Don't Put Off Researching For The Right Family Healthcare Plan

Family health care plans or insurance can be extremely beneficial to the well being of the people you care the most about. Let’s be honest, our health is very important to us and as we age it becomes vitally important that we spend some time thoroughly researching the health insurance providers in order to find a family healthcare plan that protects the interest of our family’s health without costing us a fortune in health insurance premiums or monthly rates.

There are several reasons why researching a family healthcare plan is a good idea. First and foremost as I’m sure you are aware more and more companies are downsizing or eliminating the benefits they provide their employees. Unfortunately, reducing or completely doing away with health care benefits has become the norm as opposed to an exception to the rule. For this very reason it is imperative that you spend quality time now finding an adequate family healthcare plan that will provide outstanding family health insurance to your most precious of assets.

Guess what, accidents happen and they do so with enough frequency that should you need to take a trip to the emergency room or to the doctor’s office it’s better if you go knowing that you have a family healthcare plan that has you covered and will take care of any medical or health related bills that appear as a result of the hospitalization required due to the accident.

Being financially strapped for cash is no picnic and can be very stressful for many consumers. Having a family healthcare plan allows you to put aside any financial worries you may have in the event you find yourself or a family member needing attention or treatment at a local hospital. Having proper health insurance also affords you the opportunity to save money for other needed necessities in life because you won’t have to worry about having to cover any medical expenses or bills that may come up due to receiving medical attention from a hospital or doctor.

As you do your online research in order to find a family healthcare plan that fits your needs, wants and desires you will be able to compare price quotes between several different health insurance providers or companies. Always make sure to look at deductible costs, prescription costs and of course the doctor’s that you can choose to seek future medical treatment from. The time you invest in finding the best family healthcare plan will save you money and aggravation in all of your future medical emergencies.

Fast Food and Traditional Food

The term “cooking” includes a wide range of methods, tools and combination of ingredients to create the flavor and digestibility of food. Cooking technique, known as culinary art, generally requires the selection, measurement and combining of ingredients in a controlled procedure in an effort to achieve the desired result. Constraints on success include the variability of ingredients, ambient conditions, tools, and the skill of the individual cooking. The diversity of cooking worldwide is a reflection of many nutritional, artistic, agricultural, economic, cultural and religious considerations that impact upon it. Cooking requires applying heat to a food which usually chemically transforms it and changing its flavor, texture, appearance, and nutritional properties. There is archaeological evidence that the primitive human being used to cook their food with fire that was the most important thing discovered by the primitive human being. Cooking food and cuisine culture vary from country to country and from one culture to another and each cuisine has its specific particularity. Nowadays, because of the modern life that changes everything around us and influence our life style and eating habits, people are less preparing their own food. Eating habits tend to unify people from different society. The food production and the process of eating obtain new characteristics. Food available around us seems to be very different from the one that we used to eat.

Eating habits and modern life

Everything is running in high speed, people do not have time for cooking, don`t has the desire and patience to stay longer in the kitchen, and they don`t have the willing to prepare their own food. Old generation still prefer to cook their own food unlike young people who prefer to eat fast food because they don’t want to spend long time cooking and the desire for the cooking. The modern life shapes our eating habits and makes us like slave following its speed. It`s not hard to find fast food restaurant they are everywhere and every corner. Fast food consumption cause damages to the social and economic life of the country and leads to many health problems such as obesity and heart diseases according to many studies. Also, many nutrition experts from different countries have already declared the epidemic character of fast food. The rapid process of globalization and modern life influence our eating habits and gives opportunity to fast food restaurants to grow and flourish. Fast food seems to become very common everywhere, though some positive aspect of the fast food in easy to prepare, available in many places, and it is a substantial meal. But in other hand, we can estimate that its negative aspects are more important and bigger. I think it is easy to understand that fast food is one of phenomenon that is going to be accepted by people. We are going to see the process of disappearance of the traditional culture with the development of fast food restaurants in all countries all over the world.

How to fight fast food addiction

The best example of the fast food success to change the modern life is the invasion of the world’s food market by the giant fast food company such as McDonald, KFC and others. According to McDonald`s web site, McDonald has about 29.000 restaurants in 120 countries all over the world, and serves nearly 54 million customers each day. As well as it indicates the fact of such changing in eating preferences and even in the way of life itself. There is no doubt that right now fast food changes the face of many nations and eating habits around the world. To sum up, unfortunately, it is hard to prevent these global changes that traditional food is going to be replaced by new foods that common for all people in all countries all over the world. But the good news is that, recently there are some people and some movements which try to contrast the process of modern life and ask people to go back to their traditional food. To solve this problem we need restaurants that offers traditional food, and able to attract large amount of faithful customers. Also parents must teach their children how to prepare and cook the traditional food. Many People figure out that traditional food is much better for our health, so they want to preserve and keep the cooking tradition from evaporating. There is enormous hope of people to preserve their food preparation customs and tradition. The major obstacles are the modern life style. Some people might say that it is difficult to preserve our traditional food because it takes a long time to prepare and people today can not spend a long time in cooking. Other people, especially older people might say that, it is unfortunate to destroy culture and tradition. Those people might be right.

Conclusion

In these days, people have more health problems that are related with the new eating habits and fast food consumption. Despite some advantages of fast food the harm caused by fast food does not outweigh its benefit. I think that people should consider the negative fact of fast food consumption and the benefits of preparing their own food at home. It`s unfair that the traditional food which arrive to us from generation to generation we are going to replace it with junk food that will harm us more than benefit us. It`s unfortunate to lose the cooking tradition and eating homemade food prepared by our mothers together around the table. I am sure that all of us must think over this problem and try to find the appropriate solution to save our cultures, our traditional foods, and more importantly our health. So we should take action immediately to preserve traditional food and encourage people to prepare their own dishes, so they can stay healthy and live longer. Even though fast food is cheap, convenient, yummy and available in every corner in our cities, but that does not mean that our health is cheaper than the fast food that we eat.

Children Caring For Parents and Avoiding Medical Errors

Children caring for parents often assist in keeping track of their parent’s health records. This can be a daunting task as many seniors see multiple physicians who may prescribe several medications for a variety of conditions. Keeping good medication and medical records can help prevent dangerous medical and medication errors. Sometimes they do this by hiring a caregiver to come to their home, but others will often drop their parents off at a senior daycare on the way to their job and pick them up at days end.

There are many in home care services that are offered by independent companies who most often have to be licensed to provide senior assistance services in the home.

Those assisting seniors can help them keep an updated medication list (including over the counter medications) on a computer or in a notebook. An updated list makes it easier for everyone since the first question most doctors ask for is the patient’s list of medications and any changes since they were last seen. Even if they are not available for every appointment, the caregiver can ask about any changes and update and print this list for their parent. Expiration might also be followed to avoid trying to get a renewal for a much needed prescription.

Another good record those providing parent care will want to keep is a good medical history that includes conditions, past surgeries, hospitalizations, Dr.’s names numbers and emergency contact information. These types of lists are vital for emergency visits as well.

They can take these lists to every Dr.’s appointment along with a list of any other issues they or their family may want to address. These simple steps empower the medical professionals providing geriatric care, those caring for their parents and most importantly the seniors themselves.

Popular Hotspots for Dental Care and Implants

If you or someone you know is missing one or more teeth or suffering from severe tooth decay then dental implants may be an excellent solution. All those people who are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth can bring back their teeth in tip-top shape through implant dentistry.

Yet, the major drawback of considering cosmetic dental care and surgery for most people from the US, the UK and Australia is their cost. The dental treatment cost in the First World countries can be extremely daunting for many patients in need of it.

Luckily, one can find very affordable dental care somewhere else in the world. People who are completely ready to undertake the dental implant procedure can save up to 80% on their treatment simply by opting to receive implants in any dental tourism destination.

Some popular countries for overseas dental implants include Poland, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Costa Rica, India, Thailand to name a few.

Poland

Poland, one of the most advanced countries in Europe, is now one of the most preferred destinations for affordable dental care. The ultra modern private Polish hospitals and clinics equipped with state of the art technology and infrastructure play an important role in Polish dental tourism boom, by attracting thousands of dental tourists, mainly from the UK, every year.

Cosmetic dental procedures including implants are quite cheaper in this central European country, saving UK patients at least 81% on the cost of their treatment.

Hungary

Seeking dental implants or other dental services in Hungary is a good alternative for people living in countries where dental treatments do not come cheap. Situated in the center of Eastern Europe, the country takes pride in having the advanced private hospitals with modern x-ray machines, lasers, video cameras, dental tools and surgical techniques. These medical facilities offer competent dental services at reasonable prices to their local and foreign clients. By having the dental abnormalities fixed in Hungary, a patient can expect to at least 50% on the procedure even after including all other expenses.

Italy

Traveling to Italy for dental care may seem like a far out option for American and many Asian denizens but with the significant savings they make on the cost of their dental treatments overseas patients feel completely satisfied. Dental care cost in Italy can be as low as 70% of private dental prices in the US. Given the affordability of the dental procedures, standard of infrastructure and the skills of the surgeons in Italy it’s not a surprise that different patients from different countries are increasingly flocking to this country with their dental and other healthcare needs.

India

India is the destination of choice for anyone seeking first world quality treatment at third world prices. If you require expensive dental work such as bridges, crowns, implants or an orthodontic procedure, you can make considerable savings by going abroad to India. Medical tourists from all across the world, prompted by sky-scraping dentistry costs and dwindling insurance benefits at their native countries, make a beeline in this Southeast Asian country for various dental procedures. Top notch private dental clinic in India use latest generation techniques to perform oral surgery.

Mexico

This country shares its borders with the United States so it is the perfect option for those from the US. Opting for dental implants in Mexico can save American patients up to 66%. Not only US citizens even patients from far away countries can expect huge savings on their dental treatment. Private Mexican clinics are staffed with qualified and skilled general dentist, periodontists and oral surgeons with advanced training in implant surgery. Not only the dentistry is affordable, the quality of dental care in Mexico is also superior, a major factor that attracts many overseas patients.

Alternative Health Treatment – 5 Questions and Answers

1. Why should I look at alternative health treatment as a realistic remedy for my ailment?

While Western medicine has advanced closely in tandem with knowledge of and experimentation with drugs as a way of treating disease and illness.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that it relies heavily on drugs and medications for treating disease. But drugs and medications are not natural to the human body, and invariably there are side-effects, often harmful.

Alternative health treatment is based wholly on natural cures not involving drugs or manufactured or processed materials. As such, it is invariably accepted by the body without resistance, so no energy is wasted in fighting it. It’s like swimming with the current rather than against it.

Besides, alternative health treatment has an excellent record in curing people of illness and disease, arguably a better record than Western medicine.

2. How does alternative health treatment differ in essentials from orthodox medical treatment?

Orthodox Western medicine depends largely on the administering of drugs and medicines, and unnatural procedures such as chemotherapy for cancer victims. It focuses largely on the symptoms rather than the underlying cause. A typical example is the taking of pain killers to cure a headache.

Alternative medicine acknowledges that the natural state of the body is one of good health, and that the body, mind and spirit are closely connected. It recognizes that all these components of the whole need to be in balance, and treats illness as a sign that they are out of balance. It therefore works to restore the natural balance and, thereby, good health. A headache would be cured by direct action on the area affected, e.g. by acupressure techniques.

3. Why don’t doctors and surgeons give more weight to alternative health treatment, and why hasn’t it made more progress in being accepted by the medical establishment?

The medical establishment consists largely of doctors and surgeons. Put yourself in the position of a doctor or surgeon. You spent seven gruelling and expensive years qualifying and passing difficult exams, and working long hours for at best mediocre pay. You now have an encyclopedic knowledge of medicines and medical drugs and procedures, and are enjoying a financially rewarding career in medicine.

Then you learn there is an alternative system of medicine based on herbs, and practices such as acupuncture that claim to be able to deal with medical conditions better than the medicine you learned at such cost in money and time. What would your feelings be towards these alternative medicines?

4. Isn’t alternative health treatment rooted in the past, and modern Western medicine with all its advanced technology the way ahead?

What matters more than anything else is what treatment will effectively cure your own particular ailment.

Just because skills such as acupuncture, acupressure and yoga have been practiced for thousands, of years in the Far East it doesn’t mean they are any less relevant today. On the contrary, it is evidence of their effectiveness.

Western medicine may have all the modern gleaming technology, but it is still a system developed and administered by humans and subject to all their faults and failings. Yes, it can and does produce some astonishing and greatly beneficial results, such as transplant surgery and artificial limbs, but in the case of common ailments and complaints, sometimes the simple methods are the best.

5. Which alternative health treatment is best – herbal, physical contact type treatment such as acupuncture or chiropractic, or supplements such as oils and enzymes?

It’s horses for courses. Different kinds of treatment best suit different kinds of illness. A general malaise, such as weight loss or gain, can often best be treated through a change in diet and the administration of herbal remedies, plus an exercise regime, whereas constant muscular pain such as back ache is best treated by someone like a chiropractor or osteopath, who can manipulate the bones and muscles so as to remove the root cause of the pain.

How to Help Children Care for Their Braces

Proper care of braces during orthodontic treatment is an important part of helping them get and keep a healthy smile for their whole lives, as many of the habits they learn will carry with them even after their orthodontic treatment is over. However, young children may not understand the reasons for such a structured cleaning regime. To avoid your child’s frustration, support his or her cleaning efforts through gaining knowledge of the process and ideas to make it enjoyable.

Here are four ways to care for your child’s braces:

1. Brushing. Thorough brushing after every meal and snack will prevent plaque build-up that can cause cavities and gum disease. Children should be encouraged to brush their teeth and braces at all angles to ensure any food hiding behind brackets or wires may be properly dislodged.

Make it fun: Try purchasing a brightly-colored toothbrush or one with your child’s favorite movie character on it. Even better, let your son or daughter pick out his or her own toothbrush. This will empower your child and allow him or her to get excited about brushing. Other children may be spurred to brush more often by using an electric toothbrush at home. This tool may be a great gift if you are getting ready to go Christmas shopping.

2. Flossing. Effective flossing can be a challenge with braces but it is another healthy habit to encourage on a daily basis. As it is nearly impossible to floss normally with braces, using a “threader floss” with a stiff tip or a plastic floss threader will allow the dental floss to get behind the wire. Gently insert the threader between the teeth at the base of the gums, then thread the floss through the oval loop and gently pull it back between the gums. Once the floss is inserted, delicately slide the floss up and down the inside of each tooth.

Make it fun: A quick and easy tool to help with flossing is the inter-dental cleaning brush. The small bristle tip can be inserted between the braces and around the gums for added cleaning on top of brushing and flossing – or used conveniently and subtly when out in public when full brushing may not be possible.

3. Healthy Eating. It is important to eat a balanced diet to support oral care. Sugary foods, and even sweetened beverages such as juice and pop may cling to the teeth and cause cavities around the brackets. Hard and sticky foods, such as caramel, popcorn and gum, have the potential to crack, dislodge or adhere to the braces so they should be avoided.

Make it fun: Look for healthy treat recipes together with your child. Preparing nutritious snacks or baking together makes healthy eating a fun process and also provides an opportunity to talk with your child about the many benefits of eating well.

4. Wire-care. Regular brushing is the first step in keeping your orthodontic wire clean, but these wires have the potential to irritate the skin inside the mouth, causing sores and bleeding. To avoid this, moldable wax can be applied to the braces at the points of friction. This wax will protect the mouth while also remaining flexible for easy removal.

Make it fun: The orthodontist will offer a variety of colored elastics that will loop around the brackets and wires. This is a helpful method for children to personalize their orthodontic treatment and express their personality. Breaking out of the mono-tone metal color of the brackets and wires will encourage children to maintain their braces as they will be proud of how they look.

Cleaning the teeth and braces can become an enjoyable and routine part of your child’s oral care. Parents are a valuable source of knowledge and support for their children and will help set the tone in forming positive habits. Children should be encouraged to clean their own teeth and be praised for their efforts, no matter how small. Making the process fun and supportive will set your child up for success.

Online Babysitting Services: How Do They Work and How To Choose The Right One For You

So you need someone to watch your children and have decided to look into online babysitting services. However, there are so many to choose from, including Sittercity, Care, Care4Hire.com, GoNannies, AuPairCare and 4Sitters.com, that it is overwhelming. To find the best fit for you and your family, you need to check out an assortment of sites. Each one will vary in everything from their fees and services, to their applicant filtering system and reputation, to the number of caregivers in their database. Some even provide contact information for pet sitters, housekeepers, tutors and eldercare services.

There are two ways in which online babysitting services work. With the first method, parents post a job and then the sitters who are interested and nearby contact them. This may be done via email or telephone. The parents can then respond accordingly. With the other method, parents can look at the profiles of potential babysitters and then contact the best ones. When searching, you get immediate access to babysitters. Simply type in your zip code and a list of local sitters pops up. When you click on a sitter, you may get a brief bit of information or their entire profile.

Some sites will let you preview and look for sitters without registering, so you can see the options. However, if you want to get the contact information, you need to be a member. Subscriptions may be paid for on a monthly or yearly basis. The best sites will give you a free trial period, perhaps for a week, so you can try it out first. If you like it, you often have to pay an initial registration fee, in addition to the subscription costs.

Be aware that not all sites do the same things. Some may simply interview the babysitters to create a profile but do not check references. Others provide the option of doing extensive background checks. However, it may cost extra or require you to increase your membership level. The best sites will have a multi-step screening process. In addition, the online babysitting services should have comments or referrals from people the caregivers have worked for in the past.

Most online babysitting sites also have a search filter that lets the parents narrow down the candidates. For instance, if you have a child with special needs, you can locate a babysitter who has previous experience with this type of child or someone with specific medical certifications. This search filter will help you save time. They can also help you find back-up sitters at the last minute, in case the scheduled sitter gets sick or you get an unexpected dinner invitation. Some sites, like Sittercity, even offer nannycam and video monitoring options.

Prevent Teen Drug Abuse Using Drug Testing Kits at Home

Teen drug abuse became a serious health problem in United States. It is hurting the healthcare system, burdening the economy, and causing millions of deaths every year. Of the many causes that promote drug abuse among teens, lack of parental supervision is a major one. Teens should be guarded properly by their parents as they are still immature.

Since, early intervention leads to effective prevention of this unhealthy habit, parents should identify drug abusing habits in teens and take preventive measures. Parents can take help of home drug testing kits which are effective and easy to use.

In this article, we will discuss about teens and their vulnerability to drug abuse; how to identify teen drug abuse and how important are drug testing programs at home to prevent teen drug abuse.

Teens – vulnerable to drugs abuse: Many scientific studies have already proved that teenagers are more prone to risk taking and are vulnerable to drug abuse when compared to adults. This typical behavior of teens during adolescence is because of the major changes in parts of the brain that are responsible for functions such as self-control, judgment, planning, organization, and emotions. Since teen brains are not yet fully developed, they cannot take proper decisions and fall victims to unhealthy habits like drug and alcohol abuse.

Signs and symptoms of drug abuse: The primary step towards prevention of drug abuse in teens is to identify their unhealthy habits. Prominent changes, both in their behavior and in physical appearance can be noticed even at the early stages of abuse. Following are the warning signs:

Physical and emotional changes:
• Red eyes
• Finding difficulty to speak
• Sudden fall or rise in weight
• Lack of hygiene and showing less interest in personal grooming
• Aggression and arrogance
• Depression and irritation

Social and behavioral changes:
• Dissociation from old friends and acquiring new social group
• Sudden anger or depression
• Poor attendance and academics at school
• Spending time lonely
• Abnormal odor in breath or clothing
• Pipes, needles and other suspicious substances in their room

Importance of home drug test kits: The moment you see the signs that indicate drug abuse in your teen, it is the time to confirm drug abusing habits using reliable methods. They are useful devices for the parents to confirm these unhealthy habits in teens. They are simple, easy to use, provide instant and accurate results, cost-effective and above all ensure privacy. Some multi-panel drug testing kits can detect multiple drugs of abuse at a shot.

Best drug test methods to implement: When it comes to home drug testing, urine and saliva tests are considered to be the best methods. There are two other methods – blood and hair tests also, but they need special devices and expert supervision, hence are not recommended for home testing.

Urine test can detect the drugs in your teen’s system up to three days after use. If you believe that your teen has taken drugs during the last few days, then this method is effective in offering accurate results. However, it is necessary to check that your teen is not providing fake urine sample which can lead to false results.

Saliva drug testing is an ideal drug test if you suspect that your teen abused drugs on that particular day. These kits can detect drug use up to 48 hours.

Need for random drug testing: If you are conducting drug tests on your teens at regular intervals, following a regular pattern, your teen may notice the pattern and either try to manipulate the sample before the test or stop abusing drugs few days before the test. Hence, practicing random drug tests is always an ideal way to identify the drug use which effectively helps in detecting the drug abuse among your teens. Random testing makes teens say ‘NO’ to drugs as they know that you can conduct drug testing any time at home.

Home drug testing kits can be considered as effective solutions in controlling and preventing drug abuse in your teens. So, make sure that you have some of them at home to test your teen to help him stay away from drugs.

The Pros and Cons of Group Health Insurance

The health insurance marketplace is certainly challenging, but count your lucky stars that at least you have choices. To that end, this article is going to explore the pros and cons of group health insurance.

Group Health Insurance Pros

  • Group health premiums are subsidized by the employer. Generally, an employer must contribute at least 50% of the “employee only” premium. As such, if you are the employee, you can likely get a richer health plan for less premium than you would pay in the individual health marketplace. However, the cost to add your dependents to the employer’s plan, may be cost prohibitive. In this case, and assuming that your dependents can qualify, then you may want to put them on an individual health plan.
  • Group health premiums for large families are the same as for small families; whereas in the individual market, you pay a separate premium for every family member. So, if you have a large family, you may be able to get a better deal by adding them to your employer’s plan. As with any insurance change though, don’t make any changes without consulting with an experienced insurance advisor in your state.
  • Group health insurance in most states is guaranteed issue – meaning that you can’t be turned down because of pre-existing health conditions. This is a real blessing if you or a family member has a medical condition that prevents you from qualifying for a individual plan. But, this is a double-edged sword. While being guaranteed issue is a huge benefit for those with pre-existing medical conditions, it does come at a price. This one feature alone accounts for most of the disparity between group and individual insurance premiums. Yes, that is right – in most states, individual health premiums are almost always less expensive than group health premiums.
  • Most group plans cover maternity. So, if you are planning on having more children, you should definitely consider hopping on to a group plan. While you can add a “maternity rider” to individual plans, these riders tend to be expensive, restrictive, and otherwise provide less value than the coverage you can get in a group health plan. That being said, if you are considering having more children, we recommend that you contact a health insurance advisor in your state for advice about what is best for your family. The right answer is different for each unique family.
  • Economies of scale can benefit employees of large employers. It is true that the larger the group, the larger the risk pool is in which to share the risk which CAN result in lower premiums than are available in the individual health market. However, the guaranteed issue “issue” CAN wreak havoc on this type of plan. For example, a large employer with good benefits tends to retain employees for long periods of time. Eventually, the average age of the group starts to creep up and so do premiums. In addition, people with large medical needs (expensive medical conditions) tend to be attracted to large plans because they are guaranteed issue with good coverage. And so, over time, not only is the group’s average age increasing, but the group is also attracting employees with large expected health costs. This is the dilemma that we see with large health plans like the U.S. auto-makers and even government plans. Eventually, those with lots of medical needs begin to outnumber those with little or no needs and so premiums are driven higher and higher.

Group Health Insurance Cons

  • Group health insurance can be more expensive than individual health insurance. ln fact, if you don’t factor in the employer’s contribution towards premiums, then individual plans are almost always more affordable than group plans. However, as we discussed earlier, not every one can qualify for an individual plan.
  • What happens if your employment is terminated (by you or your employer)? Yes, you will likely have some benefit continuation rights (through COBRA or state continuation programs), but these benefits can be very expensive and the term limited. So, eventually, you either have to secure another job with benefits, an individual health plan (assuming you are insurable), or possibly join a government health insurance program for the uninsured (if you are not insurable). Let me emphasize, that you should NEVER be without some form of major medical health insurance. Being without this insurance puts you and your family in serious financial jeopardy. In fact, a recent Harvard University study found that 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses.¹ To the same point, every 30 seconds in the United States, someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem. Don’t let this happen to you.
  • Group health insurance premiums are rising faster than individual health insurance premiums. Why? Because most group plans are guaranteed issue and since they accept “all comers”, they tend to attract those with high medical costs. On the other hand, most individual health insurance plans are medically underwritten. This means that the insurance company can say “no thanks” to any application that it deems to not be in its interest. Put yourself in their shoes – would sign a contract to provide $30,000 in annual benefits to someone that was only going to pay $3,000 in premiums (for a net loss of $27,000) if you didn’t have to? Hmm…let me me think about that one. The answer is a resounding “NO!”. Because of this underwriting process for individual health insurance, insurance companies can control their risk and more effectively manage their profitability, resulting in more stable prices.

As you can see, there is no clear cut answer as to which type of insurance is the best. The answer depends on a number of factors and is different for every unique situation. The best advice I can give you as you consider your health insurance options — get good advice from an experienced health insurance advisor.

The Difference Between Individual and Family Healthcare Plans

The costs of medical care in US are soaring with each passing day and in this scenario, it has become quite confusing to identify a perfect health insurance plan. However, if an individual has a clear idea of what kind of coverage his health insurance plan should provide him with as well as the budget that he can afford for the same, then the decision of choosing a good health insurance plan definitely becomes easier.

The two most popular health insurance plans available are individual and family healthcare plans. Even though other health plans seem less costly, the fact remains that individual and family health insurance plans prove to be much more cost effective in the long run. However, before people choose any of the two plans, it is vital to understand the points of difference between the two.

Individual healthcare plans, as the name suggests, provides medical care benefits to a single person and is best suited for people who do not have any family to support or provide medical care to. The plan comes with various options and price ranges depending on the type as well as level of coverage desired by an individual. The cost generally varies according to the individual’s preference of visiting a doctor as well as the medical care facilities of their own choosing or a pre-assigned set of doctors and medical care facilities.

Family healthcare plans are generally selected by people who want a health cover for themselves as well as their families. Since the plan is designed to provide for the medical care of more than one person, it naturally comes with a higher price tag than individual plans. The cost of the plan can vary from one family to another according to the gender, ages as well as the eating and drinking habits of the family members.

Day Care – How to Boost Your Earnings

Day care is becoming a booming business avenue with passage of time. As more moms are working out and no one at home to take care of the children so day care facility is the only choice. These centers offer care for children of different ages like newborn, infant, toddler, preschool or older children. As an extension, you can also find on-site day care for businesses or schools, after school day care programs, over night care, part time care, occasional care etc. It means you can find children care facility according to your needs.

Care centers keep your children busy in different activities. Children not only enjoy but also learn a lot of things at day care centers. Theses centers provide you solution for children’s sleep issues, biting tendencies, potty training, teething etc. If you want to start a day care business then you must have the qualities that parents look for while selecting a day care facility. These qualities are:

  • A licensed day care facility
  • Trained, helpful and pleasing staff members
  • Special attention to each and every child
  • Attractive play equipment
  • Adequate different areas for different activities
  • All the area must be hygienic
  • Prepare balanced meals
  • First aid facility
  • Ability and equipment to handle emergencies

A good day care center should have a proper schedule for different activities of the children. It may include physical games, learning, coloring, meals like breakfast, lunch, snack time etc., story telling, sleep time, cleaning up mess, prepare to go home etc. Apart from making schedule for the children, you would be looking after many other tasks like meeting parents, explaining them your facilities, arranging the record of your customers, matching number of children admitted and staff members available and a lot of other things. So, your actual focus i.e. caring children is somewhat compromised.

There is a solution that can help you in automating your official processes. It will help you in lessening your tedious work, making you efficient, building up your reputation and boosting your earnings. This is a facility that will be installed on your website. Your would-be customers will get all the needed information through this facility and afterwards they will enroll their children there automatically. Due to automation of your processes, you would have a lot of time saved for your actual job. The benefits of this facility are:

  • Your interaction with customers will be minimal
  • Customers can access the facility from internet anytime from everywhere
  • You will provide all the information once and iteration will be done by the system
  • It will keep all the records about your customers, your staff, your receipts and payments etc.
  • You can generate different needed reports easily and print out them as well
  • You can handle many centers situated in different localities from this facility easily
  • You can maintain different access levels for customers and staff
  • All your information would be secure
  • You can process payments electronically

This is only a short list of benefits you would enjoy by installing this facility. It is an “Online Scheduling System” which enables you to automate all your processes and boost your earnings.

Is It Safe To Use Natural Health Medicine On Toddlers?

Most parents who have toddlers know how often they come home from kindergarten or day care with a runny nose.

That is because our children often catch illnesses from other children in these closed environments. This is why administering natural health medicine on your toddler can be beneficial in more than one way; not only will it help cure those minor illnesses that appear from time to time, but it will also bolster your child’s immune system to prevent them before they even take root.

Natural health medicine can give your toddler that extra boost he needs to avoid illness. Natural health medicine is made in a way that ensures that the growing toddler recovers fast and is not held down by the common cold or runny nose.

In addition to being really effective, they rarely have any side effects, which as a parent is good to know. Most of them are based on soothing the body and will not make your toddler tired or sleepy.

But because they are ill, their bodies will need the rest so that they can recover quickly. Natural health medicine will also make them less prone to getting ill, which as a parent is definitely good news.

It is hard having a sick toddler because all you want to do is to take the pain away from them. And natural health medicine will help you do that so that your toddler is back on their feet in no time at all.

They will feel more energetic to continue exploring the wonders of the world; and their bodies will be able to sustain anything that they might throw at it.

A little research in the natural health medicine department will only be a benefit to you and your toddler.

Effective Mental Health Treatment May Mean Using Alternative Methods

Effective mental health treatment doesn’t have to mean prescription drugs and hours of therapy. There are alternative methods for dealing with things like stress, depression, memory issues and even age related issues like Alzheimer’s and dementia. So why don’t we hear more about them? A lack of understand on the part of many doctors keeps the public from being educated and aggressive marketing by drug companies keeps prescriptions flowing.

This is not to say that there isn’t a time and place for mental health treatments like prescription drugs or therapy. Those can be helpful for certain things, but it may be that we are too quick to turn to them for mild to moderate forms of stress, depression, etc. Often there are alternative mental health treatments available.

While the category of alternative mental health treatments can be broad, the primary method that can be of benefit is natural supplements. Secondary treatment methods would include lifestyle changes such as exercise, altering diet, etc. Research has recently been done in both those areas that has opened the door to new thinking on how to address illness of the mind. Some of the change in thinking involves treatment, the rest prevention. However, it is the primary method of supplements that is the focus of this article.

Mental health treatments that are truly effective deal both with prevention and treatment. Supplements are a powerful tool to address each. Studies have been done showing that many herbal supplements are as effective as prescription drugs in dealing with various aliments. For example, a study on Passion Flower found it to be as effective as a leading anti-anxiety medicine for helping people suffering from anxiety disorders.

Ginkgo Biloba is another example. In a study done on Alzheimer’s patients the results demonstrated that Ginkgo may be as effective as a commonly used Alzheimer’s medication in delaying the symptoms of dementia in people that have the disease. It also seems to be effective as a preventative mental health treatment to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s in those who may be predisposed to it.

The thing about these alternative mental health treatments is that the findings of these studies are not likely to get public press and acceptance of the information by both medicine and the public alike is slow. However, they are far more cost effective and have fewer side effects than most prescription drugs. This is not something drug companies like very much so much is done by them to over emphasize their products.

Newer supplement products containing compounds like huperzine A, choline, L-Tyrosine and 5-HTP are also promising in their ability to support a healthy mind. They work to help the body produce and sustain neurotransmitters, the chemicals your brain needs to function. Many mental issues like depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, etc. involve reduced levels of certain neurotransmitters or destroy them outright. These compounds help counter that effect thereby sustaining brain function. Studies have been done on these, but more research is underway.

How to Get Free Dental Care in the Texas State

Today a lot of people never get dental insurance included in their medical insurance policy. In fact a long time back, the thousand dollars of dental fees were not even covered by insurance policies. Nothing seems to have changed in fact the costs involved in dental treatments have now doubled or tripled than before. Now, even if insurance covers dental treatment costs only a small number of people are actually able to afford it. Due to this reason a lot of people have opted for tooth extraction as an alternative of paying for dental care. Many of them even avoid getting dental care treatments on time due to the expenses involved. Tooth decay and gum disease are the common risks involved if oral care is avoided long enough.

Out of all the 50 states in the U.S., according to the Texas Senator Eliot Shapleigh only a minimal number of residents in Texas have overall health insurance and therefore it ranks last in this regard. Free dental care has become a need all over the country and especially in Texas, so now a lot of organizations have started to put an effort to offer free dental services and there are now several places where people can go, to avail free oral care.

If you are in need of free dental treatment you can start by contacting the Texas Dental Association Smiles Foundation. Every year these dental care opportunities are provided by the licensed dentists at this organization for those who are in need of immediate dental care. The Texas Mission of Mercy is a large event which is held every year for two days in variety of cities all across the state. Here hundreds of people are able to receive free dental care from the volunteering dentists. They even offer free dental services on the go by traveling into communities in mobile vans known as ‘Smiles on Wheels’.

A second alternative to receive such schemed care is by applying at a Hill-Burton Facility for free dental care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources runs the Hill-Burton program, where qualified people are allowed to avail free or low-cost dental and medical care. To be eligible the income level of each patient should meet the current HHR Poverty Guidelines. All you need to do is to go to a facility near you where a Hill-Burton obligated facility is accepted and apply for the free treatment and care. In Texas there are now 11 Hill-Burton facilities and by visiting the HHR website you can find more information about them.

Lastly searching online for a free or low-cost dental clinic will also help you to receive free oral care. To find the right program and service all you need to do is type the term ‘free dental care’ into a search engine with the city closest to you. You can find a comprehensive list of free and low-cost medical and dental care services listed by state and city at Free Dental Work.org.

Know More About Types of Health Insurance Plans in Florida

Individual, families, groups, and businesses need customized health insurance plans to ensure that they have to spend minimum out-of-the-pocket money for their healthcare needs. With the implementation of healthcare reforms, the options for buying health insurance are widened.

With the advent of internet technology, the concept of transparency of price is gaining momentum. Insurers in Florida health insurance are facing a compelling need of price transparency when they offer health insurance quotes to their clients. At the same time, application time and waiting time for health insurance has reduced significantly as compared to earlier times.

Types of health insurance plans offered in Florida
Apart from State and Federal governments’ sponsored program including Medicare, Medicaid, etc., there is an option of buying health insurance from private companies. Like many other states, health insurance plans in Florida are offered to the residents in traditional format. These could be classified as:

1. Individual health coverage
2. Family health coverage
3. Group insurance
4. Student health coverage
5. Dental health insurance
6. Low cost insurance
7. Low-income families insurance
8. Short-term insurance
9. Small business insurance

Companies offering health insurance Florida
Below is the list of health insurance companies offering health insurance to the residents of Florida:
• Aetna
• AMS
• Assurant
• Avalon Healthcare
• AvMed Health Plans
• Blue Cross and Blue Shield
• Celtic
• Cigna
• Coventry
• Golden Rule
• Humana One
• IAC
• Solera Dental
• Vista

Types of health plans offered in Florida

A lot of consumer end up having discount coupons, which sometimes are termed as health plans; however, it needs to be understood that these discount coupons are not insurance. To buy affordable health plans in Florida, consumers need to equip themselves with proper knowledge about the same.

Traditional categorization of health coverage in Florida offers indemnity and managed care health plans. Indemnity health plans have the insured file claims for reimbursement. While managed care health plans allow the providers to file claims for the insured person.

Managed care health plans are further categorized as HMO, PPO, and POS.

Impact of the Affordable Care Act on insurance in Florida
• 290,000 small businesses in Florida will be offered tax credits for offering health coverage to their employees.
• Medicare beneficiaries in Florida will be automatically mailed a check of $250 to defray the cost of their prescription drugs.
• Early retirees will be offered reinsurance options.
• Uninsured Floridians with pre-existing condition will have a huge boost with $351 million federal dollars made available to Florida starting July 1 to provide coverage.
• Like many other states, for the first time ever, Florida will have the option of Federal Medicaid funding for coverage for all low-income populations, irrespective of age, disability, or family status.
• 8.8 million Floridians will no longer have to worry about lifetime limits on the coverage.
• Around 1.1 million individuals will not have to worry about getting dropped from coverage when they get sick.
• Children in Florida will be able to stay with their family insurance policy till the age of 26 years.

Costs involved in a health coverage plan in Florida

It is important to understand types of costs involved in a health coverage plan to make sure that Floridians have assessed everything before they finalize a health plan. We talk about the types of costs involved in a health coverage plan:

Premium-premium is the amount of money to be paid on monthly basis. Premium is the main cost that a health plan constitutes. It could vary from person to person and in plan to plan. It mainly depends on the age, gender, and health status of a consumer applying to get health coverage.

Deductible-deductible is the second major cost involved in a health plan. It is the amount of money that a consumer pays before the insurer actually begins to pay for the coverage. With higher deductibles, premium costs are reduced.

Coinsurance – coinsurance, as the name explains itself, is the amount of money that the consumer agrees to pay in percentage of the total cost of medical service after the deductible has been paid. Generally, it is usually 80/20 of the total value where 80% of the cost is paid by the insurance companies while the 20% is by the consumer.

Copay – copay is like coinsurance but it is not represented in percentage but in real value. Moreover, there is no consideration of deductibles in copays. Supposing a consumer needs to pay $70 per visit for the doctor: with copay, consumer will be paying $40 and the remaining $30 will be paid by the insurer. However, this copay facility will have some impact on the premium costs.

Natural Health Medicine – Children

Natural health medicine can be as important for children as it is for their parents. The close contact they encounter with other children, in nurseries and kindergartens, means that minor infections, such as runny noses and colds, are easily picked up.

Natural health medicine can assist children to resist infection by boosting their immune systems. In turn this may assist them to combat the germs carried by other children, or if they do catch something it could help them to nip it in the bud.

In addition to being effective in strengthening a child’s resistance to illness, natural health medicine is usually free of unpleasant side effects. Therefore, it helps children to stay healthy in more ways than one. Not only are they less likely to be affected by illnesses, but also if they are unfortunate enough to be smitten, natural health medicine assists in promoting a speedy recovery.

It is always distressing for parents of children who become ill, as well as for the children themselves. Those parents who have discovered the benefits of natural health medicine are in a better position to help their offspring stay well. Children frequently recover quickly from minor ailments, but may do so even more speedily with the help of natural health medicine.

Although sick children can quickly recover, parents are concerned that illnesses can spread to brothers and sisters. This is why natural health medicine is important to the whole family. It can help to ensure that any temporary incapacity does not become prolonged.

Of course children rely on their parents to look after them, and they are even more dependent when they are unwell. Fortunately there are natural health medicines for children as well as adults. Natural health medicine for children is just one of the ways that proper care can be administered. It is good that we live an age when help and advise is freely available for child related matters. Undoubtedly children are our future, so it is in our best interests to look after them and protect them from illness.

Help Your Immune System Fight Diseases With Natural Health Medicine

The benefits of taking care of yourself are some of the rewards you get from knowing that you are doing the best for your body. This includes the most important part of your body–the part which is in fact a mechanism that protects your body: your immune system.

Your immune system protects you against viruses, bacteria, and toxins. And to ensure that your body keeps doing all these things and more, you need to take good care of it. This includes taking precautions against diseases; and helping your body when you do get infected with diseases.

That is why only the best will do. Before you begin to incorporate a natural health lifestyle into your everyday life, you should first start to learn what options are available for you.

Natural health medicine is one of part of the pool of many medicines available in the natural health market. Because of its natural, anti-bacterial effects, many people are using in favor of traditional medicine to cure their illnesses.

Natural health medicine is good in that it has a harmonious effect. It does not act as a drug, but more as a supplement for all your bodies needs. You know that you are giving your body the best of that nature has to offer; rather than bombarding it with chemicals that will harm it as much as help it.

Natural health medicine does not cause drowsiness and it works with the body to help you get better. The most-praised element of natural health medicine is that it is made from natural ingredients. And these ingredients enhance your body’s effectiveness to work for you.

When you know what is at stake, you understand that natural health medicine can give you that ultra boost you need to get your body in the best defenses shape possible.

In addition to everything else, you will not suffer side-effects when you take natural health medicine; instead, the medicine will help your body to heal without harming it simultaneously.

Panic Disorder in Children – Caring For Them

Panic attacks are a rough thing for anyone to experience. These bouts of intense fear and panic often leave a lasting impression of the effects. Although millions suffer each year from this, it is not just limited to adults. Quite often just as adults can be affected with panic disorder, children can be too.

As parents, witnessing our children going through such an event can be a trying period of time for both the parent and child. Just as we may feel extremely stressed and worried about our young one, imagine how they feel too. We need to do what we can, but how do we care for them when these attacks occur?

The first thing that usually comes to mind, is the thought of calming them down. There are many different ways to go about this, and how effective they may be can differ from child to child. With this being said, there are a few generally effective things we can do.

When a panic attack occurs, our presence may often be one of the few things that can get through to them. Hold them close, and let them hear your reassuring voice. This will tend to bring about a sense of security within them, and could help them to calm down sooner.

Be more active with them. By this I mean talking with them more, being a little more involved with their activities. Understand them a little better, so you can spot the things that may trigger their panic attacks. Through your guidance, you may be able to help them overcome those fears and reduce the occurrences of attacks.

Doing this will also create a better bond. This will in turn act as a solid form of support for the child, something that is desperately needed during this period of time. Try to have open conversation and reassure them that everything will be fine. Reassurance from a parent can be very powerful.

Strengthen Your Immune System With Natural Health Medicine

Your immune system protects you against an army of germs and viruses that are ready, and waiting to attack. However, to remain constantly effective your immune system requires your consideration. Therefore, if you incorporate a natural health lifestyle, supplemented with natural health medicine, into your daily routine, you will be helping your immune system to defend you, as and when the need arises.

Natural health medicine is one of many tools available to complement a natural health lifestyle. Because it can naturally combine with normal body processes, to strengthen your immune system, you can become naturally resistant to numerous afflictions, waiting to invade. There are many people who have derived benefit from the use of natural medicine, to the extent that it has reduced their requirement for traditional and unpredictable alternatives.

Natural health medicine does not act as a drug but strengthens the immune system, to provide you with a natural defense. This is preferable to having to rely on chemical preparations. These, it must be said, are sometimes necessary because people have neglected to take the best care, that a natural health lifestyle can provide.

There is no better investment that you can make than remaining healthy, which in turn will help you to enjoy your life to the full. That is your birthright, which can be more readily achieved through a healthy lifestyle, including natural health medicine containing naturally therapeutic ingredients.

Many people suffer distressing side effects from synthetic medicines and drugs. At times they have little alternative but to resort to such measures, but in other instances the old adage, that prevention is better than cure, rings true. An understanding of natural health medicine, and how it can assist in maintaining your immune system, is something, that all who contemplate good health, should consider.

Fast Food Dangers – Is Your Health Worth It?

Our diet and lifestyle have altered dramatically in the last 50 years. At one time culinary skills were passed from one generation to another, and a woman’s role was the ‘home-maker’. She wasn’t expected to work outside the home whilst her family was growing, and she often had other female relatives living close by as back-up.

The car was a luxury, so her daily shopping was usually done locally on foot. She purchased fresh food regularly, which contained far more nutrients than produce purchased from the supermarket weekly. As fast food didn’t exist, her role included cooking wholesome family meals daily.

Fast forward to now. Women learned the art of the short-cut, often through necessity. We drive to the supermarket once or twice per week to purchase food. We gravitate to fast option choices, which when short of time and adequate information, seem both convenient and appealing. Most of the food we buy is preserved, sprayed with chemicals, injected, or grown in chemically rich soil.

It’s no wonder we develop problems. We probably treat our cars with more respect. Few of us would dream of denying our car the appropriate fuel or oil, so why do we neglect our bodies so?

How Our Diet has Changed Over Time

Our love for sugar escalates uncontrollably. In the UK alone we consume 500,000 tonnes of chocolate each year, which is mostly made from refined sugar. Table sugar contains no vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre or starches; perhaps tiny traces of calcium and magnesium if we are really lucky, but apart from that – empty calories.

  • Sugar lurks in some of the most unlikely foods: cheese, fruit yoghurt, tomato sauce, baked beans, pickled cucumbers, muesli, beef burgers, Worcestershire sauce, sausages, peas, and yes, even cornflakes.
  • Be careful with steak and kidney pie. Saturated animal fats clog the arteries that supply the heart, brain and other major organs. This leads to poor circulation, and then to heart attacks and strokes. Smoking accelerates this process.
  • Foods high in animal fat have been blamed for the increased incidence of breast cancer. So go easy at the fast food counter.
  • We consume too much salt – often 10 – 20 times more than our bodies require each day. Result: high blood pressure.

Don’t let your eating habits be a recipe for disaster. With a little enlightenment and effort, you can come out ahead.

With most of us living life in the fast lane, we don’t have the time prepare meals like our earlier generations. But we can get healthy food on the run if we’re aware of the roadblocks and learn to detour around them.

Want to Know More about Healthy Fast Foods?

Learn how to live an active life with healthy foods that won’t leave you feeling greedy and weak-willed.

When we talk about living on a fast food diet many of us think of America and their menu of shakes, fries and hamburgers. Understandably, the US has been blamed by many researchers for setting the trend in the rise of obesity issues.

But let’s not be so quick to judge.

A new study reveals that America is not the country with the highest fast food consumption. Remarkably, Britons have begun to out-guzzle their American counterparts when it comes to fast food. When asked to identify with the statement, “I like the taste of fast food too much to give it up”, 45 percent of the British agreed, compared to 44 percent of Americans.

Despite menu changes, the major burger and pizza chains offer few healthy options. An investigation of the food sold by the four of the big fast food chains found that 17 of 20 products were high in salt or saturated fat or both. On average, the fast-food meals sampled had 274 calories per 100g of food, more than double that of a home-cooked roast dinner.

Some fast-food meals scored mega calorific counts. A Big Mac, medium fries and small vanilla milkshake contained 1,169 calories. You’d need to walk 16 miles to work that off. A margherita pizza and garlic bread had 5.4 grams of salt in the same analysis, almost the entire recommended daily allowance of 6 grams.

Is Fast Food Always Unhealthy?

Surprisingly, the answer to that question is no – if you know what to look for.

Dental Care Services and Plans

Many people usually neglect issues related to dental care such as taking good care of their gums, teeth etc. Dental care also involves treatment and prevention of diseases of the teeth and gums apart from the repair and replacement of defective teeth.

Gone are those days when dental services used to be an expensive option. Let us have a look at a few tips on how to find affordable dental care services:

1. Start by simply inquiring about a good dental plan from your co-workers, friends and relatives. Ask questions such as whether emergency service is provided, how easy it is to get an appointment, how much it costs, the different types of dental services and so on. Also inquire about whether the atmosphere of the dental care facility is reassuring and relaxing, behavior of the staff especially towards children etc.

2. Dental services are also provided at local dental schools at affordable and competitive rates. Some of these schools might offer to check and clean your teeth for free of cost. It should not be a problem to find a list of such schools in and around your area through internet.

3. In case you are new to an area, try checking out the services of the dental specialist who provides his/her services to the local hospitals. You can also search for the best dental care facilities in your area online. You can also use your insurance company’s website to search for dentists who would accept your insurance cover.

Following are the two most popular dental plan options:

1. Dental Insurance:
One of the options for oral health care is dental insurance. Apart from a few dental insurance policies which might cost less than $10 on a monthly basis, most of the available options would be expensive. It is essential on your part to read the entire terms and conditions, excluded procedures and items, what the policy covers, the annual cost for both family and individual policies which ever applies to you.

Most of the people going for such policies do not know that pre-existing conditions are not covered by such policies. Even after the completion of 1 year, most companies pay progressively, such as covering 15% the 2nd year, 30% the 3rd year and so on. Thus, such kinds of dental insurance are usually not recommended by agents currently because of their lack of coverage and high cost.

2. Discount Dental Plans:
Pre-existing plans are not restricted in case of discounted dental care plans. Substantial discounts are offered by such plans on routine dental care like braces, dentures, root canals, X-rays, cleanings, check-ups and more. The membership fees of such dental care plans usually average around $150 for families and $100 for individuals annually. At the time of your appointment, you need to pay for your visit in full.

No permission of any sort is required in case you want to change your dentist. Within the network of the plan, you can visit any provider in any state. It is to be noted that large discount dental plan networks have providers in excess of over 0.1 million dental specialists and dentists worldwide.

You might be surprised to know that over 70% of the families residing in United States do not have any dental plan. Thus, it is important for you to realize that proper dental care is essential for the well-being of your entire body.

How To Be Sure Your Great-Grandchildren's Children Care

What will you practice today? Will your great-grandchildren’s children care?

When I began this leadership work many years ago, my focus was a bit different versus today. You could say, quite rightly, I have evolved my thinking.

However, well before I found myself immersed in The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership© and what’s been created since, the foundation was set with seven key principles. I thought I would share those with you today and let you kick them around and, hopefully, respond with your thoughts.

Principle #1: Leaders focus on themselves. Sounds kind of selfish, yes? But hold on a minute. If you are not working on your personal growth, how the heck can you be a leadership role model for others?

Principle #2: Leaders simplify their lives. In today’s fast-paced, multi-tasking world, exasperation is staring at you in the next Tweet, text or email that demands your immediate attention and action. Have you cleared your desk lately? Deleted those emails that have stacked up since email was invented? Tossed files (please recycle)? Clearing the desk really does clear the mind.

Principle #3: Leaders establish priorities for themselves. Keep in mind, that there is no great value in getting things done, if they are not valuable to do. Have you separated yourself from what is least important in your life yet? If not, why not?

Principle #4: Leaders define their destinations. Do you know where you’re going? Do you need a personal GPS (Goal Performance Strategy) guide? Take some time to stretch out and create a personal vision and some stretch goals for the several areas in your life: Personal, Family, Professional, Financial, etc. Jot down just a few ideas in each category, reflect on them a bit and then get busy adding action steps to help you reach those outcomes. New Year’s Day is not the only time to make resolutions.

Principle #5: Leaders plan their time based on importance. All of my coaching clients have heard my suggestion that they take some L.E.A.D time each day. Listen to yourself with a 10 to 15-minute planning/re-planning session; Evaluate how you are doing in each area of your life; and Adjust what needs reconsidering. Finally, Determine, once again, if the destination you set is still correct.

Principle #6: Leaders nurture their creative genius. Are you aware of your creative genius? Or, are you just stomping through each day hoping to make it back home in one piece? Ugh! Every person is a creator. You have created your life to this point. Happy? Yes? No? What are you going to do about it? Robert Fritz, an author/colleague from years ago told me, “The creative process is alive. It is improvisation. And it is one of the most powerful and intimate involvements with one’s life I know.”

Principle #7: Leaders don’t arrive, they evolve. You’ve probably heard something like that before. It’s very true. There is no end point with leadership. It takes constant practice and is a continuing saga. And, keep in mind, depending on your life story, the memory of you takes a while to slip from this Earthly atmosphere.

Live your life with purpose. Create your Masterpiece. You wouldn’t want to disappoint your great-grandchildren’s children would you?

Specialized Mental Health Treatment Training – Seven Building Blocks For Your Successful Practice

Once you complete your generalist training in mental health practice, it is time to identify your practice niche. The next step after identifying your niche is to seek out specialized mental health treatment training. Specialized mental health treatment training provides the foundation to build your successful practice. When you use the following building blocks, your foundation is solid and the walls surrounding your practice are strong.

Building Block one: Builds confidence in your abilities to treat clients in your niche.

Building Block two: Builds in-depth knowledge in your client’s issues.

Building Block three: Builds skills to work with client issues. Effective mental health training includes interactive skill-building development.

Building Block four: Builds effective approaches to use with client interventions when various client issues arise.

Building Block five: Builds credibility with clients and professional colleagues. You increase referrals. You’re viewed as a specialist with a given body of expertise.

Building Block six: Builds greater competence as your caseload includes more and more clients with similar issues.

Building Block seven: Builds potential to expand your knowledge, skills, and approaches into training other therapists in your specialty niche.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at each building block.

Building Block one: Builds confidence in your abilities to treat clients in your niche. When you carefully select your specialized mental health treatment training, you are prepared to learn what is most beneficial for treating your client niche. You approach the training opportunity with a readiness to learn and leave with greater confidence. Your confidence arises from the knowledge, skills, and attitudes you gain from the training.

Building Block two: Builds in-depth knowledge in your client’s issues. Mental health training in your client niche helps you gain a deep understanding of the issues and dynamics of your clients. This knowledge contributes to your ability to have empathy and patience as you work with your clients to discover resolutions to their emotional pain.

Building Block three: Builds skills to work with client issues. Effective mental health treatment training includes interactive skill-building development. When you select quality mental health treatment trainers, they include experiential or interactive elements in their training. This provides you the opportunity to gain practice in working with the tools the trainer introduces. With appropriate feedback, you hone your skills to work with your clients.

Building Block four: Builds effective approaches to use with client interventions when various client issues arise. You are able to integrate your knowledge and skills to select the appropriate intervention when you apply the approaches you learn in specialized mental health treatment training. Over time, you gain a clear understanding of which interventions are most productive when clients present with similar issues and dynamics.

Building Block five: Builds credibility with clients and professional colleagues that increase referrals. You’re viewed as a specialist with a given body of expertise. Clients stay with you to complete treatment even after their insurance runs out. Your number of self-pay clients increases allowing you to build a more lucrative practice. Managed care referrals increase with your increased credibility.

Building Block six: Builds greater competence as your caseload includes more and more clients with similar issues. Your skills and effective approaches become more refined. You are able to facilitate lasting changes with clients. Your expertise is valued within the larger mental health community.

Building Block seven: Builds potential to expand your knowledge, skills, and approaches into training other therapists in your specialty niche. Leverage your expertise when you provide specialized mental health treatment training to other therapists treating clients in your niche. You move from being trained to being the trainer.

Earn Your Child Care Credentials With An Online Degree

As the number of two-income household increase, more and more working parents are depending on day care centers to take care their children while they go out for work in day time. Parents know that children always come with surprises and they only trust child care providers that are trained to anticipate those surprises. Hence, if you want to success in this business, you need to earn your child care credentials and online education is one way to supplement your knowledge and experience with children to gain the trust of your potential customers.

What You Learn In Child Care Online Degree?

There are different kinds of children care online degree programs available. It’s range from early childhood education, children development to child study for grade 6 – 12 kids. Hence, you need to decide on one that best suit your child care business needs.

Basically, in children care related online degree programs, you will learn about education games, child growth and behaviors, child food nutrition, anticipation of children surprises and help children explore and learn about the world while developing relationships with peers and adults. If you are taking a degree related to business that focus on child care business, you will be taught on children management, activities planning and scheduling, socialization and much more.

Online Universities That Offer Child Care Online Degree Programs

There are a number of online universities that offer child care and children education related online degree programs. Among the online universities are:

  • University Of Phoenix Online University of Phoenix offers Master in Education with a Specialization in Early Childhood Education
  • Rasmussen College If you are interested to focus on children development, then Rasmussen College’s children development online degree program should be able to suit your need.

Choose Your Child Care Online Degree

Beside that, there are other online universities that offer child care online degree program, you could get most of information from internet, make a request to those online universities to send you a more details information of the course that you are interested in; request information from as many online universities as you can to make a comparison purpose on their online degree programs, information requests are free of charge; hence make use of it.

Accreditation

There are a lot of diploma mills offering “fake” degree. Hence, it is important to consider “Accreditation” when you choose your child care online degree. Make sure your selected online degree program is properly accredited by an accreditation agency that is recognized by U.S Department Of Education. Many “fake” degree programs do have accreditation but it is accredited by a “fake” accreditation agency. Hence, watch it of the potential trap of diploma mill when you choose your child care online degree program.

Summary

Your child care career will only be success if you manage to gain trust from parents. And getting an education online is an important way to earn trust or credentials as a child care provider.

How Drug Abusers Think – Help Get Addicts to Rehab Faster by Understanding Why They Avoid Rehab

Does drug abuse exist primarily in the mind of the abuser or is drug abuse society’s problem? Somewhat of a philosophical question, agreed. Let’s get right down into the reality of the matter and skip the pretense.

Drug Abusers Think Society Should Change To Fit Into Their Realities

To understand the boldness of this statement I will enlighten you on what is happening inside a drug abusers head. This may not be pretty, sorry if I use real life examples. But if you found your way to this article, you’re ready for it.

How Drug Abusers See The World

They see the same trees, the same cars and the same family members who are upset or distressed by their addiction. But they also ‘see’ other things.

To continue this analogy of seeing things that aren’t seen by everyone else, let’s consider the mind as a collection of full picture and sound files in one’s personal computer. This personal computer is ones’ mind. The mind has millions of memories or files stored of past experience or conclusions or imaginations. All these files are stored in your mental computer.

What happens when drug abusers experience things they don’t want to?

Here’s the problem: Drugs dull perceptions. Drugs are essentially pain killers. Drugs kill mental, emotional and / or physical pain. That means something that is distressing a person can appear to reduce. The stress seems to go away a bit by the drugs dulling or hiding the experience from the person. They can’t see or experience the discomfort as readily. Sometimes these discomforts come from the past. Remember the mind is made up of past experiences or memory pictures.

Drug abusers have been solving their problems by dulling out their abilities to see these problems. At times the problems right in front of them are unseen by a drug abuser. Other times issues from their past are blocked out.

Let’s take a look at one way drug abusers dull their perception of the past with drugs and with other mental ‘tricks’.

Drug abuse, including marijuana abuse, pharmaceutical abuse and alcohol abuse have one thing in common: Justification

As a drug rehab consultant, I hear more justification for drug abuse and use than most. Here are some rather common and even infamous justifications I’ve heard over the years.

Mental Justifications:

  • They don’t understand
  • I just need one more hit, then it’ll be OK
  • What’s the big deal, it’s just one time
  • This will fix things and I’ll make it through for a while longer

Drug Abusers Are Running Away From Something, Aren’t They?

Most people avoid pain. When the truth contains pain, the truth will be avoided.

Pain is also stored in the minds’ memory pictures. When painful experience is re-triggered by life, the painful part also returns. Drug abusers instinctively avoid this pain. That’s when justification is put to use by the abuser of drugs. Justification is a method of being right and avoiding the discomfort and pain of unpleasant memory.

The mind must be right. This is the minds’ senior command – always be right. Not necessarily truthful, just right. A drug abuser is trying to create a world where they are right in avoiding reality, even if it kills them. That’s why they continue to abuse drugs.

Tips to Lower Your Pricey Dental Care Cost

Getting cosmetic dentistry and dental treatment in several parts of the world, specifically in wealthy countries of the developed world, can be extremely expensive, regardless of whether you have access to any form of dental coverage.

In a survey (1999-2004), it has been revealed by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that 3.75% of adults between the age of 20 and 64 have no remaining teeth. As of 2010, nearly 45 million Americans lacked dental insurance, according to the US federal agency CDC’s statistics.

Many middle-income and uninsured people avoid their dentist appointments due to high costs than pain. But delaying needed dental treatment or check up can put them at an increased risk of facing costlier and more extensive dental work in the long run. Understandably, the oral and dental problems can worsen an individual’s oral health if not attended to immediately.

If you are in need of any kind of dental treatment or surgery but are scared of the heavy dentist bill, by following some useful tips you can save money on your dental care.

Mentioned below are some useful tips to lower the costs of dental treatments for insured and uninsured alike.

Dental Tourism
Dental care could be highly cost prohibitive in several wealthy countries like US, Canada, Australia, the UK and other EU countries.

Compared to the US and European countries, all common dental makeover procedures including veneers, tooth colored fillings, bleaching as well as more complex treatments including orthodontic or surgical treatments like dental implant, bridges, crowns, sealants and tooth bonding can be found at surprisingly lower costs in developing and some newly industrialized countries like India, Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica, Hungary and Belgium, due to the lower living costs and labor wages.

So, instead of delaying your medically necessary dental treatment you can look for inexpensive alternatives in any cheaper country of your choice.

Say No to Frequent X-rays
Your dentist might suggest dental x-ray during your first visit, a scheduled checkup, or a return for treatment. But the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that the frequency of trips to the dentist’s X-ray chair should be determined by the current condition of a patient’s dental health.

So, if you have good oral health, it is just not necessary to have dental x-rays taken every time you visit the dentist. Having teeth x-rayed less frequently can not only save you substantial amount of money but also keep you from potentially harmful radiation exposure from dental X-rays.

Use Negotiation
Another way to keep your dental treatment cost down is to talk to your dental surgeon about payment options during the initial consultation. After having clear understanding of what will and will not be included in the dentist bill you may ask for discount on the dental bill. Your dental care provider and facility may offer you a variety of payment options. Don’t be afraid of asking to pay your dentistry expenses on monthly or quarterly basis.

Barter
It may sound crazy, but you can get free dentistry through the bartering system. Patients with different skills and professional services like carpentry or web design can trade their services for the dental treatment. For example, one can create a Web site for your dentist or offer plumbing, mechanic or any other service in exchange to the dental care costs.

Seek Out Dentistry in a Dental School
To super-size your dental care savings, consider having your dental work done at a dental school, where the dental procedures will be performed by students under the supervision of the qualified and skilled dentists at a fraction of what you would pay in a private care center.

Brush and Floss Everyday
Most importantly, if you really want to save money you need to take very good care of your oral health. Brush your teeth twice a day or after every meal and floss at least once daily to ward off your risk of oral problems. Cut down on your sugary intake in order to reduce your dental problems, thus your time in the dentist’s chair.

If You Are Taking Digestive Health Medicine, You Need To Be Careful

It seems that all of us at one time or another feel a need for some kind of digestive health medicine. If by medicine you are referring to a natural treatment then you’re on the right track. If you want to take a prescription drug or non-prescription drug, you need to find out all the facts.

All drugs are unhealthy for you.

Of course, a certain pharmaceutical drug can save a live in an emergency but we as a modern society have become far too dependent on them and they are causing much more damage to some people than they are helping.

Pharmaceuticals are man-made synthetic drugs which leave potentially dangerous toxins in the body. It’s a proven fact that medications are the cause of certain disorders and disease so unless you absolutely have to take a drug for your condition, why not look at a natural alternative?

Digestive health in particular, is a great example of this. We eat a terrible, high processed diet for many years, until finally symptoms manifest because of certain nutrient deficiencies such as digestive enzymes and dietary fiber. Our body eventually needs quality nutrients or else parts of it will start to break down, just like your car if you don’t change the dirty oil and give it clean fuel.

Drugs are not made to cure a disease, only provide temporary treatment of recurring symptoms

Think about it, does a pharmaceutical company want to sell you a cure? Of course not. That would be the last sale they make to you for that problem. Our focus should be on digging a little deeper to find the true cause of the digestive health problem we’re dealing with.

If you have constipation, taking a laxative might give you some temporary relief but it won’t cure your problem for good. Extended laxative use can muscular functions of your bowel, can drain your body’s water, minerals and vitamins. Excessive use can also damage your kidneys.

Now, wouldn’t it be great to naturally cure constipation through the use of diet. Replacing high processed foods, and fast foods which don’t contain many quality nutrients, with real whole foods? Add fresh fruits, raw and steamed vegetables and then replace your processed grains such as white bread and rice with whole grain bread and brown rice. Get the idea?

These wholesome foods will add more dietary fiber, more vitamins, more minerals and digestive enzymes which will help in your body’s digestion and also absorb more of the nutrients from these foods.

Remember, digestive health medicines are a waste of time and money. You need to think about a cure, and that can be done with quality nutrients.

Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” – Hippocrates, 400 BC

Natural Health Medicine

Natural health medicine is a ever growing business which more people are turning to for effective health treatments. Natural medicines cover virtually any type of sickness and medical condition you might suffer with. We pump our systems with so many chemicals from prescription drugs sometimes it can overload us which can lead to more medical problems down the line. With the price of prescription medicines sky-rocketing over the last decade it is literally impossible to afford the medicines you need.

There are some alternatives to over priced medicines and can be just as effective. Some of the natural health medicines include Devil’s Claw which helps those who suffer from chronic back pain by reducing inflammation, Red Yeast Rice which helps reduce the level of your cholesterol, St. John’s Wort which comes in pill or oil form and can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression, Propolis Powder can be used to help maintain a cleaner mouth, Milk Thistle can be used to help quit smoking (keep in mind results may very), Adaptogenic herbs which include ginseng, licorice, maca, holy basil, and goldenroot, which helps treat fatigue and give to long term energy and not just a quick burst. Phototherapy is one of the more interesting natural health medicines because it deals with ultraviolet light to treat diseases.

Not to suggest a conspiracy but it would seems as if more tests and studies were conducted in these natural health medicines it would take away from the prescription drug business, just something to think about. There are natural health medicines out there to be used to help treat your problems so taking the time to do addition research to see which is right for you is highly suggested.

Small Business Health Insurance – The Best Policy Is A Great Agent

I have been a health insurance broker for over a decade and every day I read more and more “horror” stories that are posted on the Internet regarding health insurance companies not paying claims, refusing to cover specific illnesses and physicians not getting reimbursed for medical services. Unfortunately, insurance companies are driven by profits, not people (albeit they need people to make profits). If the insurance company can find a legal reason not to pay a claim, chances are they will find it, and you the consumer will suffer. However, what most people fail to realize is that there are very few “loopholes” in an insurance policy that give the insurance company an unfair advantage over the consumer. In fact, insurance companies go to great lengths to detail the limitations of their coverage by giving the policy holders 10-days (a 10-day free look period) to review their policy. Unfortunately, most people put their insurance cards in their wallet and place their policy in a drawer or filing cabinet during their 10-day free look and it usually isn’t until they receive a “denial” letter from the insurance company that they take their policy out to really read through it.

The majority of people, who buy their own health insurance, rely heavily on the insurance agent selling the policy to explain the plan’s coverage and benefits. This being the case, many individuals who purchase their own health insurance plan can tell you very little about their plan, other than, what they pay in premiums and how much they have to pay to satisfy their deductible.

For many consumers, purchasing a health insurance policy on their own can be an enormous undertaking. Purchasing a health insurance policy is not like buying a car, in that, the buyer knows that the engine and transmission are standard, and that power windows are optional. A health insurance plan is much more ambiguous, and it is often very difficult for the consumer to determine what type of coverage is standard and what other benefits are optional. In my opinion, this is the primary reason that most policy holders don’t realize that they do not have coverage for a specific medical treatment until they receive a large bill from the hospital stating that “benefits were denied.”

Sure, we all complain about insurance companies, but we do know that they serve a “necessary evil.” And, even though purchasing health insurance may be a frustrating, daunting and time consuming task, there are certain things that you can do as a consumer to ensure that you are purchasing the type of health insurance coverage you really need at a fair price.

Dealing with small business owners and the self-employed market, I have come to the realization that it is extremely difficult for people to distinguish between the type of health insurance coverage that they “want” and the benefits they really “need.” Recently, I have read various comments on different Blogs advocating health plans that offer 100% coverage (no deductible and no-coinsurance) and, although I agree that those types of plans have a great “curb appeal,” I can tell you from personal experience that these plans are not for everyone. Do 100% health plans offer the policy holder greater peace of mind? Probably. But is a 100% health insurance plan something that most consumers really need? Probably not! In my professional opinion, when you purchase a health insurance plan, you must achieve a balance between four important variables; wants, needs, risk and price. Just like you would do if you were purchasing options for a new car, you have to weigh all these variables before you spend your money. If you are healthy, take no medications and rarely go to the doctor, do you really need a 100% plan with a $5 co-payment for prescription drugs if it costs you $300 dollars more a month?

Is it worth $200 more a month to have a $250 deductible and a $20 brand name/$10 generic Rx co-pay versus an 80/20 plan with a $2,500 deductible that also offers a $20 brand name/$10generic co-pay after you pay a once a year $100 Rx deductible? Wouldn’t the 80/20 plan still offer you adequate coverage? Don’t you think it would be better to put that extra $200 ($2,400 per year) in your bank account, just in case you may have to pay your $2,500 deductible or buy a $12 Amoxicillin prescription? Isn’t it wiser to keep your hard-earned money rather than pay higher premiums to an insurance company?

Yes, there are many ways you can keep more of the money that you would normally give to an insurance company in the form of higher monthly premiums. For example, the federal government encourages consumers to purchase H.S.A. (Health Savings Account) qualified H.D.H.P.’s (High Deductible Health Plans) so they have more control over how their health care dollars are spent. Consumers who purchase an HSA Qualified H.D.H.P. can put extra money aside each year in an interest bearing account so they can use that money to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Even procedures that are not normally covered by insurance companies, like Lasik eye surgery, orthodontics, and alternative medicines become 100% tax deductible. If there are no claims that year the money that was deposited into the tax deferred H.S.A can be rolled over to the next year earning an even higher rate of interest. If there are no significant claims for several years (as is often the case) the insured ends up building a sizeable account that enjoys similar tax benefits as a traditional I.R.A. Most H.S.A. administrators now offer thousands of no load mutual funds to transfer your H.S.A. funds into so you can potentially earn an even higher rate of interest.

In my experience, I believe that individuals who purchase their health plan based on wants rather than needs feel the most defrauded or “ripped-off” by their insurance company and/or insurance agent. In fact, I hear almost identical comments from almost every business owner that I speak to. Comments, such as, “I have to run my business, I don’t have time to be sick! “I think I have gone to the doctor 2 times in the last 5 years” and “My insurance company keeps raising my rates and I don’t even use my insurance!” As a business owner myself, I can understand their frustration. So, is there a simple formula that everyone can follow to make health insurance buying easier? Yes! Become an INFORMED consumer.

Every time I contact a prospective client or call one of my client referrals, I ask a handful of specific questions that directly relate to the policy that particular individual currently has in their filing cabinet or dresser drawer. You know the policy that they bought to protect them from having to file bankruptcy due to medical debt. That policy they purchased to cover that $500,000 life-saving organ transplant or those 40 chemotherapy treatments that they may have to undergo if they are diagnosed with cancer.

So what do you think happens almost 100% of the time when I ask these individuals “BASIC” questions about their health insurance policy? They do not know the answers! The following is a list of 10 questions that I frequently ask a prospective health insurance client. Let’s see how many YOU can answer without looking at your policy.

1. What Insurance Company are you insured with and what is the name of your health insurance plan? (e.g. Blue Cross Blue Shield-“Basic Blue”)

2. What is your calendar year deductible and would you have to pay a separate deductible for each family member if everyone in your family became ill at the same time? (e.g. The majority of health plans have a per person yearly deductible, for example, $250, $500, $1,000, or $2,500. However, some plans will only require you to pay a 2 person maximum deductible each year, even if everyone in your family needed extensive medical care.)

3. What is your coinsurance percentage and what dollar amount (stop loss) it is based on? (e.g. A good plan with 80/20 coverage means you pay 20% of some dollar amount. This dollar amount is also known as a stop loss and can vary based on the type of policy you purchase. Stop losses can be as little as $5,000 or $10,000 or as much as $20,000 or there are some policies on the market that have NO stop loss dollar amount.)

4. What is your maximum out of pocket expense per year? (e.g. All deductibles plus all coinsurance percentages plus all applicable access fees or other fees)

5. What is the Lifetime maximum benefit the insurance company will pay if you become seriously ill and does your plan have any “per illness” maximums or caps? (e.g. Some plans may have a $5 million lifetime maximum, but may have a maximum benefit cap of $100,000 per illness. This means that you would have to develop many separate and unrelated life-threatening illnesses costing $100,000 or less to qualify for $5 million of lifetime coverage.)

6. Is your plan a schedule plan, in that it only pays a certain amount for a specific list of procedures? (e.g., Mega Life & Health & Midwest National Life, endorsed by the National Association of the Self-Employed, N.A.S.E. is known for endorsing schedule plans) 7. Does your plan have doctor co-pays and are you limited to a certain number of doctor co-pay visits per year? (e.g. Many plans have a limit of how many times you go to the doctor per year for a co-pay and, quite often the limit is 2-4 visits.)

8. Does your plan offer prescription drug coverage and if it does, do you pay a co-pay for your prescriptions or do you have to meet a separate drug deductible before you receive any benefits and/or do you just have a discount prescription card only? (e.g. Some plans offer you prescription benefits right away, other plans require that you pay a separate drug deductible before you can receive prescription medication for a co-pay. Today, many plans offer no co-pay options and only provide you with a discount prescription card that gives you a 10-20% discount on all prescription medications).

9. Does your plan have any reduction in benefits for organ transplants and if so, what is the maximum your plan will pay if you need an organ transplant? (e.g. Some plans only pay a $100,000 maximum benefit for organ transplants for a procedure that actually costs $350-$500K and this $100,000 maximum may also include reimbursement for expensive anti-rejection medications that must be taken after a transplant. If this is the case, you will often have to pay for all anti-rejection medications out of pocket).

10. Do you have to pay a separate deductible or “access fee” for each hospital admission or for each emergency room visit? (e.g. Some plans, like the Assurant Health’s “CoreMed” plan have a separate $750 hospital admission fee that you pay for the first 3 days you are in the hospital. This fee is in addition to your plan deductible. Also, many plans have benefit “caps” or “access fees” for out-patient services, such as, physical therapy, speech therapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc. Benefit “caps” could be as little as $500 for each out-patient treatment, leaving you a bill for the remaining balance. Access fees are additional fees that you pay per treatment. For example, for each outpatient chemotherapy treatment, you may be required to pay a $250 “access fee” per treatment. So for 40 chemotherapy treatments, you would have to pay 40 x $250 = $10,000. Again, these fees would be charged in addition to your plan deductible).

Now that you’ve read through the list of questions that I ask a prospective health insurance client, ask yourself how many questions you were able to answer. If you couldn’t answer all ten questions don’t be discouraged. That doesn’t mean that you are not a smart consumer. It may just mean that you dealt with a “bad” insurance agent. So how could you tell if you dealt with a “bad” insurance agent? Because a “great” insurance agent would have taken the time to help you really understand your insurance benefits. A “great” agent spends time asking YOU questions so s/he can understand your insurance needs. A “great” agent recommends health plans based on all four variables; wants, needs, risk and price. A “great” agent gives you enough information to weigh all of your options so you can make an informed purchasing decision. And lastly, a “great” agent looks out for YOUR best interest and NOT the best interest of the insurance company.

So how do you know if you have a “great” agent? Easy, if you were able to answer all 10 questions without looking at your health insurance policy, you have a “great” agent. If you were able to answer the majority of questions, you may have a “good” agent. However, if you were only able to answer a few questions, chances are you have a “bad” agent. Insurance agents are no different than any other professional. There are some insurance agents that really care about the clients they work with, and there are other agents that avoid answering questions and duck client phone calls when a message is left about unpaid claims or skyrocketing health insurance rates.

Remember, your health insurance purchase is just as important as purchasing a house or a car, if not more important. So don’t be afraid to ask your insurance agent a lot of questions to make sure that you understand what your health plan does and does not cover. If you don’t feel comfortable with the type of coverage that your agent suggests or if you think the price is too high, ask your agent if s/he can select a comparable plan so you can make a side by side comparison before you purchase. And, most importantly, read all of the “fine print” in your health plan brochure and when you receive your policy, take the time to read through your policy during your 10-day free look period.

If you can’t understand something, or aren’t quite sure what the asterisk (*) next to the benefit description really means in terms of your coverage, call your agent or contact the insurance company to ask for further clarification.

Furthermore, take the time to perform your own due diligence. For example, if you research MEGA Life and Health or the Midwest National Life insurance company, endorsed by the National Association for the Self Employed (NASE), you will find that there have been 14 class action lawsuits brought against these companies since 1995. So ask yourself, “Is this a company that I would trust to pay my health insurance claims?

Additionally, find out if your agent is a “captive” agent or an insurance “broker.” “Captive” agents can only offer ONE insurance company’s products.” Independent” agents or insurance “brokers” can offer you a variety of different insurance plans from many different insurance companies. A “captive” agent may recommend a health plan that doesn’t exactly meet your needs because that is the only plan s/he can sell. An “independent” agent or insurance “broker” can usually offer you a variety of different insurance products from many quality carriers and can often customize a plan to meet your specific insurance needs and budget.

Over the years, I have developed strong, trusting relationships with my clients because of my insurance expertise and the level of personal service that I provide. This is one of the primary reasons that I do not recommend buying health insurance on the Internet. In my opinion, there are too many variables that Internet insurance buyers do not often take into consideration. I am a firm believer that a health insurance purchase requires the level of expertise and personal attention that only an insurance professional can provide. And, since it does not cost a penny more to purchase your health insurance through an agent or broker, my advice would be to use eBay and Amazon for your less important purchases and to use a knowledgeable, ethical and reputable independent agent or broker for one of the most important purchases you will ever make….your health insurance policy.

Lastly, if you have any concerns about an insurance company, contact your state’s Department of Insurance BEFORE you buy your policy. Your state’s Department of Insurance can tell you if the insurance company is registered in your state and can also tell you if there have been any complaints against that company that have been filed by policy holders. If you suspect that your agent is trying to sell you a fraudulent insurance policy, (e.g. you have to become a member of a union to qualify for coverage) or isn’t being honest with you, your state’s Department of Insurance can also check to see if your agent is licensed and whether or not there has ever been any disciplinary action previously taken against that agent.

In closing, I hope I have given you enough information so you can become an INFORMED insurance consumer. However, I remain convinced that the following words of wisdom still go along way: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!” and “If you only buy on price, you get what you pay for!”

Use Specialized Mental Health Treatment Training – Build Your Private Practice

How to use specialized mental health treatment training is an important area for you to explore. As I opened a recent SAMHSA newsletter, this headline stopped me in my tracks. “New Nationwide Report Reveals That More than One in Every 10 adults Experienced Serious Psychological Distress in the Past Year”!  After close to 30 years as a practicing professional counselor and Mental Health Treatment Trainer, I knew there were many folks who were in emotional pain we never reached. I read the full text of the article looking for clues to who these potential clients were and how we might reach them.

When I think back to my counselor education programs at the master’s and doctoral levels, I know there was no time to educate new therapists to work with specialty populations, especially to the depth needed to build a private practice niche. Therefore, it is a given that any therapist who wants to go beyond a generalist practice must seek Mental Health Treatment Training in their specialty area of choice. How does all this relate to the SAMHSA article?

Most therapists and counselors look at specializing in a selected diagnostic area on Axis I disorders, for example, anxiety or depression. What is often neglected are specialty areas on Axis IV issues like domestic violence treatment, sex offender treatment and child abuse treatment.

These are often the clients who most need Mental Health Treatment for dysfunctional family issues. And, this is the best time in their lives to obtain this type of specialty treatment to interrupt the dysfunctional family cycle. Mental Health Treatment Training is available to address Adult Children from Dysfunctional Family issues. Use this specialty area to build a successful private practice. You can be the leader in your community to provide Mental Health Treatment to this population and become the “go to” person for other therapists in your area as well.

Start your specialized mental health treatment training now.

Prominent Architects in Phoenix

Working with outstanding Phoenix real estate agents is one of the best ways to find the perfect Phoenix homes that will best meet you and your family’s needs. Once a Phoenix realtor understands the type of property you wish to purchase, he or she will apply that criteria when searching every Phoenix real estate listing until the best property matches are found, thus saving you time and money. As you begin settling in, you will have ample opportunities to explore this beautiful city. Phoenix is home to several prominent architects whose talent is on display in remarkable buildings in Phoenix that they have designed.

Phoenix-based Gould Evans Associates, LC + Wendell Burnett Architects were honored with the 2007 American Institute Honor Awards for Architecture for their design of the Palo Verde Library/Maryvale Community Center owned by the City of Phoenix. The connection of the mind and body was used as a design theme that features two equally sized “volumes,” which are lit at the bottom and top, so you can see the activity going on inside from the outside. The library is housed in one side, and the gymnasium in the other. Care was taken to incorporate “green” building products, including floor tile made from recycled tires and cork, while walls were made from oriented strand board made from recycled wood. Formaldehyde-free insulation was also used.

The award-winning Phoenix architectural firm of richard + bauer Architecture was the design organization that created the Meinel Optical Science Research Building for the University of Arizona in Tucson. Principals James Richard, Kelly Bauer, and Stephen Kennedy’s building features a concrete wall that is covered with red-bronze copper treatment to relate in tone to bricks used on the campus. To give the feeling of a darkroom, openings allow light into the building, and the light plays off the rooms within. For their work on this important building, richard + bauer Architecture were also awarded the 2007 American Institute of Architects Honor Award.

There still occasionally come on the Phoenix market vintage homes designed by Ralph Haver. Haver was a prominent Phoenix architect in the 1950s who made his mark in contemporary-styled single-family homes. His designs often feature window walls, clerestories, beam ceilings, carports rather than garages and a low pitch to the front facing gable roof style.

Probably the most famous architect in American history has his foundation in Scottsdale, and that is Frank Lloyd Wright. Known for organic architecture that allows the building to fit into the context that the land itself provides, Taliesin West in Scottsdale is where Wright had his home, his studio, and was the site of his architectural school. Archives of Wright’s work are housed at the Foundation as well.

Choosing Right Home Furniture

A house without furniture often sounds like a flower without fragrance. Furniture takes away the emptiness of a home, and makes it attractive and functional. For those reasons, it’s important to choose the right furniture items that function, add to the appeal, reflect your taste, and provide a great value for the price. It turns out not too many shoppers exhibit satisfaction when they are exploring choices for quality home furniture. One of the major reasons for this dissatisfaction is the lack of priorities that a shopper must set to determine what exactly to look for. Also is there a group of buyers who finds it a nerve-wracking task to select right furniture for their homes out of the multiple choices being offered by internet today.

If you have happened to be facing any of the afore-identified situations, you should seek some guidelines for a better understanding of finding and buying good-value furniture and accessories. Below is brief list of points-to-note to be kept in mind and considered before going on a shopping spree:

Room and requirements: Every house comprises different rooms; the main being living room, drawing room, dining room, guest room, and TV lounge. Each room requires different furniture items for its distinctive classification. For instance, a dining room requires to be filled with a dining table set instead of sofa set whereas a bed room needs to be graced with a dressing-table set instead of a utensil storage cabinet. It is important to determine what room requires what kind of furniture.

Similarly, if you intend to buy a sofa or a cabinet, create an appropriate place for it in your home. A sofa fits well in a living room or a drawing room whereas cabinet should find its way to a bedroom or kitchen depending upon its use.

Furniture replacements: If you decide to redecorate your old home by replacing its furniture with a new line, do it systematically. Choose the living room to begin with, for being the most occupied place of your home. This is where your family members or friends sit, relax, chat and enjoy. Make sure you find and buy living room furniture items in colors and designs that match with the colors of walls and/or floor of your room or house. Once done with your living room, go with the redecoration of a guest room, drawing room, dining room, so on and so forth.

Furniture size: Consider room space before settling on any furniture item. If your room is too large, choose mirrored furniture which will make your room look small.

Wholesale living room furniture: Go for online stores of wholesale furniture where you’ll have more chances to get your favorite furniture pieces at the most competitive prices and get discount deals on your purchases.

A common misconception attributed to cheap furniture is that it is neither durable nor reliable. If truth be written, cheap furniture is the line of furniture that is offered at a cheap price. Quality remains the same though. Hope, you are pretty sure how to choose and buy right furniture for your home now!

Why Travel Solo – My Reasons For Travelling Solo

Many of you reading this article are thinking to yourselves ‘why travel solo… are you crazy’, while others are reading this in total agreement. Like for all travel needs, individual tastes, interests and goals will be the concern for any person traveling.

For me personally I prefer to travel solo myself but It all boils down to the type of trip you’re taking and what you plan on doing… obviously there are times where group or couple travel is inescapable and is of course still going to be a great experience… all travel is. These times could be team getaways, events such as weddings or corporate and clearly for a romantic getaway or honeymoon where I’ll assume that you would prefer not to travel solo.

Maybe you don’t have a partner or perhaps you didn’t know anyone else you wanted to travel with you… but you know with all your heart you want to go, have to go. Are the people who said no going to stop your travel? If so, why? Is it safety concerns, is It the unknown? Those questions might be on your mind, but think about it this way… doesn’t it make it more exciting? Wouldn’t you feel more accomplished if you did it by yourself?

Let me explain why I travel solo and the reasons why.

Avoid The Drama Of Others

Drama is often inescapable as all people including myself has some sort of drama in their lives. However in my experience below

A few years back I backpacked Europe and after about a week or so met up with a group of friends for roughly a month. In this time the couple traveling with us had a bad break up, which in turn almost severed another relationship. That night while this couple was fighting, bags were snatched, wallets stolen and because of the public outburst questioned by the police… and this was just the beginning of the drama, we still Christmas to get through after this. When the whole group of my friends had left I felt relief and like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

You may not want to travel solo but if you’re single then my recommendation is that you at least don’t travel with a couple, not without at least some other single people there.

Indifference Of Ideas

All travelers have their own ideas of what they want out of their travel and so they should. Compromise can be much easier in a couple and certainly traveling solo but in a group it can be a nightmare. You may want to go to a museum you’ve always wanted to see where as the others in your group want to just hit the pub.

Whoever has the numbers or the dominance will most likely win which puts you in an awkward situation. Yes, you could leave and go the museum by yourself but then what do you friends think of you and say about you later on. You may also not be contactable by phone, being in another country without a sim card which makes it much harder to meet up and find out when others will be back etc.

I remember road trip we took just 2 hours away from home with six guys and we had one of the worst weekends away possible. Some of us wanted to go prawning, others wanted to go somewhere else for fishing and some of us just wanted to hang out at the hotel by the beach and drink. The problem was we were all stubborn and because we only had the one car and two sets of keys it caused arguments left, right and centre.

Living In Close Quarters

When traveling with others, particularly for long periods of time you need to ensure that your travel buddy is someone you could live with in close quarters for however long it is you are traveling. We all have friends that we know that are good friends but you could never live with them, maybe they are messy, maybe they are snappy and the list goes on. If you can’t live with them… what makes you think you can travel with them?

Be Who You Want

A bonus to traveling solo as well is that others you meet along the way and you get to be the person you’ve always wanted to be or at least be able to interact differently with others. I truly believe you meet a lot more people when traveling solo as you have more reason to talk to others and you will meet more like-minded people to you as there are no indifference to ideas of what to do.

These are four of the main reasons why I travel solo but there are many more personal reasons like independence my goal when backpacking Europe was to get out there in the world and do it all myself. Escapism is another big reason for me sometimes with work and the same old routine you just need to escape the daily grind and get in some alone time.

Traveling solo isn’t for everyone and isn’t for all kinds of travel but if you’re after a fulfilling holiday and experiences then there really is nothing like traveling solo. You will not only meet more like-minded people, get to be who you want, gain independence and a sense of fulfillment as well avoid an indifference of ideas, living in close quarters and avoid anyone else drama while you enjoy what you want to do on your dream holiday. This is why I travel solo.

School Bus Safety Tips For Drivers and Their Children

Imagine: millions of students nationwide start their day by getting on and off the school bus. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that year after year, pedestrians who are usually below the age of 19 have died in school bus-related crashes. More school-age pedestrians have been killed between the hours of 3 and 4 p.m. than any other time of day. The NHTSA has even formulated several safety tips for both drivers and children:

Take note of the crosswalk/school zone sign.

 

  • Drivers: This means that during mornings and afternoons, these areas are likely to be crowded with children — some even on their bicycles or in-line skates. All of them are no match to a bus, so extra care in part of the driver is needed.
  • Children: Do what you learned in pre-school: look left, then right to see if vehicles or people are going to pass before crossing the street. If you could, go along with other children/people using the crosswalk.

Learn the “Flashing Signal Light System”that school buses use.

  • Drivers: Alert motorists if you are preparing to/stopping the school bus using the yellow/red light.
  • Children:Just because they are in a stop position does not mean there is no more danger. Take note of the danger zones around a stopped school bus, namely, the front and back (which are the most dangerous zones) and the driver’s side of the bus.

Slow down.

  • Drivers: Be alert around school zones. Young people may be rushing about on their way to class or to meet a parent.
  • Children: No need to rush when getting on or off. Wait until the bus hits a full stop, with the doors wide open before getting in. Use the handrails to avoid falls.

Visibility.

  • Drivers: For a vehicle such as a school bus, you really can’t see what’s directly below you. Be careful before speeding on.
  • Children: When crossing in front of a bus, put a safe distance (say, 10 feet) between the bus and where you plan to cross. Use sidewalks and walkways where you’re sure the driver sees you.

Backing up.

  • Drivers: Be aware if children/bicycles are crossing behind you.
  • Children: Never be the children/children-in-bicycles who cross behind buses.

To enforce traffic safety, the state of Florida has enforced tougher penalties for passing a stopped school bus while loading or unloading children. Previously the fine was $65.00, however now they are required to attend a 4-hour basic driver improvement course. This course explains Florida traffic laws and provides a refresher on defensive driving techniques.

So, for all drivers before you rush to pass a stopped school bus remember that the school bus uses the red flashing lights for a reason. And for pedestrians and children always but safety first and proceed with caution when exiting or entering the bus or in school zones.

Tips When Buying Home Furniture

When buying for home furniture, there are a lot of tips that you need to be aware of in order to get the best out of the quality and from the price. There are numerous stores that sell furniture for the home and you may get confused on which place is the best for you. It is never recommended to buy the first furniture that you like. Always look for more items and selections first so that you can make sure that what you are buying is the best in the market.

The bedroom is one place in your home that you may want to redecorate. When choosing home bedroom furniture the best tip to follow is finding the best and the most comfortable. The bedroom is your private sanctuary and it is very important that your bedroom furniture is comfortable. For instance, when you are buying a bed for your room, choose the one that you find at ease with. Do not be afraid to test out the bed, its foam and how it feels once you lay on it. Also do not forget to measure the size of the bed that it can fit perfectly in your room. For the home bathroom furniture, choose the ones that can fit into the space of your bathroom. Keep it elegant and simple.

For the furniture in your home, the trick is finding the perfect design and color that can match your place. One home furniture store can carry countless furniture that have different color, designs and materials to suit your home. Some of them may have offers of making made to order furniture if you cannot find the design and the color that you want. These made to order furniture may cost more than the regular ones in the store, but if you have the budget and you are willing to wait, this could ensure that you will get the furniture that you want. When shopping for home furniture, it is important that you are getting items that are of good quality. You may want your furniture to last for years. Paying for cheap but low quality furniture will only cost you more in the long run because you will need to repair or buy new furniture from time to time.

When choosing the sofas or armchair of your living room, the rule is like that of the bedroom, choose the sofa or armchair that can give you comfort. Your guests or family will be sitting in these sofas when you get together or watch television, a comfortable sofa means a lot. Also make sure that the sofa can match your room color. It does not have to be the same color, but something that can compliment your home. There is also other home décor furniture that you may want to add like coffee tables, side tables or a small chair or tea table. These are good furniture to add to your room if you have enough space. Overcrowding a room with furniture is never a good idea. It will only make your home look smaller and disorganized.

Travel Pre And Post Internet

Travel Pre Internet:

I’ve been traveling for over 40 years – by thumb in my early days, by boots in the Scouts, a Lambretta came next and then my first old banger followed by newer old bangers to the beaches of the Costa Brava.

My thumb, boots, bikes and bangers took me all over Europe and the UK before finding that a charter flight to Spain on an old ‘Connie’ could get me to the beaches and bars a lot quicker and allow more time to enjoy the local travel opportunities by horse and cart and the occasional bus and train.

‘Go West and Prosper’ seemed to be a good idea so instead of taking an 8 hour flight I took an 8 day transatlantic crossing from Tilbury to Montreal on the Stephan Batory of Polish Ocean Lines ensuring that jet lag did not trouble my travel plans. Some years later I crossed the pond again on a ship but this time it was 5 times bigger and I traveled in style on the QE2 and dined in the Queen’s Grill somewhat removed from my earlier experience. I highly recommend ocean voyages but cannot see myself on one of the modern cruise ships going from port to port with constant line-ups to get on and off to buy t-shirts. However, I have done 10 Windjammers and a Star Clipper cruise in the Caribbean which were all memorable (let’s hope Windjammer Barefoot Cruises recover from their woes). But I digress.

I had read that Canada is a spectacular country, from sea to shining sea, and my entrance into the St. Lawrence River to Montreal and then heading west in an old Econoline van from the Great Lakes, across the Prairies to the Rocky Mountains before ending up whale watching off of the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island was a trip of wonder to a bloke from London. Today the scenery is still spectacular and the best way to go is still by road so rent or buy a car, motorhome or motorbike, take the train or tour bus but remember the maps, a fly rod, good boots and take your time.

My favorite part of Canada / USA for adventure travel has to be Northern BC / Alaska, to hike the Chilkoot Trail in the steps of the goldseekers of 1898. The Northwest Territories to canoe the Nahannie River and the Yukon to drive from Dawson City to Chicken, Alaska. If you like the outdoors and can put up with a few bugs, cast a fly and scale a few hills or drive on endless dirt roads sharing the space with moose, caribou, elk, bears and eagles, then these are the places to put on your list. The pleasures and experiences in driving to Inuvik on the Dempster Highway or to Prudhoe Bay on the Dalton Highway or even the Canol Road can only be felt by doing them. I would have mentioned the Alaska Highway but now it is an easy drive unlike the aforementioned.

Today the costs of driving these distances may mean that sharing the journey with others is required, but RVing or simply vanning and camping is a great way to see beyond the horizon. Some enroute adventures now need to be booked in advance whereas when I hiked Denali and the Chilkoot Pass it was just a case of turning up, registering with the local ranger office and heading on out. A little more forward planning is needed for today’s traveller and cost considerations of lengthy flights or drives have to somehow be countered with more careful planning. In the days of reasonable gas prices I would not even consider the driving or flying costs and have driven to Key West from the northwest coast, down the west coast to the Baja and to the west coast from New York. I once even flew my 1946 Fleet taildragger from the Pacific to the Atlantic and back using around 5 gallons an hour of avgas. Before the oil and credit crisis I drove from Rio de Janeiro to Lima, down to Tierra del Fuego and back to Rio covering over 15,000 miles of spectacular scenery and with no consideration about the cost of gas. South America should be on your itinerary too! Some other memorable drives that may now require a mortgage with the gas companies include London to The Nordkapp, Norway, Skippers Canyon in New Zealand and the loneliness of the far north of Australia and the amazing coast of Western Australia stopping by at Monkey Mia and Wave Rock.

We tend to forget that the real cost of traveling is often less today than over the 40 years of my travels. In 1977 my round-trip airfare from Canada to Australia cost over $1700 in 1977 dollars so today it is far cheaper to fly, even with the airlines gouging for fuel, extra baggage, no service and no pleasure. The ‘Big Mac’ method of price comparison as developed by The Economist newspaper gives us a good gauge for most expenditures of today compared to yesterday but my $1500 cost to get a private pilots license in the 1970’s seems cheap by comparison to today, but obviously not when using this Big Mac principle. Other travel costs are also far cheaper today but this should not mean that travelers should disregard the many methods of saving costs that can then be put to extended or improved travel experiences

Travel Post-Internet:

In my 40 years of travel I have had to use travel agents to make even the simplest of reservations and buy tickets, not even thinking to ask them if they had “been there, done that?” It was just a case of there being no other options to buying travel. Now we have unlimited choices and can seek out better travel agents, better prices, better selections and information about anywhere in the world for our travels – without even leaving home.

The Internet now gives travelers ideas and options of Where to go, When to go, Why to go, What to do, Who to book with and How to save money and offset costs. We can search and find experts for every travel option. If we are comfortable with the Internet we no longer have to go to a travel agent to make reservations and buy tickets except to book with some of the larger travel companies that still produce glossy brochures and offer all inclusive packages or tours that only sell through the agency system. The Internet also allows those of us who are smart enough to know when to seek out a top travel agent with knowledge, experience and expertise (KEE skills) of destinations and activities about where to find them. There is no longer any need to only use our local agents when we can find one somewhere else in the world. When we do not need ‘the knowledge’ and can do it ourselves we simply surf the web so that we can book directly with tour and travel operators wherever we have decided to go.

Some travel agents operate their own tours, some are both wholesale and retail, some limit consumer selection by only selling their ‘preferred’ suppliers and some have professional consultants with years of experience invested in gaining knowledge, experience and expertise and are worth their weight in gold to the savvy traveler. Beware though, as some are also called destination specialists and some of these designations merely require the agent to take a rudimentary test offered by tourism offices, destination marketing groups or even tour operators and in my opinion can harm the reputation of the travel industry. A specialist is not necessarily an expert.

Travel is probably the most used commercial aspect of the Internet and if retail agents want to harness this exciting medium to offer ‘the knowledge’ and their ‘kee’ skills to a global audience, not just their local community, they must embrace the changes that are happening. Travelers now have the ability to seek answers to the 5 W’s of travel and the important ‘How to’ save money and offset costs by having information just a click away.

And then it occurred to me that even internet travel prices often include a commission element even when sold directly to the consumer. If we book directly with operators we should not have to pay full retail prices as we are doing for ourselves what a retail agent would normally do for us. A dilemma for the operator is that to show a both a retail and a cost price option could deter many agents from selling the services as travelers could use an agent for free advice and book directly with the operator to get a ‘net of commission’ price. Obviously this two tier pricing is not often available but travelers who do not need advice should also not be penalized by retail pricing. A new way had to be found and I think I have found it!

The need for fairer fare prices is why I developed the Top Travel Voucher program at The Top Travel Club and I even found a dot com for it. All travel selections on the site are at ‘net of commission’ prices for members who handle there own travel arrangements directly with the operators linked on the club website using our voucher program.

I am inviting travel operators from around the world to join this program, from B&B’s, Motels, Hotels, Luxury Lodges, Eco Resorts, Beach Resorts and Tour and Adventure Operators who want to promote their products and services to travelers who are comfortable with direct bookings and reservations.

I am also inviting Travel Agents with knowledge, experience and expertise of destinations and activities to showcase their skills to a global audience of travelers and to the members of this new travel club. I am leery of ‘specialist agents’ and only want experts to showcase their services.

This opportunity is available to the travel trade at no cost except for them to offer net, wholesale or outlet prices to club members and visitors to the website using top travel vouchers. I believe this program offers fairer fare prices to direct-booking travelers. The operator would normally be paying commission anyway but now travelers get the savings because they make their own arrangements.

The Top Travel Club opened in mid-April 2008 offering thousands of top travel vouchers for travel in over 70 countries with around 150 travel operators on-board. Every week we add more travel operators with more choices for members. Currently you can get savings on accommodations, adventure travel, boat charters, culinary tours, hike, bike and dive tours, auto and RV rentals fishing lodges and guides, safaris, vacation rentals, single travel, women only and dude ranches. Members get the vouchers free of charge by paying an annual membership fee and non-members can buy the vouchers on the internet at Top Travel Sites at deeply discounted prices to the face-value. The future growth will include restaurants, travel clothing, travel insurance and the opportunity to access air ticket consolidators who want to deal directly with consumers.

The way I have traveled and the way I see travel is that consumers should have unlimited access to every travel opportunity with the ability to do their own due diligence or to find a professional who can offer quality advice and services at fair prices, and to find all of this without needing endless hours of searching.

To find out more about the new way of cost offsets for travel please go to The Top Travel Club and my apologies for some of the spelling (traveler / traveler) but that is what I was taught. As long as we all understand the meaning, vive le difference!

The Health, Medicinal Benefits of Garlic – Part 1 Getting Heart Healthy!

Part 1: Health, Medicinal Benefits of Garlic:

There are many reasons that adding raw garlic to your diet will increase your health. In part 1 of this article you will learn 10 facts about how garlic affects your health.

1. Garlic supports a healthy heart. It can help you lower your bad cholesterol levels, and prevent hardening of the arteries, among many other benefits for your heart.

2. Organic garlic has a higher amount of sulphur in it, and the higher this amount the more health benefits there are.

3. Garlic that has been aged has more antioxidants than garlic that is not aged.

4. Garlic can be used in diabetics to lower blood sugar, or continue to keep it low.

5. Too much garlic can cause irritation to your bowels.

6. One of the compounds of Garlic can be used as an anti-fugal.

7. Microwaving garlic will completely kill the antibiotic and anti-fungal properties of it.

8. By crushing fresh organic garlic you will get the most medicinal use out of it.

9. The fresher the garlic and the freshest chopped or crushed the more taste you will get out of it.

10. Garlic has been used for over 5,000 years for medicinal purposes, starting in India.

From reading this you can conclude that by buying raw organic garlic bulbs and only opening them right before you crush or chop them for immediate use, you will get the most medicinal purposes out of your garlic. The smaller the garlic pieces when you are done chopping, mincing or crushing the more of the healing components you will get out of it, these components are activated when you cut the garlic, as time goes by the benefits will diminish, that is why it is very important to only get the garlic ready just before using it. You may also want to note that by using garlic this way you will get more taste out of it, so you can actually use less.

Benefits of Collaboration in the Luxury Travel World

The luxury travel industry has been the core of my business world for many years. In my role as marketing consultant have seen travel companies grow and fall as the trends for vacations and short breaks changed in line with needs for the industry’s most important component – the customer.

From just one holiday or vacation a year, the trend has grown to a pattern of two maybe even three vacations. For those with more disposable income, a sprinkling of short breaks throughout the year has become a typical indulgence… until now.

With the onset of the financial recession from 2008 onwards large families and travelers in their 40-50s were hardest hit in terms of the number and quality of holidays taken. Excited at the opportunities afforded by budget flights and exciting destinations many families looked forward to a few weeks in the sun with cheap food and drink plus the opportunity to pick up some duty free luxuries and a tan.

But the fall out from flight route closures on the cheaper airlines, the rising costs of hold baggage and the affects of currency fluctuations have made larger numbers of potential holiday makers taking the cheaper option and staying at home.

The younger singles market still managed the short luxury breaks to European cities such as Prague and Barcelona and the island retreats of Ibiza and Mallorca. But even this market is being eroded as salaries dip in line with recession. Currency fluctuation and exchange rates have hit the cost of bed and board rises dramatically in the once celebrated destinations. Add in the effect of ‘global warming’ on the conscience of the younger travelers and its easy to see why so many of the budget holiday companies are falling on difficult times.

And what about the luxury end of the market? Believe it or now but some of the top end companies are having a very profitable time. How? They have talked to each other, joined forces and shared resources to help bring their marketing costs down and in many cases their market coverage up.

I have seen groups of top Scottish Hotels who might have been fighting for a customers attention, become a collaborative marketing group whose aim is to sell the destination first and then divide up the spoils among their spa resorts, golf complexes, boutique hotel partners and city centre apartments.

I have also seen small specialist travel agents collaborate by forming a collaborative venture specializing in high end luxury travel destinations – each member having a unique destination or service. With one innovative marketing message they have a louder voice than they might have as individual travel operators.

On the customer side collaboration is also proving very beneficial. Instead of taking lots of individual holidays there is a growing trend for groups who might have booked separate hotels and a similar destination to team up and book a large villa or apartment. Combining their entrepreneurial skills, purchasing skills and cooking skills they are able to eat well, organize great activities while staying at some of the most exclusive holiday destinations.

The Basic Elements of Style

Wearing the latest in fashion is what every one of us likes to do. But it is very important to carry the clothes in style. Having a great wardrobe is definitely essential but some basics of style should also be adhered to in order to make a striking fashion statement. There are lots of online wholesale apparel shops that cater to the fashion conscious generation. But apart from stocking up a fantastic collection, there are a few other issues that need to be paid attention to.

• A well groomed appearance is very essential in order to carry any ensemble with style. Nobody looks good with straggly, greasy hair, chewed up fingernails, gross skin, unplucked eyebrows, and leg stubble.

• Taking good care of your clothes is also very important. Well maintained clothes are the basic requirement of carrying off any stylish look with elan.

• Over usage of accessories can kill any fashionable ensemble. It is always best to make minimum use of accessories so that they can act as a compliment to the basic outfit and add some style.

• Try to choose outfits based on which colors and styles look nice on you. It is a good idea to match what you are wearing with your own personality. This helps in bringing out your true colors and helps you look and feel great.

Each year new fashion trends are born and it is time for the old ones to retire. Though it is definitely a great idea to go with what is in vogue, but at the same time you should keep an eye out for the comfort factor as well. Comfort and style goes hand in hand and choosing apparel based on how comfortable you feel wearing them is the smartest decision. Fashion trends appear unexpectedly and fade away even quicker than they appeared.

There is no limit to the permutations one can think of in terms of mixing and matching clothes and creating a style that is comfortable yet elegant. If you want to achieve a great look, be in line with new fashion styles that are influenced by different seasons. In recent we have seen the rise of new brands as well as the comeback of some old fashion trends. To wear something different and with style is to create fashion and with a bit of creativity you can come up with unique combinations that can become a personal fashion statement.

Looking Effortlessly Stylish and Creating Your Own Unique Fashion Style

There’s a famous saying that goes, ‘the clothes make the man (or the woman).’ This simply means that what one wears can say a lot about him; some actually judge people on the kind of clothes they wear. Ever since that time when man decided to put on something to cover his naked body, he has always been paying attention to what he wears not only in terms of how it protects his body, but also on how he’s going to be perceived by other people. Today, fashion trends come and go as fleeting as the latest smartphones.

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t necessarily keep up with the latest trends in fashion but don’t want to look old-fashioned either, you can follow these tips on how to dress up in style without necessarily spending a fortune or without looking like you’re trying to follow the trend:

Choose clothes that complement your skin color, height and size – Some people make the mistake of putting on something that they’ve seen their favorite celebrities wear that may not necessarily be ideal for them. Always go for outfits that will highlight your good features and downplay the not-too-good ones.

Don’t go for too much: It’s okay to make a statement with what you wear, but you don’t necessarily have to go over the top for it. You can be bold sometimes, but don’t make yourself appear like a human placard.

Have a few pairs of jeans: Jeans always work with almost anything and are never out of style. Jeans can also be used to neutralize your overall look in case your top looks too formal or too elegant if you’re only attending a small soiree. However, you should still stay within the bounds of good taste and decency by not going too low waist-ed with them. Tattered jeans are fine, too, but overdoing it may just result to a fashion disaster.

Know how to mix and match: When shopping, look for clothes with neutral colors and plain prints so you can match them with anything in your closet. But this is not to limit your shopping range. Of course, you can always go for shirts that have different colors and exciting prints, but nothing too outrageous.

Create your own style – There’s nothing wrong with looking like your favorite celebrity, but wearing exactly the same shirt, pants, shoes, and accessories he or she has worn in a picture you’ve seen in a magazine makes you look like a copycat. Some people would even think it’s creepy. Experiment with different combinations and create a style all your own.

Looking stylish with the clothes you wear is certainly not rocket science. Just know who you are and what looks good on you and you can strut your stuff with panache wherever you go.