Get Informed Before Selecting A Health Insurance Plan For Your Family

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familyvectorOpen enrollment tends to happen around this time of year and if you’re one of the fortunate individuals to have insurance options through your employer, you should take advantage of it.

However, when selecting health insurance, it is not to be taken lightly as there is a lot involved in selecting an insurance provider that will equip you with the coverage you need in times of sickness and in health. Rather than just selecting an insurance policy because it’s what your parents used or the most affordable, you should consider necessary factors that include:

· Your Personal Priorities

· Health Insurance Types

· Overall Cost of Coverage

Make a List of Your Personal Priorities

What you need from an insurance provider should be your first consideration. Paying for something that does not compensate all of your needs is a waste of money. Ask yourself questions such as; do you like your current doctors? If so, which insurance plans do they accept? Do you or loved ones get sick often? Do you require a visit to various specialists throughout the year for preexisting medical conditions? This will give you a basis of what to look for as you begin your research on various health insurance providers.

Learn About health Insurance Types

There are three main types of insurance plans that you can choose from: Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), or Point of Service Plans (POS).

· HMO – HMOs are often regarded as the most affordable options for health insurance coverage. You are only allowed to see doctors within the network, limiting your flexibility when it comes to choosing healthcare providers and specialists.

· PPO – PPOs are a bit more expensive than an HMO. However, you are allowed to choose doctors and specialists both in and out of network. Out of network medical professionals will cost quite a bit more, and overall out of pocket expenses for PPOs can be costly.

· POS – POSs are said to be a combination of the HMO and the PPO. They allow you to select a primary care physician of your choice; however, you are typically required to receive a referral from this physician to see other specialists. The costs are not as steep as a PPO, but are still not as affordable as most HMOs.

Factoring Your Total Cost of Coverage

Most people assume that the premium is all that needs to be considered when looking at health insurance costs. However, there are some other out of pocket expenses that one needs to consider.

· Premium Costs – The premium cost is often the most obvious expense to calculate. It is the amount that your insurance provider bills you on the monthly basis in order to keep coverage.

· Deductible – The deductible is the amount you will have to pay each year towards medical bills before the insurance company will pay their portion. Not all insurance plans have a deductible but it is worth checking into.

· Coinsurance – Unless your insurance plan includes 100 percent coverage, you are going to have to pay some coinsurance. This is the amount you share in payment of medical bills with your insurance provider.

· Co-pay – Your co-pay is the amount you have to pay every time you make a visit to a healthcare provider.

To factor in all of these costs, utilize online resources, of which there are many. Sites like Health Net are geared toward individuals and employers and allow you to review various insurance plans, make comparisons, and even calculate projected costs. By being fully informed in all of the above mentioned areas, securing an insurance premium for you and your loved ones becomes a lot simpler.

– Submitted by Katherine Smith

Oh, No!…Another Total, Nuclear, Ballistic Screaming Fit, Here’s A Battle Plan

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By Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D.

kidsjumpingYou’re in your least favorite aisle of the grocery store: Aisle 5. That’s the candy aisle. Your four-year-old daughter is screaming at you full blast because she’s very upset that you will not allow her to have the candy bar she had sweetly pointed out. She’s stuck in the cart, but you’re sure she can be heard throughout the store. It feels like a crowd is slowly gathering to see how you’re going to handle the situation.

Of all the behavioral problems parents face from their children, temper tantrums are probably the most upsetting as well as the hardest to manage-especially in public. Major meltdowns may also be the most potent tool kids have when it comes to training their parents to do what the children want. Moms and dads who fear tantrums have an extremely difficult time maintaining control of their own children-at home and away.

Kids’ meltdowns often produce a painful feeling of temporary insanity in parents. This awful feeling, in turn, can produce horrible screaming matches and sometimes even physical abuse. But the next time you are faced with a child’s tantrum, consider making two new and drastic changes-one in the way you think and the other in what you do.

What To Think

Drastic change #1 is understanding meltdowns differently. Tantrums are normal. They occur most frequently in children ages about one to five. Kids’ tantrums are usually a reaction to good parenting (setting rules and boundaries and sticking with them), not a sign that mom or dad has done something wrong.

The kids want a lollipop at 6:30 a.m.; they don’t want to go to bed at 9 p.m.; or they want to play Angry Birds right at dinnertime. Since parents can’t–and shouldn’t–give children everything the youngsters want, the kids will often protest by grumbling, whining or by throwing a tantrum. The critical issue here is what a parent does if the child “decides” to blow up.

What To Do

That brings us to drastic change #2. Surprisingly, talking and reasoning after a child starts grumbling or protesting are sure ways to bring on a meltdown! Why? Because children perceive parents’ reasons and explanations as parental whimpering-sure signs that the parent doesn’t know what he or she is doing. Usually the kids are correct in this assessment! Often parents are, in fact, bewildered and confused by kids’ meltdowns. The older folks just want the yelling to stop. So? So, sensing weakness in mom or dad’s resolve, the kids decide to go for the gold (whatever it is they want at the time) and they blast away. Parental whimpering makes meltdowns worse. Parents need a Battle Plan that focuses on gentle but decisive actions–not words.

The absolutely necessary alternative to whimpering is “Checking Out” and utilizing the “10-Second Rule.” When a child whines or melts down after a denied request, the parent has 10 seconds to gently disengage. No talking, no eye contact, and increase physical distance as much as possible. Parents’ checking out will surprise and bewilder the little ones initially. For some children, brief consequences may also be helpful. But soon the kids will begin to realize that tantrums get them only one thing: Nothing.

Can you apply these strategies in public as well as at home? Not only can you, you must! Feeble attempts at reasoning or distraction in a restaurant or grocery store will bring on World War III in no time at all.

If you are fed up with kids’ meltdowns and all the useless yelling, arguing, begging and pleading that accompanies them, use this brief, easy-to-learn and effective approach and enjoy the results.

– To request a review copy of Tantrums, to arrange an interview with Tom Phelan, to receive cover and/or interior art, or for any additional information, please contact Kate Bandos at KSB Promotions: 800-304-3269, 616-676-0758 or

How Childcare Centres Plan Nutritious Meals That Kids Always Love

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By Anthony Smith

saladheartsmallHow much time do you spend thinking about, preparing and cooking the meals for your child? As parents, we strive to do what’s best for our children and often that starts with meals. What to feed your child is one of the first major decisions a parent makes and then before you know it, your bundle of joy has an opinion of their own on what they want to eat. Regardless of the time and consideration you may have put into planning and making your child’s lunch, whether or not they eat it, is a whole other story. Then there’s the fact that Grandparents, babysitters and child care centres seem to have a significantly higher success rate of convincing your two-year-old to eat whatever is put in front of them. How do the centres do it – what’s their secret and how do they get a fussy-eating toddler to eat at day-care what they won’t at home.

1. The Menu

Food provided in child care has an important role to play in the growth and development of children and in the development of their future eating habits. Most parents should be able to take comfort in knowing that a significant amount of toddlers’ daily nutrition requirements are being met by their long day childcare centre. Check for displayed menus to show a variety of foods such as vegetables, fruits, cereals, lean meat, fish, chicken, milks, yoghurts and cheeses. Make sure your child has easy access to plenty of water and check to see if milk is also provided throughout the day.

2. Age Appropriateness & Variety

Most centres will ensure the menu includes food that is appropriately sized and textured for the age and ability of the child. Children with special dietary requirements due to food allergies, cultural background or medical condition should also be catered for – ensuring the centre works together with these families to meet the specific needs of the individual child. Variety of food also plays an important factor. Plates should be loaded with a few different foods from the menus, allowing the children to explore a new food – pick it up, touch it and smell it – so that it becomes more familiar to them. It can take up to fifteen attempts before a child gets used to a new taste.

3. The Power of The Masses

kidseatinghealthyChildren learn from an early age to follow and mimic those around them. Often times a sour reaction to a new food is just a knee-jerk reaction to the unknown. So when toddlers see their friends happily eating the variety of food offered at a child-care centre, they often follow along.
Finally, when children gather together to eat and drink, staff should create an atmosphere that is relaxed and home-like. It is also seen as an opportunity for social interactions and language development. Meal and snack times are happy, social occasions that promote healthy eating habits. Food always looks better when your best friend is eating it too.

Just remember – Working together with childcare staff can positively reinforce healthy food messages and eating habits for your child.

– Anthony Smith is the Chief Operating Officer of an Australian childcare management company, Guardian Child Care. As a parent himself, Anthony recognizes the importance of providing quality childcare for children where they are able to thrive and in an educational and nurturing environment.

Diet Plan Helps Obese Moms

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pregbellyFrom Your Health Journal…..”MedPage Today is such an excellent online resource with quality articles, so I am always happy to promote their site. Today’s article is called Diet Plan Helps Obese Moms written by Crystal Phend. Obesity before and during pregnancy has always been an issue for many women. Some woman look at pregnancy as a green light to eat more, while others try to maintain their figures for as long as they can. Diet programs with light or moderate exercise helped obese women avoid gaining excessive weight during pregnancy. In a study, obese women attending weekly weight management sessions gained 7 pounds less over the course of their pregnancy versus controls and actually dropped below their pre-pregnancy weight by 3 weeks after delivery. Of course, pregnant women should always get approval from their doctor before starting any exercise program during pregnancy, but I found this article to be interesting, and encouraging for many woman. Please visit the MedPage Today web site (link provided below) to learn more about this study.”

From the article…..

Diet programs with light exercise helped obese women avoid gaining too much weight during pregnancy, two trials showed.

Obese women attending weekly weight management sessions gained 7 pounds less over the course of their pregnancy versus controls and actually dropped below their pre-pregnancy weight by 3 weeks after delivery, Kimberly Vesco, MD, MPH, of Kaiser Permanente and colleagues found in the Healthy Moms trial.

Gestational weight gain in a separate Italian trial fell within Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines for 78% of obese women in a calorie-restricted diet and exercise program compared with 30% of obese controls (P=0.003).

The interventions also cut down on pregnancy complications and kept babies in a healthy weight range, the groups reported here at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine meeting.

These findings show that the same kinds of weight-management strategies used to help overweight adults generally work in pregnancy too, Vesco told MedPage Today.

The 2009 IOM guidelines for obese women suggest a weight gain of no more than 11 to 20 pounds during pregnancy, but Vesco noted that over half of such women in her region exceed that gestational weight gain.

The problem is growing along with obesity in the general population, Elisabetta Petrella, MD, of Italy’s University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, pointed out in her presentation of the Italian trial.

That prospective open-label trial included 63 women with a pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) of 25 kg/m2 or more who were randomized in their first trimester to either a restricted calorie diet (1,700 to 1,800 calories per day) and 30 minutes of walking at least 3 days a week or usual care plus a simple nutritional booklet.

The overweight group with BMIs in the 25 to 29 kg/m2 range showed no impact on weight gain by the end of their pregnancy, at 11.3 kg (24.9 pounds) in both groups, or in the proportion who stayed within the IOM guidelines.

But the obese group gained an average of 6.7 kg during pregnancy with the intervention compared with 10.1 kg among controls (14.8 versus 22.3 pounds, P=0.047) along with the more than doubling in proportion who kept weight gain in the recommended boundaries.

To read the full article…..Click here