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Concierge Medicine Offers Alternative Health Care Options

physician with clipboard with woman sitting downThe rising costs of health care is one of the biggest issues faced by Americans today, as health insurance becomes a costly benefit many employers don’t feel they can afford to offer. Doctors equally feel dissatisfied with large managed-care systems that allow them little time per patient and require them to treat as many as 2000 people per year.

Concierge medicine–also known as insurance-free, direct pay or boutique medicine–offers an alternative to large-scale hospital systems. Typically, these practices do not take insurance, and patients pay an annual or monthly fee. This allows doctors to cut down on the overhead associated with accepting insurance while seeing fewer patients. Patients, in turn, receive more personalized care and services, such as same-day appointments and the ability to call their doctor directly to ask questions.

“As part of being a concierge patient, you’re going to get unrestricted access to your primary care physician,” says Dr. David G. Edelson, MD, FACP, who is the director of HealthBridge, 4-doctor primary care internal medicine group in Great Neck, New York. “I’m only going to keep 250 patients under concierge, and that allows me to spend much more time with patients.” Having fewer patients also means that doctors are simply more available to answer questions. “They get a private number to me, so they don’t go through the voice mail system,” says Dr. Edelson.


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Smokers and Obese Workers Must Pay More for Health Coverage

By Kelsey Murray

If you are a smoker, overweight, or have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, you may end up paying more for health care as many employers are following a new trend: penalizing those employees who have unhealthy lifestyles instead of rewarding those who have healthy lifestyles.

In the past two years, the percent of American employers who impose some sort of financial penalty on their employees has doubled, making it now 19 percent. This number should double again in 2012, according to Towers Watson, a benefits consultant company.

So why are these people being penalized for their lifestyle choices? It is common knowledge that those who smoke or are obese usually have higher health risks, which in turn leads to increased health care costs. As a result, some companies are now requiring these employees to pay more for their health coverage because it makes sense that these people will end up costing the company more in health care coverage.
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When a Health Coach is Better than a Doctor

By Delia Quigley for Care2.com

It’s the latest, and some say the fastest growing, career for individuals interested in health and nutrition. The health coach is a new breed of healthcare professional whose job is to guide individuals through the minefield of dietary and lifestyle change. They support clients to make behavioral changes by utilizing techniques such as goal setting, identifying obstacles, and just good old positive reinforcement and support. It is kind of like having a best friend to discuss why you went back for that third helping of double Dutch ice cream; but with no judgment and plenty of sound advice.

A common complaint is that busy doctors spend little time helping a patient make better dietary choices. They are needed to provide a diagnosis and then treat according to an allopathic, pharmacological protocol. A good doctor might mention that the patient should cut down on saturated fat, but offer no further instructions as to how this should be done.

Enter the health coach who provides the assistance that the medical establishment cannot. This is accomplished by partnering with a client to create an individualized program based on achievable goals, regular contact, motivational encouragement and the understanding that each individual is unique and no dietary program is one-size-fits-all.


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Walgreen Co. Announces Plan to Sell Health Insurance In Stores

If you’ve ever tried to purchase a private health insurance plan, you’re probably familiar with the hoops you have to jump through in order to become insured. Between the litany of questions and the endless scrutiny of your medical records, buying an insurance plan can be extremely overwhelming.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, Walgreen Co., is planning to start selling health insurance to customers this fall. The Tribune reported that “the Deerfield-based company will sell health insurance products with different price ranges and coverage levels from coast-to-coast through a private health insurance exchange.”

An unidentified spokesman from Walgreens said, “As always, we’re looking at a number of options in light of health care reform as we continue to seek ways to help our customers better navigate today’s health care system.”


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What Michele Bachmann’s Presidency Would Mean for Your Family’s Health

Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann has recently announced her presidential candidacy. What will it mean for your health care if Bachmann ultimately wins the 2012 election?

According to her website, one of Bachmann’s top priorities is to repeal Obamacare because she considers its directives to be unconstitutional. As a constitutional conservative, Bachmann says on her website that she is a “champion of tea party values” and that “the solutions to our problems (don’t) come from Washington: more than ever, Washington IS the problem, and the real solutions will come from your businesses, your communities, your schools and the most basic and powerful unit of all, your families.”

This means that first lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to increase health-responsibility within the government are sorely frowned upon by Bachmann. Bachmann calls Mrs. Obama’s push for breastfeeding and other such efforts to eradicate obesity and promote good health a “nanny state” tactic. Currently, Mrs. Obama’s campaigns focus on children’s health, fitness and nutrition as preventative care. Although she’s been at the brunt of Bachmann’s criticism recently, Mrs. Obama isn’t the only first lady to push legislation with health initiatives. Both Hillary Clinton and Nancy Reagan were known for their persistence with health-related campaigns.


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