Cut Your Health Care Expenses During the Recession

Do cash woes have you stressed? Have you been reducing your visits to the doctor or giving up on your medications to bring down costs? Are you out of health insurance?It’s understandable to want to reduce costs with things being the way they are. More people are being laid off everyday and when there’s less money to go around, people want to spend cash only on the essentials. Unfortunately self-care is one area that’s taken a severe hit, with many people cutting down on their health care expenses drastically. They do this by not going up for follow up visits, not checking in with their doctor even if they suffer from chronic conditions, skimping on medicines or simply delaying their visits. All these measures however can put them in an emergency room later on facing very grave medical problems.Often people rationalize this by believing that it’s okay to make a trip to the ER if something severe does happen. However waiting till things get so critical can have disastrous consequences. The elderly and the young not only need special care when they are sick but also need to visit a doctor in person for their condition to be accurately diagnosed. Cutting down on health care costs is definitely not an option in these cases. There are ways to reduce health care costs. Let’s take a look at five things you can do immediately to bring down expenses in a totally safe manner.1) Be up front about your cash situationDoctors are well aware of how tight budgets are at the moment so be completely honest with your doctor. If he/she recommends a procedure which you can’t afford, ask as to whether a) You really need it? b) If there are any less expensive alternatives that you can go for first?2) Phone or Email Consultations?Ask your doctor if you really need to drop in for an office visit? It might be possible to have a phone consultation instead depending upon your condition. If you are just following up on preventive health care even email exchanges might work.3) Consider going for one-time fixesSome patients are choosing to have one time fixes instead of treating a complaint long-term. For instance dentists are getting more requests to remove an abscessed tooth instead of going in for more expensive oral procedures like bridgework or root canal treatment. While this isn’t an ideal situation it is a workable option that reduces on-going costs.4) Stretch out preventative testsIf you’ve been in good health you can delay a couple of preventative tests without any ill effects in the short-term. For instance, if you have excellent vision you could consider delaying your eye exam. People in their thirties only need one once or twice in a decade while those in their forties may need one once every two to three years. You shouldn’t miss any test, but if you have had no problems in that area earlier on in several previous tests, you could delay your current test for a while until your finances get better.5) Seek financial aidThere are many foundations and associations that will offer financial aid to those suffering from certain types of illnesses. If you are suffering from a major disease, check to see if you can obtain aid from a foundation that’s affiliated with that disease. You can substantially cut costs while still getting quality care.

Managing Health Care

A major theme throughout this text is that you can control many factors that influence your health. An outgrowth of this attitude is the self-care movement, which is the trend toward individuals taking increased responsibility for prevention or management of certain health conditions. Armed with correct information, you can manage many aspects of your health care that were once thought possible only with the help of a physician.Answers to the following questions provide clues to the use of health-care services, providers, and products and facilitate the self-care approach to wellness:When should you seek health care?What can you expect from a stay in the hospital?How can you select a health-care professional?When To Seek Health CareMany people tend to fall into two extreme groups regarding health care: those who seek health care for every ache and pain and those who avoid health care unless experiencing extreme pain. Both groups unwisely use the health-care establishment. Those in the first group fail to understand that too much health care can be ineffective or even harmful. They also fail to recognize the powerful recuperative powers of the body. An estimated 80% of patients who seek medical care are unaffected by treatment, 10% get better, and 9% experience an nitrogen condition in which they get worse because of the medical treatment. Those in the latter group fail to recognize the value of early diagnosis and detection of disease. This is especially true for men; 30% of men have not been to a doctor in a year or more, one-third have never had their cholesterol checked, and three fourths have not been checked for prostate cancer during the previous year.Perhaps the best way to find a balance between too much and too little health care is to establish a physician-patient relationship with a general practitioner. The general practitioner may be a family practice physician or an internist who specializes in internal medicine.It is important to visit your doctor while in good health. This permits your doctor to serve as a facilitator of wellness and provides a benchmark for interpreting symptoms when they occur.A second important way to balance health care is to trust your instincts. Nobody knows when some thing is wrong with your body better than you do. Health and illness are subject to a wide variation in interpretation. If you are attuned to your body, you are your own best expert for recognizing signs and symptoms of illness.Several signs and symptoms warrant medical attention without question. Internal bleeding, such as blood in urine, bowel movement, sputum, or vomit, or blood from any of the body’s openings requires immediate attention. Abdominal pain, especially when it is associated with nausea, may indicate a wide range of problems from appendicitis to pelvic inflammatory disease and requires the diagnostic expertise of a physician. A stiff neck when accompanied by a fever may suggest meningitis and justifies immediate medical intervention. Injuries, many first aid emergencies, and severe disabling symptoms require prompt medical care.There is debate as to when medical care is needed in the case of fever. An elevated temperature may be a sign that the body’s immune system is responding to an infection and working to destroy pathogens, or disease-producing organisms. On the other hand, if left untreated for an extended time, a fever may cause harm to sensitive tissues in the body, such as connective tissue found in joints and tissues in the valves of the heart.The normal body temperature of 98.6° F was studied at the University of Maryland. Findings involving 700 temperature readings of 148 adults over a 3-day period suggest that the normal body temperature is 98.9° F. The study attributed the difference to less accurate techniques when the earlier standard of 98.6° F was established. Body temperature varies with exercise, rest, climate, and gender. Fever means a reading over 99° F. It is not usually necessary for an adult to seek medical care for a fever. Home treatment in the form of aspirin, acetaminophen, and sponge baths usually lowers fever. You should consult your physician if fever remains above 102 0 F despite your actions or, in the case of a low-grade fever (99 0 to 100 0 F), if there is no improvement in 72 hours. You should consult a physician if fever lasts more than 5 days, regardless of improvement. Symptoms, such as sore throat, ear pain, diarrhea, urinary problems, and skin rash, may be the cause of the fever and should be treated as such. Fever in young children should be discussed with a physician.

Who Regulates the Gambling Regulators?

The current phase of regulation of the gambling market in EU jurisdictions is now almost over. Following the Spanish Gambling Regulation Act reaching the statute book, there is only one big jurisdiction left which has not yet regulated its gambling industry according to the EU legislation and European Commission (EC) directives – Germany. Other jurisdictions, such as Greece and Denmark, have yet to complete their journey to regulation, but they are not that far from the finishing line.It is no secret that many countries were pushed into changing their legislation by court cases brought by commercial operators and infringements proceedings started by the EC. It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that some governments had to be dragged kicking and screaming to allow private operators into the national gambling market. Many countries did the minimum amount that was sufficient to stop EU infringement proceedings and designed regulatory frameworks that favoured, if not outright protected, their state-owned gambling monopolies. Additionally, just to make sure that commercial operators are not too successful, these same governments also imposed a high tax rate. France is a classic case study of this course of action and to a certain extent Spain and Greece are following French footsteps. Germany cannot bring itself to walk even that far.Within this mix, regulators are given a wide remit to keep a check on commercial operators. ARJEL in France is fairly aggressive in making sure that commercial operators do not infringe the regulations, and even more aggressive with those who do not obtain a French licence but who continue to operate in France.The role of regulators has up to now not been sufficiently analysed. Are they independent entities who regulate the market, similar to a Financial Services Authority or a Central Bank for the financial sector? Or are regulators in the gambling industry solely an arm of the country’s executive?So far, the pattern of behaviour of gambling regulators leads observers to think that they act more like the arm of governments than independent referees.Where state-owned gambling operators have a large market share and are protected by law from competition in certain sectors like lotteries, the behaviour of regulators tends to be important, not only as a matter of fairness, but from the point of view of enabling a truly competitive market. There is something wrong when the state controls the biggest firm or firms in the market and at the same time makes the rules through the regulator.France is the case in point. The state controlled PMU and FDJ’s dominant position in land-based gambling activities (where they are protected by law) allowed them to gain a competitive advantage in online activities, even thought the law states they have to separate their land-based and online businesses. It took the European Gaming and Betting Association’s complaint to the French Competition Authority (FCA), and the subsequent non-binding opinion of the FCA stating that PMU and FDJ behaviour distorts the market to raise the issue. This is a classic case where the regulator should have intervened. One of ARJEL’s declared missions, after all, is to ensure compliance by operators.One has to wonder if the reluctance, or frustration, of certain governments in allowing commercial gambling operators to trade is being reproduced in the actions of regulatory bodies.It is in the interest of a properly functioning market that gambling regulatory bodies are independent, and seen to be independent. Additionally, regulatory bodies need to acquire high calibre professionals with expertise of the gambling industry and the required skill sets to allow them to conduct their supervisory role for Industry Trends in an efficient manner.It is what everyone expects for regulators in the media/broadcast or financial sectors, why should it be any different for the gambling industry?