HRAs, HSAs, and FSAs…Oh My!

All of these are accounts that can be used to reduce your taxes and help pay for medical, prescription, dental, and vision expenses.  An HRA is a Health Reimbursement Account. Ownership Your employer owns your HRA, and only your employer can fund an HRA. The money that your employer contributes to your HRA account can’t…

5 Examples of How Social Determinants of Health are Being Used to Improve Wellbeing

“Social determinants of health” (SDoH) are much discussed in medical facilities and managed care companies these days. According to Healthy People 2020, SDoH are “the conditions in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age, which affect one’s health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes.” Highly-cited statistics state that SDoH impact up to 90…

Make Every Minute Count – Getting More From Your Doctor Visits

Most people have felt rushed during a doctor’s visit. Maybe you’ve had a quick visit that ended with you feeling lost and not fully understanding your diagnosis, tests, or treatment plan. By communicating better, you can maximize what little time you have in the office. Most family physicians allow 15 minutes for each visit –…

How Much Will Medical and Drug Price Transparency Help?

The truth is that there is no clear and concise way to explain how hospitals determine prices and negotiate with individual insurance companies. What you end up paying out of pocket has little to do with the price hospitals charge your insurer and more to do with how your insurance plan is built. For example,…

Making Sense of Medicare

Medicare is extraordinarily complex, and the rules seem to change all of the time. However, learning to make smart choices can save individuals a lot of money and unnecessary stress and mean better healthcare in some circumstances. This newsletter covers basic information regarding Medicare options; for more in-depth knowledge, I recommend the following websites: http://www.MEDICARE.gov…

Free Handout: Understanding Health Insurance

 More than 50% of Americans are unable to understand the complicated materials provided by insurers and the medical explanations offered by healthcare professionals. When people avoid medical care because they don’t know why it’s needed or are fearful of the potential costs, their delay in care leads to the development and exacerbation of chronic conditions. This…

Why Won’t “Biggest Loser” Contests Die Already?

I have always hated “Biggest Loser” style contests, and yet they remain one of the most-requested wellness campaigns. To be clear, this is what we are trying to replicate in the name of health: After the first season, participants confessed to resorting to extreme dehydration to lose weight, and the winner, Ryan Benson, told The New…

Are You Being Fat Shamed?

“Fat shaming” has become a standard term recently. It started a few years ago when several videos sharply criticizing and harassing overweight people were made public and went viral on the Internet. The Risks of Fat-Shaming It is possible that these uninformed harassers believed that their hurtful comments would spur some obese people to lose…

Wellness Whac-A-Mole

Given enough time and access to the necessary programs and calculators, you could discover how likely you are to have a heart attack in the next few years, how much your estimated medical expenses are for 2018, and your life expectancy. You could collect a lot of numbers in ink on paper that is used…

A Dozen Lessons in a Dozen Years of Being a Registered Dietitian

I have been a registered dietitian for almost exactly a dozen years, which makes me want to write something to commemorate the occasion. Without further adieu, here are the top 12 things that I have learned in the past 12 years: It’s not really about nutrition a lot of the time. What is it about?…