Did you know that 90% of all hypothyroid cases are autoimmune? Autoimmune thyroid, commonly know as Hashimoto’s disease is the most common autoimmune disease in the United States (estimated at 35 million). The body interprets itself as a threat and makes antibodies against the thyroid tissue, which over time leads to tissue destruction and symptoms. Did you know that thyroid medications do not address the autoimmune component of this condition? Thyroid supplementation is very important with an elevated TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) but the traditional model of medicine ignores the underlying autoimmune aspect of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Although patients are often told to “diet & exercise” or take another medication(s), these are ineffective and allow the hypothyroid condition to progress. So what causes Hashimoto’s Disease and what can be done to feel better?
Hashimoto’s Disease along with all other autoimmune conditions develops when three criteria are present in the body: Leaky Gut (permeability), Genetic Susceptibility, and a Trigger. There are several known triggers that exacerbate autoimmune conditions and hypothyroidism including: gluten intolerance, vitamin D polymorphism (the body’s inability to use natural vitamin D), iodine excess, heavy metal toxicity, estrogen surges, pregnancy (especially postpartum changes), gastrointestinal infections, and insulin surges. Perhaps the most common and most critical is gluten intolerance (not just celiac disease!), to which 80% of Americans have a genetic predisposition. The majority of these conditions are addressed at Red Tail Wellness Center and rather than symptom suppression, we focus on removing the root cause and allowing your body to heal itself.
People who suffer from this debilitating condition are some of the most rewarding clients to work with as great changes can be made very simply. Since autoimmunity is complex, a detailed history is always taken at the first visit. It is during this visit that many insights regarding your particular case surface and a more specific treatment plan can be determined. We have found that determining and addressing immune dominance is integral in the treatment of Hashimoto’s Disease. (As described in: Why do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? by Datis Kharrazian – #1 seller on Amazon). Put simply, is one side of your immune system driving the antibody reaction, thus destroying the thyroid over time? It is nearly impossible to manage an autoimmune condition without addressing and regulating the immune system! With new technologies, testing and natural therapies people have begun to take back their health and finally reach the vitality they’ve missed for decades! For more information please contact the Red Tail Wellness Center at 303-882-8447 or for more information on thyroid please visit my website.
- Published in Guest Blogger
Are Health Insurance Companies Leeches and Parasites?
I don’t believe so, but that is what I read in a recent comment section of an on-line article about health insurance.
Health insurance premiums have been going up at a much faster rate than inflation in general and many people attribute that to exorbitant heath insurance profits. But the truth of the matter is that 87% of every premium dollar goes to covering medical care and services.
What is driving up the cost of health care?
According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Kaiser Family Foundation, BusinessWeek, Pricewaterhousecoopers and many other sources:
+ More expensive technology, used more often.
Are all those tests that add to your doctor’s income really necessary?
+ Doctors in the U.S. earn two to three times as much as other industrialized countries.
+ Medical price inflation
Expensive new tests, Rx and procedures drive 51% of the growth in health care spending.
+ Cost shifting
Underpayments of Medicare and Medicaid are picked up by private insurance companies.
+ High cost of complying with government regulations.
Private health insurance companies spend $339.2 billion in order to comply with government health regulations.
+ Poor patient lifestyles
+ Healthcare fraud and abuse
Conservatively estimated at 3% of total annual healthcare spending.
Someone is getting rich on your premium, but with health insurance companies averaging 3 cents profit for dollar they received, they may not be the villains may people think they are.
Next time you drive by one of those new marble palaces that passes for a hospital today, ask yourself “who’s paying for this?”
- Published in Individual Health Insurance, Misc
Breast Cancer Free- Ten Years and Counting! Part I
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Susan G. Komen Denver Race for the Cure occurs the first Sunday in October each year. This year is especially significant for me, as it represents a major milestone for me – 10 years since my diagnosis in 2001 – a milestone I wasn’t sure I would reach when I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 40.
It came as a real shock, given that I had my baseline mammogram the year before, which had not reported any issues. In addition, I had no contributing factors – other than being a woman – that would have put me at risk of Breast Cancer, particularly at such a young age. I had no family history, I exercised for more than an hour every day, I ate a balanced diet, and I had no health issues. In fact, it was only first discovered in an annual medical exam as a palpable (nickel sized and shaped) mass, and neither the Nurse Practitioner nor I were overly concerned about it at the time. I wasn’t actually encouraged to check it out immediately, but I decided that I should anyway, and scheduled a mammogram at the same place that did my baseline mammogram. That mammogram did not show any “interval change” from the baseline mammogram, but they too could feel the disk shaped mass, so they did an ultrasound. That too showed nothing. Again, I was not encouraged to pursue it further, but I called my Doctor’s office, and the nurse said I could see a surgeon for a biopsy. I was still not worried at all, but just didn’t want to ignore it. I saw the surgeon, who scheduled me for an excisional biopsy. That biopsy came back positive for Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma. Further pathology showed additional information about the characteristics of the tumor, and its spread, which helped direct the proper options for treatment.
One thing that hit home in this process is how random cancer really is. I was living under a false sense of security that if I did all the right things, and had no significant contributing factors or behaviors, I was at a near zero risk of Breast Cancer – it was not even a remote concern for me. I realized, after all I experienced and learned, that if it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone at any time.
I am living proof that the messaging and awareness around Breast Cancer gets through – even if it is not at a conscious level. I am certain that I was as persistent as I was, and am alive today as a result of that persistence, because of the awareness that the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Race for the Cure brought to me over the years, and continues to bring.
- Published in Guest Blogger
How do “Pre-Existing Conditions” Affect My Application for Individual Health Insurance?
When one applies for individual health insurance, the plans are “underwritten” to determine if the applicant qualifies for coverage. If “pre-existing” medical or lifestyle conditions exist, the applications might be “rated-up,” have a condition “excluded” or “denied.”
Issued Standard is the best outcome of an application. It means the policy has been issued, at the price you were quoted, with no modification to the coverage.
An Exclusion is when the health insurance company offers a client a policy but excludes something from coverage. Some common reasons for exclusions are on-going medical issues, such as a knee that needs surgery or a severe case of Asthma. Other reasons for an exclusion might be for the removal of any type of internal fixation (breast implants, screws or plates), certain types of activities like rock climbing and much more.
Rate-up is when a client is charged more than “standard” by the insurance company. Some typical reasons for this are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, body build, tobacco use, poor driving record, etc.
If the pre-existing condition is such that the insurance company feels they cannot issue a policy, the client is Denied.
This whole area of pre-existing conditions is where I spend a lot of my time in finding the right match for my clients. Different companies have different underwriting guidelines. I have actually gotten preferred ratings for many clients who have received a denial from another.
If you have concerns about pre-existing conditions, give me a call at 303-541-9533. I cannot find individual health insurance for every situation, but I promise that you will be better informed for having contacted me.
- Published in Individual Health Insurance, Underwriting
Long Term Care Insurance
I just applied for Long Term Care insurance and want to share with you the reasons why I did that.
* Americans are living longer; many of us will reach 90+.
– With longer life expectancy, the chances of needing day to day assistance greatly increases.
– 400,000 Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every year.
* Your health insurance does not cover Long Term Care and government programs like Medicare pay only for short periods of care. Medicaid covers only the very poor.
* Having Long Term Care insurance may mean you can stay in your own home longer or, if necessary, have a more comfortable assisted living experience.
* Expensive personal care expenses could quickly ruin even the best thought out retirement plans.
While I could have sold the policy to myself, I elected to work with Russell Porter, CLU, CLTC. Russ is a specialist in the area of Long Term Care Insurance. Together I believe we found the right plan for me.
Here is a government site with more information:
If you would like to find out if this type of insurance if right for you, please give Russ a call at 303-926-7012.
- Published in Long Term Care
Colorado Men Pay More for Health Insurance
I have received quite a few calls this year from single men complaining about the large increases in premiums they have received from their health insurance companies. Some have said the cost has jumped from the mid $100’s to over $200!
This is due to new federal and state requirements that insurance companies must include in their coverage. Here in Colorado the main reason is that starting January 1, 2011, all new policies have to cover maternity. All in-place plans (policies purchased previous to 2011) have to cover it after their anniversary date. AND, men and women have to be charged the same amount for a policy.
Previous to this, maternity was always an expensive “rider,” added to an individual plan. Additionally women were always charged a little more than men because of their more frequent use of wellness and the fact that insurance plans did cover “complications” to pregnancy, just not “normal” births.
The net result guys, is that you have received a double whammy. You are now paying the same premium prices as are your girlfriends and for maternity as well.
Take heart however, when you turn 50, she’ll be helping cover the cost of your Prostate exam.
If you’d like to know more about this development, check out this article
or give me a call at 303-541-9533 to see about some lower cost alternatives.
- Published in Premiums
Why does Group Insurance Cost More in Colorado than Individual Insurance?
It doesn’t make sense, does it? Logic tells us that buying
in bulk is more cost-effective. So when you take the purchasing power of a
group of people, you would expect to negotiate a better premium price per
person for health insurance than that of an individual trying to purchase
coverage. But health insurance doesn’t work that way.
Group insurance is required to cover a wide range of
pre-existing conditions. The insurer of a group understands that,
statistically, a number of members will already suffer from ailments such as
heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, so they charge a premium that will cover
the treatment of these potential illnesses.
However, health insurance companies that cover individuals
can pick (and reject) whom they choose to cover.* Because individual health
insurance companies offer their plans to only the relatively healthy, premiums
can be substantially lower than group premiums.
It always comes down to the bottom line: health insurance
companies are just that—companies. Prices are set to not just cover costs, but
to ensure profits at the end of the year. But the silver lining is that every
health insurance company in the state of Colorado
is regulated by the Colorado Dept. of Regulatory Agencies, Dept. of Insurance.
For more information, you can visit their website or give me a call at 303-541-9533.
I’ll cut through all the jargon and get your questions answered quickly.
*With some exceptions: for example, during certain times of
the year, a child under the age of 19 cannot be denied coverage.
- Published in Individual Health Insurance, Premiums
Why Did My Colorado Health Insurance Go Up So Much This Year?
Unfortunately, premiums for individuals go up every year due to the fact you are a year older and thus more expensive to cover. Additionally, it increases for something called “medical inflation.” This is higher than the general inflation trends because medical inflation covers all the expensive new procedures and prescriptions that come on line each year. Your policy will cover most of these, but there is a cost associated with it.
In 2011 however, we are seeing some additional charges that have had to be added to your policy due to the passage last year of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Major changes are:
- No child under 19 may be denied for health coverage due to a pre-existing condition.
- There are no longer any annual or life-time limits on individual health insurance services.
- Children may remain on their parent’s plan until they are 26.
- There is no longer any “co-payments” associated with required wellness visits; they are covered at 100%.
- There are a whole list of additional tests and immunizations required to be covered at 100%, many of them age related.
The Department of Health and Humana Services will not allow health insurance companies to tell you that these new additions are increasing your premium, but simple logic will tell you this must be the case.
The big kicker here in Colorado is that all new policies now have to cover maternity. Since normal births cost $15,000 to $18,000, this has to have an additional big upward impact on premiums.
Insurance companies have had to figure how much these new requirements will affect their outlay for services. I believe some companies have overestimated how much these costs will be and have increased their premiums too much.
If you’d like to find out if your company’s latest increase is in line with the market, give me a call at 303-541-9533.
- Published in Individual Health Insurance, Premiums