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Understanding your health care plans can be confusing. Have you ever wondered what all that verbiage means?
Health plans come in a variety of acronyms (HMO, PPO, and HSA). Those your employer is most likely to offer include:
HMO– Health Maintenance Organization plans. These managed care plans offer the best pricing and the least flexibility. They serve up lower prices by limiting your care to the doctors, clinics, and hospitals within the HMO’s network. HMOs also require you to choose a primary care physician (PCP) who coordinates your health care and provides you referrals before you are able to visit other network doctors. Go outside the network and your services won’t be covered.
PPO– Preferred Provider Organization plans. Like HMOs, these plans offer networks of doctors, hospitals, and clinics that are deemed “preferred providers.” By going to them you get lower rates negotiated by the insurance company. PPOs provide more flexibility than HMOs because they allow you to seek care outside the network which will likely cost you more in deductibles and co-pays. Unlike HMOs, PPOs don’t require you get a doctor referral before you see a specialist. Many of the plans, however, do require prior approval for certain expensive services.
POS-Point of Service plans. Try to think of these as hybrids between HMOs and PPOs. Like an HMO, you’re required to choose a primary care doctor to oversee your medical needs. But like a PPO, you’re allowed to seek care out of the network if you’re willing to pay a bit more. These plans also pay for treatment outside the network when your primary care physician refers you for such care.
FSA-Flexible Spending Account- FSAs allow you to set aside pre-tax dollars for certain health and dependent-care needs. For example, the money can be used to pay for deductibles, prescription co-pays, and other treatments not covered by your insurance. A big downside for many is that whatever you don’t use by the end of your company’s benefits year, you’ll be forced to forfeit.
HSA-Health Savings Account.-HSAs are tax-preferred savings accounts usually paired with high-deductible health plans. Employers and employees are allowed to contribute to them. HSAs allow you to set aside tax-free dollars to pay for routine, out-of-pocket health expenses. You also get an IRS deduction for the amount you contribute to the account each year, and you pay no federal taxes on interest earned by your HSA as long as you use the money to pay for eligible medical expenses as defined by the IRS. Dental and vision are included. Another plus: unlike an FSA, HSA funds roll over annually and accumulate, even if an employee changes jobs.
Deductible-The annual amount a consumer must pay before the insurance company will pay any expenses. Deductibles vary by plan. Typically, the lower-premium plans have higher deductibles you must meet before your insurance carrier is obligated to pay.
Premium-The monthly fixed payment charged by the insurance company for your plan, whether or not you use any health care.
Copayment-This is the fixed dollar amount you’ll pay under your plan for a particular medical service and for drug prescriptions. The insurer is responsible for the balance. The amount varies by plan.
Coinsurance-The percentage of the cost of medical services you’re required to pay beyond your annual deductible.
Footprint ID is an online digital health record that provides 24 hour access to your medical records and other pertinent documents to anyone you choose from anywhere. It’s easy to use and once you have made your final plan selection save your final copy here!
Check it out!

Are you traveling this summer? What will you take in your suitcase?

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Most of us fall into one of the following categories. The group that makes a packing list two weeks in advance and the group that is still throwing things into the suitcase as they are walking out the door.

In both cases, if you are packing for the beach, you will make sure to bring your sunscreen. If you are packing for a ski trip you will remember your winter coat. The thing that most people forget to take with them can be the most critical. The health history and medical information of themselves and their family.

Vacations are awesome. They take us away from our “routine” and allow us time to do what we enjoy. Whether we take a road trip, relax on a beach, hike in the mountains, sightsee or go on an adventure, the goal is to relax and decompress.

But what happens when things don’t go as planned? Someone doesn’t feel well, gets hurt, or worse has a critical health emergency. Having your medical history available immediately accessible can make the difference in the care and treatment you get, especially when you are being treated by a doctor in another town, state or country. At times it can literally be a lifesaver!

FootprintID® can help you make sure this information is always available to you, your health care providers, loved ones and anyone that you want to have access. Even miles and oceans away.

Knowledge is Power, Access is Possible, Being Prepared is Priceless!

Knowledge is Power!

I never question why I started FootprintID and I never question my passion and belief in the peace of mind and protection it provides.

Knowledge is power and that translates into tremendous benefits in the health care arena as it becomes more and more critical that we become our own self- advocates.

As I go through each day though, my heart is warmed by each of the stories I hear as to how FootprintID has helped a member, or a story as to how someone has become enlightened to understand how they can benefit from FootprintID, based on a situation they found themselves or a family member in.

I’d like to share some of these with you, perhaps you will relate to a particular one, or perhaps it will resonate, that “life happens when you are busy making other plans”. We all hope, and I hope for each of us as well, that we never need FootprintID, most especially in a crisis or life and death situation. But we also all know, that it’s not practical to believe that will happen for all of us.

I don’t want to be the one caught off-guard and we developed FootprintID so that you don’t have to be either!

Here are some of this week’s stories:

“My son was rushed by ambulance to the emergency room after being taken off a sports field about to faint. When the paramedics asked us what he was allergic to, I said penicillin. My wife said, NO, THAT’S OUR DAUGHTER, HE IS ALLERGIC TO IODINE. I said, “I’m so stressed about what’s happening, I feel like I can’t remember anything”. “ Jon K

“I was traveling on business and our takeoff was delayed so that another plane could land due to a medical emergency. The first thing that went through my head, was “what if that was me, and nobody knew what my conditions and family history are, how would they treat me until I got to the hospital””. Mark I.

“I am switching locations for my breast MRI and had asked the original doctor to send me a disc of my last one. 3 weeks later it still hadn’t come, so I had to cancel my appointment until the disc arrived, as they would not do the MRI without my prior results. The minute it did, I uploaded it to my FootprintID account. I now have all of my test results and lab reports with me all of the time. I will never allow myself to be in that situation again.” Stacy L.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable and safe Memorial Day Weekend.

10 Websites for Caregivers

Online resources for caregivers who may feel frustrated or overwhelmed with caring for a loved one.

Caregiving for a loved can feel like a full-time job. In between managing your own personal and work life, your coordinating appointments and services for your family member. If you’re one of the 6.9 million Americans struggling to care for an aging parent or loved one, we’ve rounded up a list of 10 websites for caregivers below:

  1. Caregiver  – Provides support and guidance for family and professional caregivers.The organization also produces Today’s Caregiver magazine, the first national magazine dedicated to caregivers, the “Fearless Caregiver Conferences”, and our website, which includes tips from caregivers; nutrition, recipes, tips on getting care recipient to eat; links; dates of conferences around the US;
  2. Caring – A great online resource for family members on everything from assisted living reviews and health issues to forums for caregivers on financial matters such as estate planning, guardianship, paying for care,in-home care & senior living topics and more.
  3. Care – Whether you’re searching for a job in care services or trying to find someone to care for your family, strives to improve the lives of families and caregivers by helping them connect in a reliable and easy way.
  4. Treatment Diaries – A free online platform that allows you to keep an online diary of your caregiving experience as a way to cope. You can share your diary or keep it private and even read other diaries from people going through similar circumstances. TreatmentDiaries targets individual patients, caregivers, family members and advocates.According to the website, “keeping a diary of life changing experiences and the significance of engaging in behaviors and activities which promote health, mental wellness and the self-management of chronic conditions.”
  5. Caringbridge – Provides an innovative way to keep your family up to date with your health. Caring bridge allows users to create a secure personal website to connect with family and friends while experiencing a health event. Followers can post updates on the patient and read their messages of hope and encouragement.
  6. Experience Life! – From nutrition, wellness and life wisdom to activities to stay healthy, this website is jam-packed with articles fitness; tips overcoming resistance to change & barriers to self-care; and more.
  7. Bensfriends  – is a network of safe and supportive patient communities for anyone affected by a rare disease. The website list a community of organizations, patient stories, crisis contact number and more.
  8. Caregiving from a Distance – If you’re a family member who struggles with caring for a loved one at a distance, the Caring From a Distance nonprofit organization provides links to find local help and useful tools for coordinating services.  And, you can even organize a free conference call to share concerns and latest news.
  9. Caring Wise – With a focus on alleviating stress on the family caregiver, Caring Wise makes it simple to organize health information and coordinate care among family, friends and professionals. The website also offer tips, tools, links to important resources.
  10. Needy Meds  – An online resource of discounted programs and information to help people who cannot afford their medications. Additionally, it includes a list of PAP’s (Patient Assistant Programs), low-cost or sliding scale clinics.  This website comes in handy especially when health insurance or Medicare does not fully cover all of the patient’s meds.

Do you know about any websites for caregivers? Share with us in the comments section below.

10 Inspiring Health Quotes to Jumpstart Your Day

The journey to a healthy lifestyle can be fun and rewarding but sometimes we get stuck in a rut. Thankfully, with a little will power, consistency and some words of encouragement, you can be well on your way to accomplishing your goals. So, are you ready to live a healthy lifestyle each and everyday? Check out some of our favorite health quotes:

  1. . Remember to take each day one step at a time. The results may not be instant but they will be worth it in the long run. Being healthy and strong is a lifelong journey, not a destination; Each day will be better than the last. Check out 8 Steps to Take Today by Web MD.

  2. Nobody said this journey would be easy but quitting is never an option. Some days may be better than others but with discipline and consistency your goal will be reached in no time. Don’t waver remain strong! Need some inspiration check out My Weight Loss Is Slow & I’m Discouraged

  3.  Someone once said, Chase after the body you want. Try to rid your mind of all unhealthy habits and move strongly towards your destined goal. A healthy life starts from within. That means a life long habit of training your body and eating well on a regular basis. Your body will take care of the rest. Check out 5 Healthy Changes to Make Now by fitness guru, Jillian Michaels.

  4.  Excuses won’t get you very far. Continue to challenge yourself and push those limits you set for yourself. The harder you work the better the outcome. Check out 5 ways to challenge yourself at the gym by Best Health Magazine.

  5.  Most of the time the limits we set for ourselves is a mindset. Change your mindset and you will see changes in your health. Continue to push yourself and bring forth that strong healthy individual you are destined to be.

  6.  The reality is we are all on a journey working towards something. So embrace your journey. Learn new ways to eat healthy, stay fit and be your own cheerleader. The journey is not easy, but a healthy lifestyle improves your quality of life.

  7.  A healthy life is a happy life. Go after the happy life each and everyday your body will thank you for it.

  8.  Fall in love with taking care of your mind, body, and spirit and everything will fall into place.

  9.  Changing your outer appearance should not be your only focus. Start making improvements from the inside and eventually it will show on the outside.

  10.  Put a little pep in your step and have a clear picture in your mind of the person you would like to be.

Do you have any favorite health & wellness quotes? Leave me a comment below!

8 Smart Things You Can Do To Take Control of Your Health

Our health is the most valuable and prized possession so each day we must nurture it. But sometimes we get so overwhelmed with work, school, and family that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the last thing on our mind. Here are 8 tips to help you take control of your health today.

  1. Eat Breakfast – I know you have heard it before breakfast is the most important meal of the day and its true! Eating breakfast boost your energy and mood throughout the day and helps you stay on track to make healthy choices all day. People who eat breakfast tend to eat a healthier overall diet. So start your day off right with a good meal
  2. Get Some Sleep – Sleeping is essential to a healthy lifestyle. An analysis by researchers at Columbia University found that people who sleep less than seven hours per night are heavier, gain more weight over time, and have a harder time losing weight! So get some shuteye and rest.
  3. Drink Lots and Lots of Water – Drinking water really helps to contribute to a healthy lifestyle. It helps with appetite control, minimize cravings for snacks, digestion, eliminating unnecessary toxins, and the best part its zero calories! Go ahead get your glass of water and treat yourself to another on me.
  4. Say No! – Do not be afraid to say no. Your needs should come first for once. Refrain from overextending yourself to the point where you have nothing left to offer yourself. Cater to yourself and see how much stress is relieved.
  5. Take a Break – Slow down! Take a moment to inhale and exhale. Doesn’t that feel good? Refocus yourself so that you can give your best at everything.
  6. Exercise for at least 30 minutes – I know you’re busy but exercising decreases a person’s risk of developing some diseases, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. And research has shown, exercise improves your mood and boost energy.
  7. Have a conversation that matters – When it comes to making decisions about your health, it’s important to involve healthcare providers, doctors and your loved ones. Whether it’s letting trusted family members know about your food allergies or treatments needed for medical conditions, make sure trusted family members have access to your health history and understand your medical needs.
  8. Say Goodbye to negativity – Who has times for negativity? Decrease negativity from your life and welcome positivity with open arms. Train your mind to see the beauty in everything.  Positivity is a choice.  Your health depends on the happiness of your life.

What do you do to stay healthy on a daily basis? Leave us a comment below!