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According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, family health insurance costs for those with employer-sponsored coverage increased by nine percent in 2011.
Maybe it's time for a health insurance checkup. Take a look at what you're paying for coverage, think about which benefits you value most, and read the following tips to save money on health insurance:
Review your options annually. Whether you get your health insurance coverage through an employer or purchase an individual policy, you should review your options at least once per year.
Cultivate healthy habits. By taking care of yourself now, you may be taking care of your pocketbook in the future. A recent study conducted by eHealth Inc. found that policyholders with a body mass index in the "obese" range paid 22 percent more than those in the "normal" BMI range –– an average annual savings of $444.
Try a plan with a higher deductible. If you're relatively healthy and rarely see the doctor, consider switching to a plan with a higher annual deductible and a lower monthly premium.
Consider splitting up the family. There's no law that says you need to have the whole family on a single health insurance plan. For example, some employers pay little, if anything, for an employee’s dependents. You may be able to save on your monthly health insurance costs by putting your dependents on a plan of their own.
-- Family Features
New Research: Deadly germ more prevalent than thought
Infections from Clostridium difficile, a bacteria that causes diarrhea and other health issues, is a patient-safety concern in all types of medical facilities, not just hospitals as traditionally thought. C. difficile is linked to about 14,000 U.S. deaths every year, and infection rates and deaths have climbed to historic highs.
-- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Did You Know?
NFL players are actually living longer than the average American male, with a much lower risk of cancer and heart disease.
Health Tip: Don’t forget to stretch
Stretching after exercise can help relax and balance tension caused by the workout itself. Post-workout, when your body is warm, is the ideal time to stretch; doing so will decrease the risk of muscle injury and will help you avoid tight, sore muscles. Plus, the calm, relaxing feeling a good stretch produces is a great way to end an intense workout!
-- Life Fitness
Number to Know
2 billion: Between 1990 and 2010, over 2 billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources across the world, such as piped supplies and protected wells.
-- World Health Organization
Children’s Health: Snoring linked to behavior problems
Children who snore or who have other sleep-related breathing problems are more likely to have behavioral problems years later. By age 4, children with sleep-disordered breathing were 20 percent to 60 percent more likely to have behavioral difficulties. By age 7, they were 40 percent to 100 percent more likely. This may be because of increased vulnerability during a critical period of brain development when there is the greatest need for sleep.
-- American Academy of Pediatrics
Boomer Health: Safe knee replacement implants?
Knee replacement surgeries have doubled in the past decade, and those diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee who opted for the surgery had an 11 percent lower risk of heart failure after three years. However, a team of international researchers says there needs to be greater oversight of the safety of the many types of implants available on the market and better guidelines as to who qualifies for the surgery.
GateHouse News Service