Saturday, December 31, 2011

What is a "Normal" Bowel Movement?

With every new exam I ask the same question...

"How many bowel movements do you have each day? Do you see any mucous, blood, diarrhea or constipation?"

Health Today

Feces, crap, stools, shit, poop, manure, BM, #2, dung, droppings, and bowel contents are all the same thing. I use all these terms as sometimes my clients don't know what feces or stool is. If I can't communicate with my clients, I can't help them.

Feces contains water, indigestible fiber, undigested food, sloughed off intestinal cells, living and dead bacteria, bile, and worn out red blood cells. A normal stool should be brown to light brown, formed but not hard or too soft, cylindrical but not flattened on any side, fairly bulky and full bodied but not compact, easy to pass, and it shouldn't have an extremely foul smell. Each bowel movement should be in one piece, about the size and shape of a banana being tapered at the end. Sometimes this will not be discernable if the feces breaks up in the toilet. Some people feel that if the body is absorbing all the minerals from the food that the stool will float. Others believe that the stool should sink. I think the important thing is that there are no air bubbles in the stool and that it doesn't drop like a brick in the toilet. It should be somewhere in between.

An occasional deviation from this pattern is acceptable. Any chronic deviation from the above pattern is not healthy and should be dealt with.

It's amazing how many people don't even look at their stools in the toilet. It's so important. Stools can reveal a lot about your health if you learn to read them. Digestion happens. It's a shame that few of us are unable to talk about them without embarrassment. For instance:

o Air or bubbles in the stool can mean that we have a gut or flora imbalance and that gas producing bacteria are overgrown and competing with the healthier flora.

o Alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation can be cause by irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, red meat, spices, sugar, alcohol, stress, lack of fiber, irregular bowel habits.

o Color: Stools are usually the color of the food.

o Constipation can occur leading to impaction--the presence in the rectum of a mass of feces too large to pass. Fecal impaction is usually the result of poor bowel habits, a diet with too little liquid and roughage, too much protein and inadequate physical activity.

o Diarrhea, whether acute or chronic, can disrupt the bowel's normal rhythm and lead to irregularity. It can mean that your large intestine is not functioning properly. The large intestine is in charge of removing excess water from the feces. Rule outs can include food poisoning, lactose intolerance, anxiety, stress, too many antacids, antibiotics, parasites like Giardia or Coccidia, Balantidia, Coccidoidiomycosis or other parasites, viruses, bacterial overgrowth, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. A healthy bowel will take about a quart and a half and condense it down to 1 cup of stool. That's pretty amazing.

o Frank red blood (obvious bright red bleeding) can be a sign of hemorrhoids, colitis, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer or be caused from impacted stools passing through the rectum telling us we need to drink more water.

o Horrible smelling stools--too much protein, flora imbalance.

o If the stools are black, tarry and sticky (called melena), this can mean that there is bleeding from the small intestine. These types of stools usually have a distinctive bad odor. If you've ever smelled a dog with Parvo, corona or rotavirus, you know what I mean.

o Light green stools--Too much sugar, fruits or vegetables and not enough grains or salt (or in the case of animals, too much grass)Mucous can reveal diverticulitis and gut inflammation due to allergies or parasites.

o Oily or greasy looking stools that usually float and can be large can mean that your pancreas or small intestine are not functioning well enough and not releasing enough digestive enzymes. Normal stools are about 1% fat. When this percentage increases to about 7%, the stool will look oily and greasy. This is called steatorrhea. High fat meals can cause this to happen but should be temporary.

o Pale or clay colored stools can mean that your gallbladder or liver is not working correctly.

o Pencil thin or ribbon-like stools can mean you have a polyp or growth on the inside of the colon or rectum.

o Presence of food: If the stool breaks up easily and you can see bits and pieces of the food you ate, maybe you are not chewing your food thoroughly enough. This can cause GERD, acid reflux, abdominal bloating and diarrhea.

o Red or magenta stools-- ingestion of beets.

o Very dark stools: Too much red wine, too much salt in the diet, not enough vegetables. Blueberries, Pepto Bismol (the bismuth in it) and iron pills can also be responsible for dark stools.

Normal bowel habits not only improve the quality of life, they help prevent several common diseases--for example, diverticulitis and fecal impaction. Gall stones, appendicitis, colon cancer, hiatal hernia, diabetes, and heart disease have also been related to the quality of bowel movements and the foods that affect them.

Number of bowel movements: Healthy bowel activity is considered one or two movements of moderate size every day. Every other day or once or twice a week bowel movements can harm you because the bowel contents release toxins back into the body through the mucous membranes. You've got to keep that waste moving!

Fecal incontinence (uncontrollable diarrhea) should be dealt with by a professional. Often with this particular symptom (and irritable bowel syndrome) I will pick up a bowel parasite. A bottle or two of Bowel Pathogen Nosode drops does an awesome job most of the time in clearing up these cases.

Healthy bowel habits:

There is usually a time of day when bowel movements are more likely to occur. In anticipation of this time, the patient should participate in activities that stimulate a normal bowel movement. It is also important for the patient to recognize the urge to defecate and to respond right away to that urge. The longer stool sits in the rectum, the more water the rectum will absorb from it, making it harder and more difficult to pass.

The urge to defecate is often strongest in the morning: Just getting up triggers the movement of the large intestine. The stomach also sends a signal when it expands after a meal. This gastrocolic reflex is the reason many people, and especially children, need to go to the bathroom soon after eating. The reflex gets weaker with age, which is one source of constipation problems and the reason why good and consistent bowel habits are helpful.

Laxatives: Some patients are so convinced they need daily laxatives that they are afraid to do without them. It takes time for a changed diet to affect the bowels and for the bowel to regain its normal rhythm. Be patient. Enemas are a better solution.

Healthy bowel movements require ingestion of a large amount of liquids and bulk foods. The patient should drink two to three quarts of liquids every day. Bulk comes from unrefined foods. Oat bran, wheat bran, brown rice, green vegetables, apples, and pears are a few examples of high residue, high fiber foods.

Some patients will benefit from adding bulk preparations of psyllium, but others find that psyllium will cause extreme amounts of gas. For these people, the addition of WHOLE flax seeds (eat without chewing them) and bran will help. And one single 8-ounce cup of coffee in the morning often helps people get a regular bowel movement.

Natural Laxatives include:

o Anti-Constipation Paste

o Coffee

o DSS (dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate)

o Glycerine suppositories

o Nature's Sunshine LBS II (excellent)

o Oil enemas

o Prune juice

o Saline purges

Fleet enemas are used only for people and dogs. They are very toxic to cats and can kill them. These are OK to use occasionally, but the other enemas we are talking about are better for healing purposes.

Soap suds enemas can be a little harsh to the intestine. Use these only occasionally if necessary

Some Notes on Intestinal Bacteria Replacement: Inside a healthy lower intestine are billions of beneficial intestinal bacteria or microflora. These bacteria are of the Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus bifidus strains and were transferred by breast-feeding into our intestines as newborn infants. The body uses L. acidophilus and L. bifidus in the final stages of digestion reproducing themselves as necessary to keep in total harmony with the body.

When the good bacteria can't keep up, bad bacteria overpopulate the gut to give a gut flora imbalance resulting in lower bowel diseases, gas, diarrhea, IBS, and Crohn's. The devitalizing effect caused by harmful bacteria in the intestine is rarely diagnosed near the beginning of this imbalance. Headaches, skin infections, weakness and constipation can also be symptoms of depleted intestinal bacteria.

What Causes A Gut Flora Imbalance?

o Toxins, especially drugs such as antibiotics and narcotics.

o Severe diarrhea can damage or destroy these beneficial bacteria, allowing harmful bacteria to take over producing by-products like ammonia, purines and ethionine, which can eventually cause colon cancer.

o Fasting can also deplete the beneficial bacteria because large quantities of toxins are dumped from the lymph glands into the colon at the time of the fast. Also during a fast, with certain diets and with eating disorders, there is an absence of foods that the good bacteria thrive on.

o Using enemas also depletes the beneficial bacteria, especially if chlorinated water is used.

To reestablish intestinal bacteria, do a couple enemas with liquid acidophilus or live acidophilus. These products should be stored and purchased refrigerated. Off-the-shelf products are not so effective for replacing gut flora. You can also mix a couple tablespoons of active plain yogurt to your enema mix along with a tablespoon of the liquid acidophilus. Add some warm water, but do not heat the mixture or use chlorinated water. After blending the mixture, pour it into the enema bag. Use less water for these types of enemas (only 1-2 cups) and try to retain the liquid within the colon for ten minutes to allow the beneficial bacteria to pass up through the intestine. This procedure will ensure that a healthy culture will propagate within the intestines.

You can also start adding L. acidophilus and L. bifidus to your foods a day or two before you break a fast. Use repeat dosages as per bottle instructions once a week for about 5 weeks.

FOS (Fructooligosaccharides) are also good for reestablishing gut flora. These are long-chain sugars that feed friendly flora. You can purchase this in concentrated pill form or eat lots of apples, Jerusalem artichokes, or pears. These foods have high amounts of FOS in them.

Well...That's the scoop on poop. (Some people take things so seriously.)

What is a "Normal" Bowel Movement?

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stop Squeezing Your Pimples - 7 Safe Ways to Get Rid of Pimples

It's everyone's worst nightmare. Waking up the day before a
special event to discover a big, red pimple baring itself for all
to see right on your face!

Here's how to get rid of it quickly and safely:

Health Today

1. Don't ever pinch, squeeze or pick at a pimple. This only
causes it to become more red and inflamed, and will spread the
bacteria and oils that caused it in the first place, to other
parts of your face! It can also lead to scars.

2. Every 30 minutes, apply an ice pack to the pimple and hold it
there for about 2 minutes. This will decrease the swelling and
redness and help shrink the inflammation and pain that sometimes
comes along with it.

3. They don't call it concealer for nothing! Covering the pimple
with a light dose of flesh-tinted concealer can help mask it when
you're in a hurry. It also helps cover up that oily shine.

4. Cleanse your skin 2-3 times a day with mild, unscented soap or
a specialized acne cleanser that has no harsh chemicals (such as
lye). Scrub skin gently with an exfoliating pad or washcloth, but
don't rub too hard, otherwise you'll sap your skin of its own
natural oils, which help to repel buildup naturally.

5. Apply a cream or ointment containing benzyl peroxide or
salicylic acid (many over-the-counter acne medicines contain
these ingredients) to the blemish or around the entire facial
area. Note that these ingredients both have a tendency to dry
out skin if used too much and are not recommended if you have
sensitive skin.

6. Wear oil-free makeup whenever possible. These types have less
of a tendency to cause the pore buildup that results in
blemishes. Remove your makeup nightly and cleanse with an
acne-fighting medicine to remove dirt, oil and makeup from deep
within the skin.

7. If you're in need of a quick fix, a dab of toothpaste on the
affected area right before bed can help soothe irritation and
reduce redness. Pressing and holding a wet tea bag or a cotton
ball with a dab of lemon juice against the blemish for five
minutes can also reduce swelling and redness.

If you follow these tips, chances are you'll notice a significant
difference rather quickly - often within a day or two. If
pimples become a recurring problem or worsen, your doctor or
dermatologist can suggest a daily skin cleansing routine that
will suit your skin type. Other long-term remedies, such as
facial masks, diet adjustments and increasing the amount of water
you drink can also help combat outbreaks.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes
only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any
disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any
health care program.

Stop Squeezing Your Pimples - 7 Safe Ways to Get Rid of Pimples

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lipitor vs. Zocor: What is Better For Your Health and Your Wallet

In the battle of cholesterol lowering medication, Lipitor has a commanding advantage in today's market. Lipitor is the world's number 1 selling drug. According to USA Today, Lipitor's sales have risen .1 billion in the second quarter and are expecting to hit record high sales of 13 billion this year. The number 2 cholesterol fighting medication or "statin" in the industry is Zocor. Zocor has recently released a generic version of the anti-cholesterol drug in hopes to sway consumers to from Lipitor, and purchase their new, less expensive product. But is Lipitor really worth the extra money? We'll find out by comparing Lipitor's prices, results, and side effects to that of Zocor, the leading competition in the statin industry.

o Price

Health Today

In the battle for price, Zocor's generic alternative Simvastatin dishes out the first blow. For 90, 10mg tablets it costs 5.97 Lipitor, and 9.97 for Zocor. And for 90, 40mg tablets it costs 2.00 for Lipitor compared to 8.00 for Zocor. The New York Times reports that "In many cases, they say, patients who now take the most commonly prescribed dosage of Lipitor - 10 milligrams daily - can reduce their cholesterol just as much with Zocor. Lipitor costs or more a day, while generic Zocor will probably cost 35 cents or less." The larger the dosage the more savings Zocor offers. If you order a large amount of pills at a time, or you require a large dosage of the medication, you can save a reasonably large amount of money. I give the edge in the price department to Zocor.

o Results, Effectiveness

This category is very close as both drugs are very affective in reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) and raising good cholesterol (HDL). Both Lipitor and Zocor belong to the class of drugs known as "statins", which lower cholesterol by blocking the enzyme in the liver that produces bad cholesterol. In a recent study done by Phizer the producer of Lipitor, it was found that Lipitor was no better at preventing major heart complications than its leading competitor Zocor. However CBS found that "Lipitor outperformed Zocor on several fronts such as lowering cholesterol and preventing nonfatal heart attacks." In the category of effectiveness the edge goes to Lipitor.

o Side Effect

As with any prescription medication, both Lipitor and Zocor have a small percentage of users that experience adverse side affects. Both have minimal side effects including upset stomach, gas, heartburn, change of taste, diarrhea, constipation, skin rash, headache, dizziness or blurred vision that may occur the first few days as your body adjusts to the medication. However in recent clinical trails, it has been found that a rare muscle problem has been linked to statin drugs, which includes both Lipitor and Zocor. An estimated 5 to10 percent of all patients using statins experience these adverse side affects of minor muscle soreness and loss of muscle strength. So in the final category of adverse side affects, it is a draw.

In the battle of the high cholesterol reducing medications I would go with Zocor. Zocor is practically just as effective as Lipitor but offers it for a much lower price. To order Zocor or Lipitor for even more savings, go to This website offers safe reliable sources to find medications such as Zocor and Lipitor at discount prices.

Lipitor vs. Zocor: What is Better For Your Health and Your Wallet

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Interesting Dental Health Facts

It is a widely accepted concept that the more you know about a specific subject the better prepared you are when it comes to providing your knowledge to others in the form of a conversation or discussion, when this knowledge is health-related benefits are far greater. Having a solid general knowledge about dental health will allow you to take good care of your teeth which will help to prevent several complications that are the direct result of the lack of knowledge in this area, the purpose of this article is to provide some quick, interesting and useful facts when it comes to dentistry.

Interesting facts:

Health Today

-- Chewing gum may not be as bad after all, yes you read that right, if you don't keep on chewing a piece of gum for hours at a time it has been said that chewing gum after a meal can help eliminate food particles which are trapped within the teeth and can also increase the production of saliva which prevents the plaque build up.

-- According to recent surveys both men and women feel guilty when they forget to brush their teeth, apparently most people feel that brushing her teeth is some sort of obligation which was imposed at them ever since they were little in fact, over 79% of those interviewed said that they brush their teeth because it is something that they were told to do throughout their lives.

-- Well over 75% (three out of four people) don't change your toothbrush as often as they should, it is recommended that for hygiene reasons it to the project should be replaced every two to three months but apparently this isn't the case with most individuals.

-- Oral cancer occurs twice as often in men than in women, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day or using smokeless tobacco is said to increase the risk of developing oral cancer by four times.

-- There are well over 140,000 dental hygienists registered in the US and over 98% of them are females.

-- A trip to the dentist may reveal more information than you expected to receive, in most cases this is a good thing because several diseases can be treated successfully at their early stages. A dental hygienist screens for health problems such as eating disorders, diabetes, substance abuse and even HIV infections.

Interesting Dental Health Facts

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Health Benefits Of Nettle

The stinging nettle (which is called ortie in France and Brennessel in Germany) was said to be introduced into Britain by Caesar's soldiers. They sowed it along the sides of the great straight roads; both the roads and the nettles survive. At the end of a day's march the cooler climate of England and the weary miles made their legs ache. They would gather the nettles and beat each other with them so warming the affected parts. Really an embrocate for the strong.

Culpeper says wittily that they may be found by feeling on the darkest night! He tells us that the juice with honey is a safe and sure medicine to open the pipes and passages of the lungs.

Health Today

Today the herbal practitioner has found many uses for the humble nettle. The extract with alcohol is a stimulating hair tonic. Urtication, or beating with nettles, is sometimes used as a counter irritant for rheumatic sufferers. It is given to lessen bleeding in the mouth, in the form of a juice, and the juice will apparently greatly relieve painful piles or haemorrhoids if taken a tablespoonful (l5ml) at a time, three times a day.

The active constituents are many and include 5-hydroxytryptamine, histamine, formic acid and gallic acid, plus much readily assimilable iron. Research by Drs Herrmann and Neumann established that an increased metabolic rate took place over a period which lasted from the sixth to the twenty-second hour after taking a glassful. They said that this was very helpful when used in conjunction with therapies for removing -toxins from the blood, and for rheumatism.

For the same reason, nettle juice is a good addition to any iron therapy for anemia. It helps control diarrhea and is at the same time a diuretic which aids the elimination of uric acid. It is powerful so is usually taken a wineglassful at a time. The part of the plant to pick is the top leaves; you may wear gloves or 'Grasp it like a man of mettle and it soft as silk remains.'

Research by Dr Keeser found that the nettle could reduce the blood sugar level. The juice is often good for nervous eczema. The White Dead Nettle (Lamium album) although similar in appearance belongs to a completely different botanical family, but it acts as an astringent and is also effective for diarrhea.

Health Benefits Of Nettle

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Advantages and Disadvantages on Group Health Insurance VS Individual Health Insurance

In this article we will explore the reasons that motivate employers to get group health insurance for employees and we will look at the advantages and disadvantages from both points of view.

Group Health Insurance VS Individual Private Health Insurance

Health Today

Probably the most significant distinguishing characteristic of group insurance is the substitution of group underwriting for individual underwriting. In group cases, no individual evidence of insurability is usually required, and benefit levels can be substantial, with few, if any, important limitations.

Group underwriting normally is not concerned with the health or other insurability aspects of any particular individual. Instead, it aims to obtain a group of individual lives or, what is even more important, an aggregation of such groups of lives that will yield a predictable rate of mortality or morbidity. If a sufficient number of groups of lives is obtained, and if these groups are reasonably homogeneous in nature, then the mortality or morbidity rate will be predictable. The point is that the group becomes the unit of underwriting, and insurance principles may be applied to it just as in the case of the individual. To assure that the groups obtained will be reasonably homogeneous, the underwriting process in group insurance aims to control adverse selection by individuals within a group.

In underwriting group insurance, then, certain important features should be present that either are inherent in the nature of the group itself or may be applied in a positive way to avoid serious adverse selection such as:

Insurance Incidental to the Group: The insurance should be incidental to the group; that is, the members of the group should have come together for some purpose other than to obtain insurance. For example, the group insurance furnished to the employees of a given employer must not be the feature that motivates the formation and existence of the group.

Flow of Persons through the Group: There should be a steady flow of persons through the group; that is, there must be an influx of new young lives into the group and an out flow from the group of the older and impaired lives. With groups of actively working employees, it may be assumed that they are in average health.

Automatic Determination of Benefits: Group insurance underwriting commonly requires an automatic basis for determining the amount of benefits on individual lives, which is beyond the control of the employer or employees. If the amount of benefits taken were completely optional, it would be possible to select against the insurer because those in poor health would tend to insure heavily and the healthy ones might tend to elect minimum coverage.

As the group mechanism has evolved, however, insurers have responded to demands from the marketplace, particularly large employers, for more flexibility in the selection of benefits. This flexibility typically is expressed in optional amounts of life and health insurance in excess of basic coverage provided by the employer and in more health care financing choices. Also, increasingly popular cafeteria plans allow participating employees to select among an array of benefits using a predetermined allowance of employer funds. Individuals select, subject to certain basic coverage's being required, a combination of benefits that best meet his or her individual needs.

Minimum Participation by the Group: Another underwriting control is the requirement that substantially all eligible persons in a given group be covered by insurance. In plans in which the employee pays a portion of the premium (contributory), generally at least 75 percent of the eligible employees must join the plan if coverage is to be effective. In the case of noncontributory plans, 100 percent participation is required. By covering a large proportion of a given group, the insurance company gains a safeguard against an undue proportion of substandard lives. In cases in which employees refuse the insurance for religious or other reasons that do not involve any elements of selection, this rule is relaxed.

Third Party Sharing of Cost: A portion of the cost of a group plan ideally should be borne by the employer or some third party, such as a labor union or trade association. The noncontributory employer-pay-all plan is simple, and it gives the employer full control over the plan. It provides for insurance of all eligible employees and thus, eliminates any difficulties involved in connection with obtaining the consent of a sufficient number of employees to meet participation requirements. Also, there is no problem of distributing the cost among various employees, as in the contributory plan.

Contributory plans usually are less costly to the employer. Hence, with employee contributions, the employer is likely to arrange for more adequate protection for the employees. It can also be argued that, if the employee contributes toward his or her insurance, he or she will be more impressed with its value and will appreciate it more. On the other hand, the contributory plan has a number of disadvantages. Its operation is more complicated, and this at times, increases administrative cost considerably.

Each employee must consent to contribute toward his or her insurance, and as stated before, a minimum percentage of the eligible group must consent to enter the arrangement. New employees entering the business must be informed of their insurance privilege. If the plan is contributory, employees may not be entitled to the insurance until they have been with the company for a period of time. If they do not agree to be covered by the plan within a period of 31 days, they may be required to provide satisfactory evidence of insurability to become eligible. Some noncontributory plans also have these probationary periods.

Efficient Administrative Organization: A single administrative organization should be able and willing to act on behalf of the insured group. In the usual case, this is the employer. In the case of a contributory plan, there must be a reasonably simple method, such as payroll deduction, by which the master policy owner can collect premiums. An automatic method is desirable for both an administrative and underwriting perspective. A number of miscellaneous controls of underwriting significance are typically used in group insurance plans, but the preceding discussion permits an appreciation of the group underwriting underwriting theory. The discussion applies to groups with a large number of employees.

A majority of the groups, however, are not large. The group size is a significant factor in the underwriting process. In smaller plans, more restrictive underwriting practices relating to adverse section are used. These may include less liberal contract provisions, simple health status questions, and in some cases, detailed individual underwriting of group members.

Group Policy: A second characteristic of group insurance is the use of a group policy (contract) held by the owner as group policyholder and booklet-certificates or other summary evidence of insurance held by plan participants. Certificates provide information on the plan provisions and the steps required to file claims. The use of certificates and a master contract constitutes one of the sources of economy under the group approach. The master contract is a detailed document setting forth the contractual relationship between the group contract owner and the insurance company. The insured persons under the contract, usually employees and their beneficiaries, are not actually parties to the contract, although they may enforce their rights as third party beneficiaries. The four party relationship between the employer, insurer, employee, and dependents in a group insurance plan can create a number of interesting and unusual problems that are common only to group insurance.

Lower Cost: A third feature of group insurance is that it is usually lower-cost protection than that which is available in individual insurance. The nature of the group approach permits the use of mass distribution and mass administration methods that afford economies of operation not available in individual insurance. Also, because group insurance is not usually underwritten on an individual basis, the premiums are based upon an actuarial assessment of the group as a whole, so a given healthy individual can perhaps buy insurance at a lower cost. Employer subsidization of the cost is a critical factor in group insurance plan design. Probably the most significant savings in the cost of marketing group insurance lies in the fact that group commissions absorb a much smaller proportion of total premiums than commission for individual contracts.

The marketing system relieves the agent or broker of many duties, responsibilities, and expenses normally associated with selling or servicing of individual insurance. Because of the large premiums involved in many group insurance cases, the commission rates are considerably lower than for individual contracts and are usually graded downward as the premium increases. Some large group insurance buyer's deal directly with insurance companies and commissions are eliminated. In these cases, however, fees frequently are paid to the consultants involved. The nature of the administrative procedures permits simplified accounting techniques. The mechanics of premium collection are less involved, and experience refund procedures much simplified because there id only one party with whom to deal with such as the group policy owner.

Of course, the issuance of a large number of individual contracts is avoided and, because of the nature of group selection, the cost of medical examinations and inspection reports is minimized. Also, regulatory filings and other requirements are minimized. In the early days of group insurance, administration was simple. That is no longer true. Even with group term life insurance, for which there is no cash value, the push for accelerated death benefits, assignment to viatical companies, and estate or business planning record keeping means that the administration of coverage may be as complex as with an individual policy.

Flexibility: in contrast to individual contracts that must be taken as written, the larger employer usually has options in the design and preparation of the group insurance contract. Although the contracts follow a pattern and include certain standard provisions, there is considerably more flexibility here than in the case of individual contracts. The degree of flexibility permitted is, of course, a function of the size of the group involved. The group insurance program usually is an integral part of an employee benefit program and, in most cases, the contract can be molded to meet the objectives of the contract owner, as long as the request do not entail complicated administrative procedures, open the way to possibly serious adverse selection, or violate legal requirements.

Experience Rating: Another special feature of group insurance is that premiums often are subject to experience rating. The experience of the individual group may have an important bearing on dividends or premium-rate adjustments. The larger and, hence, the more reliable the experience of the particular group, the greater is the weight attached to its own experience in any single year. The knowledge that premiums net of dividends or premium rate adjustments will be based on the employers own experience gives the employer a vested interest in maintaining a favorable loss and expense record. For the largest employers, insurers may agree to complicated procedures to satisfy the employer's objectives because most such cases are experience rated and reflect the increased cost.

Some insurers experience rate based on the class or type of industry, or even based on the type of contract. For small groups, most insurance companies' use pooled rates under which a uniform rate is applied to all such groups, although it is becoming more common to apply separate pooled rates for groups with significantly better or worse experience than that of the total class. The point at which a group is large enough to be eligible for experience rating varies from company to company, based on that insurer's book of business and experience. The size and frequency of medical claims vary considerably across countries and among geographic regions within a country and must be considered in determining a group insurance rate. The composition (age, sex, and income level) of a group will also affect the experience of the group and, similarly, will be an important underwriting consideration.
Advantages and Limitations of the Group Mechanism.

Advantages: The group insurance mechanism has proved to be a remarkably effective solution to the need for employee benefits for a number of reasons. The utilization of mass-distribution techniques has extended protection to large numbers of person s with little or no life or health insurance. The increasing complexity of industrial service economies has brought large numbers of persons together, and the group mechanism has enabled insurance companies to reach vast numbers of individuals within a relatively short period and at low cost. Group insurance also has extended protection to a large number of uninsurable persons. Equally important has been the fact that the employer usually pays a large share of the cost. Moreover, in most countries, including the United States, the deductibility of employer contributions and the favorable tax treatment of the benefits to employees make it a tax effective vehicle with which to provide benefits.

Another significant factor, and one of the more cogent motivations for the rapid development of group insurance, has been the continuing governmental role in the security benefits area. Within the United States, Old-Age. Survivors, Disability, and Health Insurance programs has expanded rapidly, but many observers believe that, had not group insurance provided substantial sums of life insurance, health insurance, and retirement protection, social insurance would have developed even more rapidly. As economies worldwide continue to reduce the size and scope of social insurance programs, we can expect the demand for group based security to grow even more.

Disadvantages: From the viewpoint of the employee, group insurance has one great limitation- the temporary nature of the coverage. Unless an employee converts his or her coverage to an individual policy which is usually ore expensive and provides less liberal coverage, the employee loses his or her insurance protection if the group plan is terminated and often also at retirement because employment is terminated. Group life and health protection is continued after retirement in a significant proportion of cases today in the United States, but often at reduced levels. Recently, with the introduction of a new U.S. accounting standard (FAS 106) requiring that the cost of such benefits be accrued and reflected in financial statements, an increasing number of employers have discontinued post retirement life and health benefits entirely. When such continued protection is not available, the temporary nature of the coverage is a serious limitation.

Retiree group health insurance often is provided as a supplement to Medicare. Another problem of potential significance involves individuals who may be lulled into complacency by having large amounts of group insurance during their working years. Many of these persons fail to recognize the need for, or are unwilling to face the cost of, individual insurance. Perhaps of even greater significance is the fact that the flexibility of the group approach is limited to the design of the master policy and does not extend to the individual covered employees. Furthermore, group plans typically fail to provide the mechanism for any analysis of the financial needs of the individual which is a service that is normally furnished by the agent or other advisor. Many agents, however, discuss group insurance coverage with individuals as a foundation for discussing the need for additional amounts of individual life and health insurance.

Advantages and Disadvantages on Group Health Insurance VS Individual Health Insurance

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Health Benefits Of Beans and Lentils

Lentils and beans are two commonly ignored foods that have a lot of health benefits. They're beneficial for people who have or are in danger of developing diabetes. They also provide anti-aging benefits, are heart-healthy, and can be cooked in a lot of different ways. If you're wondering what you should eat to have a healthy diet, the answer surprisingly enough, is beans.

Most varieties of beans and lentils are very low in fat. Soybeans are the only exception. People who are watching their weight may wish to pay attention to their intake of this type of bean, but can eat others without worry. Beans and other legumes also offer complex carbohydrates, which we need to power our bodies, and plenty of dietary fiber - around fifteen grams per cup, which is half the 25 grams we should eat every day. They also contain essential fatty acids (omega-6s, and in the case of soybeans, omega-3s). Combine beans or lentils with grains like barley, oats, and rice, and complete proteins are formed, making them a good source of this vital nutrient for people who should avoid meat or choose not to eat it.

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If you're in danger of developing diabetes or already suffer from the condition, you'll be happy to hear that beans and lentils have a low glycemic index. This means that they won't cause blood sugar levels to spike the way refined grain products can. Since the nutrients in lentils and beans are released into the body slowly, they prevent us from feeling hungry over a longer period than many other foods, while providing energy to keep us going.

No matter what your favorite cuisine might be, beans and lentils can be prepared in a way that suits you. They're found in American, Mexican, Indian, Middle Eastern, and many other cultures as a major source of food. Japanese people eat soybeans in their processed form as tofu and miso, and lightly cooked as edamame. You can use these versatile foods in soups, salads, and even spreads and dips. Some people even sprout them and use them as an extra ingredient in breads, a practice that has been going on for thousands of years.

Beans, in addition to their fiber content, are also good for your heart. They contain potassium, which can reduce the risk of strokes and high blood pressure. Most adult Americans don't get enough potassium. Adding beans to your diet can help improve your potassium intake. Beans also provide folic acid, which breaks down an amino acid known to contribute to heart disease. People who eat beans four times a week or more have a twenty percent reduction of their risk of developing heart disease, independent of other healthy habits. Lentils and beans also help reduce blood cholesterol and contain anti-oxidants also found in red wine, tea, and other foods.

Health Benefits Of Beans and Lentils

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