and your business.
3 Fun and Easy Ways to Get Fit, Give More, and Live Well: Sonic Boom
In our first post of the series, we looked at Charity Miles, a free fitness app that allows users to turn exercise into charitable donations. That’s just one way today’s employers can think outside of the box to help their employees find great new solutions for healthy living. Read on to learn about another fun and effective strategy via Sonic Boom.
- Sonic Boom.
Sonic Boom’s approach to employee wellness is based on the simple idea that healthy habits practiced on a daily basis are key to increased employee productivity and lower healthcare expenses for employers. Through friendly competition, this all-inclusive service focuses on gamifying and incentivizing fitness. The company asserts that up-front program costs to the employer are continually offset by healthcare coverage savings and real ROI. Visit their website to learn more about Sonic Boom and whether it’s a good fit for your business. Try utilizing this approach with your employees!
Visit www.anylabtestnow.com/aca to learn more about how the Affordable Care Act affects you.
3 Fun and Easy Ways to Get Fit, Give More, and Live Well: Charity Miles
Employers today are becoming more and more involved in managing employee healthcare expenses especially due to the Affordable Care Act, so we want to give you the tools and resources to inspire change for the better. In this blog series, we will explore 3 innovative approaches employers can use to inform, encourage, and motivate.
1. Charity Miles
Charity Miles is a free mobile app that combines healthy living with charitable donations. Its GPS-enabled platform tracks the number of miles walked, run, or biked, then calculates a dollar amount to be donated to one of nine participating charities. Earn $.25 for every mile run or walked and $.10 for every mile biked!
Registered users can launch the app on any Android or iPhone, choose the charity that will receive their donation, and turn their fitness routine into a way to help the community. Charity Miles is funding the first $1 million donated, then anticipating continued corporate sponsorship as the app’s popularity grows.
To learn more about participating, visit Charity Miles on the web or read the FAQs on their Tumblr page. Visit www.anylabtestnow.com/aca to learn more about the Affordable Care Act.
Employer Knowledge About The Affordable Care Act
June 25, 2014
In regards to the Affordable Care Act, employers have had a difficult time figuring out the complex regulations and requirements. Employers have additional requirements that are yet to be unveiled. While still waiting to fully grasp the changes that the Affordable Care Act brings to the table, employers are on the edge of their seat to strategically plan for the future. They seek to come up with strategies to comply with the new regulations.
Employers named controlling their health and medical costs as a key concern. Thus, one key strategy that employers are focusing on is controlling costs. This means that the cost will inevitably affect business and have a direct impact on employees.
“Employers are balancing many competing factors as they revisit their financial commitment to health benefits and their ability to maintain a sustainable plan in the face of annual cost increases and the excise tax.”
Strategic planning for the future is key for employers, yet they are still uncertain of the specifics. As an employer, it’s important to get familiar with these specifics so that you can make the best decision for your employees.
To learn more about the Affordable Care Act visit www.anylabtestnow.com/aca.
Job Security & The Affordable Care Act
June 20, 2014
The Affordable Care Act has raised many questions around the state of Americans employment, A.K.A. job security.
A major concern for some people in regards to the Affordable Care Act is that because employers don’t want to pay more by offering health insurance to employees who meet the required criteria, hours will be cut instead. Contrary to this train of thought, this is not the case according to an article written by The Associated Press. “The anecdotes of companies cutting employees’ hours aren’t showing up in official U.S. employment numbers. In fact, recent government figures show job gains, not losses. Employers are giving workers about the same number of hours as a year ago.”
To support those claims, according to The Council of Economic Advisors in the White House, the United States has been experiencing a decrease in the growth of health care costs. This helps to reduce the growth of health insurance premiums paid for by employers which makes adding on new hires easier. Keeping all of this in mind, 2018 is the year that the overhaul-mandated tax on high-cost plans takes effect. This means a 40% tax will be imposed on the value of health benefits exceeding a certain threshold. Some companies who have already decided to proactively change benefit plans in order to avoid this tax, have taken routes such as raising employee’s out-of-pocket expenses which means a plan might include a larger deductible or an employee may have to pay for care before coverage starts.
The Affordable Care Act is still new, so there are still many aspects that have remained to be seen or how it will actually affect Americans. To learn more visit www.anylabtestnow.com/aca
How The Affordable Care Act Affects Workplace Wellness
June 16, 2014
As health care reform continues to be explored, it’s interesting to evaluate how it affects the workplace. Workplace wellness programs have become more of a trend due to the Affordable Care Act. The workplace wellness provisions have sparked research into the effectiveness of programs as well as added concern of shifts in health care costs due to the state of employee health.
“In a 2013 report, “Workplace Wellness Programs Study,” sponsored by HHS and conducted by Rand Corporation, researchers found that uptake remains limited, with fewer than half of employees undergoing clinical screenings or completing a health risk assessment. However, the report found “meaningful improvements” in exercise rates, smoking and weight control, though not in cholesterol levels.”
In addition, many employers expressed the reduction of medical costs due to wellness programs. The goal in creating and implementing these programs are to improve the health of employees and to control healthcare spending. By creating wellness programs and encouraging employees to participate in those programs, these facts can continue to improve.
Are you incorporating a new or improved wellness program in your workplace? There’s no better time than now to re-evaluate your wellness programs!
For more information visit www.anylabtestnow.com/aca.
Coverage Options For Your Kids With The Affordable Care Act
June 6, 2014
As families continue to grow and as the Affordable Care Act becomes more prominent in people’s daily lives, it’s important as fathers and as the head of the household to remember how that affects your family.
Pre Affordable Care Act, insurance companies had the right to remove enrolled children at the age of 19, or occasionally older for full-time students. Now that the ACA is in effect, the majority of plans cover children/young adults up to the age of 26. There is a lot of wiggle room of the standards for your kids to remain on your plan until they hit 26. They can remain on your plan even if they are married, are not living with you, are full-time students, are not financially dependent on you, or are eligible to enroll in their employer’s plan. For a full list of Q&A’s when talking with your children about their enrollment process visit here.
To learn more about the Affordable Care Act visit www.anylabtestnow.com/aca
Men Learn How To Manage Your Health
June 4, 2014
As mentioned prior, men’s heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. More than half of deaths in heart disease in 2009 consisted of male victims. Detailed information and other statistics about men’s heart health are provided on the CDC’s website.
In addition to that, Men’s Health Magazine compiled an extremely intriguing perspective on the various and multiple reasons as to why American men die young. Everything from prostate cancer, to medical errors, to infectious disease, to diabetes and more is addressed.
Bringing up serious health issues in men is for a reason. In order to prevent these diseases controlling the lives of men, it’s important to be proactive in managing your health and to be aware. By completing routine tests, routine physicians visits and truly maintaining your health, you are taking a step towards taking control of your health. As the Affordable Care Act continues to evolve, it’s important to know how to move forward with taking control of your health. For example, knowing costs of treatments,lab tests and/or procedures upfront can help you make your healthcare as affordable as possible.
To learn more visit www.anylabtestnow.com/aca.
Men’s Health & The Affordable Care Act
May 30, 2014
The Affordable Care Act is affecting multiple groups of people in different ways. As June is Men’s Health Month, this gives an opportunity to shine a light on how men can potentially be affected by the ACA. It’s critical to begin by examining various categories of men’s healthcare, such as heart health and HPV- a not so common topic in men’s healthcare, to learn what to expect.
One of the most prominent issues is heart health. As heart disease is the leading cause of death among not only men, but women too, it’s important to proactively maintain heart health. There are numerous forms of the disease and results can range from heart attacks, heart failure and other serious, dangerous issues.
Men’s Health Magazine released an article discussing HPV in men. “A new study has found that more than two-thirds of healthy American adults have been infected with at least one strain of human papillomavirus (HPV), but a “delicate balancing” act across 109 different strains frequently renders the sexually-transmitted disease dormant and harmless.”
It’s important to familiarize yourself and the men in your life with current healthcare news. As we continue to discuss related health issues in men, it’s vital to learn throughout these discussions how the Affordable Care Act affects your healthcare coverage, cost and care. To learn more visit www.anylabtestnow.com/aca.
What Everybody Ought To Know About HSA Funds
May 28, 2014
Have you asked yourself, “What exactly can my health savings account be used for?” The term “qualified expenses” can be vague, but is defined by the IRS to include medical care, prescription drugs, and payment for long term care. Let’s break it down.
HSA Resources explains in detail exactly what counts as a qualified expense in this extensive list. Some expenses to point out include:
Utilizing your HSA funds is a resource that many people forget about. It helps you manage you and your family’s healthcare budget while taking control of your health.
Visit www.anylabtestnow.com/aca to learn more!
Budget For Your Family’s Health
May 23, 2014
The way you managed your family’s healthcare budget has changed now that the Affordable Care Act is in action. It’s always a difficult task managing your family’s health, not to mention the cost that goes along with that. Maintaining your health savings account will help you to do just that.
Health savings accounts are funds set up by employers, but completely owned by you. You can deposit pre-tax money to pay for medical expenses that are considered qualified by the IRS. (See Publication 502 for specifics). The money is available as needed and is available on a HSA debit card or through reimbursements. You must have a High Deductible Health Plan and you cannot be covered by any other insurance plans to allow for contributions.
Your family benefits in multiple ways:
HSAs can be saved for future healthcare needs and if not used, can be passed on to heirs.
The unused money in the account earns tax-free interest.
Money deposited into your HSA reduces your taxable income.
HSAs give your family options when dealing with medical expenses. Lab tests are covered with HSAs and we accept HSA debit cards. Due to our upfront pricing, you can manage your lab testing budget easily. Visit www.anylabtestnow.com/aca to learn more.
Manage Your Health Savings Account (HSA)
May 20, 2014
Now that the Affordable Care Act has gone into effect, managing your health savings account (HSA) is important to pay attention to.
Healthcare.gov defines Health Savings Accounts as such: “A medical savings account available to taxpayers who are enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan. The funds contributed to the account aren’t subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit. Funds must be used to pay for qualified medical expenses. Unlike a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), funds roll over year to year if you don’t spend them.”
You are able to use your HSA for any family member listed as a dependent on your taxes. A “qualified medical expense” can mean various things. This includes medical and dental expenses which can consist of the costs of diagnoses (lab tests), cure, mitigation or reduction of pain and costs for treatments.
To learn more, the IRS Publication 502 explains in greater detail. These things can add up if not properly managed. Knowing costs upfront is vital to managing your healthcare budget along with your HSA. We help to fill one of those holes due to our wide selection of lab tests with upfront pricing. You know exactly how much your test is before you get it done. This saves you many headaches and helps you to manage your HSA in its entirety.
Visit www.anylabtestnow.com/aca to learn more.
The aca tests
UNDERSTANDING ALTERNATIVE DRUG TESTING SPECIMENS
The key to deterring drug use and catching users is a random testing program that uses different specimens. This creates a detection window that will not be known by the donor. What are the differences between oral fluid, urine, hair and nails?
Take Control of Your Health – Employers Helping Employees Make Good on New Year’s Resolutions
National Healthcare Reform Magazine, February 2012
How did the practice of making New Year’s Resolutions start? It seems to have begun in pre-Christian times with moral changes such as being good to others. January is named after the Roman God, Janus, who has two faces— one that looked to the past and one that looked to the future. January 1stthen, seems the perfect time to look at our past behavior and decide what needs changing. In modern times, the focus for New Year’s resolutions has shifted to improving our health, appearance or both. The shift usually occurs by stopping bad habits and replacing them with good ones.
Diabetes Management: Corporate Programs Can Make a Difference
Corporate Wellness Magazine, July 2011
Baseline Testing in Corporate Wellness Programs Offers Better Results
Corporate Wellness Magazine, February 2012
Many corporate wellness programs include incentives for exercise, nutrition and weight loss goals that promote a proactive attitude toward health. Studies have shown that wellness programs do provide a financial reward for the companies that implement them. The Meta-Evaluation of Worksite Health Promotion Economic Return Studies published in the Art of Health Promotion Newsletter compiled results from a variety of studies and stated that Health Promotion Programs are associated with a lower rate of absenteeism and lower health care costs. The cost benefit ratio averaged 5.93%1. But organizations that actively promote these objectives while recognizing a reduction in both their healthcare costs and a reduction in lost productivity may not be going far enough.