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NHIA Blog2018-10-03T17:48:50+00:00

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309, 2021

How to Reduce Dental Fees

By |September 3rd, 2021|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

Does your tooth hurt? Are your wisdom teeth starting to hurt, or is another problem plaguing your mouth that requires dental care? You’ll need dental insurance unless you want to give your dentist thousands of dollars in cash. Dental procedures, because of their precise nature and highly trained specialists who perform careful work, are more expensive on average than other sorts of medical expenses. The easiest and most direct way to reduce your dental fees is by getting dental insurance, and insurance can even open the door for preventative care by allowing you to go in for regular checkups that many people avoid because of the expense involved. There are other ways to reduce your overall cost of dental care, however.

It’s important you learn how to reduce these costs, as dental care is essential. Gum infection is associated with an increased risk for heart attacks and heart disease, but how can you get good insurance on a budget? Read on to learn how to reduce dental fees in order to save yourself some money.

Try Getting a Plan Through Work

Most employers offer their full-time workers a dental plan, and those that do typically pay half or more of the premium costs, and many plans fully cover exams, x-rays, and cleanings. On average, basic procedures such as drilling and filling can be covered by up to 80%, and even larger cost items such as crowns and root canals will fall into the half-pay policy. Plans through your employer typically have an annual deductible of $50-$100, and many insurers have a yearly limit of around $1250.

Could a Dental HMO Work?

DHMO – Or Dental Health Maintenance Organizations – Tend to be available in larger urban population centers. These tend to charge a few hundred dollars per year, and enrollees get cleanings twice per year and exams at no added fee, with partial coverage for many more procedures such as fillings or crowns. A fifth of all dentists nationwide participate in these programs, so check and see if there is a DHMO available in your area.

Check Community Health Centers

These can offer low-cost care but might have a limit on what services they offer, and many have a waiting list. To find a center near you, give your local health department or state dental programs.

Take Good Home Care of Your Teeth

One of the biggest no-brainer solutions to the issue of dental healthcare costs is to ensure that your teeth are healthier and last longer anyway. Brush for the full two minutes instead of the average 30 seconds most people spend, twice per day with the softest bristle brush you can find, and floss before bed. This routine helps ensure your enamel and gums are healthy and that your mouth is free of many kinds of bacteria that damage your teeth. Avoid sodas and sugary beverages that break down your teeth and irritate your gums, weakening the teeth themselves.

Between bargain hunting, good dental hygiene, and community options, there are a variety of ways to keep your dental health care costs low – But the largest tends to be finding an insurance plan through your employer. If you can do it, and it is within your means, you should do it. Your dental health is essential.

2708, 2021

Whole-Person Care

By |August 27th, 2021|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

When a patient arrives at a care facility, they’re often bringing more problems than just a body in need of some treatment. People have broad and complex needs, both physically and emotionally. These days, many people have spiritual, social, or holistic needs that are unmet. Whole-person care is the idea that all of these needs overlap. It also posits that leaving a problem in one area may drastically affect the rest. Diagnosing just the body isn’t the entire issue anymore once a medical professional adopts a policy of whole-person care.

What is the Focus of Whole-Person Care?

With such a broad topic, it can make sense to have questions about what the focus is of whole-person care. As the name implies, the focus is on the whole person as an individual. It is a patient-oriented use of various healthcare resources to improve the quality of life, not just the quality of health, which respects the choices and desires of the patient and does not suppose upon itself.

Whole-person care comes from the ideas of integrative medicine. Integrative medicine aims to resolve an issue before it leads to dysfunction or disease. While some ideas presented may seem based on emotion, evidence is on the side of an integrative approach. This approach coordinates the well-being of a patient by helping to support their health in four other major areas. Whole-person care is used in Complementary Health Approaches to treatment, and last year over 50% of physicians recommended at least one of these approaches for the treatment of their patients.

What do Whole-Person Care Providers Offer?

Whole-person care providers promote an individual’s well-being by combining traditional assessments with observations about the four major areas of people’s lives. Those four areas include the patient’s mind, spirit, environment, and social health. Both mental sharpness and emotional health are important to the patient’s mind. Spiritual needs are the beliefs, values, or faith-centered principles that sustain and support individuals. Oftentimes, this is an area where nurses can feel deficient, as focusing solely on the material elements of care can leave them with a sense that their care is incomplete. A person’s environment can also drastically impact these four areas as well as overall health. Not having access to nutritious food, clean air, and room to exercise can have a person suffering.

As health suffers, so too does social well-being. Humans are a social species, and whole-person care recognizes this. Because of this approach’s success in improving overall quality of life, 42% of hospitals have begun to integrate whole-person care treatments with their care plans.

Why Is This Important?

Humans are complex creatures that live in very complex societies. Their health can be affected by changes in many areas of their life. Whole-person care both recognizes and addresses this reality while providing complementary solutions to these issues. By providing this additional support, quality of life and health improve, and healthcare costs on state and local institutions decreases and people are better off. In a world that is complex, our medical care should be thorough and not miss an area where a person may be able to improve their situation by having access to some of the tools that hospitals and caregivers can provide.

2008, 2021

Summer Break & Health Challenges

By |August 20th, 2021|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

Now that the school year is over, you may have noticed something missing. During the school year, it’s common to run into all sorts of health concerns, and the structure of the day to day life can help you and your family stay on top of regular check-ups. Without the school year to guide you, it can be tough to determine where your healthcare focus should be. After all, your kids have been looking forward to it all year. Now that summer break is here, it is more important than ever to know how to keep your family healthy so you can enjoy these cherished months worry-free.

Summer Break Structure

It’s not uncommon for things like bedtimes, mealtime, and household rules to relax during summer vacation. Unfortunately, as fun and relaxing as it can be for both you and them, this isn’t always the best approach to being healthy over the summer. This is especially true when you consider that breaking habits for the long summer months can make it harder or impossible for children to get back into patterns of good behavior once the summer months end. Studies have shown that children gain weight easier over the summer months, and they are more likely to become obese over summer break.

Make Good Dietary Choices

This is the big one over the summer. You can still make lunch for your kids even if they aren’t taking it to school with them. Having a meal available for the day, or teaching them to prepare their own, ensures that they don’t rely on snacking or grazing on unhealthy foods that are more easily available. If they have readily available meals throughout the day, they are less likely to consume unhealthy foods and beverages.

Even if you don’t prepare lunches, simply making a few changes around the house can have a huge impact. This may mean making better dietary decisions for yourself, too. If it’s not in the fridge, how can they get a soda? Stock it with healthy choices, so if they do decide to graze or raid the kitchen during the day, all they’ll find are healthy options. Limiting the availability of food can be important, too. Even though fruit and vegetable juices are healthier, they can still be rich in sugars that pack on the pounds. This is true of fruits, too – There is definitely such thing as too much of a good thing.

Use all the extra downtime to get your kids involved more than they are during the school year. Consider planting a family garden so they can enjoy the benefits of healthy, locally sourced food while also learning and developing good habits that they can carry with them into the next school year and into life beyond. Children who learn how to grow, prepare, and cook their own healthy foods are shown to eat healthier in general, even well into adulthood.

Stick to the Plan

Even during the summer months, it’s important not to let sleep and health routines slip away from you and your family. Make sure they get to bed at a regular time and rise with the sun so they can enjoy the benefits of natural vitamin D their bodies will produce and have better opportunities for exercise and healthy socialization. Schedule the same regular check-ups you would during the school year, and consider summer activities they may enjoy, such as summer camp or a local sports league. Ask what interests them, and make a summer experience out of it. Be sure to limit screen time, too! If you don’t raise your kids, the TV and internet will, and these are full of bad decisions. By getting involved and setting your children up to make good decisions, you can be confident they’re growing well.

1308, 2021

How Important is Dental Health?

By |August 13th, 2021|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

Medical professionals say dental health can be the window to a picture of a person’s overall health. Can that really be true? After all, teeth have gone thousands of years without comprehensive dental care. Surely a person can skip out on their dental health and not suffer too greatly, right? Unfortunately, no. Practicing good oral hygiene is essential to promoting overall health and improving your appearance and quality of life. Read on to learn the importance of dental health.

So It’s Important, but Why?

Having good dental health will often lead to or complement overall health. Dental problems can impair your ability to eat nutritious foods or communicate well. They can lead to long-lasting pain and cause bad breath. Not many people know this, but a problem in the mouth will show signs “downstream” as well. By failing to maintain healthy teeth and gums, you may see issues with pregnancy complications, chronic and painful inflammation. It can even intensify conditions like arthritis. There are many problems that poor dental health can cause, but why?

Some studies have suggested that the bacteria present in patients with gum disease can use blood vessels in the teeth to travel to the heart, causing inflammation, clogged arteries, heart disease, or even strokes. Can bad teeth really lead to problems with your pregnancy? Absolutely. Gum diseases such as periodontitis have been linked to premature births and low birth weights in pregnant women. If you’re diabetic, it is especially important to maintain good dental health as diabetes reduces your overall ability to fight infection, which can make dental problems even worse. Before the advent of modern medicine and dental care, only 200 years ago, dental abscesses were the single largest identified cause of death for thousands of years.

What are the Signs of a Serious Problem?

There are many obvious signs of a problem with your dental hygiene, and one of the first that you’re likely to notice is pain. Toothaches are not pleasant, and because dental problems can lead to such serious complications, your body is quick to let you know when a problem is present. See a dentist if you experience a toothache, or if you have bleeding gums (even during brushing), swelling inside or around the mouth, tenderness or blisters that have trouble healing, or changes in the texture or appearance of soft tissues in your mouth. These could all be signs of a potentially serious condition, such as chronic gum disease or even oral cancer.

How Can I Improve my Dental Health?

Keeping in regular contact with your dentist and other oral care specialists is essential. Brush for at least two minutes twice a day, floss daily, use fluoride toothpaste and see your dentist at least every six months for check-ups and cleaning. Diet is also essential, as a sugary diet or one that frequently involves consuming soda will harm your dental health severely. Limit alcohol, smoking, or smokeless tobacco products, as these can and will degrade the quality of your oral health. The soft tissues of your mouth are very sensitive, and being mindful of their care and the overall health of your mouth will help your teeth last your whole life.

608, 2021

Helping a Loved One Quit Smoking

By |August 6th, 2021|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

You know it’s hurting them, and they’re probably aware of it, too. Nicotine addiction affects some 50 million Americans who are users of at least one type of tobacco product – cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or alternative smokeless products. Nicotine addiction is the single most pervasive addiction in America. No other controlled or freely available substance subjects more Americans to abuse of that substance. The healthcare expenses of this epidemic are estimated to be in the range of nearly two hundred billion dollars annually. The more personal costs can seem just as large. Those who suffer from nicotine addiction struggle with poor health, struggling finances, physical pain, shame, and more. When a loved one decides it’s time to quit, it may be a relief that is complicated by disappointment as it seems they may choose to sabotage themselves time and again or even lie to you. It’s important to understand that smoking is not a bad habit. It is a debilitating addiction with many complicated aspects that make the process of trying to quit smoking very difficult. However, there are ways you can comfort and support somebody trying to quit.

First, Understand

Trying to quit smoking, as we’ve said, is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. Because addiction to nicotine is such a complicated condition, there are so many obstacles your loved one will face on the road to recovery. Many smokers say that quitting was the hardest thing they had to do in their entire lives, and a big reason for this is withdrawal. While physical symptoms can go away in as little as a few days, cravings last much longer. This is part of why they will depend on you, to a certain degree, when quitting. To help, ask yourself a few questions.

Have you argued about smoking, or are you okay with it if they smoke around you? Do you avoid conversations about smoking? Has a problem with either your health or theirs changed any of these factors? By understanding your position in their journey to quitting, you can better understand ways to help them. You may need to avoid criticism and instead celebrate their small victories, such as going a full week without a cigarette or cutting down on their consumption. Encouragement will go a long way, but so will solidarity. If you smoke, avoid doing it around them, or even put forward an effort to quit as well.

Talk About It

It isn’t easy to start a conversation about smoking. Sometimes a smoker will approach the situation themselves, but if they don’t, it’s important to know they are dealing with a hard situation and would probably appreciate some support. Ask if they’ve considered quitting, or mention that you might have seen them smoking less. Consider telling them you’ve read something in the news about the harmful effects of smoking, and see what they really think about their addiction.

Addictions are very isolating. They create a sense of shame, and this causes people to withdraw from others. By being open and supportive, you allow your loved one to confide in you with all the difficulties. It may seem they still like smoking, which might frustrate you – But it’s important to know that this frustrates them, too. Listen and avoid lecturing.

Form a Plan

Because withdrawals are so intense, and the habit can have many triggers that remind somebody of smoking or that it might be time to smoke, it is important to be ready for the long haul. Be patient, stay positive, and have distractions and means to help your loved ones relieve stress as they go through the process of trying to quit smoking. You may also consider a quitting program, but your loved one needs to know that they have access to assistance, including yours.

3007, 2021

Medicare Part D: What is That?

By |July 30th, 2021|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

If you or a loved one are on Medicare, you may be wondering what benefits apply and how they work. One such benefit that many people ask about is Medicare Part D. Commonly known as prescription drug coverage for Medicare, people seem confused about getting this coverage and how it works with other forms of insurance. This week, we are looking into Medicare Part D and how it may apply to you.

What is Medicare Part D?

Part D is a prescription drug benefit that went into effect in 2006. It is a federal program that private insurance companies administer. To put it simply, it is an insurance plan specifically for your medication needs. Much like your health insurance has a network of doctors they cover, Part D has a network of pharmacies. Check with your plan to determine which pharmacies and which prescriptions it covers. Medicare Part B, the part that provides general medical care, does not cover everything. The intention behind creating Part D was to alleviate some of the costs associated with prescription drugs. Unlike Part C, where a beneficiary has to be enrolled in both Part A and Part B to participate, beneficiaries of Part D only need to be enrolled in one or the other.

How does Medicare Part D Work?

Annual Deductible

Part D has a few stages that you should be aware of. To start, as with any insurance plan, you have an annual deductible. Much like your other insurance, you pay the in-network prices set by your insurance for all your medications until you reach your plan’s deductible for 2021. The maximum allowed deductible for Part D is $445. Plans may use the full deductible, a reduced or discounted deductible, or waive the deductible entirely. This is why it is important to check what your plan allows and determine if it is the best fit for your open enrollment. Once you meet the deductible, you enter what is known as Initial Coverage.

Initial Coverage

In Initial Coverage, you are responsible for a copay toward each of your prescriptions based on your plan’s formulary. The formulary is a listing of all the medications covered under the plan, with each medication filed under a particular tier based on criteria like name brand or generic as well as other criteria. The higher the tier, the higher the copay will be for you. Your Part D plan keeps track of all spending throughout the year for you and the insurance company. Once the total expenditures for both reach $4,130 (the maximum allowance for initial coverage in 2021), you reach the Coverage Gap.

Coverage Gap

In the Coverage Gap, you are only responsible for 25% of the cost of your medications. Your insurance plan will continue to track all spending for both you and the insurance company. However, to get out of the Coverage Gap and into Catastrophic Coverage, only your spending will apply. When your spending for the year reaches $6,550 (the maximum allowance for coverage gap in 2021), then you enter Catastrophic Coverage.

Catastrophic Coverage

Under Catastrophic Coverage, you are only responsible for 5% of the cost of your medications. Your insurance plan will be responsible for the remaining 95% for the rest of the year.

Exceptions

There are some additional stipulations under Part D, such as a requirement that you try a less expensive alternative medication before trying the more expensive counterpart. If the less expensive treatment does not work, you and your doctor will need to file an exception to have the more expensive medication approved.

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