Benefits of Personal Health Records

Gone are the days when people used to carry their health records in unwieldy files when visiting a doctor. The advances in technology made it is possible to carry the entire documents in pocket-sized devices like CD-ROMs, pen drives and now on dedicated websites who take the responsibility of saving and updating medical data. To keep a track of our medical history and share and use it when necessary, we need to create a personal health record. Let us try to understand what it is exactly and what it can do for us and how can they make our life easy.

A personal health record is the consolidated information related to health; stored and managed by an individual. Today, they are also popularly known as, personal health diary, patient health record, or personal medical records. While the concept of this type of records is not new, it has evolved from a stage when these records were stored by the medical professionals and health care providers; to a stage where each person today is keeping their health records by using various technologies such as websites, personal health software and so on. The primary purpose of these is:

o To keep a track on personal health and

o To help the doctors for providing better care through the valuable health information.

Ideally, it should contain every single bit of information related to your health. The information stored in it may differ according to the software or service providers, but any personal health records will contain the crucial health information. Some of the most common parameters that a personal health record contains are as follows:

o Name of the patient, birth date, blood type

o Date of last physical tests or screenings

o Major illnesses or diseases occurred in past with dates

o List of medicines and dosages taken by you

o Allergies and chronic diseases

o History of illnesses in your family

This piece of information can be very important in case of emergencies and can save your life.

Personal health records have numerous benefits not only to the users but also to the health care systems and physicians. A detailed health record can be used by physicians to take important decisions in time of emergencies. Some of the significant benefits of personal health records are as follows:

o Empowering patients: personal health record allows the patients to access, update and verify their own medical records. With the use of personal health records, one can also set reminders for health maintenance services.

o Improves patient-doctors relationship: this is especially true when you have a family doctor or a physician to whom you frequently visits. Doctors find it easy to communicate with patients who own personal health records.

o Improves patient’s safety: As the patient keeps updating their health records, it helps them to identify missed procedures and services, drug alerts, and important test results.

o Delivers efficient care: personal health records also avoid duplicative testing and unwanted or unnecessary services.

o Cost-effective tool: patients can save huge amounts which are otherwise spent unnecessary on malpractice costs.

o Privacy: personal health records can be kept confidential by using passwords. Today, most of us want our health records to be safe and secure in our hands so that no one misuses it. It allow patients to keep their health documents safe and secured.

Medical Insurance Savings – Purchasing Group Health Insurance Or Individual Major Medical Coverage?

Medical Insurance Savings are a reality. Is purchasing group health insurance or individual major medical the best? Either can provide big medical insurance savings. The purchasing choice is yours, presenting some scenarios is mine.

If you are self employed, or without current major medical coverage for yourself or family, you face a big financial decision. Should you gamble right now in good health, and hope you stay healthy? Do you lose medical insurance savings but gain long term security after seeing too many family health members whose health has seriously eroded?

Numerous people are thrilled to save $150.00 a year on home insurance. Others rake in an extra $300 by finding a auto insurer matching their demographics. But the king of insurance savings is the $1,200 or more families can save on buying group health insurance. Millions more people each year qualify for group benefits. Purchasing group health insurance usually require having 10 or more employees. Do not confuse this with a made up “association plan”, making people feel they can get group insurance coverage just by paying a membership fee. The major medical coverage way be poor or great depending on the insurers benefits.

So how do you maximize your medical insurance savings? If you are in good health, and are self-employed, have even a small eBay or other business, or are an independent contractor you have a choice. Sometimes purchasing group insurance coverage is the best route. other times individual major medical coverage is wiser. Here is the key factor. How is your current health, and what is your sense of how it will be 5 to 10 years from now. Purchasing group health insurance through your local chamber of commerce could be your answer for medical insurance savings. This is if you currently have medical problems or feel insecure about your future medical history.

With few exceptions, you can join the local Chamber of Commerce, and get health insurance coverage on their group plan. Group Insurance coverage when compared to similar benefit individual major medical coverage is often at least 10% less costly. So if you were quoted $1,000 a month for a family individual major medical coverage, saving 10% equals $1,200.00 annually.

Only with an individual plan is your current health a major issue of cost and insurability. Any major health condition now or in the past will creep out to haunt you. For individual health insurance, you may receive a counteroffer to play 50% to 100% more for the health insurance. Additionally any claims on your health coverage for pre-existing and current health issues will usually not be eligible during the first 180 days. Paying a couple grand out of your own pocket is certainly neither an uncommon or pleasant emergency expense.

Enrolling in the Chamber Of Commerce plan is the route to go if you have current major health problems or pre-existing health conditions. The Chamber plan MUST accept you. And your current and past health flaws are covered in zero to 90 days. All this, and even unhealthy members pay the exact same cost as every other Chamber member.

Now look at the negative side of the group health insurance coverage. A Chamber established for a long time can be bad for you. Now you have numerous members over age 55 with countless health problems. Claims are constantly paid out, forcing rates to rise. Each year the insurer looks at the claims paid versus the benefits paid out. Your rates could zoom upward suddenly and you may be trapped. Certainly, if now you are one of the unhealthy.

Good health chamber members, often opt for individual major medical coverage when rates soar. This causes the insured pool to shrink further down to mainly medically prone members.. For those whose health has declined, they have no way out.. After your health declines, individual health insurance is no longer a viable option. Trapped into skyrocketing Chamber rates are not uncommon. Whenever the nightmare begins, there is one positive note, just be thankful that the government is not managing your important health future. Do you want to wait months to see a specialist?

With so many individual major medical coverage plans offered through a variety of insurance companies you truly need a guide. By this is meant an independent insurance agent representing many different health insurance cariers, with options galore, and rates that differ dramatically. Some provide price sticker shock while another accepting only those currently with excellent medical histories provides medical insurance savings.

How To Get Cheaper Health Insurance

There has been a rise in the cost of medical treatment recently. Therefore, the demand, for cheaper health insurance plans, is increasing day by day. People want to have cheaper health insurance plans. However, these plans provide restricted services.

Cheaper health coverage plans involve the cost of doctors’ visit, medicines, hospital stay and other medical costs. Some of the available health plans do not include the cost of doctors’ visit and prescription. Therefore, individuals need to ensure that, they select the right policy that provides all the basic coverage.

Family health plans are a low cost program. It is cheaper than an individual health insurance policy.

Steps To Get Low Cost Health Coverage:

A person has to follow a few necessary steps to achieve low cost health insurance plans. The first step is to compare the quotes given by different insurance companies. The Internet is the ultimate medium to shop for the best price.

Annual premium payments offer cheaper health coverage, as compared to the monthly premium option. Many insurers claim that monthly payment is more comfortable. However, a person has to pay more for this scheme. In this plan, processing of checks requires some transaction tax.

Monthly payment requires 12 transaction charges. An annual payment scheme involves only one check. Therefore, it requires only one transaction charge per annum. Certain administrative and service rates with monthly premiums increase the cost of this payment.

A person can never predict about their future health disasters. Therefore, it is always wise to buy cheap health insurance plans as a precaution. Age and health of a person, are the two important factors that determine the rate of medical plans.

The selection of group health plan is a long-term plan. It is a great choice if it is associated with an organization or club. A member of an organization gets affordable health insurance programs. Association group is another good selection. Different credit card firms offer association group policies, which are of low cost.

Private health coverage is an economical coverage option for some consumers. For example, a healthy 30-year-old male in Texas may pay only $37 a month with a private policy. This is $250 per year less than what a national employee pays for an individual coverage.

However, a lot of time is required to shop for inexpensive private plans.

Check for state run programs that offer cheaper health insurance. Women and children have better odds of obtaining coverage. For example, in California, a pregnant woman making as much as $63,000 per annum and still qualifies for free health care through the state insurer Medicare.

Conclusion:

More people are retiring before the age of 65. It is necessary to be 65 years of age to qualify for government health insurance (Medicare). Check with the former company if they provide health insurance for the retired people as a part of their retirement package.

Retired people probably have to pay higher premiums. However, it is cheaper than purchasing your own health insurance. To get a quote now see the resources below.

Health Center Staff In Lead Role Preparing Their Campuses for Pandemic Flu

It sounds like the plot of the next blockbuster movie. A third of the world’s population is struck down by a deadly virus that spreads across the globe so rapidly that there is no time to develop a vaccine. Up to half of those infected – even young, healthy adults – die. But as health professionals know, this scenario is not just a flight of fancy. It could be the very real effects of the next pandemic flu outbreak, particularly if H5N1 (also known as highly pathogenic avian flu) is the virus in question, and it is this knowledge that is pushing not just federal and state government but organizations and businesses throughout the world to develop a strategy to tackle it.

Within colleges and universities, the burden of pandemic flu planning is likely to fall upon many student health directors, even at institutions with environmental health and safety departments. John Covely, a consultant on pandemic flu planning and the co-author of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s pandemic plan, explains why this is so.

“Traditionally, emergency planning originates from public safety, or environment health and safety, but a communicable disease poses the biggest threat to students in group quarters. Thus, student health directors are often leading the emergency planning effort for the whole university, because the entire plan – not just the student health component – could be the difference in life or death for their students.”

The importance of having a campus-wide plan that is ready – not just in the preliminary stages – when the pandemic strikes is all the more clear when you consider that, unlike seasonal flu, H5N1 has an increased risk for the typical student demographic of young, healthy adults. The startlingly high mortality rate of up to 60 percent is partly due to a protein, also found in the strain of virus responsible for the 1918 pandemic flu outbreak, which causes a response in a healthy immune system known as a “cytokine storm”, often leading to respiratory failure and death.

Planning for such a massive and yet unpredictable event may seem a formidable task, but Dr. Anita Barkin, chair of the American College Health Association’s pandemic planning committee, counsels that those universities and colleges that have yet to formulate a pandemic plan shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the work that lies before them. “Pandemic planning is about good emergency preparedness. The things we do to prepare for any emergency are the things we would do to prepare for pandemic flu,” she explains.

Although the tragic Virginia Tech shootings this spring were a different kind of emergency, the issues are similar to the issues faced in the event of a pandemic flu outbreak. Coordinating resources, communicating with everyone on campus and deciding at what stage classes should be called off are questions that have to be answered in most emergency situations. Take your pandemic planning one step at a time, advises Barkin.

“The first step is to find out whether there is an existing emergency plan on campus,” she says. “If there is, who is in charge of it? Health providers on campus should then take charge and begin to formulate the plan.”

There are many unknown factors, but build the framework of the plan first with the elements you can be sure of. Form a committee with all key areas represented, including executive leadership. ACHA’s Guidelines for Pandemic Planning provides a list as an example that may help you collate this. Identify the functions that will be critical in the case of a pandemic and the personnel on campus responsible for each of these, making sure there are enough people representing each function that should some become sick, the plan is not compromised. Identify decision makers, a chain of command, and what channels of communication are to be used. Finally, decide on the role of student health services. Many campuses will have the student health director as the key decision maker in the event of a pandemic, but for some it will be more appropriate for the student health director to have an advisory role instead. In any case, college health professionals will be crucial to the success of every plan.

The biggest question that is central to every campus-wide pandemic plan: when is the right time to send students home? Covely warns that universities cannot necessarily wait for cues from state public health departments before they make their decisions. “The university has to have its own in-depth criteria in advance of a pandemic, and the student health director should be very involved in developing those criteria.”

Barkin suggests looking back to the 1918 influenza epidemic for context.

“In 1918, the virus spread across the country in three to four weeks. If you think about the fact that the virus traveled from coast to coast in that short a time when the primary means of long-distance transport was the train, and then you think about how much more quickly we can travel today by plane, that timeline is going to be compressed significantly.”

In other words, don’t wait too long to send your students home. Nor should your trigger for this decision rely on the geographical proximity of the virus to your campus alone. Covely explains:

“Geographical proximity is not definitive enough in this age when in a single day, there are 50,000 passenger flights throughout the world,” he says. “Because New York City and Hong Kong have major international airports, epidemiologically, New York City is actually closer to Hong Kong than it is to Buffalo, so waiting to suspend classes until a confirmed case gets to your region, or within 500 miles, may be too late.”

The factors that will determine how early you make the call to send students home will center on the composition of your student population. If your students are mostly from in-state, they will probably be traveling home by car and so you can wait slightly longer before canceling classes and closing the campus down. If many students live a long way away and are going to need to use mass transportation, you may have to act more quickly or risk being swamped with very ill students at a time when the local hospitals will not have the resources to help.

There are three main elements that will shape the logistics and the scale of your plan, and help you figure out the best trigger to send students home. Remember that, as Barkin comments, “The longer you wait, the higher the rate of infection, the less chance of being able to get students home and the less likely you can manage the burden of disease.”

These factors are as follows:

Student demographics, particularly the number of students who live on campus and the number of non-local students who are likely to be dependent on care.

The size of your staff (taking into account that up to 50 percent may be sick at one time).
Your ability to stockpile enough basic supplies, including medications, as well as personal protective equipment such as respirators.

This is where things start to get more complicated, however. Most student health services can’t afford to stockpile many medical supplies. “ACHA is running a survey on pandemic planning,” reveals Barkin. “Of the schools that have responded, most have not stockpiled, or if they have, it’s not a lot.” This could clearly prove disastrous, and for many colleges is a manifestation of what Covely cites as one of the biggest challenges of pandemic planning for some universities: “getting buy-in from the executive leadership.” Pandemic planning is by no means a cost-free exercise.

One tip if you are facing resistance from campus decision-makers over spending money on pandemic planning is to emphasize the fact that once you’ve formulated a response to a possible pandemic, you will have a robust emergency response strategy that can be adapted to fit virtually any emergency, whether it’s evacuation in the event of wildfires, such as Pepperdine University faced recently, a terrorist threat, or an “active shooter”. Investment in, say, developing a Web site with emergency information and updates can be a public relations bonus and a reliable resource. Villanova University’s plan includes broadcasting SMS text messages and e-mails and using an emergency Web page for mass communication.

What Are The Typical Health Insurance Premiums In The US?

In health insurance, two major factors affect policy premiums or rates. The first major factor is your family health or personal health history. The second factor is age.

While calculating the life insurance premiums and health insurance premiums, the insurance companies, consider family history and personal health of the individual, as the major contributors. Most health insurance companies request urine samples and blood samples to ensure that there are no pre-existing health problems.

Most insurers offer policies with higher premium amounts to people, suffering from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and other health risks.

People who have perfect health can observe that the standard term policy may have more premiums simply, because such policy covers most health risks. This policy is good for those people, who do not have time to lower their risk factors and can afford to pay huge premiums.

Thus, before applying for policy, people can check out various online quotes that can help them to locate a guaranteed issue policy. Moreover, people can also refer to FAQ’s to see, what factors they need to consider while obtaining an ideal health coverage plan.

Unfortunately, even though policyholders can have low insurance premiums, family history and health are not always controllable. Therefore, such people may have to pay high premium amount.

Some Statistics:

In the early part of the decade, typical health insurance premiums skyrocketed with an annual growth of 10.8 %. In the year 2003, the premium growth shockingly remained strong, before it decreased to 8 % in the year 2004. Right from the year 1982, health insurance premiums have registered an average 7% annual growth. For health insurance premiums, volatile business cycle is very typical thing.

In the year 1992, health insurance constituted 6.3 % of the employee compensation for the private industry employers. In the month of September 2007, health benefits comprised a large portion of employer provided benefits. This included 7.1% of the entire compensation. This made health insurance the largest compensation share for employers having an excess of 500 employees.

The moment the costs escalated, most employers passed their increased premium on to their employees. This has really just shifted the problem.

Conclusion:

An aging population has a significant impact on the future of health care industry in the United States. In terms of pharmaceutical treatment, in-patient care stays and physician visits, the elderly are the most high-cost demographic groups.

The main cause of rising health insurance premiums are the aging population. An aging population creates huge problems in terms of the Medicare Program, since it attempts to fund the services of at least 22 % of the total population.

It is important for people, to pay their monthly premiums on time. Some insurance firms also provide discounts for such people. Secondly, it is also essential that the policyholders compare various health insurance plans. Thereafter, they can select the best plan amongst them all.

Health insurance has become an extremely important issue in America due to spiraling health costs. Thus, easy to pay typical health insurance premiums can ensure coverage for majority of American population.

If you need to cover your own health care cost consider getting a free quote to see if you could save money. You can get them free instantly by simply visiting one of the sites below.