Friday, January 31, 2014
In this day and age, saving money is at the forefront of many people’s minds, especially when it comes to healthcare. There are all sorts of ways you can try to save money on healthcare and a simple place to start is at the doctor’s office! Health magazine has outlined several questions patients can ask during visits to their primary care provider to try and help save money. Keep reading if you want to hear a few tips!
#1 Ask for the Least Expensive Option
One simple and easy way to save money at the doctor’s office is to always ask if the treatment plan that is being offered to you is the least expensive yet effective option available. While many doctors actively try to find the most cost effective options for their patients, it is still a nice reminder that you are looking to save some cash while still getting excellent care.
#2 Ask About Lifestyle Changes
While many people go to the doctor looking for a quick fix to a problem they are experiencing, asking if there are lifestyle changes you can make before beginning other treatment options can be a big money saver. Obviously there are situations when time is critical and taking action quickly with medicine is key. However, in certain cases changing ones lifestyle can help resolve a medical issue without drugs and without spending money!
#3 Ask if all of the Tests are Necessary
If a doctor recommends you get blood work or other types of tests done, be sure to ask if they are necessary. While some doctors are good about only ordering critical tests, some like to test a lot of things at once to be sure they don’t miss anything. While this is comprehensive, it can be expensive. So speak up!
Asking a few questions can go a long way in terms of saving cash. So speak up and take control of your appointments. Speaking up and asking a question is a great way to play an active role in your own healthcare. To learn more, visit the Health magazine to become a more informed healthcare consumer!
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Thinking about switching to a vegetarian diet? I personally have been a vegetarian for almost 13 years. When I was younger, I stopped eating meat for the purpose of animal rights but I have continued not eating meat for the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Many people assume they will not consume enough protein if they cut out meat all together; however, there are a variety of other sources of protein that can be incorporated into a vegetarian diet.
Beans and lentils are great sources of protein and also contain numerous other health benefits with little fat. They can be cooked in a variety of ways and can be thrown into salads, soups, or even just eaten alone. Tofu is also one of my favorite meat substitutes. A lot of people don’t give tofu a chance but it’s delicious! It just needs to be cooked the right way. Undercooked tofu can have an odd texture. Another great thing about tofu is you can pretty much make it taste any way you want depending on the seasoning. It doesn’t have too much taste alone, so it can work in almost any situation including desserts.
Aside from meat substitutes, you can also get protein from grains, nuts, and veggies. Dairy products are also a great source of protein, unless you are trying to eat a vegan diet which cuts out all products from animals. Look for low-fat options of milk and yogurt in order to get the protein without all the fat. Peanut butter has about 8 grams in two tablespoons. A cup of spinach has about 5 grams. As long as you eat a wide range of foods, you can consume enough protein throughout the day.
To learn more tips and tricks about eating vegetarian, check out a few of the articles on Vegetarianism at Eat Right.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Photo: SPIN website, Health Services
Ever wonder what kind of resources are available on campus for educating students about nutrition? There is a great program that is facilitated by health services that does just that. SPIN, Students Promoting Information About Nutrition consists of students and nutrition educators at health services that provides nutrition education to enhance the well-being of UNH students. SPIN members talk about all types of nutrition, for example how to navigate the grocery store and healthy post and pre workout snacks, as well as other areas of nutrition like body image and eating concerns. Members hold events outside of the campus recreation center and other locations to provide information and educational materials. SPIN members also reach out to residence halls, Greek houses, and other groups to talk to students about various nutrition topics. The members of SPIN are highly educated and extensively trained students here at UNH.
This type of Nutrition Education and Promotion is great because it is coming from your peers. The members of this program are ordinary UNH students who happen to have a passion for health and wellness and want to spread the word. These students are a wealth of knowledge and can relate with difficulty of keeping proper nutrition in college. This program takes a non-diet approach to healthy eating and helps students work on a positive body image and relationship with food. Look for members of SPIN outside of dining halls and campus recreation and ask them about any nutrition related questions you might have and they will guide you in the right direction. If you’d like to get involved with SPIN or to learn more about this program, visit the SPIN website to request a program or to get information about recruitment. Don’t hesitate; educate yourself in the area of nutrition!
Monday, January 27, 2014
I’m sure my fellow college students have some to little awareness about why health care costs are rising.This is such an incredibly important topic to understand because we are running full speed into this part of our lives.Soon, we will no longer be under UNH’s health insurance or our parent’s.Understanding where our health care system is at this point in time is crucial.So, did you know that by the year 2021, Health care spending in the United States will reach $4.8 trillion?That will equal one fifth of our country’s economy.In 2011, 49 million Americans were without health insurance.Employers could not afford health insurance premiums.Yes, the health care reform will provide insurance to millions of Americans, but the costs are continuing to rise.
So what are six reasons these costs keep rising?
1) Hospital care- The rising costs of goods and services, such as workers, information systems, and information systems.Also, 60% of patients are on Medicare and Medicaid, which may affect how much a hospital gets reimbursed for care.Also, many patients cannot pay for their care in which case, the hospitals view it as charity care, which they do not get reimbursed for.
2) Doctor Visits- If you choose an out of network doctor, you will most likely have to pay more out of pocket expenses.However, the average cost of a doctors visit is $158 for existing patients, and $171 for new patients.
3) Medical Technology- Robotic technology is becoming increasingly popular.36% of hospitals are performing robotic surgeries.They can improve quality of care but are boosting costs up for the patients.Advancements in technologies cost more.For example, a MRI costs more than an X-Ray.For example, some spine MRIs at Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital in NH cost, $3,693. In St. Louis the average cost of a MRI is $998. In New Jersey, the average cost of a MRI is around $470. The costs vary depending on the part of the body needing a MRI.
4) Lab Tests- 51% of laboratory representatives believe that labs will be much more in demand in upcoming years.Why?Because the population is growing older and people are focusing on individualized lab data to adhere to their genetics. A complete blood count (CBC) test can cost between $15-$105. Prices can vary widely across locations.
5) Drugs- 80% of prescriptions are generic drugs.It takes a while for a drug to go off patent and a generic version to arise, so people are forced to use the name brand until the generics arise on the market.The cost difference between generic and name brand drugs is substantial.I was prescribed a name brand drug once that cost $400 and it’s generic was only $70!
6) Health Plan Administration- Insurers will set higher premium rates and deductibles depending on the number of insurance reimbursements they paid out the prior year if the reimbursements were higher than anticipated.
Friday, January 24, 2014
The increase in health care costs can be attributed to a variety of different factors such as the aging population, defensive medicine, hospital costs increases, changes in insurance and much more. A big contributing factor to the increase in cost is medical technology.
Medical technology includes new practices such as robotic surgery, telemedicine, electronic medical records, and a variety of new drugs on the market. In many cases these new technologies increase the costs of health care, however, they can also help lower the costs of health care. The development of new vaccines may be pricey up front, but in the long run they will help stop the spread of viruses and disease and therefore lower treatment costs. New technology could also include better screening for disease which would then lead to better treatment.It's tough to say if advances in technology are better for the economy. Medical technology is increasing prices for current procedures but at the same time, it is decreasing prices for the future. Medical technology is important for the long run of health care costs, even if it means paying more up front today. To learn more about medical technology and its affects, check out the Kaiser Family Foundations’ article about health costs.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Students can encounter all types of stress during their four years at college. Stress can come from all aspects of life, including your living situation. Having problems with your living situation can have a seriously negative effect on your mental health, and in turn your overall health. Although some things are out of your control, a way that you can try to avoid this kind of stress is to be a good roommate. Chances are, if you know how to be a good roommate, the person/people that you are living with you treat you in the same respect, making your home happy and safe. Here are some tips to having a healthy relationship with your roommate/roommates:
Respect. Be respectful towards your roommate. Does he or she have a certain time they go to bed? Do they have any particular concerns about guests? If so, be respectful of these boundaries. Always ask before inviting people into your room that your roommate may or may not know. If your roommate goes to bed at 8:00 and that is when you start to do your homework, be respectful and use a desk lamp rather than the overhead light and use headphones when listening to your music.
Compromise. Chances are you won’t have everything in common with your roommate. If you do study late in the evening, maybe you should think about using the study lounge in your dorm or apartment complex, or take your work to the library. Be willing to make a compromise to avoid your roommate feeling taken advantage of.
Talk it out. If there is something that is bothering you, say it in a non confrontational manner. Don’t be passive aggressive; you and the person you are living with will feel more comfortable if everything is laid out on the table, before conflict happens. Also be sure to remember to listen to their concerns and try to see the situation from their point of view.
Be kind. Finally, use the golden rule. If you want the people you live with to be kind to you, it is your responsibility as an adult to be kind to them. Think about how you would like to be treated and treat those around you that same way. If you don’t want your things used without asking, don’t use your roommates’ things without asking.
These tips will help you have a happy and healthy relationship with the people you live with. College can be a very stressful time and it is essential that you have a safe and positive environment to go back to every day. If these guidelines don’t work for you, reach out to resources on campus, talk to a counselor and your RAs and CAs. Don’t waste time living in a toxic environment. Maintain positive mental health and make the best of your living situation during your time here at UNH!
For more tips on how to have a healthy relationship with your roommate, check out what the University of Wisconsin has to say about roommate etiquette!
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The Memorial Union Building (aka the MUB) is a great place for entertainment with many activities being held every weekend. My personal favorite events of the MUB are the movies they offer. It's a great little date idea for a college budget. MUB movies play on large screen projectors in theaters 1 and 2 every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. They offer two showings of each movie a night, one around 7pm and the other around 9pm. The movies are fairly recent and usually include one comedy and one action. This is a great alternative to going to the theaters in Newington, which charges about $12 per ticket. Tickets are only $4 with your UNH ID and $6 for nonstudents. They also have a concession stand known as The Notch. Here you can buy water, soda, candy, popcorn and other various snacks for your movie. Popcorn is only a dollar, so much cheaper than the same popcorn you might purchase at a regular theater. The movies are sometimes offered in 3D as well, which does cost $2 extra. The entire semester schedule is posted on the MUB website so you can mark your calendars with which movies you really want to see. Check out the listings here on the MUB website.
Friday, January 17, 2014
Everyone knows that exercising is important to keep our bodies healthy, but what about our brains? Just like the body, the brain needs to be exercised in order to stay optimally healthy. Here are a few easy tips to exercise your brain so it stays sharp for years to come.
Doesn’t it seem like everything health related comes back to physical activity? That’s because it does! Being physically active helps boost brainpower and keeps you more alert. So instead of watching a 30-minute TV program, try going for a walk or a job.
Getting enough sleep is key to keeping your brain alert and healthy. When a person doesn’t get enough sleep the brain becomes sluggish and struggles to keep up with daily tasks. Furthermore, it has been reported that a long-term lack of sleep can lead to a decline in mental ability, as a person gets older. So get that beauty rest!
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are important for promoting brain health and fish are full of them! Try incorporating fish into your diet once a week to boost the amount of omega-3’s you get and help to keep your brain healthy.
Do Some Puzzles
Doing fun puzzles like Sudoku and crosswords can help exercise and train your brain. This helps you to have a healthy functioning brain throughout life and helps prevent cognitive decline.
To learn more tips for keeping your brain healthy and alert, read at Live Science.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
You’ve been studying for a huge exam, and you finally take it.It’s over!You’re done and finally free to relax.But wait.You haven’t been to the gym in over 4 days and you feel guilty about just going home and sitting and watching a movie on TV.RELAX.You deserve it.The good news is, that you can get in your workout while relaxing and watching a tv show!
Every time a commercial comes on try these few exercises provided to you by fitness magazine!
- Couch Pushups target your chest, arms and abs
- Remote Reaches that target your abs and obliques
- Ice Skaters that target your abs, gluts, hamstrings and quads
- Pillow Crunches that target your abs and inner thighs
- Lunge Touchdowns that target your gluts, hamstrings and quads.
If these exercises do not work for you, try your usual stretches that you do at the gym.The most important thing is to take the time for to relax.That’s why an exercise like this is so great for stressed college students that do not always have the time or energy to go to the gym to work out.
Monday, January 13, 2014
Healthcare plans can be a complicated topic that many college students like to avoid, myself included! But when one breaks down healthcare insurance plans they are much less daunting and it is very important for students to be smart healthcare consumers! When you begin looking at a plan for yourself it is important to recognize the differences, to find the best plan to fit your needs!
So what are the different plans?
- Health maintenance organization (HMO): usually this plan limits coverage to providers who are within their network. If you see a provider outside of the network you will likely pay the full cost of the appointment. This type of plan generally requires you to see your primary doctor to get referrals before going to a specialist.
- Exclusive Provider Organizations (EPO): Same as HMO, in that you have a specific network, however you generally do not need to see your primary care provider before seeing a specialist.
- Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO): This type of plan allows you to use in-network providers, or use out-of-network providers and pay more. One can visit any doctor with no referral.
- Point-of-Service plans (POS): Same as PPO however, if you wish to see a provider out-of-network provider you need a referral.
- High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP): typically these plans will have higher deductibles and lower premiums then traditional insurance plans. As well as offer a health savings account to help you pay for costs.
- Catastrophic Health Insurance Plan: this type has a very high deducible. They will cover 3 annual primary care visits and preventative services at no costs. This plan is thought as a “safety net” and will cover someone during serious injury or disease.
Which plan is most effective for you?
- Key Resources
- Physical Activity
- Mental Wellness
- Health Care Consumerism
- Cost Variation
- Appropriate Emergency Room Use
- Avoid Duplicate Radiologic Testing
- Increase Generic Drug Use
- Use Independent Labs
- Healthcare Spending
- Establish a Medical Home
- Understanding Health Insurance
- Using the Health Education Benefit on Campus
- USNH Benefit Resources
- Contact Us