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.

Tips on How to Choose Health Care Marketing Services

Being a medical care professional, promotion is always important. Since, it is hard to have a client if you are not properly promoted. Promotion could be done greatly on the Internet. Due to the growing number of users of the Internet, online marketing is a great way of gaining reputation and clients.There are great number of companies that offer health care advertising services to medical professionals to help them in promoting themselves. If you’re a medical professional, whether you are a physician or a dentist, it is best that you should have medical care marketing services, as well. They are trained and knowledgeable in medical advertising services. Thus, you would be sure that, as a health care professional, you will be properly promoted.However, a medical professional should be very careful when choosing a company that offers health care advertising services. Especially, if you are new in making your name as a doctor advertised online. Since, there are companies that offer health care marketing services that are not as good as the other. Not only that; they may give the services in a high price. There are some things that you could look at when you’re going to choose a company that offers medical care promotion services. Some of these things include:RecommendationsYour colleagues may have already considered having health care marketing services. Thus, they should have noticed if their patients are added. That is why you should ask them if they could recommend a company that offers medical care advertising services. Note that their recommendation may be good or not.PriceThis is a practical thing that one should look at. Since, anyone would like to have health care marketing services that are affordable. But, when looking at the price of a company that offers health care advertising services, one should be very careful. Since, there are some companies that don’t give good medical care marketing services that offer their services either cheap or expensive.When checking at the price, it should be not that expensive and not that cheap. Try quoting for medical care advertising services by listing down the prices that and compare them.ReputationYou should also consider the company’s reputation when choosing one that will do the health care marketing services. If they have a bad reputation, then it is best that you should avoid working with them. One way to know a company’s reputation is by going to the Internet. There are some companies that offer medical care marketing services that are discussed in forums or blogs. You can check there if they have a good reputation or not.Now that you have knowledge in choosing a company that offers health care advertising services, it is best that you should have one right away. There are a lot of companies that offer medical care advertising services, and if you are going to use this knowledge, it’ll be easier for you to choose one that offers good and quality services.

How to Become a Home Health Care Nurse

Home Health Care Nursing Information and OverviewHome health care is allowing the patient and their family to maintain dignity and independence. According to the National Association for Home Care, there are more than 7 million individuals in the United States in need of home health care nurse services because of acute illness, long term health problems, permanent disability or terminal illness.Home Health Care BasicsNurses practice in a number of venues: Hospital settings, nursing homes, assisted living centers, and home health care. Home health care nursing is a growing phenomenon as more patients and their families desire to receive care in their homes. The history of home health care stems from Public Health Nursing where public health nurses made home visits to promote health education and provide treatment as part of community outreach programs. Today academic programs train nurses in home care and agencies place home health care nurses with ailing individuals and their families depending on the nurse’s experience and qualifications. In many cases there is a shared relationship between the agency and the academic institution.Many changes have taken place in the area of home health care. These include Medicare and Medicaid, and Long Term Care insurance reimbursement and documentation. It is important for the nurse and nursing agency to be aware of the many factors involved for these rules and regulations resulting from these organizations. Population and demographic changes are taking place as well. Baby boomers approaching retirement and will present new challenges for the home health care industry. Technology and medical care in hospitals has lead to shorter inpatient stay and more at-home rehabilitation. Increases in medical outpatient procedures are also taking place with follow-up home care. This has resulted in the decrease of mortality rate from these technologies and medical care has lead to increases in morbidity and chronic illness that makes the need for home health care nursing a greater priority.Home Health Care Nurse Job DescriptionThrough an array of skills and experience, home health care nurses specialize in a wide range of treatments; emotional support, education of patients who are recovering from illnesses and injury for young children and adults, to women who have experienced recent childbirth, to the elderly who need palliative care for chronic illness.A practicing nurse must have the skills to provide care in a unique setting such as someone’s home. The nurse is working with the patient and the family and must understand the communication skills for such dynamics. Rapport is evident in all nursing positions, but working in a patient’s own living space needs a different level of skill and understanding. There is autonomous decision making as the nurse is no longer working as a team with other nurses in a structured environment, but is now as a member of the “family” team. The host family has cultural values that are important and are different for every patient and must be treated with extreme sensitivity. Other skills include critical thinking, coordination, assessment, communication, and documentation.Home health care nurses also specialize in the care of children with disabilities that requires additional skills such as patience and understanding of the needs of the family. Children are living with disabilities today that would have resulted in mortality just twenty years ago. Genetic disorders, congenital physical impairments, and injury are just a few. Many families are familiar with managing the needs of the child, but still need expert care that only a home health care nurse can provide. It is important that a home health care nurse is aware of the expertise of the family about the child’s condition for proper care of the child. There are many complexities involved, but most important, a positive attitude and positive reinforcement is of utmost importance for the development of the child.Medication coordination between the home health care nurse, doctor, and pharmacist, ensures proper management of the exact science behind giving the patient the correct dose, time of administration, and combinations. Home health care nurses should be familiar with pharmacology and taught in training about different medications used by patients in the clinical setting.Many advanced practicing nurses are familiar with medication regiments. They have completed graduate level programs. Home health care agencies believe that a nurse should have at least one year of clinical experience before entering home health care. Advanced practicing nurses can expedite that training by helping new nurses understand the home health care market and teaching.Employment and SalaryAccording to the United States Department of Labor, there were 2.4 million nurses in America, the largest healthcare occupation, yet many academic and hospital organizations believe there is a gross shortage in nursing staff. The shortage of nurses was 6% in 2000 and is expected to be 10% in 2010. The average salary for hospital nursing is $53,450 with 3 out of 5 nursing jobs are in the hospital. For home health care, the salary is $49,000. For nursing care facilities, they were the lowest at $48,200.Training and continuing educationMost home health care nurses gain their education through accredited nursing schools throughout the country with an associate degree in nursing (ADN), a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), or a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). According to the United States Department of Labor, in 2004 there were 674 BSN nursing programs, 846 ADN programs. Also, in 2004, there were 417 master’s degree programs, 93 doctoral programs, and 46 joint BSN-doctoral programs. The associate degree program takes 2 to 3 years to complete, while bachelors degrees take 4 years to complete. Nurses can also earn specialized professional certificates online in Geriatric Care or Life Care Planning.In addition, for those nurses who choose to pursue advancement into administrative positions or research, consulting, and teaching, a bachelor’s degree is often essential. A bachelor’s degree is also important for becoming a clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners (U.S. Department of Labor, 2004).All home health care nurses have supervised clinical experience during their training, but as stated earlier advanced practicing nurses hold master’s degrees and unlike bachelor and associate degrees, they have a minimum of two years of post clinical experience. Course work includes anatomy, physiology, chemistry, microbiology, nutrition, psychology, and behavioral sciences and liberal arts. Many of these programs have training in nursing homes, public health departments, home health agencies, and ambulatory clinics. (U.S. Dep. of Labor, 2004).Whether a nurse is training in a hospital, nursing facility, or home care, continuing education is necessary. Health care is changing rapidly and staying abreast with the latest developments enhances patient care and health procedures. Universities, continuing education programs, and internet sites, all offer continuing education. One such organization that provides continuing education is the American Nurses Association (ANA) or through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).ConclusionThere are many rewards to becoming a home health care nurse. Some rewards include the relationship with a patient and their family, autonomy, independence, and engaging in critical thinking. The 21st Century brings with it many opportunities and challenges. We must meet these challenges head on – there is an aging baby boomer population, a growing morbidity factor due to increased medical technology and patient care, and the growing shortage in nursing care.Becoming a home health care nurse today is exciting and an opportunity to make a difference one life at a time. With clinical experience and proper education, a home health care nurse will lead the future of medical care.