Discount Health Cards-Consumer Driven Health Care

Discount Health Care Cards-Consumer Driven Healthcare

What are discount health cards? Discount health cards provide one part of the solution to the nation’s healthcare crisis by enabling consumers to purchase healthcare products and services at discounted retail rates. Discount health cards are not insurance and are not intended to replace insurance. In fact, many consumers choose a discount card to complement their health insurance program, filling in gaps such as prescription drug benefits or vision care.

Why Choose a Discount Health Card? Discount health cards are NOT insurance.

Discount health cards enable consumers to purchase healthcare products and services from providers at discounted prices, similar to the rates that healthcare providers charge wholesale customers such as preferred provider networks (PPOs) or large insurance plans.

Many consumers choose a discount card to complement their health insurance program, filling in gaps, such as prescription drug benefits, chiropractic care, dental or vision care.

Discount health cards have gained popularity because they provide consumers access to the healthcare they need without the limitations, exclusions and paperwork associated with insurance plans.

In addition, discount health programs typically include the cardholder’s entire household.

How You Benefit with a Discount Health Card? Discount health programs, or discount benefits cards as they are sometimes called, were created to help bridge the gap for consumers burdened by the increasing cost of healthcare by providing opportunities to directly purchase healthcare services and products at discounted retail rates. Discount cards offer:

Access: Individuals and families without insurance can use discount programs to receive access to and substantial savings on health care services such as doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription drugs, eyeglasses and dental care that they might otherwise not afford.

Affordability: While insurance rates have increased at double-digit rates over the past 12 years, discount card providers have kept their rates virtually unchanged.

Savings: Those with limited insurance, the under-insured, and insured individuals with high deductibles can reduce out-of-pocket expenses and receive discounts for services not normally covered by insurance such as chiropractic care.

Choice: In some cases, consumers with discount health cards pay less for services such as dental and vision care than those covered by traditional insurance plans.

Convenience: Discount programs are accepted at some of the nation’s largest healthcare retailers including national pharmacy and optical chains. While each program varies, many companies offer programs with providers that include:

* Pearle * LensCrafters * Medicine Shoppe

* Eckerd’s * Safeway * Wal-Mart

* Sears * Target, and many more!

What types of services are typically included by discount health cards? Discount health cards include a wide range of services and products including dental services, prescription drugs, vision care, chiropractic procedures, hearing care, physician/hospital & ancillary services, nurse medical information lines, vitamins and emergency care for travelers. Choose a program that offers discounts on services that you need and that you will use.

Who should use discount health cards? The wide array of choices in the discount health card industry and the many discounts available make it possible for everyone to enjoy the benefits of discount health cards. Discount health cards are designed to provide benefits for a wide-range of consumers. For individuals and families without insurance, discount health cards offer substantial savings on healthcare services such as doctor visits and on everyday health related expenses including prescription drugs, eyeglasses and dental care that they might otherwise not afford.

For those with limited insurance, the under-insured, and insured individuals with high deductibles, discount health cards can reduce out-of-pocket expenses and offer discounts for services that may not be covered by insurance such as chiropractic care.

In some instances, discount health cards for ancillary health services and products such as vision, dental and chiropractic care offer services at overall out-of-pocket costs lower than insurance co-payments.

For these reasons, many of the country’s Fortune 500 companies now offer discount health cards to their employees as part of their benefits packages.

How do consumers get discount health cards and how do the cards work? You can obtain discount health cards either through your employer, an association, union, or another entity with which you are connected or you can go directly through a reputable discount healthcare program.

Signing up for a card is easy. Complete an application and pay a nominal monthly fee. In some instances, your employer will pay the fee. To access care and receive savings, a cardholder must simply provide the card to a participating provider at the time health services are rendered and pay the discounted fee.

How do discount healthcare programs offer such benefits? Discount healthcare programs enable members to access similar rates that healthcare providers charge wholesale customers such as preferred provider networks (PPO) or large insurance plans. The difference is that instead of financing the medical expenses of members by charging high monthly rates, consumers agree to pay a discounted fee to the provider directly at the time of service.

What is the difference between discount health cards and health insurance? Discount health cards are not insurance. Card companies who indicate otherwise are not being truthful. Unlike health insurance, there is no sharing of risk by the consumer and the discount healthcare company.

Discount health cards afford consumers the opportunity to directly purchase health care services and products from providers at amounts discounted below their retail rates. Cardholders are required to pay the provider’s discounted fees in full at the time healthcare services are rendered or as dictated by the provider’s agreement. Consumers are free to make their own choices about which services to purchase and from whom to make those purchases.

Insurance plans, on the other hand, define specific benefits available to the consumer at rates determined by the plan purchaser. Insurance plans also pay health care providers on behalf of the consumer.

Do I still need insurance if I have a discount health card? That’s a decision each consumer must make. Discount cards and insurance plans frequently provide complementary benefits. That is why many of the nation’s leading companies offer their employees both insurance plans and discount cards. Each individual should evaluate his or her own health needs and the various benefits offered by each type of program.

Why has there been controversy surrounding some discount health card providers? Millions of consumers have embraced discount health cards because of their value and simplicity. This popularity has led a number of companies to enter the discount health card business. Unfortunately, not all of them are reputable. Some card providers charge steep up-front fees or promise dramatic savings they can’t deliver, while others bombard consumers with misleading and confusing sale pitches.

Health And Wellness Products – How To Make Your Own

Health and wellness products will mean very different things to different people.

Wellness can be defined as ‘the pursuit of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
For the benefit of this article, wellness products are being looked at in the context
of ‘over the counter drugs, health supplements and health remedies.

While for some people, wellness products might be viewed as an aid to recovery
from illness, for others it might be a means of further enhancing some
aspect of their current health. The variety of and uses for such products
are as numerous as are the the definitions of wellness products or wellness
programs, depending of course upon who is promoting them at any given time.

Whatever your reasons for pursuing alternative care health or health and wellness
products, a common goal is to achieve optimised health and well-being.

There are powerful media images hailing the benefits and safety of many over the
counter drugs, supplements and health and wellness products, every where you turn
these days. They have equally strong claims of being the one and only miracle cure
or solution for one ailment or another. How accurate are these claims though, and
what are the real costs to you in monetary and health risk terms?

Immediately after reading this article, go take a look and do a quick add-up of the
total cost of all the health and wellness products you currently have in stock. I’m
sure the figure will surprise you just as much as learning about the very real and
harmful side effects which can be caused by some of these drugs or supplements
that are supposed to be contributing to your overall state of wellness.

You may also be surprised to know that many of the ‘over the counter drugs you
buy on a regular basis, simply treat the symptoms and not the real health issue.
Needless to say, this approach of focusing on the symptom, side-steps
the crucial requirement of getting to the root cause of your condition or whatever
it is that ails you.

You’re most likely to pursue a wellness product either because you are becoming
wary of the adverse effects of chemically produced drugs or because you’re keen to
recover from ill-health and improve a specific health condition. In some instances it
might be that you just want to optimise your current state of good health.

While some health and wellness products can be an effective measure toward
improving your health, you should note that long-term use of certain over the counter
drugs and some supplements can cause you more harm than good, with the long-
term implications far outweighing any short-term benefits. You may well find that
you are paying far too high a price on the basis of a mere quick fix promise.

For thousands of years, people in lands far and wide have used natural homemade
remedies to manage their health conditions and wellness needs, without manufactured
health and wellness products, that can be detrimental to health. They have purely relied
upon attaining or maintaining health by plants or by other natural means.
It could be argued that with the emergence of chemical and pharmacological methods,
many forms of this natural means to health and wellness have declined. In fact, even
by today’s standards, there are many so-called under-developed countries where
inhabitants’ rely on nothing more than homemade health and wellness products,
gained via natural methods of plants or plant-based extracts.

While conventional medicine relies on scientifically backed research to substantiate
effectiveness and safety. In contrast, similar cannot be said about some alternative
medicines or health and wellness products. There is no such requirement but their
promotion as regard effectiveness are deemed sufficient in themselves as support
for therapeutic or wellness claims.

Herbal remedies in general are harmless, however, certain claims being made by
some health and wellness products promoters, (under the banner of being
‘natural’)) can insinuate their health and fitness products being the
exclusive answer to your health condition or wellness questions, thus putting you
at great risk. Secondly, how open are they being about what’s really inside? You
should always consult your physician over any health concerns, as well as discussing
with him/her your intention or choice of alternative means for treatment with any
health and wellness product or remedy.

Multi-billion-dollar industries have long weald their power by way of
lobbying to gain exemption from FDA regulation. This has been exactly the
case, according to the Skeptical Inquirer, who, on commenting on
the ‘dietary supplement industry back in 1994, states – “Since then, these
products have flooded the market, subject only to the scruples of their

The above point is an important one to note in that, while health and wellness
products manufacturers may list ingredients and quantities being used in
specific health and wellness products, there has been no real pressure on them to
do so, or to do so accurately. Furthermore, neither has there been any
watchdog body to ensure they are penalised for this failing.

So, what are the alternatives open to you? Increasingly, more and more people
are turning to do-it-yourself health and wellness homemade herbal remedies.
The distinct difference being that in making your own health and wellness products,
you are in the driving seat. Not only do you have a full awareness of exactly
what the ingredients are and the true quantities, but with the appropriate level of
guidance from a reputable practitioner, you’re more conversant with any health
implications, if any.

With the right know-how, you too can draw on the old-fashioned yet effective
sources to greatly improve your health. For instance, using naturally prepared
herbs, vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements, essential oils and flower
essences to create real healing solutions that deal with particular health
conditions rather than just the symptoms.

It is in the interest of a health and wellness product manufacturers to promote their
products as being the only option open to you. They don’t want you to know about
the abundant natural resources and health-giving potent attributes of herbs and home
remedies which have been used effectively for thousands of years. You see, these
remedies cannot be patented because you can make them yourself and at a
fraction of the cost.

Whether your goal is to overcome illness, drugs intolerance, allergies or just to
optimise your already good health, with a little know-how, you can start making
your own health and wellness products and remedies, using nothing more than the
readily available natural resources in your home and garden. Not only will you
save your hard earned cash, you also alleviate the risk of serious or harmful
additives and side effects.

Are you interested in learning more about how you can treat numerous common ailments without the harsh side effects, using nothing but natural herbs, vitamins
and nutrients you prepare yourself at home? For instance, did you know that
placing yogurt on your face help to bring water from the deeper layers
of your skin to the surface, moisturizing your skin for the rest of the day and hiding

Here are just a few more of the many quick and effective remedies you can learn
to make:

1. Natural laxatives

2. Beauty recipes

3. Skin care and cleansing preparations such as acne treatment

3. Herbal shampoos as well as how to treat hair loss

5. Dermatitis

6. Menstrual Pain and PMS Symptoms

Olga Graham is a qualified social care practitioner, life coach and founder of the Health Womens Healthy Living Goals website for women. To read this article in full or to learn how to make your own health and wellness remedies

How To Save on Health Insurance

With health care costs soaring through the roof, the cost of health insurance premiums are increasing as well. Health insurance is a necessity, however, when you consider the costs of one visit to the emergency room, surgery to set a broken bone, scans, lab and other costs. When your budget is limited, how can you keep the costs of your health insurance premiums down? There are several steps you can take to reduce your health insurance costs and still maintain adequate medical coverage when you need it.

First step is to consider what health insurance options you have. Does your employer offer a group medical benefit? Many employers (and/or labor unions) offer health benefits to full-time employees. Group health insurance is usually the cheapest way to get medical coverage; an employer can negotiate with health insurance companies to get a group health plan at cheaper rates. In addition, many employers will pay part of the premium, reducing your health insurance cost even further. Another consideration is whether your spouse has health coverage available through their employer? If so, compare your health benefits plan to that of your spouse, and decide which health plan is the better buy. It may be possible to have one spouse carry family health insurance coverage and the other drop their health benefits. Many employers have multiple health insurance options, so review these plans as well. Choose the health plan that best meets your needs at the cheapest rate.

If no health insurance coverage is available through your employer, there are other ways to obtain health insurance coverage. Individual and family private health insurance policies are available. Shop and compare benefits and premiums from each health insurance plan. If you and your family are generally healthy, the new Health Savings Account (HSA) may be worth consideration. The HSA is an account that allows you to save tax-free dollars for your medical/health expenses. Similar to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), you are limited in the amount that you are allowed to contribute each year; however, with the HSA, withdrawals for health expenses are not penalized, and no tax is paid on the withdrawal. When paired with a health insurance policy that has high deductibles and low rates, the HSA may be ideal for you. Save money in the HSA for deductibles and co-pays, and you’re set.

For those over 65 or permanently disabled, Medicare is available through the federal government. The original Medicare is an 80/20 plan (they pay 80% of eligible expenses and the insured pays 20%) with an annual deductible and a monthly premium. Supplemental health plans are available to cover this deductible and co-pay. These supplemental health plans are usually private and the insured pays a premium. In addition to the original Medicare plan, there are Medicare HMOs. In these Medicare HMO health plans, the Medicare premium is paid to an HMO to provide benefits to the insured. HMO plans are more restrictive in that patients must get care through a network provider, but often these plans cover more prescription drugs and preventive care than original Medicare does.

Recently some employers have offered lower premiums to employees who do not smoke cigarettes. This is currently a controversial topic for some, but it certainly may begin a trend. In the future, employers and their health insurance providers could offer reduced premiums for employees who maintain normal weight, exercise regularly, and receive certain wellness benefits. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle lowers the risk to the health insurance company that they will be paying big bucks in health care down the road. And health insurance, as any other insurance, is all about risk.