Household budget cutbacks in health care could have serious consequences
Scientists have always wanted to take a closer look at biological systems and materials. From the magnifying glass to the electron microscope, they have developed ever-increasingly sophisticated imaging devices. Now, Niels de Jonge, Ph.D., and colleagues at Vanderbilt University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), add a new tool to the biology-watcher’s box. In the
Full Post: New technique images whole cells in liquid with a scanning transmission electron microscope
Household budget cutbacks are becoming commonplace as most Americans struggle to make ends meet, but experts warn that health care needs should not be among the forfeited services.
Recent research indicates that more than 20 percent of people have cut back on medical visits to save money and The Vision Council warns that this cost-saving strategy could have serious consequences.
“During this economic crisis, people might decide that they cannot afford to pay for preventive health care,” said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. “While forgoing such care as a regular eye exam may seem like the only option during these tough times, it is a sacrifice that may come with a high price.”
Vision disorders are the second most prevalent health problem in the country, affecting more than 120 million people, so the effect of postponing or avoiding eye care because of the cost — which 40 percent of Americans report doing — could be dangerous. Many vision-threatening conditions have no early warning signs and eye exams can also detect other serious health problems including diabetes and hypertension.
According to a report recently issued by The Vision Council, two-thirds of Americans say they would be more willing to get an eye exam if they had some vision coverage, yet only 17 percent of employers report offering vision insurance. Uncorrected vision problems also have an impact on the bottom line for employers, costing more than $8 billion in lost productivity every year.
For those who lack vision insurance, or even those whose benefits don’t cover all the costs associated with an eye exam, one way to make maintaining healthy vision more affordable is to use funds in a flexible spending account (FSA) toward that care. FSAs enable participants to use pre-tax income to pay for out-of-pocket health expenses, such as an eye exam or a new pair of eyeglasses. These pre-tax dollars are set aside at the beginning of the year and must be used by the end of the year or the funds are forfeited.
“A regular eye exam is the best way to keep your eyes healthy and your eyeglass prescription current,” reminds Greene. “Many times an eye doctor can see things you can’t.”
About 10.9 million Americans under age 65 purchased individual health insurance policies at some point in 2006, but only 7 million were covered by these policies for the full year, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The 3.9 million individuals who had individual health insurance policies
Full Post: 10.9 million Americans under age 65 have individual health insurance
According to a new report more Australian privately insured patients used the public hospital system last year than previously and there are concerns that encouraging people to take out private health insurance is doing little to reduce the burden on the public health system. According to the report by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council
Full Post: More private patients in public Australian hospital beds
A University of South Carolina study of children’s dental health has found that nearly one-fourth of the nation’s children have had no dental care in at least a year. Conducted by researchers at the S.C. Rural Health Research Center at the Arnold School of Public Health, the study found that nearly 32 percent of Hispanic
Full Post: 25% of U.S. kids received no dental care in at least one year
How does a $5000 tax credit help when the average family health care plan now costs more than $12,500/year, and how are working families expected to pay the difference? Why let insurers sell across state lines if it wipes out state consumer protections in the process? Where will people with pre-existing conditions get quality,
Full Post: Health care questions we want to hear answered tonight
New research shows that the cost of health insurance for a typical family increases about $100 per month when state governments limit price adjustments based on factors like age, health or risky behaviors such as smoking. The finding by Brigham Young University economist Mark Showalter is one of several examples of how one state’s set
Full Post: Cost of health insurance rises 33% with state pricing rule