Dental Procedures Demystified!

Fear of the dentist is not uncommon, in fact, about 50% of Americans admit some fear of dental procedures and about 10% are so frightened they actually avoid dental care.  It is far worse to avoid dental care, as dental pain and issues only get worse over time.  If you are afraid of dental treatments, you can talk to your dentist about sedatives designed to ease your anxiety and get you through dental procedures.

Once thing that can also help you is knowing more about the following common dental procedures:

Extractions

Teeth may need to be pulled in the event of dental pain or infection.  A certain amount of blood and pain is to be expected, so anesthesia can be used to reduce pain.  You can also use an MP3 player to deaden any sound.  Remember that any blood you se is mixed with your saliva, so it actually looks like you are bleeding more than you actually are!

Fillings

Cavities are small holes in teeth caused by germ-containing plaque, is treated by removing the surrounding area and filling the hole with materials to rebuild the tooth.  If cavities are not treated early, the bacteria will continue to eat away at the tooth, possibly resulting in a need for a root canal.  One way to lessen fear of the drilling and filling is to bring an MP3 player or similar device to listen to music while your dentist is working.

Root Canal

During a root canal, damaged tissue is cleaned out from inside a tooth. It’s a long procedure (sometimes lasting about two hours), but it can save your tooth. You can also bring along an MP3 player or you can break the treatment down into more manageable time periods.

X-Rays

X rays are designed to help your dentist find little problems before they become worse.  It can become a problem is you have a strong gag reflex or fear of radiation exposure.   Your dentist can use a little topical anesthesia to help control your gag reflex during this short dental procedure. It also may help to remember that the actual radiation exposure from dental X-rays is relatively minimal compared with the radiation exposure you get naturally each day.

Crowns

Crowns are used to protect a worn-out or weakened tooth.  The worst part of the procedure is the gag-inducing mold made of your tooth to shape the crown.  One way to alleviate this problem is to sit upright and use a faster-setting mold.

Dental Implants

Implants are used to replace missing teeth. They look natural and are stable as they are molded to your bone below your gums.  If you are afraid you can consider anesthesia.

What Makes a Health Plan Enrollment Successful?

Its not an easy task to hold open enrollment meetings for your employees, and its also not easy for your employees to make decisions regarding their health plan choices.  Most employees are nervous about making a  decision, since their election must remain in place for the entire plan year.  Wouldn’t you be nervous too?

Below are some suggestions to assist you and your employees in making the best decision(s) regarding plan choices at open enrollment:

  • Allow employees adequate time to think about the choices and/or discuss the options with their family or providers.  One day or a weekend simply isn’t enough time.  Studies suggest that employees who are given three weeks to make a choice are 50% more likely to remain satisfied with their decision.
  •  Hold open enrollment meetings as far in advance as possible to the plan or carrier change.
  • Provide enough information regarding the plan choices available.  Research shows that employes can make an informed decision once they have an effective benefits education, with their personal questions addressed.  If at all possible provide printed information or access to information online.
  •  Personalized benefit statements can also help an employee to determine the amount they spend on insurance, and if this needs to be adjusted in light of their health care needs.
  •  Give employees the opportunity to ask personal or specific questions related to their health care needs.  Perhaps the enroller can remain on site to answer questions, or the employees can contact someone on their own time to ask questions.  Make someone available to your employees.

Our staff at HealthPlansOnline.com can assist you and your employees with health plan choices and enrollment.  Please contact us at (888) 474-6627.

 

2012 Health Care Reform Checklist

Anthem Blue Cross of California has recently provided a checklist of key items employers may need to to make sure they are on target with Health Reform Rules.  This list can be found at:

http://www.makinghealthcarereformwork.com/healthcarereform/assets/library/681109304232_23771CAEENABC_HCR_Employer_2012_Checklist_SH_08_11.pdf

Please contact our office at (888) 474-6627 to verify what you may need to do as an employer to stay in compliance.

copyright Anthem 2011 used with permission.

Survey Shows Health Insurance Costs on the Rise

According to a survey conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation Trust and the Health Research & Educational Trust, the cost of health insurance continues to climb for U.S. companies and workers, outpacing wage increases.  Annual family premiums for 2011 increased b 9% over the costs for 2010.  Single premiums rose 8% this year.

U.S. health insurance, unlike other industrialized countries, is largely provided by employers. Although the latest Census found more Americans losing company-sponsored insurance, almost 170 million Americans were on employer-based plans in 2010.

Kaiser and the Health Research & Educational Trust surveyed 2,088 randomly selected public and private employers large and small earlier this year.

On average, employees are contributing 28%, or about $4,129, a year toward employer-sponsored family plans. That is 131% more than a decade ago.  Including employers’ contributions, the overall premium has increased 113% since 2001 to $15,073 a year.

Employees, especially those employed by smaller employers, continue to join high-deductible health plans. Thirty-one percent of covered employees this year have to pay at least $1,000 in single plans before coverage kicks in, up from 27% last year.

For more information on the survey please go to   http://ehbs.kff.org.

 

An Employer COBRA Quiz!

Since one of my favorite game shows is Jeopardy, it stands to reason that I just love quizzes.  Since I know that many of you also love Jeopardy, lets play round one with the only subject being COBRA.  You do not need to answer in the form of a question.

Q:. Can Continuants receive the same benefits they had while an active employee?

A: Continuees can have the the same benefits that are available to active workers. If an employer decides to change for active workers, then the new offerings must also be available to COBRA particpants.

Q: Can the COBRA spouse of a participamt continue on COBRA after divorce?

A: No.  If the husband was not on the active coverage, and he was added to COBRA after it started, then he is not eligible for a second qualifying event.

Q:  What are some common COBRA mistakes?

A:  They can include:

*Not sending the Initial Right Notice

*Not sending the Qualifying Event notice

*Not maintaining accurate archives

*Making a decision simply because it “feels right”

*Making exceptions

*Not maintaining an accurate, up to date policy and procedure manual

*Overlooking the COBRA continuants at annual enrollment

Q: Should an HR Manager answer an inquiry regarding COBRA prior to obtaining all the facts and answers?

A:  No.  This one is a trick question.  Anything the HR/benefits manager says before reviewing the worker’s COBRA files may be inaccurate, and that’s a compliance liability for the employer.  Many things changed in the COBRA world in 2004, especially with coverage election and general notice letters. The new regulatory guidelines improved, in part, how an employee was required to notify an employer about a qualifying event, such as a divorce or a child who is no longer eligible for coverage as a dependent.

For more information, please refer to www.dol.gov/ebsa or contact our office at (888) 474-6627.

Thank you for playing!