Well Behaved Children Have a Better Chance of Being Happy and Healthy Adults

January 21st, 2021

Baby girl holding cell phoneA new study shows that well behaved children have a greater chance of leading healthy and happy lives as adults.

New Study

Researchers tracked over 1,000 New Zealanders from birth to age 45. They found that kids who were goal oriented and better able to restrain their thoughts, behaviors and emotions turned out to have healthier bodies and brains by the time they hit middle age.

The study found that as adults, children with better self-control aged at a slower rate. Their bodies and brains were healthier and biologically younger. The team also found that they had developed more health, financial and social reserves for old age.

The team believes it has to do with better emotional regulation to deal with life. They plan better so they experience fewer crises and challenges. And their response to challenges is more measured and thoughtful when crises do arise.

The study team gauged self-control between the ages of three and 11 by enlisting teachers, parents and the enrolled children to assess each child’s impulsivity, frustration tolerance and ability to persist in achieving goals.

A combination of physical exams, interviews and brain scans were then carried out at age 45 to determine physical health and social well being as an adult. The team found that those who had greater self-control when young had fewer indications of brain aging by middle age, were better informed about both health and finances, and had developed better social skills.

Researchers found that the findings held up even after accounting for both family income and IQ scores.

The study also found that some people shifted in their level of self-control over time. This suggests that self-control might be subject to intervention. So, even if good self-control wasn’t exercised in early life, there may still be time in adulthood.

The report was published online on January 4 in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

Self-control and Success

Self-control can be a tool for success. Ways self-control can help you succeed are:

  1. The ability to achieve long-term goals: To achieve any long-term goals, individuals need to resist the tempting, immediate, yet low priority rewards with which your goals are in conflict.
  2. Anxiety: When people are experiencing negative emotions, they may distract themselves by shifting their attention to something else. Attentional control is an important form of self-control that enables people to avoid distractions and thereby to focus on what is most relevant and important.
  3. Addiction: Among alcohol and drug dependent clients in treatment, those with good self-control were more likely to finish treatment.
  4. Obesity: The ability to exercise self-control is linked to obesity.
  5. Physical health: Self-control better enables people to resist engaging in health-damaging behaviors.
  6. Relationship: Self-control enables people to maintain interpersonal harmony.
  7. Resilience: Resilient people have good control over impulses and have the ability to delay gratification in regard to the potential consequences of their actions. A resilient person has a belief in their own abilities to manage life’s challenges and situations effectively.

Research shows that people are happier, more productive and more creative when they feel they are the origin of their behavior.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to be in the loop when it comes to health news. Just think of IAA as your third-party health news service. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

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Diet and Lifestyle Changes can Provide Heartburn Relief

January 13th, 2021

Heart wearing stehtoscopeA new study published in the journal “JAMA Internal Medicine” says that diet and lifestyle changes can provide significant heartburn relief.

New Study

Researchers analyzed data collected every four years between 2005 and 2017 from the long-running Nurse’s Health Study. That included information from nearly 43,000 women, ages 42 to 62 years, who reported having acid reflux or heartburn also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), at least weekly.

They found that those who adhered to five “anti-reflux lifestyle factors,” saw a 50 percent reduction in the risk of GERD symptoms, and that adhering to all five could prevent nearly 40 percent of GERD cases in the general population. The modifications include:

  1. No smoking
  2. Drinking fewer than two cups a day of coffee, tea or soda
  3. Following a healthy diet, one that is high in whole grains and low in red meat and added sugars
  4. Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily
  5. Not being overweight, defined as maintaining a body mass index below 25

Not smoking and limiting coffee, tea and soda intake to two servings or less per day reduced the risk of symptoms among study participants by 10 percent, the data showed.

Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly lowered the study participants risk for the condition by about 20 percent, the researchers said.

Keeping a healthy body weight dropped the incidence of symptoms by 40 percent. 

Help Ease Your Symptoms

Heartburn is a burning pain in your chest, just behind your breastbone. The pain is often worse after eating, in the evening or when lying down or bending over. To make symptoms easier:

  1. Don’t go to bed with a full stomach: Eat meals at least two to three hours before lying down. This will give food time to digest and get out of your stomach. Acid levels will also go down before you put your body in a position where heartburn is most likely to occur.
  2. Don’t overeat: Eat smaller portions at mealtime.
  3. Eat slowly: Take time to eat.
  4. Avoid heartburn triggers: Avoid foods and drinks that can bring on heartburn symptoms.
  5. Shed some pounds
  6. Stop smoking: The nicotine in cigarettes can weaken a part of your body called your lower esophageal sphincter. That muscle controls the opening between your esophagus and your stomach. When it is closed, it keeps acid and other things in your stomach from going back up.
  7. Avoid alcohol

Nearly 30 percent of adults in the United States cope with frequent heartburn and acid reflux. Once thought of as a condition that mostly affects older people, some research suggests that the incidence is increasing among those less than 40 years of age.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America is here to bring you updates on the world of health.  Just think of IAA as your third party health monitor, here to keep you in the know!

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Employers Allowed to Amend FSA and DCAP Plans

January 6th, 2021

Law signA new bill allows employers to make changes (but does not require) to flexible spending accounts (FSA) and dependent care assistance plans (DCAP).

Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021

The bill is called the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 and was signed on December 27. The bill allows for the following changes:

  • Carryover: FSA and DCAP plans are allowed to carryover all unused amounts from the 2020 plan year to 2021 and from 2021 to 2022. Plans cannot have a grace period and carryover. Prior to the new temporary rules, no carryover of funds was allowed for DCAP accounts and the carryover for the FSA funds was limited to $550.
  • Election amount changes: Participants can make prospective changes to election amounts for FSAs and DCAP for plan years ending in 2021 without a corresponding life event.
  • Grace period: The grace period can be extended to 12 months. Participants would have a 12 month grace period for unused benefits or contributions in FSA and DCAP accounts for plan years ending in 2020 or 2021. Plans may not have a grace period and a carryover. Previously, grace periods were limited to two and a half months after the end of the plan year, with a special COVID-19 related rule allowing for plan years and grace periods ending in 2020 to be extended until December 31, 2020.

The bill also makes specific changes that affect strictly DCAP or strictly FSA (not both):

  • FSA spend down: Allows FSA participants who terminate during the 2020 or 2021 plan year to spend down any unused balance through the end of the plan year in which termination occurred.
  • Updated DCAP age limits: For the 2020 plan year, the bill extends the maximum age of eligible dependents from 12 to 13 (not yet reached 14th birthday) for dependent care FSAs; the increased age limit also applies for unused amounts carried over from the 2020 plan year to 2021. Prior to the temporary rule, DCAP funds could not generally be used for expenses for children age 13 or older.

To make these changes, sponsoring employers must amend their plans.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America is here to help with any changes employers need to make to their FSA and DCAP plans. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

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AAP Says Families Spot Eating Disorders Too Late

December 30th, 2020

Apple sitting next to small weightsThe American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Adolescence says families often spot eating disorders too late.

Delay in Diagnosis

Studies have shown a delay in identifying boys and young men with eating disorders because of the misconception that they only affect females.

Behaviors that could indicate a boy or young man could be experiencing an eating disorder include:

  • Depression
  • Purging
  • Substance abuse
  • Taking muscle building supplements

Their focus may be on leanness, weight control and muscularity.

The mean age of a child with an eating disorder is 12.5 years old, according to the report. The report was published online December 21 in the journal “Pediatrics.”

Pediatricians can help families reduce stigma around weight through sensitive language and being supportive toward kids of all shapes and sizes. 

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of an eating disorder vary, depending on the type of eating disorder. Some red flags that might indicate an eating disorder include:

  • Excessive focus on food
  • Expressing depression, disgust or guilt about eating habits
  • Extreme weight loss or not making expected developmental weight gain
  • Forcing yourself to vomit or exercising too much to keep from gaining weight after binging
  • Frequently checking the mirror for perceived flaws
  • Frequently skipping meals or refusing to eat
  • Persistent worrying or complaining about being fat
  • Repeated episodes of eating abnormally large amounts of food in one sitting
  • Using laxatives, diuretics or enemas after eating when they are not needed 

Eating disorders seem to coexist with psychological and medical issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, trouble coping with emotions, and substance abuse.

For some people preoccupation with food becomes a way to gain control over one aspect of their lives.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants everyone to lead a healthy life and sometimes the first step is learning how to properly take care of your body. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

To read more on the subject, click here.

New Legislation to Help with Surprise Medical Claims

December 23rd, 2020

LawShielding insured patients from eye-popping medical bills for unexpected out-of-network and emergency care has been a bipartisan priority for lawmakers, but progress had been stalled for over a year.

New Proposal

The latest proposal calls for parties to negotiate an agreed upon rate or bring their dispute to a negotiator. The bill is entitled the “No Surprises Act” and could be included in an end of the year package.

The bill states that patients are required to pay the in-network cost-sharing amount for out-of-network emergency care for certain ancillary services, provided by out-of-network providers at in-network facilities, and for out-of-network care provided at in-network facilities without the patient’s informed consent.

There would be a 30 day open negotiation period for payers and providers to settle out-of-network claims. In the event the parties are unable to reach a negotiated agreement, they can go to arbitration.  

Billing disputes could be batched together for a mediator who would be allowed to take several factors into consideration: the median in-network rate for the service in question, the complexity of the case and the relative market power of the insurer versus the doctor or hospital, among other factors.

The mediator would not be allowed to account for the charges billed by a provider, which are typically greater than the actual cost of care.

Larger out-of-network bills wouldn’t be outlawed entirely. Providers would still be allowed to bill patients to make up the difference of what insurers would otherwise pay if they inform patients the services won’t be covered and they provide an estimate of charges 72 hours before care.

The prior legislation would have set a benchmark rate health insurers would pay providers for out-of-network care pegged to local charges for in-network rates. Health insurers favored the proposal, but doctors and hospitals did not.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America knows surprise billing can hurt patients’ wallets. IAA hopes that new legislation will help to curb this issue.

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