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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!
www.footprintid.com
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, caregiver.com 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, Care.com 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  – BensFriends.org 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.

We’re Featured! 5 Ways to Protect Your Family

Check out a recent article written about our service from A Mom’s Take…

My family members are the most important people in my life. As a mom, I am constantly thinking of ways to keep my kids as safe as possible. I have been known to be a bit of a worrier, but I have come to love that specific character trait that I was born with. I want my kids to learn, grow, and play, but I also want them to be as safe as possible while doing it. Here are a few of the ways I plan for their safety.

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I received compensation and a sample subscription to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

Home Safety- My home is somewhere I want my kids to feel and be safe. I take the standard precautions. Our outlets are covered. Anything hazardous (paint, cleaning supplies, bug spray, etc.) is out of reach or locked up. We have a fire extinguisher and working smoke detectors in our home. Our home does not have gas appliances at all, if it did we would have carbon monoxide detectors as well. We use a security system, I am not particularly worried about intruders as I am about curious toddler escapees. Our system notifies us when a door has been opened, which is a huge stress reliever for my mind.

Safe Play- I encourage safe play. My kids love to ride their bikes but they are not allowed to do so without helmets. The same rule applies to my husband and I as well. If we are going to be out riding bikes, scooters, boards, or skates, than we have to protect ourselves while doing it. I keep an eye on our inside toys, too. Anything that is beginning to break or needs fixing should be repaired or replaced. Any toys with parts that are small enough for choking are only allowed in certain areas or at certain times. For example a marble track would be something we play with during the babies nap time.

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Car Safety- Is your child in the right type of carseat? Rules and recommendations for carseats have changed and continue to do so. Do your research and talk to your pediatrician. A safe child is the most important.

Being Smart- I decided a long time ago that “just because” would not be an answer at our house. When I ask my kids to follow a rule and they ask why, I tell them why. If I don’t have a reason than how important is the rule? When I was a school teacher I found that kids follow rules they understand. This understanding helps them think through their actions and make smart decisions on their own. I want my kids to do the same thing. For the longest time my toddler HATED holding my hand in parking lots, but after stopping and explaining that it was for his safety he began saying things to his sister like, “Hold mom’s hand, the cars can’t see you because you are little!” Explaining the why gets old really fast, but it is too important to give up on!

Emergency Preparedness- When it all comes down to it, you can’t prevent everything. No matter how careful or safe you are being, people get hurt, accidents happen, and medical attention is needed. I try to provide the best care for my family by using resources likeFootprint ID.

“In emergencies, patients don’t remember details of their current conditions and medical history. And nobody walks around with test results and x-rays. FootprintID® gives emergency responders all of that information on site. It’s simple: the more information a first responder has regarding a patients health history, the better care they can receive in an emergency situation.” Dr. Mark A.Merlin

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Footprint ID is an affordable, easy to use service that keeps all your most important information in one location. By subscribing to Footprint ID, I can keep my medical history as well as my entire family’s histories on one account. Membership for the first year is $40 for the first member and $30 for each additional member. Yearly renewals are $25 per member. With a quick and easy sign up and use of their form letter you can gather all of your medical information into one secure location. I can keep the ID card with me and easily secure the key ring to my child’s backpack or my husband’s keys. Anytime my information is accessed I am notified, so you always know what is going on.

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This resource would be so important if your child was in an accident and you were not with them. Emergency responders would automatically know what prescriptions they were taking, if they had any allergies, or any preexisting condition that might change their treatment plan. This information and the time saved from collecting it could save a life. Footprint ID can be accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  You can access everything from their easy to use app that can be downloaded here or here. Wherever your loved ones are, whenever they need it, Footprint ID goes with them.

Peace of mind is worth so much! How do you keep your kids safe?

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!