Starting in 2014, one of the signature features of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be implemented: No adult with a pre-existing condition can be denied health insurance.
But it seems from recent news reports that both the administration and the nation’s health insurance carriers are getting a little nervous about exactly how much that will cost and whether sufficient funds will be available.
In theory, the individual mandate ensures that enough healthy young people buy insurance to keep premiums affordable and provide enough money to cover the care of the already sick. But no one knows with any certainty … Continue reading
Flu season hit hard this year, and the normal, if unwelcome, after effect of many viral upper respiratory infections is a lingering cough.
A recent review of the medical literature found that, on average, a cough will last 17.8 days! Fortunately, most coughs are self limiting; that is, they will get better without special treatment, such as antibiotics.
If you have a question about when to seek medical attention for a cough, visit FamilyDoctor.org ‘Check Your Symptoms’.
For home treatment, however, the drugstore shelves are filled with a dizzying array of cough products. Which one, if any, is best?
Before … Continue reading
I read with concern yesterday that one of the victims of the recent fiscal cliff deal was the program funding the creation of new non-profit health insurance carriers. Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, CO-OPs for short, were meant to provide some much-needed competition to the private carriers on the health insurance exchanges and keep premiums more affordable.
At least, that was the theory.
But now Congress has sliced the program’s budget from $6 billion to $2.4 billion. And the money is in the form of loans, not grants. Besides the many other challenges facing these start-ups, they have a very … Continue reading
Wash your nose?
I wrote in a previous post that frequent hand washing is your best defense against a cold virus; but what about washing your nose? The inside of your nose, to be exact.
You just need a neti pot.
The neti pot is an inexpensive device for saline nasal irrigation, which is a fancy term for nose washing.
How do I use a neti pot? It’s very simple. I fill the pot—which resembles a small tea pot or Aladdin’s lamp—with warm saline (salt) solution. Leaning over a sink, I place the spout in one nostril and … Continue reading
I shook my head in wonder last night when I read this article: FDA requires lower doses for Ambien, other sleep meds
Doses for women, at least, will be cut in half.
Different bodies metabolize drugs at different rates. Apparently, studies have shown that the morning level of zolpidem (Ambien) remains high enough in some patients, especially women, that their driving skills are impaired.
According to the article, “the FDA has received a number of reports of car accidents connected to zolpidem over the years.”
I couldn’t help but think of the recent news, and my recent post, about… Continue reading
Warning: Liver failure may occur
The other day I watched in horror as a friend with mild cold symptoms swallowed two extra-strength Tylenol tablets with a large swig of NyQuil.
If he had followed with a double whisky, I would have suspected a suicide attempt.
“What are you doing?!” I shrieked, and grabbed both bottles from him. “You just swallowed a massive dose of acetaminophen!”
“Really?” he replied, without much interest. “Hmm.”
Does anyone read the labels on over-the-counter (OTC) medications?
“Look!” I stabbed a finger at the warning label on the back of the NyQuil bottle.
Liver warning: This
… Continue reading
It appears that the 2012-13 flu season is especially severe and has not yet reached its peak, which is when the maximum number of cases have been reported and we start to see a downward trend.
In early November, I posted about the advantages, health-wise and financial, of getting a flu shot.
It’s still not too late, and there is ample vaccine available.
FYI, it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to reach its full effectiveness.
FN… Continue reading
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report that 1 in 24 drivers admits to falling asleep while driving, and up to 33% of fatal traffic accidents may involve a drowsy driver.
Although frightening, this statistic is hardly news to those of us, myself included, who suffer from chronic sleeplessness. We can just add “death by fiery car crash” to the ever-expanding list of risks related to sleep deprivation, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia and cancer.
Such stories invariably conclude with the advice “health officials recommend getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.”… Continue reading
Okay, pain isn’t funny, but this woman’s blog is. She posted a hysterical re-drawing of the universal pain chart that doctors and nurses use to help patients, especially kids, quantify their pain on a scale of 1-10.
She apparently found the Mr.-Yuk-type faces woefully inadequate, and I have to say I agree with her. I just never looked at it that way before.
Her drawings and accompanying descriptions will leave you laughing, and laughter is the best medicine, isn’t it?
FN… Continue reading
Two days ago I wrote a post about the proposed health insurance exchanges and the federal premium subsidies.
Beginning in 2014, if you buy health insurance from a state-run exchange, your estimated 2014 income will determine if you qualify for a subsidy.
You will need to supply that information to the insurance exchange when you sign up for health insurance. If you qualify for a subsidy, the exchange will then apply to the federal government for the extra funds to cover your premiums.
When you prepare your 2014 tax return (in 2015), you will discover how accurately you guestimated.
The … Continue reading