father helping daughter with glasses with homework

Prevent Vision-Related Learning Problems Through Early Detection

Vision plays a vital role in one’s ability to learn, but did you know that more than 61% of the United States population needs some sort of vision correction? Combine that percentage with this fact: In a person’s first 12 years of life, about 80% of their learning takes place visually. So, what does this mean for young children who have undiagnosed vision problems? Their learning may be impaired due to preventable, and detectable vision-related problems.

The Importance of Vision in Learning

There’s no denying that vision plays a key role in a child’s ability to learn from a very young age. Specifically, even as babies and toddlers, children need sound vision to acquire eye movement skills and focusing abilities. As they get older, their eyesight helps them acquire teaming skills, binocular vision skills, visual perceptual skills, and even visual-motor integration.

Still, with about one in four children suffering from vision impairment, those who don’t receive corrective treatment for poor eyesight, learning problems can result because these vision problems interfere with a child’s ability to reach full learning potential (American Academy of Optometry).

Problems That Can Arise

Unfortunately, vision problems can be difficult to diagnose. Often times, signs of a vision problem are first noticed by a classroom teacher, who may observe that the child is struggling in a particular area of study. Furthermore, some schools conduct vision tests, and this is also a common juncture at which vision problems are detected.

According to the American Optometric Association, when a vision impairment goes undetected for long enough. learning disabilities are more likely to form. Some examples of common learning disabilities that can be related to vision impairment include:

  • ADD
  • dyslexia
  • issues with spoken and written comprehension
  • challenges with reasoning

And while it’s possible to work around these learning disabilities, they can have a major impact on a child for the rest of his or her life.

Early Detection is Key

The best way to avoid a learning disability caused by vision impairment is to detect vision troubles as early as possible in children. This means scheduling them for regular eye exams at the recommended intervals, being six months, three years, and upon entry into school. From there, annual eye exams are recommended to ensure there aren’t any changes in a child’s vision. By scheduling eye exams early on and regularly, parents can get their children any corrective lenses that may be needed to ensure full learning potential in school.

mother and daughter practicing good oral hygiene

Helpful Dental Hygiene Hacks for Kids

A common question among parents is when they should begin teaching their children oral hygiene. Many dentists assert that parents can start laying the groundwork for good brushing habits before their child’s first tooth even breaks the surface.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), tooth decay is the most common chronic disease found in children and adolescents, and is four times more likely to affect teens between 14 and 17 than asthma.

But for many parents, getting their kids to brush their teeth is a battle not unlike getting them to eat their broccoli or go to bed on time, But it doesn’t need to be this way. There are many ways parents can set their children up for success when it comes to their oral health without needing to resort to bargaining or threats.

Start Early

For newborns, it is common for parents to use gauze or another type of clean cloth to wipe down their gums down after feedings to discourage germs and bacteria from lingering and developing into problems down the line.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), a child’s first trip to the dentist should coincide with the arrival of the first baby tooth, and should happen no later than their first birthday.

Early exposure to dentist visits and cleaning their mouths can help get your child used to these activities in the future. Starting good oral hygiene habits early can help show them that these activities are not out of the ordinary and are just part of the routine and nothing to be afraid of or anxious about.

Lead by Example

Whether it’s what you say or what you do, kids love to imitate adults. So, when it comes to oral hygiene, make sure you’re setting a good example. Try dancing, making funny faces, or even singing or humming a song while brushing. No matter what you do, just be sure that your child sees you enjoying brushing your teeth. This will teach them that brushing is a fun activity that they can look forward to.

Make It Fun

Toothbrush makers know that the more fun they can make brushing for kids, the more likely those kids will grow into adults with healthy brushing habits. That’s why so many toothbrushes now come in flashy colors – some with cartoon characters, some that play music, and others that light up.

And while you won’t be able to find any toothpaste to sing songs to your kids, you will find it available in a variety of colors, flavors, and some even with glitter or other special effects.

Having a cool toothbrush may be half the battle but using positive reinforcement techniques to encourage your toddler to keep brushing also helps. Sticker charts, a special snack, and even an extra ten minutes of play time are all great ideas.

Find What Works

No two children are the same and what works for one, may not work for another. Some children’s gums may be more sensitive than others which will force parents to opt for soft or silicone bristled toothbrushes. Ultimately, it is up to you, the parent, to figure out what works best for your child and hygiene structure.

For parents with children who struggle with developmental disabilities such as autism, the process for learning good oral health habits may prove even more challenging. And with roughly one out of every 40 children in America diagnosed with autism, there is a growing need for more dentists and dental practitioners to be both better equipped and knowledgeable when it comes to serving patients with developmental disabilities.

If your child falls into this group, and getting them to practice good oral hygiene proves too strenuous for both of you, a Board-certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) may be able to help.

The Right Choice for Your Family

When was the last time your child made a trip to the dentist? With our Comprehensive PPO dental plan, your family will have the freedom to visit any licensed dentist in the country. You can save even more when you visit one of over 135,000 preferred dentists and 32,000 specialists nationwide. Make your family’s oral health a priority by visiting your association page today.

young person sitting on floor with dog looking at piles of scattered bills

How to Cope With Medical Bills

If you are stressed out with medical bills, it’s time to develop a game plan for tackling your debt so you can eventually put it all behind you. No matter how much or how little medical debt you have, there are some steps you can follow to become proactive and get it paid off to avoid accumulating future debt.

Get Organized

Start by getting all your medical bills, invoices, insurance statements, and other paperwork organized. Avoid throwing any of these correspondences away and make sure all bills from the hospital are itemized. If they’re not, contact your hospital and request itemized versions so you can check them for errors. Believe it or not, about 99% of all medical bills contain incorrect charges. While reviewing your bills, check to ensure that your personal information is correct, that your insurance information is listed, and that you aren’t being charged for any services you didn’t receive.

Know Your Benefits

If you have medical insurance and use it to help pay for a medical service, you should receive an “explanation of benefits,” which will provide an overview of how much you were charged, how much your policy covered, and how much you have to pay out-of-pocket. Make sure to review this document carefully and ensure that it corresponds to the coverage you’re paying for. Don’t hesitate to call your insurance company if you have any questions or don’t understand your explanation of benefits.

Address Mistakes

Once you sit down and analyze your medical bills, it is not uncommon to find mistakes. If you think an error has been made, there are a few steps you need to follow to address it. For starters, contact the billing office at the hospital or medical office and explain the error to them; if it’s an obvious error, they should be able to fix it right away. In the meantime, understand that you’ll still be responsible for the bill, and they may have to refund you later on; you can’t refuse payment on a bill because of an error. Make sure to copy down names of people you speak to as well. By taking down contact names, you can potentially build a relationship and good faith with the bill collectors.

If You Can’t Pay. . .

The case may be that you simply cannot afford to pay your accumulated medical bills. Generally, the best thing you can do is to contact the billing department of each hospital or practitioner and try to work out a payment plan. By meeting with the billing office, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to negotiate down some of your debt or get on a reasonable payment plan that works with your budget. Doing nothing is the worst thing you can do.

Avoiding Future Problems

Finally, you can avoid future debt from medical bills by making sure you fully understand your health insurance benefits. If you are not comfortable with the level of coverage your current plan offers, it may be time to re-evaluate your needs.

 

woman online shopping on laptop for dental insurance

5 Things to Consider When Buying Dental Insurance

Whether you’re currently without dental insurance or are simply shopping around for a new policy, the fact remains that the process of searching for your ideal policy can be quite tedious and time consuming. After all, dental insurance is a lot different than a traditional health insurance plan in the sense that it’s less open-ended and provides coverage for very specific preventative care.

As you shop for a dental health plan, here are a few of the most important considerations to keep in mind.

1. Time is of the Essence

First and foremost, don’t put off making a decision until you absolutely need dental work done. The sooner you’re covered, the better off you’ll be. After all, most dental plans have a waiting period for major services; during this waiting period, you may not be covered for certain types of dental work, such as root canals or crowns. The worst thing you can do is to wait until something bad happens to seek coverage.

2. Be Wary of the “Cheapest” Plan

Everybody’s needs are different when it comes to dental insurance. Therefore, you’ll want to find a policy that meets your needs while avoiding paying for things you probably won’t need. That being said, don’t always go with the least expensive option. A lower cost plan may be void of important provisions that are easy to overlook. The benefits in different types of dental plans can vary greatly, so take your time to evaluate important features like the annual maximums, waiting periods, excluded procedures, provider networks, and whether the plan pays benefits when visiting an out-of-network dentist.

3. Deductibles and Co-Pays

No matter what kind of dental plan you choose, you’ll likely be paying at least some kind of deductible and/or co-pay when you see the dentist. While many plans provide coverage for bi-annual exams, most plans don’t cover 100% for other dental work, such as:

  • fillings
  • tooth extraction
  • dental crowns

As such, you’ll want to find a plan with co-pays and deductibles that are reasonable for your budget.

4. What’s Covered (and What’s Not)

Before you decide on a dental plan, it’s always recommended that you read the fine print to get a true picture of what’s covered by your plan and what’s not. Basic dental care, such as preventative exams, cleanings, and X-rays ought to be covered, but there’s a good chance that certain procedures such as cosmetic work will need to be paid for out-of-pocket.

5. Your Preferred Dentist

Finally, if you’re opposed to the idea of finding a new dentist with your new plan, make sure the policy you choose is accepted by your preferred dentist. If not, you’ll surely want to find out how the plan covers benefits for going “out-of-network”. It is a good idea to verify whether your dentist is in-network by viewing the provider listing for the plan on the insurance company’s website and by contacting the front desk staff at your dentist’s office.

business leaders discuss group health insurance options

Making the Most of Your Group Health Care Benefits

Have you recently enrolled or been offered enrollment in a group health care plan through your employer? If so, this can be a great way to enjoy benefits for yourself and your loved ones. Of course, when enrolling in group healthcare (or any health care plan, for that matter), making sure you’re making the most of your benefits is a must. By following a few steps, you can make that happen.

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business group writing on white board

Beyond Health: The Ancillary Benefits You Need

We’ve all heard of Health Insurance, but it’s not uncommon to hear the term “Ancillary Benefits” in the same sentence. But while everyone is familiar with health insurance, not everyone is equally familiar with ancillary benefits. So, what exactly are they and should you be offering them to your employees?

First and foremost, while health insurance is just health insurance, ancillary benefits can be made up of a variety of different insurance and benefits offerings made available to your employees. Oftentimes, instead of listing out each and every benefit and insurance offering a company may offer, the term “ancillary” may be used instead.

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Young People Discussing Group Insurance Benefits with an agent

3 Benefits of Group Health Insurance For Employers

Group health insurance is usually provided by an employer and can cover just the employee or even the employee’s spouse and children.

Not providing group health coverage could be a major misstep for some companies regardless of size, as there are a number of benefits to providing Group Health Insurance coverage.

1. Lower Costs Than Individual Plans

There is no question that the term health care reform has been a hot-button topic and on the lips of nearly every politician regardless of political party over the course of the past 10 years. In light of the Affordable Care Act, it has now become more affordable to purchase Group Health Insurance than for your employees to purchase health insurance individually.

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man turning sixty five blowing out birthday candles surrounded by friends and family

Waiting to Enroll in a Medigap Policy Could Cost You

Throughout our lives, we have a number of birthdays but only a few age milestones ever really stand out—thirteen, sixteen, eighteen, twenty-one, forty, and sixty-five. The milestones get fewer as we age, but few are as important as the final one.

If you or someone you love is soon to turn 65, there are a number of things to start to consider. While the potential for retirement is one, another really big decision to make is how much, or how little insurance you will need.

Three months prior to turning 65, you become eligible to sign up for Medicare.  Once you review your options and make your selections between Part A, B, C, and D you must then decide if these plan benefits will be enough for you.

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happy family in car protected by AD&D insurance

The Unsuspecting Reason Why AD&D May Be For You

No one wants to think about their death, and for young professionals just starting their careers and families, the idea of contemplating the unimaginable can be even more unsettling. You are just getting on your feet and the last thing you are prepared to start thinking about are things such as life insurance and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance. But instead of dwelling on the complicated process of obtaining life insurance, is it possible that AD&D insurance may be the first and easiest step in protecting your loved ones should something happen to you?

Know Your Odds

According to a 2015 report issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), if you are between the ages of 18 and 44 you are most likely to die in some sort of accident or “unintentional injury” rather than due to disease or congenital anomalies. Eating right, exercising often, and leading an overall healthy lifestyle may be a great way to guard yourself against health issues such as heart disease but when it comes to preventing debilitating accidents, these things have no effect on chance.

Of all accidents, car accidents are the most common with an estimated 1.3 million deaths a year, averaging out to 3,287 deaths per day with an additional twenty to fifty million people becoming injured or disabled every year according to the Association For Safe International Road Travel.

How AD&D Insurance Can Help Protect Your Loved Ones

For those involved in serious accidents, recovery time can take anywhere from days to months, or even longer depending on the severity of the injury. Could you afford to be out of work for an extended period of time? If you were injured so severely that you required an amputation, forever altering your lifestyle, as well as potential job prospects, could you afford to be out of a job while recovering and retraining your muscles as well as your mind? And if the worst should happen, could your family sustain themselves without the aid of your income?

This is where the importance of Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance comes in to play. No one ever plans for an accident to occur, but what if there were a way that you could? According to the 2012 Life Happens Disability Survey, approximately half of all Americans wouldn’t be able to cover their own expenses after just a single month without receiving a paycheck.

Statistics like these can be scary but they don’t need to be. AD&D insurance could help in the face of uncertainty. Your family’s welfare is important and with AD&D insurance, you can help to safeguard your family’s financial security in the event you are no longer able to provide for them should you experience a debilitating or fatal accident.

Learn More About AD&D Insurance

While the two can sometimes be purchased together, it is important to understand that AD&D insurance is not Term Life insurance. AD&D typically does not issue a payout on your policy in the event you pass due to a terminal illness; AD&D insurance will, in most cases, issue a payout should you fall victim to a serious accident resulting in the loss of limb, senses, or life.

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