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Healthcare Articles

Shop Around for Medical Procedures with PriceDoc.com

November 7, 2011 | Healthcare | Save Money | No Comments

If you need to have a medical, vision or dental procedure it’s always a good idea to shop around because we all know healthcare is very expensive.  One service that makes this easy is PriceDoc.com.   PriceDoc.com is an online marketplace that connects consumers with healthcare providers. 

PriceDoc.com allows consumers to easily compare and negotiate pricing for medical, dental and vision procedures in a specified location in the United Sates while providers benefit from getting new patients who are willing to pay directly, out of pocket to the provider for their services. 

Procedures listed on the PriceDoc.com include the following:

  • Dental (teeth cleaning, crowns, fillings, braces, whitening, etc.)
  • Common and preventative medical procedures (physicals, mammograms, vaccines, x-rays, etc.)
  • Vision (glasses, contacts, LASIK surgery, eye exams, etc.)
  • Cosmetic (liposuction, breast enhancement, Botox, face lift, etc.)
  • Weight loss (dieticians, nutritionists, etc.)
  • Chiropractic (back and neck pain, arthritis, soreness, sports injuries, etc.)
  •  General well-being (acupuncture, hearing aids, physical therapy, massages, etc.)

 

PriceDoc.com makes it easy to match patients and doctors by:

  • Locating and reviewing providers in your area
  • Optimizing office scheduling and management
  • Comparing cost for office visits and procedures
  • Finding competitive pricing for best case healthcare

 

Within the web site you can “Make Offer” and “Name Your Price”, which allows consumers to negotiate with providers the cost of their procedures. 

For more information visit PriceDoc.

Getting Back in Shape with P90X

October 5, 2011 | Healthcare | My Ramblings | 5 Comments

Last summer (2010), I weighed 210 lbs. and hated it. After being ill, losing weight, given medication and ordered not to exercise (except light cardio) I was at my heaviest.  So last summer I decided to get in shape and lose weight.  I had a goal to get down to 185 lbs. in 3 months but failed miserably.  At the end of 3 months I weighed pretty much the same because I didn’t exercise consistently and didn’t stick to a diet.

A few months ago I had lunch with an old colleague and was amazed at how much weight he lost.  He looked great after losing 50 lbs.  He told me purchased an exercise / diet program named P90X.   P90X is a 90 days total-body exercise program on DVDs that you follow at home to whip you back in shape.  All you need are some weights or resistance bands, pull-up bar that can attach to a door way and a Yoga mat.

A few weeks later I read Pat Flynn’s Blog, Smart Passive Income, and he too got back in shape after using P90X.  I was impressed and convinced that P90X would be a good program to help get me back in shape. I purchased P90X with a pull up bar and eagerly awaited arrival to get started. Update: Beach Body has recently released P90X2.

The Beginning of P90X

The first 2 weeks of P90X was brutal.  After each exercise I was absolutely exhausted and would remain exhausted for the rest of the day.  I felt as if I ran a marathon.  The cardio exercises I couldn’t keep up with.  I’d have to pause the DVD and lay down for a few minutes to get my heart rate down.  I was definitely out of shape.  However, after 2 weeks I was able to keep up without feeling completed exhausted for the rest of the day.  The most difficult parts of the resistance training are the pull-ups and the abs exercises which I still struggle with.

Five Weeks Later

Five weeks later after working out 6 days per week for 1 to 1-1/4 hours and changing my diet I saw little improvement.  P90X included a book on how to diet, but I didn’t follow it.  I basically ate low fat – healthy meals, reduced my portions, stop drinking soda and artificial fruit juices, drank more water, stopped snacking, ate more fruits and vegetables and stopped eating after 9 PM.  I knew that most likely the reason I saw no reduction in weight was because I put on muscle which offset the fat I was losing.  Also, I felt if I stuck to a really strict diet I would have lost weight.

However, I still grew frustrated that the results weren’t coming quickly.  I called my old colleague who lost 50 lbs. and he told me the same thing happed to him.  The first few weeks he too didn’t lose much weight, which made me feel a little better.  I also expressed to him that I absolutely hated Yoga.  A part of the P90X program is Yoga once or twice per week which I didn’t like.  It was too long and I didn’t like getting up and down from the floor and trying to get into different award positions.  My old colleague told me he too felt the same way and skipped Yoga and substituted it with the cardio exercises.  I agreed that was a great idea and from then on substituted Yoga for the cardio exercises.

90 Days Later

Soon after 5 weeks my weight started dropping.  It seems as if for weeks I wouldn’t lose any weight then over a few days I’d drop a few pounds.  I learned losing weight isn’t a linear process.  As I began to lose weight I grew more excited.  Most of my weight was in my stomach and could see and feel my stomach getting smaller.

My goal was to lose 23 lbs., going from 208 lbs. to 185 lbs in 13 weeks.  I wanted to look trim and fit and not necessarily put on a lot of muscle which I knew I wouldn’t maintain.

The Results so Far

After 13 weeks of P90X, which is the length of the program I am now 192 lbs.  I’ve lost 16 lbs. and my waist has shrunk 3 inches which is a huge difference.  My pants and shorts that were too tight or couldn’t fit, I can now wear.  I’m currently continuing the P90X for another 13 weeks with the goal of hitting 185 lbs.  After, I still plan on continuing P90X but I will mix-it up with weight-training at the gym, playing racquetball and swimming.

Below are my before and after pictures:

Before and After Front

 

Before and After Rear

 

Before and After Side

 

  My Equipment for P90X


Lessons Learned

The things I’ve learned thus far are as follows:

  • Working out at home is far more convenient than working out at the gym.
  • Following an exercise program is great because you don’t have to wonder what to do next.
  • Losing weight isn’t a linear.
  • Losing weight is very hard work.
  • Getting back into shape is all about consistency.

 

If you are ready to get going get the P90X and pull up bar at Amazon.com.  Beach Body recently launched the P90X2 that I may try out soon!

My Lasik Procedure with Corneal Abrasion Complication

June 13, 2011 | Healthcare | My Ramblings | 1 Comment

After thinking about getting Lasik eye surgery for over 10 years I finally got it done recently.  The last time (about 10 years ago) when I seriously considered getting it done a friend referred me to a website with horror stories about Lasik surgeries gone bad.  The same friend eventually got the procedure and was very happy with the results.

Over the years everyone I met who had Lasik eye surgery would rave about how much they were happy with the outcome and that it was one of the best decisions they made in their life.  So as the years passed I finally decided to bite the bullet and do it. I was growing really tired of wearing glasses and didn’t want to wear contact lenses because when I first tried them I didn’t like the way they felt in my eyes.  Also, I have really bad allergies, especially around allergy season, and I knew contacts would be a problem then.

I initially made an appointment for a consultation and was informed that since I am over 40 years old there is a chance I may need reading glasses soon after the surgery.  It was explained that people over 40 would start to need reading glasses and it is just a natural decay in your eyes that Lasik cannot fix or prevent.  This was indeed a concern because I didn’t want to get Lasik and then have to wear reading glasses soon after.  The problem is no one knows at what age you need reading glasses.   Some people are fortunate enough to not need reading glasses until their 50s.   Regardless after careful consideration I decided to have the procedure done anyway.

I ended up going with LasikPlus because the doctor came highly recommended by 2 friends who had the procedure done by the same doctor who would do my surgery.  I also like the fact that the doctor has performed over 65,000 procedures and used the latest LASIK equipment.  I also didn’t find much negative reviews of the doctor on the Internet.  Actually, I found mostly positive reviews about his performance.

As with any medical procedure or even taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs, there are risks involved.  After my consultation I was given some paperwork that described potential risks of the surgery which was scary.  One of the risks listed could result in death.  How scary is that?

In doing some research, I discovered about 2% of individuals having the surgery have some type of complication so I was praying that I’d fall into the 98% who have no complications.  I was told I was a good candidate for the surgery and that everything should go well.

The Surgery

The surgery was fast and painless.  The only discomfort was pressure on my eyes for a few seconds to make the flap.  The laser to reshape each cornea took about 5 seconds each.  Your eyes are numbed with eye drops so there is no pain at all.  After the surgery my eyes felt a little sore and sensitive to light.  While being driven home my vision was much improved but with a haze. I kept my eyes closed and just wanted to go home and take a nap, however, I couldn’t sleep because my eyes were burning.  It was a slight burn but enough to make me uncomfortable.  After a few hours, my right eye was extremely tearful.  As soon as I open my eye water poured out.  My left eye wasn’t as tearful.

My follow-up exam the next day revealed that I had a cornea abrasion on my right eye.  “Just great”, I thought to my self. I wasn’t happy hearing that I had a complication.

My Complication

During the LASIK procedure I developed a small corneal abrasion in my right eye. As stated, during the first night, both eyes burned a bit, but my right eye was extremely tearful.  The next morning it felt uncomfortable to open both eyes, but especially my right eye.  I had a follow-up appointment that morning with an assistant doctor who told me of the corneal abrasion.  I was then sent to another location where the Lasik surgeon was working that day.  I was really irritated that I had this problem.  I kept thinking to myself, “just my luck”.

From some research about corneal abrasion, even with excellent surgical technique and a moistened eye, a small breakdown in the epithelial surface may develop as the flap is made with the microkeratome.  Corneal abrasion occurs in a small percentage of LASIK procedures because in some eyes the surface cells may not adhere well.  There is no way possible to detect who may be prone to corneal abrasion. Fortunately, the epithelium grows back so quickly that eyes with an epithelial defect usually heal within a few days, even without a contact lens.

My surgeon verified that there was indeed an abrasion and that he’d place a contact lens on my eye to help it heal and make it more comfortable.  As soon as he placed the contact lens in my right eye, it felt 100% better.  I could immediately open my eye and there was no discomfort.  My eye stopped tearing.  He also numbed the eye, so that helped.  As the numbness wore off my eye still felt comfortable.  The contact lens was removed 3 days later and my eye still felt comfortable because the abrasion had healed.

Unfortunately, due the corneal abrasion my right eye was slightly blurred for a few days.  I was told to place the prednisone anti-inflammatory drops in my eyes more frequently because my eye was inflamed at the location of the corneal abrasion.  My left eye was perfect, but with my right eye was slightly blurry which was a little annoying especially when watching TV.

2 Weeks Later

Now after about 2 weeks my right eye is still slightly blurry.  My left eye is 20/20 and right eye is 20/50, however with both eyes my vision is 20/20.  Seems my brain has adapted for the difference.  With both eyes open outside, my vision is crystal clear and I can’t see a difference but when I close each eye to compare I can see a difference. However, when I’m indoors, especially at night I can sense a difference with both eyes open. It seems indoor artificial light affects me more.

At my last check up, my surgeon stated the inflammation/swelling is gone and now the abrasion just needs to come together and that light would affect the eye making things blurry until it healed. There is an 85% chance it will heal by itself. However, if it doesn’t completely heal, he’ll do an enhancement to make the eye 20/20.  I’m hoping my eye will completely heal by itself, however, if I need an enhancement I’ll have to do it.  An enhancement if needed will not be done for another 3 months.

Conclusion

So far, I’m “almost” happy with the results.  I say “almost”, because of the complication with my corneal abrasion.  But even with 20/50 in one eye, my vision is almost perfect.  Over the last 2 weeks, on numerous occasions I’ve attempted to take my glasses off and have to remind myself, that I’m not wearing glasses!  The procedure was painless and fast.  Recovery was also fast.  If and when my right eye is 20/20, then I’ll be completely happy with the results.

Update on 9/11/2011:  About 3 months after my Lasik surgery my eye-sight is excellent at 20/20.  My right eye with the corneal abrasion has healed nicely.  My left eye which became a little blurry 2 weeks after the procedure has cleared up nicely as well.  The glare / halos / starburst at night / low light have decreased dramatically to almost to being unnoticeable.  I suspect over the next several months, it should be completely gone.  So now I’m very happy with my decision to have Lasik.  At times I’m amazed at how excellent my eye-sight is and how men created a device that uses a laser to reshape people’s cornea to fix their vision.  Absolutely amazing!  Just hope my eye-sight stays like this for years to come.

Obesity Can Raise Your Health Insurance Premium

November 15, 2010 | Guest Post | Healthcare | Insurance | No Comments

This morning, my health insurance company sent me a very nice note with a very ugly truth inside: my premium went up because 55% more people in 2009 than in 2007 received surgery for obesity.

Health Insurance Premiums and Weight on the Rise

The estimated annual cost for treatment of obesity is $200 billion, but 70% of disease is preventable and 87.5% of claims made are due only to the individual’s unhealthy lifestyle choices, to include but not limited to poor diet, over eating, smoking, excessive drinking, lack of exercise, and more.  One of every five healthcare dollars are spent on treatment of diabetes.

As stated in this web site’s February 3rd post of 2009, many health insurance holders are provided insurance by their own workplace; because healthcare costs are only rising, businesses are pushing expenses toward their employees.  Even those of us who are physically fit must pay for the irresponsible lifestyles of others.  This is part of being a citizen of the United States; rather than complaining about health insurance premiums and healthcare reform (not that criticism isn’t warranted), we must ourselves take action by living more healthful lives.

A Little Known Truth About Dieting

The known tips and tricks are old and known, even trite: don’t eat fast food, don’t eat lots of sweets or salty snacks, exercise three days a week, diet, diet, diet.  How, then, is a nation so obsessed with dieting— the American diet industry makes close to $40 billion annually selling pills, foods, cookbooks, DVDs, clothing, etc—also known as the fattest nation on the planet?

The answer is more obvious than we think.

Dieting

Clinicians at eating disorder treatment centers—commonly believed to be filled only with “skinny” folk like anorexics and bulimics—know that dieting is the biggest trigger of eating disorders.  In truth, eating disorders are not limited to “skinny” diseases but include habitual overeating, stress eating, mindless eating, binge eating, and more.  These are the diseases causing our health insurance premiums to rise.  In fact, about one in two individuals enrolled in dieting programs suffer from BED, or Binge-Eating Disorder, which inevitably leads to weight gain and even, in some cases, heart disease and diabetes.

How Dieting Is Making America Fat

Here is the logic behind this paradox: If a parent tells a child to not eat a single “bad” food like a cookie, a candy cane, an ice cream cone, a donut, or a bag of chips in an entire emporium of “bad” foods, what will the child do?  Want the “bad” foods more and eventually cave in and eat all the “bad” food the child’s stomach can take.  Then, the child feels bad for disobeying his or her parents and vows to never do it again . . . until the next time he or she caves and binges on “bad” foods.  The child in this case is any dieter, the parent is society (run by the diet industry and media, hand in hand), and the emporium is any American fast food restaurant or grocery store.  We are daily surrounded by stress that makes us seek comfort food by which we are surrounded, and the more we are told by society to not eat “bad” foods, the more we want them.  Eventually, we all cave.  “For every diet, there is an equal and opposite binge,” according to Geneen Roth, a disordered eater for nearly twenty years and now a Good Housekeeping columnist and advocate of natural health and weight.

So, for the sake of our own health and the health and happiness of our wallets, let’s rethink diets and dieting and seek, instead, balance.

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching various online degree programs and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

What Does Healthcare Reform Mean for Your State?

April 9, 2010 | Healthcare | Videos | No Comments

After decades of back and forth bickering and debate, health reform is now law in the United States, thanks to Barack Obama and all the Democrats who fought hard for this change.

So what does healthcare reform mean for you? It means an end to the worst insurance company abuses, new rules that treat everyone fairly, and more choices and affordable health insurance for millions of Americans.

At My.BarackObama.com/ReformInMyState there is a very interesting video of what Healthcare Reform Means for you. The video highlights how Healthcare Reform will affect your state.  

For example, benefits of healthcare reform in Georgia means:

  • In Georgia alone 222,085 people with pre-existing conditions will not longer be denied coverage
  • Tax credits for 897,000 people
  • Tax cuts for 106,000 small businesses
  • 30,100 families will be saved from bankruptcy in just one year
  • 1.7 uninsured will now be insured
  • More choices and more control over their healthcare

 

You can learn more about benefits reform in your state at My.BarackObama.com/ReformInMyState

Below is a video of supporters of Healthcare Reform.

Related Articles:

The Facts About the New Healthcare Bill

March 24, 2010 | Healthcare | My Ramblings | No Comments

It’s shameful that President Obama and the Democrats have worked so hard to reform healthcare and there are so many people still against it.  The people against it, I assume have healthcare insurance and don’t really care about their fellow neighbor who can’t get healthcare insurance because of a preexisting condition or who can’t afford it.   Or maybe they are just diehard Republicans.  However, I’m certain the 32 million people who don’t have health insurance are happy.  Although the healthcare reform bill isn’t perfect it sure is a very good first step.

Below are facts about the Healthcare Reform Bill:

Deficit:

  • According to the CBO (Congressional Budget Office), the bill will reduce the deficit by an estimated $143 billion in first 10 years.

 

Coverage:

  • Expands coverage to approximately 32 million Americans currently uninsured.

 

Health Insurance Exchanges:

  • Uninsured and self-employed will be able to buy insurance through state-based exchanges with subsidies available to individuals and families with income between the 133% and 400% of poverty level.
  • In 2014 Separate exchanges will be created for small businesses to purchase coverage.
  • States will be funded to create exchanges within one year of enactment and until January 1, 2015.

 

Subsidies:

  • Individuals and families who earn between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and want to purchase their own health insurance on an exchange are eligible for subsidies. They cannot be eligible for Medicare, Medicaid and cannot be covered by an employer. Eligible buyers receive premium credits and there is a cap for how much they have to contribute to their premiums on a sliding scale.

 

Medicare:

  • Closes the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” by 2020. Seniors who hit the donut hole by 2010 will receive a $250 rebate.
  • Starting in 2011, seniors in the gap will receive a 50% discount on brand name drugs. The bill also includes $500 billion in Medicare cuts over the next decade.

 

Medicaid:

  • Medicaid expanded to include 133% of federal poverty level which is $29,327 for a family of four.
  • States will be required to expand Medicaid to include childless adults starting in 2014.
  • Federal Government pays 100% of costs for covering newly eligible individuals through 2016.
  • Illegal immigrants are not eligible for Medicaid.

 

Insurance Reforms:

  • After six months insurance companies can no longer denying children coverage based on a preexisting condition.
  • In 2014 insurance companies cannot deny coverage to anyone with preexisting conditions.
  • Children can stay on parent’s insurance plans until age 26th.

 

Abortion:

  • Private insurance premium funds are segregated from taxpayer funds. Individuals will have to pay for abortion coverage by making two separate payments.
  • No health care plan will be required to offer abortion coverage. States can pass legislation choosing to opt out of offering abortion coverage through the exchange.

 

Individual Mandate:

  • In 2014, everyone must purchase health insurance or face a $695 annual fine. However, there are exceptions for low-income people.

 

Employer Mandate:

  • Employers with more than 50 employees must provide health insurance or pay a fine of $2000 per worker each year if any worker receives federal subsidies to purchase health insurance. Fines applied to entire number of employees minus some allowances. Technically, there is no employer mandate.

 

Immigration:

  • Illegal immigrants will not be allowed to buy health insurance in the exchanges.

 

Source: CBS News

 

Related Article:

Healthcare Reform Polls Makes No Sense

February 24, 2010 | Healthcare | 3 Comments

We keep hearing in the media that Americans overall oppose President Obama’s healthcare plan 51% to 37% which amazes me.  However, according to a Newsweek Poll, Americans overwhelmingly favor specific provisions in Obama’s healthcare plan, which includes:

  • 73% want businesses to offer healthcare insurance
  • 78% favor insurance companies cover everyone regardless of their health
  • 81% like the idea of insurance exchanges

 

However, when those polled were told that these provisions are apart of Obama’s plan support only jumps to 10%.  This just makes no sense.  

It seems many American’s are unaware of why healthcare reform is needed and what it entails.  They aren’t concerned about healthcare because they aren’t ill or have a job that provides coverage.   It’s all about every man for himself.  It seems many Americans aren’t concerned about their fellow uninsured neighbors!  Unfortunately, when something goes bad (illness, loss of job, coverage denied) then they realize how screwed up our healthcare system is.  By then its too late!