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Purchasing the Best Medical Insurance Plans

Residents in California know the importance of having access to health insurance. But the important question is how does one go about purchasing health insurance California? What are the steps involved and what are the precautions that one needs to keep in mind? Here is a quick overview on how to purchase health insurance in California.

The first step is to evaluate the health needs. This can be done by checking out your anticipated health needs in the coming year. It is also important to review the medical expenses of the previous year. This will give a fair idea about what the future medical expenses could be. Apart from the expenses evaluate your existing health conditions, lifestyle, medical history of the family, etc. All these details are important not only to know your exact health needs, but these details will also pay a major role in deciding how much premium you have to pay on your medical insurance in California.

The next option is find out what choices of medical insurance California are available to you based on your health needs. California is home to a large number of health insurance companies that provide innumerable health plan options. The idea is to buy the right plan from the right medical insurance company in California.

To find out about the various options available, one can check out the website of the carriers separately. Alternatively one could also log onto an independent portal. An independent insurance portal will give more choices and a comprehensive quote comparison. Make sure that you compare not just the prices, but the benefits, coverage, choice of doctors, network of healthcare service providers and other benefits as well. Quote comparison should be done not to get the cheapest medical policy, but to buy a health plan that offers the maximum coverage at the lowest possible price.

After deciding on the health plan, the resident should a background check on the company. Not all insurance companies have the license to sell medical insurance in California. It is better to check out the state insurance department to find out if the insurance company you have chosen is authorized to operate in California.

There is one last step before a resident in California decides to make the final purchase, and that is to read the policy document carefully. The resident should be absolutely sure about what is included and what is not in the health plan. He should be certain that the policy will cover all his anticipated health needs before he signs on the dotted line.

Where is Your Health Information? Not Knowing Could Kill You!

Do you have a family doctor? How long have you been his/her patient? Do even they have a complete and comprehensive picture of your medical history going all the way back to birth? Not many do these days. Family doctors are hard to find and the result is that there isn’t really anyone at the helm of your healthcare. There isn’t that consistency that existed in the days of housecalls.

Of course, the day of the housecall has long since seen sunset, but if you’re not under the care of a G.P. (general practitioner), then who is making sure you get your annual physical? Who is plotting and planning to get those middle age tests looked after? And, who has ALL of your medical records.

These days, we are all in a hurry and in a society of global mobility, our records are being scattered hither and yon! The walk-in clinic you visited last week has a record of your prescription for that nasty chest cough. And the emergency room that you took your son to after that little soccer incident has the x-ray of his sprained ankle. But does anyone, anywhere have a record of everything … every treatment that has been undertaken … every medication …

In all, one million adults and 130,000 children in Ontario alone don’t have a family doctor. The OMA says the province needs 1,000 general practitioners now. (Hamilton Spectator Nov. 26, 2007) (This number grows exponentially when you look across North America … to a whopping 9.8 million!! – US Govt. Committee on Healthcare, Statistics -June, 2007). Government has, over the past few years, introduced a number of programs to provide more medical care especially to rural settings, but is it enough?

There’s too much room for error with numbers like this staring healthcare in the face … medical error that is! And medical errors cost money and lives!! People’s lives are permanently changed or even ended unnecessarily every day across North America due to the lack of essential information needed for doctors to make informed decisions about our care. The time for change is NOW!

But who needs to make the change exactly? Governments across North America and worldwide are recognizing the need and making funds available to improve communication capabilities in the medical industry. Medical practitionners have long-since noted a gap in the flow of information between facilities, private practices and healthcare providers of all sorts. All of these groups are thoughtfully and positively working toward change, but I would suggest that it is not their sole responsibility.

In fact, I would argue that responsibility is just as much that of the individual as it is their doctors’ and governments’.

So today’s order of business … where is your personal health information right now … right this minute? Do you have it neatly organized and typed on your computer or does only your doctor or medical practitioner know for sure? Maybe there’s a trail of prescriptions dating back to 1985 somewhere in your medicine cabinet?

Here’s the rub folks … you never know when you might need to know about yours or your family’s medical information! What if you’re on vacation thousands of miles from your doctor’s office or what if they’re just not available at the time? You just never know when your health information will be needed to help you or someone you love in a crisis?

Medical information technology is forefront in the new US administration’s mandate and your information is in their sights. Canada is working hard to implement a system for health communication as well. But their systems are still years away. What are you going to do in the meantime?

It’s up to you to take control! Do it! You have both the right and the responsibility to make sure that your health information is accurate, complete and current.

Bottom line … something is always better than nothing. Even if you just take a few minutes to write down life threatening conditions, a little of your medical history and what medications you take regularly, it’s better than leaving things to chance. Emergency contact information is also important in any personal health record so that healthcare providers can get in touch with someone who knows and cares about you. Keep your notes in your wallet and give a copy to someone who cares about you.

Better yet, make it as comprehensive as you possibly can. The more information you can provide, the less likely it is that an unnecessary medical mistake will affect your life!

It’s time for all of us to take responsibility for our own information in every area of our lives. How else can we really be sure the world has an accurate picture of who we really are?

5 Things Your Nails Are Trying to Say About Your Health

Your nails say a lot about you, such as your favorite polish color or even how meticulous you are with your hygiene. However, they also say a lot about your general health. From signaling that you may be suffering from a respiratory condition to suggesting that you may be suffering from thyroid disease, here are five things your nails can say about your health.

1. Blue Fingernails: Referred to as cyanosis in the medical community, this indicates that there is too little oxygen circulating in your blood. It can also signal that your extremities are not getting enough oxygen. If you massage or warm up your hands and they return to their normal color, this is usually the case. However, if they remain blue, there is an underlying cause. In many cases, this is the result of a respiratory condition, such as emphysema, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). It can also be a sign of Raynaud’s Disease, which is due to a vessel abnormality and can be treated.

2. Yellow Nails: In most cases, this is the result of a fungal infection that is frequently caused by the overgrowth of the organism Candida albicans. In this situation, you may also notice pain and swelling. Dermatophytesare a second type of fungus that often inhabits the nails and often causes them to become thick and split. In rare cases, this is caused by “yellow nail syndrome”, a serious medical condition that indicates the accumulation of excess fluid in the body’s tissues. This requires immediate medical attention.

3. Pitting: Caused by new nail cells developing unevenly superficially in the matrix, this term refers to small dents that form on the nail’s surface. Up to 50 percent of people suffering from psoriasis, a skin condition that results in flaky, red skin, develop pitting during their lifetime. In some cases, it may be indicative of a systemic disease, a condition that affects multiple tissues and organs in the body, such as sarcoidosis.

4. Horizontal rippling: Often referred to as Beau’s lines, this is the result of disrupted cell growth in the matrix below the surface and is often a sign of a nutritional deficiency and/ or serious illness. For example, it can indicate uncontrolled diabetes, a zinc deficiency, peripheral vascular disease, pneumonia, scarlet fever, measles, mumps, or any other illness that causes an extremely high fever.

5. Brown or Copper Fingernails: Although it is rare, this can be a sign of subungual melanoma, a potentially deadly form of cancer that originates in the nail’s matrix. More often it is a sign of a nutritional deficiency, especially vitamin B12, iron, or zinc. However, it can also simply be a reminder that you are getting older.

If you have an upcoming doctor’s visit, be sure to take off any polish ahead of time so that he or she can get a good look at your naked nails. You may find out that they are trying to tell you, and your physician, something important about your health.