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Health Insurance Experts
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Tanning Tax to Help Pay for Healthcare Reform

To fund the 2010 Affordable Care act, the federal government will now levy a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning, which started on July 1st. Spray tans and other sunless tanning products will not be taxed under the new legislation. The tanning tax is expected to generate 2.7 billion dollars towards health care reform. Dermatologists and other advocates hope that the tanning tax will dissuade people from baking their skin in indoor tanning beds.

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What Does SPF Really Mean?

Summertime and warm weather means a lot of time spent outdoors in the sun. More exposure to the sun and its UV rays means you are going to need greater protection for your skin. The solution to that may seem easy – just put on sunscreen. However, choosing the right sunscreen is a bit more complex than it may seem. There are so many options to consider when choosing a sunscreen, other than just SPF. We have answers to get you more informed and help you make an educated decision when choosing your sunscreen.

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Hospitals Taking Steps to Decrease Emergency Room Wait Time

Some feel that the health care reforms will put the squeeze on emergency rooms. After Massachusetts implemented universal health care, emergency rooms reported a boost in people. Even though the health insurance would theoretically give them more access to preventative care, the primary care physician shortage may actually make it more difficult to seek preventative services, consequently making ER care ever more critical. As a result, it’s no surprise that hospitals throughout the United States are working to increase patient satisfaction by decreasing hospital wait time.

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The Medical World Goes Green

In the 1990s it was reported that doctor’s offices and hospitals in the US produced 2 million tons of medical waste per year! Unfortunately, this number was disregarded by the millions in the field and the medical waste has only gotten worse. In the recent “Go Green” movement throughout the US, doctors have suddenly gained an awareness of their amounting waste. They have begun to notice that perfectly good medical equipment is being thrown away, especially after surgeries. In fact, the Operating Room (O.R.) is responsible for about 30% of all hospital waste! Doctors are becoming more conscious of the amount of medical waste they dispose of daily.

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Chicago’s Innovative Model for Urban Medical Care Working

Chicago’s innovative plan to help deliver better medical care to its urban poor and decrease overall costs is proving more successful than critics originally anticipated. It sprung from the observation of University of Chicago Hospital’s executives that more than 40% of the over 55,000 patients who appear in its emergency room annually could be better and more efficiently served in a clinic or primary care physician’s office. The University of Chicago’s Urban Health Initiative was started in 2005 as a way to educate urban patients on when to use the emergency room and when to go to a clinic.

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The Allergy Free Zone: Schools, Universities, and Food Allergies

As the school year revs into gear, food allergies will weigh heavily on many parents’ minds. According to the United States Center for Disease Control, more than 3 million children enrolled in schools had a food allergy in 2007, up nearly 20 percent from a decade earlier. Many of these food allergies are life threatening, with kids going into anaphylactic shock after unknowingly consuming peanut, milk, or soy products.

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Missouri Referendum Rejects Individual Mandate

Last Tuesday August 3, 2010 Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition C, a ballot measure that would prohibit the state government from requiring residents to have health insurance or from penalizing them for not having coverage. The referendum – now Missouri law – is in direct conflict with the individual mandate that’s part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The federal requirement that most citizens have health insurance or face penalties begins in 2014. Because federal law generally overrules state law, the vote was largely symbolic as a show of the Tea Party movement’s strength and of popular discontent (particularly among conservative voters) with healthcare reform.

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Medical Tourism’s Hottest Locale is… Here?

If domestic medical travel becomes popular amongst large employers, health industry experts argue the shift could improve quality of care overall and help drive down costs by “fostering a truly national competition.” Savings with domestic medical travel programs result not only from lower prices (negotiated between the company and the out-of-state hospital) but from fewer complications with procedures done at high-quality hospitals.

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Medical Residencies Scaled Back

Studies have shown that sleep-deprived residents are more prone to making medical mistakes. A Mayo Clinic study revealed that fatigued, distressed medical residents were more likely to make preventable medical mistakes. Yet another study found that residents were three times as likely to say that they’d made an error during months when they worked one 24 hour long shift. In 2004, a report discovered that medical residents who worked all night shifts were ultimately accountable for over half of medical errors.

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Should Birth Control Be Included Under the Preventative Care Mandate?

The 2010 health care reform has been the center of debates since it was passed this past March. One key aspect of the new legislation was the mandate that new health insurance plans must offer free preventative health care to patients in an effort to improve the overall health of the country.

However, including one service in the preventative care has been a source of contention for many groups. Namely, that service is free contraception and family planning services for women.

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