Common Cosmetic Dentistry Treatment Guide Options

Cosmetic dentistry treatments are ideal for addressing teeth stains or discolourations, which can have an adverse effect on the overall appearance of a person’s smile. The stains or discolourations on the surface of teeth may be caused by a number of factors, including: tobacco use/cigarette smoking, tooth decay, consumption of dark-coloured beverages, and aging).

Here are some of the teeth whitening brands/methods used in cosmetic dentistry today:

Zoom! Teeth Whitening

Zoom teeth whitening is done by a dental professional. It uses a whitening gel (activated by a Zoom! light) to break up teeth stains or discolourations. The total treatment time is 45 minutes, and guarantees to whiten teeth by up to 8 shades. Zoom also offers these “Take Home” home whitening sets:

• Zoom Weekender effectively whitens teeth with an average of 6 shades, in just 3 nights of use;

• Zoom Whitening Pens featuring a convenient, easy to use on-the-go pen applicator pen that patients can use to brush the 5.25% hydrogen peroxide formula directly onto the teeth surface, to serve as touch-ups between the in-office teeth whitening treatments.

Enlighten Teeth Whitening

• Enlighten – Teeth whitening by Enlighten can be done professionally in-office (by a dentist), or through home kits that can easily be managed by the patient in the comfort and privacy of his/her own home. These are some of the products in the Enlighten teeth whitening range:

• Evolution3 Whitening – The only teeth whitening system in the world that guarantees a VITA shade B1 end-result on every treatment case, regardless of the shade of teeth before the treatment. The treatment is done in-office, without the need for gingival protection, special lights, or dehydration whitening.

• Evolution3 Home – A complete home teeth whitening system that patient can use in the comfort of their own homes, in a convenient way.

• Enlighten Tooth Serum – Whitening toothpaste that also helps reduce teeth sensitivity, prolong results of teeth whitening, and restore the teeth’s lustre. This system can be used on a daily basis as regular toothpaste, and also helps to repair the tooth’s enamel.

Britesmile Teeth Whitening

Britesmile teeth whitening is done in-office, overseen by a dental professional. Whitening gel is applied on teeth, and then activated with a blue light; this process is repeated twice, with the whole whitening treatment lasting for a total of about one hour. Britesmile uses a revolutionary technology that guarantees to get teeth to the whitest shade possible.

Teeth Straightening

Teeth straightening cosmetic dentistry treatments are used to address the issues of crooked or misaligned teeth, improving the form and function of a person’s bite. Teeth straightening treatments are not only for aesthetic purposes, to improve the appearance of a person’s smile – these cosmetic dentistry treatments are also beneficial in ensuring that teeth are straightened so that they are easy to clean.

• Fixed Orthodontic Braces – Also called traditional metal braces because it involves the use of metal wires and brackets to straighten teeth. Fixed orthodontic braces are used to gradually and effectively straighten teeth, mostly in young patients.

• Inman Aligners – These customised orthodontic appliances are used to effectively straighten front teeth, in as little as six to 16 weeks, are considered to be more conservative cosmetic dentistry treatments than dental veneers.

• Clearstep – Clearstep uses clear, customised positioners to gently align teeth to their desired position – in a very discreet way. The positioners are clear (or “invisible”), and are comfortable to use.

• Invisalign – The Invisalign system uses clear or “invisible” aligners that are custom-made for each user, to gradually and gently move teeth to their desired position.

Panama 2009 – My First Adventure Outside the USA

In the summer of 2009 I made my first trip outside of the Country. At the ripe age of 39, I boarded a plane and headed to Central America. I’d never been though customs, immigration and had a naked passport. I wondered if the representative at the desk would question where I’d been for the previous 39 years, thankfully he didn’t.

Confession Time – I immediately fell in love with the thrill of landing in a foreign location and soaking up all the ambiance. I fell in love with the fun of working remotely from an exotic destination and even the thought that only my team knew where I was and the clients I chatted with had no idea.

My loving and fun guide on this adventure was my fantastic partner, Tomie who had previously visited Panama on several occasions. While this was my first trip, I’d been there many times in books, magazines and via the web. I began to look at moving to Panama when after the summer of 2004 in Central Florida I endured weeks with no power after 3 hurricanes visited. Shortly after that summer I learned that there were no hurricanes in Panama, plenty of infrastructure, friendly people and warm weather.

We ventured into the old City of Casco Viejo, out to the beaches of Santa Clara and into the jungle 3 hours down a winding road from Santiago. We boarded a speed boat and enjoyed an entire day and night out on Tobaga Island. From the condo we stayed in we could see the ships as they waited in line to go through the Panama Canal. While on the island we enjoyed an entire Saturday and Sunday with no internet, it was absolutely liberating.

In 7 days we ate, drank, swam in the ocean, enjoyed siestas and made some new friends. We happily lived without our Blackberries, or as I use to call them, Crackberries. Oddly enough the first two days without checking the silly thing to see if someone sent me an email was tough, then well it was actually liberating. Along the way we enjoyed wifi at most hotels, I was easily able to connect with my team, answer client questions and even make phone calls.

I learned a valuable lesson that I don’t think I could have here in the states where my phone easily let’s me get interrupted all day long. I learned that while I’m pretty important to some people, everyone who wanted to connect with me had no problem waiting a few hours or even until the next day or so to get a reply. Not responding with in seconds or minutes to an email didn’t make the earth spin out of control or my business to suffer. It actually helped me gain focus, clarity and some much needed relaxation.

Fearing the unknown often times keeps us stuck, makes it impossible for us to enjoy the life we truly want. Life is meant for us to enjoy it ~ so make a list of the places you want to visit, the things you want to do and start doing them.

E-Cigarette – A Safer Substitute to Smoking?

I am not a smoker, so I sat comfortably on a chair resting my arms on the arm rest and try to analyze how chain smokers can ever get out from the dilemma of smoking cigarette. I take a mild drag as I watch people exhale white wafts round their face, wondering how many nicotine they save from years of smoking.

I wonder how celebrities made through like Audrey Hepburn when she smoke, yet she isn’t. Many times I have been wondering what an e-cigarette is and wonder if it really a solution to safer smoking. E-cigarette is not a smoke at all, but they resemble like smoke. This is a perfect solution if you want to quit smoking but cannot.

E-cigarette is battery powered device or I would say an electronic device to help you get free from nicotine yet doesn’t have the stamina to quit smoking. Its physical appearance looks like a real cigarette. The tip of e-cigarette glows red just like when you lit one real cigarette. It even emits smoke or produces puffs but it is not burning and so you can use it anywhere you are even in those places where smoking cigarette is banned.

Smokers definitely enjoy smoking but the nicotine it gives is another story. E-cigarette allows anyone to enjoy the pleasure of smoking less the guilt of bad effect it does to our body. The actual effect of smoking simply puts it to physical act, like when you want to have a cigarette in your hand always.

Regardless of the pleasure it gives, smoking is still and will always be harmful to health, but e-cigarette is free from this side effect and definitely harmless. The world is full of bad elements, for this reason the public in general has covered a propaganda regarding the effect of smoking cigarette to the body, particularly our lungs.

Because of these information, a lot of smokers wanted to quit their bad habit but the question is, how will they do that when addiction have almost gotten into their nerves. E-cigarette is a break through to this kind of problem most cigarette smokers are facing and this breakthrough has begun to increase popularity on e-cigarette.

What makes it appealing to smokers is the fact that it does not contain harmful ingredients than an ordinary cigarette. It does not produce nicotine and most importantly it is free from carcinogens. It is also free from second hand smoke, which means you can use it even in front of your co-workers or even in front of a baby.

In addition, because it does not produce ash, e-cigarette is considered to be environmental friendly. What e-cigarette does is it provides smokers with a taste that is similar to real cigarette and so cigarette smokers still feel the act of smoking real cigarette when in fact they are not smoking cigarette at all. For this reason you can use it anywhere, even in private places like air conditioned room and states were cigarette is prohibited.

Health Savings Accounts – An American Innovation in Health Insurance

INTRODUCTON – The term “health insurance” is commonly used in the United States to describe any program that helps pay for medical expenses, whether through privately purchased insurance, social insurance or a non-insurance social welfare program funded by the government. Synonyms for this usage include “health coverage,” “health care coverage” and “health benefits” and “medical insurance.” In a more technical sense, the term is used to describe any form of insurance that provides protection against injury or illness.

In America, the health insurance industry has changed rapidly during the last few decades. In the 1970’s most people who had health insurance had indemnity insurance. Indemnity insurance is often called fee-forservice. It is the traditional health insurance in which the medical provider (usually a doctor or hospital) is paid a fee for each service provided to the patient covered under the policy. An important category associated with the indemnity plans is that of consumer driven health care (CDHC). Consumer-directed health plans allow individuals and families to have greater control over their health care, including when and how they access care, what types of care they receive and how much they spend on health care services.

These plans are however associated with higher deductibles that the insured have to pay from their pocket before they can claim insurance money. Consumer driven health care plans include Health Reimbursement Plans (HRAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), high deductible health plans (HDHps), Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Of these, the Health Savings Accounts are the most recent and they have witnessed rapid growth during the last decade.


A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged medical savings account available to taxpayers in the United States. The funds contributed to the account are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit. These may be used to pay for qualified medical expenses at any time without federal tax liability.

Another feature is that the funds contributed to Health Savings Account roll over and accumulate year over year if not spent. These can be withdrawn by the employees at the time of retirement without any tax liabilities. Withdrawals for qualified expenses and interest earned are also not subject to federal income taxes. According to the U.S. Treasury Office, ‘A Health Savings Account is an alternative to traditional health insurance; it is a savings product that offers a different way for consumers to pay for their health care.

HSA’s enable you to pay for current health expenses and save for future qualified medical and retiree health expenses on a tax-free basis.’ Thus the Health Savings Account is an effort to increase the efficiency of the American health care system and to encourage people to be more responsible and prudent towards their health care needs. It falls in the category of consumer driven health care plans.

Origin of Health Savings Account

The Health Savings Account was established under the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act passed by the U.S. Congress in June 2003, by the Senate in July 2003 and signed by President Bush on December 8, 2003.

Eligibility –

The following individuals are eligible to open a Health Savings Account –

– Those who are covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).
– Those not covered by other health insurance plans.
– Those not enrolled in Medicare4.

Also there are no income limits on who may contribute to an HAS and there is no requirement of having earned income to contribute to an HAS. However HAS’s can’t be set up by those who are dependent on someone else’s tax return. Also HSA’s cannot be set up independently by children.

What is a High Deductible Health plan (HDHP)?

Enrollment in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) is a necessary qualification for anyone wishing to open a Health Savings Account. In fact the HDHPs got a boost by the Medicare Modernization Act which introduced the HSAs. A High Deductible Health Plan is a health insurance plan which has a certain deductible threshold. This limit must be crossed before the insured person can claim insurance money. It does not cover first dollar medical expenses. So an individual has to himself pay the initial expenses that are called out-of-pocket costs.

In a number of HDHPs costs of immunization and preventive health care are excluded from the deductible which means that the individual is reimbursed for them. HDHPs can be taken both by individuals (self employed as well as employed) and employers. In 2008, HDHPs are being offered by insurance companies in America with deductibles ranging from a minimum of $1,100 for Self and $2,200 for Self and Family coverage. The maximum amount out-of-pocket limits for HDHPs is $5,600 for self and $11,200 for Self and Family enrollment. These deductible limits are called IRS limits as they are set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In HDHPs the relation between the deductibles and the premium paid by the insured is inversely propotional i.e. higher the deductible, lower the premium and vice versa. The major purported advantages of HDHPs are that they will a) lower health care costs by causing patients to be more cost-conscious, and b) make insurance premiums more affordable for the uninsured. The logic is that when the patients are fully covered (i.e. have health plans with low deductibles), they tend to be less health conscious and also less cost conscious when going for treatment.

Opening a Health Savings Account

An individual can sign up for HSAs with banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other approved companies. However not all insurance companies offer HSAqualified health insurance plans so it is important to use an insurance company that offers this type of qualified insurance plan. The employer may also set up a plan for the employees. However, the account is always owned by the individual. Direct online enrollment in HSA-qualified health insurance is available in all states except Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Contributions to the Health Savings Account

Contributions to HSAs can be made by an individual who owns the account, by an employer or by any other person. When made by the employer, the contribution is not included in the income of the employee. When made by an employee, it is treated as exempted from federal tax. For 2008, the maximum amount that can be contributed (and deducted) to an HSA from all sources is:
$2,900 (self-only coverage)
$5,800 (family coverage)

These limits are set by the U.S. Congress through statutes and they are indexed annually for inflation. For individuals above 55 years of age, there is a special catch up provision that allows them to deposit additional $800 for 2008 and $900 for 2009. The actual maximum amount an individual can contribute also depends on the number of months he is covered by an HDHP (pro-rated basis) as of the first day of a month. For eg If you have family HDHP coverage from January 1,2008 until June 30, 2008, then cease having HDHP coverage, you are allowed an HSA contribution of 6/12 of $5,800, or $2,900 for 2008. If you have family HDHP coverage from January 1,2008 until June 30, 2008, and have self-only HDHP coverage from July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008, you are allowed an HSA contribution of 6/12 x $5,800 plus 6/12 of $2,900, or $4,350 for 2008. If an individual opens an HDHP on the first day of a month, then he can contribute to HSA on the first day itself. However, if he/she opens an account on any other day than the first, then he can contribute to the HSA from the next month onwards. Contributions can be made as late as April 15 of the following year. Contributions to the HSA in excess of the contribution limits must be withdrawn by the individual or be subject to an excise tax. The individual must pay income tax on the excess withdrawn amount.

Contributions by the Employer

The employer can make contributions to the employee’s HAS account under a salary reduction plan known as Section 125 plan. It is also called a cafeteria plan. The contributions made under the cafeteria plan are made on a pre-tax basis i.e. they are excluded from the employee’s income. The employer must make the contribution on a comparable basis. Comparable contributions are contributions to all HSAs of an employer which are 1) the same amount or 2) the same percentage of the annual deductible. However, part time employees who work for less than 30 hours a week can be treated separately. The employer can also categorize employees into those who opt for self coverage only and those who opt for a family coverage. The employer can automatically make contributions to the HSAs on the behalf of the employee unless the employee specifically chooses not to have such contributions by the employer.

Withdrawals from the HSAs

The HSA is owned by the employee and he/she can make qualified expenses from it whenever required. He/She also decides how much to contribute to it, how much to withdraw for qualified expenses, which company will hold the account and what type of investments will be made to grow the account. Another feature is that the funds remain in the account and role over from year to year. There are no use it or lose it rules. The HSA participants do not have to obtain advance approval from their HSA trustee or their medical insurer to withdraw funds, and the funds are not subject to income taxation if made for ‘qualified medical expenses’. Qualified medical expenses include costs for services and items covered by the health plan but subject to cost sharing such as a deductible and coinsurance, or co-payments, as well as many other expenses not covered under medical plans, such as dental, vision and chiropractic care; durable medical equipment such as eyeglasses and hearing aids; and transportation expenses related to medical care. Nonprescription, over-the-counter medications are also eligible. However, qualified medical expense must be incurred on or after the HSA was established.

Tax free distributions can be taken from the HSA for the qualified medical expenses of the person covered by the HDHP, the spouse (even if not covered) of the individual and any dependent (even if not covered) of the individual.12 The HSA account can also be used to pay previous year’s qualified expenses subject to the condition that those expenses were incurred after the HSA was set up. The individual must preserve the receipts for expenses met from the HSA as they may be needed to prove that the withdrawals from the HSA were made for qualified medical expenses and not otherwise used. Also the individual may have to produce the receipts before the insurance company to prove that the deductible limit was met. If a withdrawal is made for unqualified medical expenses, then the amount withdrawn is considered taxable (it is added to the individuals income) and is also subject to an additional 10 percent penalty. Normally the money also cannot be used for paying medical insurance premiums. However, in certain circumstances, exceptions are allowed.

These are –

1) to pay for any health plan coverage while receiving federal or state unemployment benefits.
2) COBRA continuation coverage after leaving employment with a company that offers health insurance coverage.
3) Qualified long-term care insurance.
4) Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance for: Part A (hospital and inpatient services), Part B (physician and outpatient services), Part C (Medicare HMO and PPO plans) and Part D (prescription drugs).

However, if an individual dies, becomes disabled or reaches the age of 65, then withdrawals from the Health Savings Account are considered exempted from income tax and additional 10 percent penalty irrespective of the purpose for which those withdrawals are made. There are different methods through which funds can be withdrawn from the HSAs. Some HSAs provide account holders with debit cards, some with cheques and some have options for a reimbursement process similar to medical insurance.

Growth of HSAs

Ever since the Health Savings Accounts came into being in January 2004, there has been a phenomenal growth in their numbers. From around 1 million enrollees in March 2005, the number has grown to 6.1 million enrollees in January 2008.14 This represents an increase of 1.6 million since January 2007, 2.9 million since January 2006 and 5.1 million since March 2005. This growth has been visible across all segments. However, the growth in large groups and small groups has been much higher than in the individual category. According to the projections made by the U.S. Treasury Department, the number of HSA policy holders will increase to 14 million by 2010. These 14 million policies will provide cover to 25 to 30 million U.S. citizens.

In the Individual Market, 1.5 million people were covered by HSA/HDHPs purchased as on January 2008. Based on the number of covered lives, 27 percent of newly purchased individual policies (defined as those purchased during the most recent full month or quarter) were enrolled in HSA/HDHP coverage. In the small group market, enrollment stood at 1.8 million as of January 2008. In this group 31 percent of all new enrollments were in the HSA/HDHP category. The large group category had the largest enrollment with 2.8 million enrollees as of January 2008. In this category, six percent of all new enrollments were in the HSA/HDHP category.

Benefits of HSAs

The proponents of HSAs envisage a number of benefits from them. First and foremost it is believed that as they have a high deductible threshold, the insured will be more health conscious. Also they will be more cost conscious. The high deductibles will encourage people to be more careful about their health and health care expenses and will make them shop for bargains and be more vigilant against excesses in the health care industry. This, it is believed, will reduce the growing cost of health care and increase the efficiency of the health care system in the United States. HSA-eligible plans typically provide enrollee decision support tools that include, to some extent, information on the cost of health care services and the quality of health care providers. Experts suggest that reliable information about the cost of particular health care services and the quality of specific health care providers would help enrollees become more actively engaged in making health care purchasing decisions. These tools may be provided by health insurance carriers to all health insurance plan enrollees, but are likely to be more important to enrollees of HSA-eligible plans who have a greater financial incentive to make informed decisions about the quality and costs of health care providers and services.

It is believed that lower premiums associated with HSAs/HDHPs will enable more people to enroll for medical insurance. This will mean that lower income groups who do not have access to medicare will be able to open HSAs. No doubt higher deductibles are associated with HSA eligible HDHPs, but it is estimated that tax savings under HSAs and lower premiums will make them less expensive than other insurance plans. The funds put in the HSA can be rolled over from year to year. There are no use it or lose it rules. This leads to a growth in savings of the account holder. The funds can be accumulated tax free for future medical expenses if the holder so desires. Also the savings in the HSA can be grown through investments.

The nature of such investments is decided by the insured. The earnings on savings in the HSA are also exempt from income tax. The holder can withdraw his savings in the HSA after turning 65 years old without paying any taxes or penalties. The account holder has complete control over his/her account. He/She is the owner of the account right from its inception. A person can withdraw money as and when required without any gatekeeper. Also the owner decides how much to put in his/her account, how much to spend and how much to save for the future. The HSAs are portable in nature. This means that if the holder changes his/her job, becomes unemployed or moves to another location, he/she can still retain the account.

Also if the account holder so desires he can transfer his Health Saving Account from one managing agency to another. Thus portability is an advantage of HSAs. Another advantage is that most HSA plans provide first-dollar coverage for preventive care. This is true of virtually all HSA plans offered by large employers and over 95% of the plans offered by small employers. It was also true of over half (59%) of the plans which were purchased by individuals.

All of the plans offering first-dollar preventive care benefits included annual physicals, immunizations, well-baby and wellchild care, mammograms and Pap tests; 90% included prostate cancer screenings and 80% included colon cancer screenings. Some analysts believe that HSAs are more beneficial for the young and healthy as they do not have to pay frequent out of pocket costs. On the other hand, they have to pay lower premiums for HDHPs which help them meet unforeseen contingencies.

Health Savings Accounts are also advantageous for the employers. The benefits of choosing a health Savings Account over a traditional health insurance plan can directly affect the bottom line of an employer’s benefit budget. For instance Health Savings Accounts are dependent on a high deductible insurance policy, which lowers the premiums of the employee’s plan. Also all contributions to the Health Savings Account are pre-tax, thus lowering the gross payroll and reducing the amount of taxes the employer must pay.

Criticism of HSAs

The opponents of Health Savings Accounts contend that they would do more harm than good to America’s health insurance system. Some consumer organizations, such as Consumers Union, and many medical organizations, such as the American Public Health Association, have rejected HSAs because, in their opinion, they benefit only healthy, younger people and make the health care system more expensive for everyone else. According to Stanford economist Victor Fuchs, “The main effect of putting more of it on the consumer is to reduce the social redistributive element of insurance.

Some others believe that HSAs remove healthy people from the insurance pool and it makes premiums rise for everyone left. HSAs encourage people to look out for themselves more and spread the risk around less. Another concern is that the money people save in HSAs will be inadequate. Some people believe that HSAs do not allow for enough savings to cover costs. Even the person who contributes the maximum and never takes any money out would not be able to cover health care costs in retirement if inflation continues in the health care industry.

Opponents of HSAs, also include distinguished figures like state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, who called them a “dangerous prescription” that will destabilize the health insurance marketplace and make things even worse for the uninsured. Another criticism is that they benefit the rich more than the poor. Those who earn more will be able to get bigger tax breaks than those who earn less. Critics point out that higher deductibles along with insurance premiums will take away a large share of the earnings of the low income groups. Also lower income groups will not benefit
substantially from tax breaks as they are already paying little or no taxes. On the other hand tax breaks on savings in HSAs and on further income from those HSA savings will cost billions of dollars of tax money to the exchequer.

The Treasury Department has estimated HSAs would cost the government $156 billion over a decade. Critics say that this could rise substantially. Several surveys have been conducted regarding the efficacy of the HSAs and some have found that the account holders are not particularly satisfied with the HSA scheme and many are even ignorant about the working of the HSAs. One such survey conducted in 2007 of American employees by the human resources consulting firm Towers Perrin showed satisfaction with account based health plans (ABHPs) was low. People were not happy with them in general compared with people with more traditional health care. Respondants said they were not comfortable with the risk and did not understand how it works.

According to the Commonwealth Fund, early experience with HAS eligible high-deductible health plans reveals low satisfaction, high out of- pocket costs, and cost-related access problems. Another survey conducted with the Employee Benefits Research Institute found that people enrolled in HSA-eligible high-deductible health plans were much less satisfied with many aspects of their health care than adults in more comprehensive plans People in these plans allocate substantial amounts of income to their health care, especially those who have poorer health or lower incomes. The survey also found that adults in high-deductible health plans are far more likely to delay or avoid getting needed care, or to skip medications, because of the cost. Problems are particularly pronounced among those with poorer health or lower incomes.

Political leaders have also been vocal about their criticism of the HSAs. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. issued the following statement criticizing the HSAs “The President’s health care plan is not about covering the uninsured, making health insurance affordable, or even driving down the cost of health care. Its real purpose is to make it easier for businesses to dump their health insurance burden onto workers, give tax breaks to the wealthy, and boost the profits of banks and financial brokers. The health care policies concocted at the behest of special interests do nothing to help the average American. In many cases, they can make health care even more inaccessible.” In fact a report of the U.S. governments Accountability office, published on April 1, 2008 says that the rate of enrollment in the HSAs is greater for higher income individuals than for lower income ones.

A study titled “Health Savings Accounts and High Deductible Health Plans: Are They an Option for Low-Income Families? By Catherine Hoffman and Jennifer Tolbert which was sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation reported the following key findings regarding the HSAs:

a) Premiums for HSA-qualified health plans may be lower than for traditional insurance, but these plans shift more of the financial risk to individuals and families through higher deductibles.
b) Premiums and out-of-pocket costs for HSA-qualified health plans would consume a substantial portion of a low-income family’s budget.
c) Most low-income individuals and families do not face high enough tax liability to benefit in a significant way from tax deductions associated with HSAs.
d) People with chronic conditions, disabilities, and others with high cost medical needs may face even greater out-of-pocket costs under HSA-qualified health plans.
e) Cost-sharing reduces the use of health care, especially primary and preventive services, and low-income individuals and those who are sicker are particularly sensitive to cost-sharing increases.
f) Health savings accounts and high deductible plans are unlikely to substantially increase health insurance coverage among the uninsured.

Choosing a Health Plan

Despite the advantages offered by the HSA, it may not be suitable for everyone. While choosing an insurance plan, an individual must consider the following factors:

1. The premiums to be paid.
2. Coverage/benefits available under the scheme.
3. Various exclusions and limitations.
4. Portability.
5. Out-of-pocket costs like coinsurance, co-pays, and deductibles.
6. Access to doctors, hospitals, and other providers.
7. How much and sometimes how one pays for care.
8. Any existing health issue or physical disability.
9. Type of tax savings available.

The plan you choose should according to your requirements and financial ability.


1 Questions and Answers about Health Insurance- A Consumer Guide’ published jointly by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)
3 2002 AHIP Survey of Health Insurance Plans
4 “How High Is Too High? Implications of High-Deductible Health Plans” Davis, Karen; Michelle Doty and Alice Ho. The Commonwealth Fund, April 2005
6 HSA/HDHP CENSUS 2008 by Hannah Yoo, Center for Policy and Research, America’s Health Insurance Plans
7″HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS Early Enrollee Experiences with Accounts and Eligible Health Plans” John E. Dicken Director, Health Care.
8 Thomas Wilder and Hannah Yoo, “A Survey of Preventive Benefits in Health Savings Account (HSA)Plans, July 2007,” America’s Health Insurance Plans, November 2007
9 Gladwell, Malcolm, “The Moral Hazard Myth”, The New Yorker (29-08-2005)
10 2008 Benchmark Survey HAS Bank
11. Employer Health Benefits 2007 Annual Survey, Kaiser Family Foundation
12. Health Savings Accounts and High Deductible Health Plans: Are They An Option for Low-Income Families?Catherine Hoffman and Jennifer Tolbert for Kaiser Family Foundation, October 2006
13. Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003

Life After Death

Following my accident when I was severely burnt, my last memory was being injected morphine at Staincliffe Hospital, Dewsbury, the place I was born and nearly died; following this I was rushed to Pinderfields Hospital at Wakefield where I was to spend the most painful 13 weeks of my life.

My next memory was awakening and finding me stood in a darkened room and in the far corner was a bed, to which all sorts of electronic equipment were attached beeping away and in the bed seemed to be a person but I just wanted to get away from the place.

Strangely all the pain I had previously suffered was gone like one big nightmare, I remember in my disorientated state somehow leaving the room, into a long deserted corridor, illuminated sparsely with a few night lights.

As I approached the end of the corridor a nurse came out of a nearby staff room, laughing merrily at some joke her and the rest of the staff must have been sharing, as she turned and walked towards me I just froze, however, her eyes showed no acknowledgement of my physical presence as she passed by me.

I called out to her when she was about 15 feet past me but she showed no signs of either seeing me or hearing me, I thought this was a little weird by now, but my instincts told me to find an outside door and get away from this strange place.

After a while travelling through the maze of corridors I found a locked exit, upon trying the door to my amazement I found my hand just passed right through it and to my utter bewilderment I found I could walk right through it, I could feel no warmth or cold, I seemed to myself what I can only describe as a physical point in space that could see and hear but could not interact.

With further astonishment I now found myself perhaps 150 foot up in the air and heading through the night, below I could see the tops of the street lamps and a few cars wondering around, I distinctly remember flying over a railway viaduct and towards the city of Wakefield.

The neon sign over the nightclub called Rooftop Gardens drew me like a magnet being familiar with the place during my many nights out with my friends The Gangster and The Savage One, I must of thought in retrospect that a familiar place would relieve me of all this craziness but I was flying for Gods sake.

I came down to land near the entrance to the club in front of two of the bouncers I remembered from yesteryear I had on many occasions in the past greeted these two individuals however on this occasion they just continued their small talk oblivious to my sudden appearance from the night sky.

I paused to think and reached out with my hand to touch a nearby wall that was adjacent to the clubs entrance but my hand appeared to have no physical substance and just passed into the fabric of the wall.

It was now that the awful truth finally dawned on me… The people unable to see or hear me, The wall, The doors to the hospital, just suppose they were perfectly normal? Just suppose that it was me who had changed? What if for example I had somehow lost my ‘hardness’, my ability to grasp things, even, to make contact with the world – even to be seen?

I mean what is the point in going anywhere if as the final shreds of my rational mind pointed out if you cannot be seen, and what was that mound in that bed in the little hospital room I had left could that have been my physical body?

I didn’t like this line of thought a human being is not separated from his body unless he is dead, then what state was I in now.

It can go through doors without opening them, it can fly like a bird, it does not feel cold or warmth and remarkable these qualities are, they are no good if one cannot be seen. I decided at this point to go back to Pinderfields and see if I could reacquaint myself with my body, surely pain is better than this.

No sooner had this thought occurred to me I found myself moving at incredible speed through the night back to the doors of Pinderfields, it seems in this strange state you travel by thought alone, handy this may be but the novelty soon wears off rapidly.

Now Pinderfields is a big hospital and in my rush to get out of there I had forgotten just where I had left my body (or indeed what was left of it by now)

I just didn’t have a clue which room it was in. I rationalised that it must be somewhere in the burns unit but it was no use asking the doctors or nurses because they couldn’t see me or hear me.

After an extensive search I managed to find the burns unit and by wondering from room to room I finally found the room I had left earlier and there I was lying unconscious, wired up to an whole variety of strange gadgets.

At this point out of pure desperation for something to do, I decided to recite the lord’s prayer something I had learnt many years ago at school.

The very next moment the absolute impossible happened; a tiny pinprick of light at the side of the bed began to grow brighter and brighter, at first not noticing the pin prick of light I thought it was a tiny night light that was the rooms only illumination that was getting brighter.

But then I saw it was coming from beside the white bedside table at the head of the bed, it continued to brighten as I watched, it brightened to such an extent that had it been any ordinary light I would most certainly of been blinded.

The next moment there flooded directly into my mind the words “Stand Up… you are now in the presence of the Son of God”, whereupon out of the light stepped what I could only describe as the most magnificent being I have ever known.

Thankful at last for a little company in this strange situation I joked “That’s it! Just like that… I am with the Son of God… Isn’t there a reception area or something before we meet?”

I felt a presence of Power and pure love that was older than time but yet more modern than anyone I have ever met.

In the first stage of my experience, what I can only refer to as the earthbound state I had lost three of my senses; smell, taste and touch, however in this further stage in the light, time disappeared completely, a bit like in a dream and I was aware of all my thoughts and actions in my life up to the present day as on big whole.

Every moment in my life was recurring before me at one and the same instant as part of some enormous four dimensional sight and sound mural.

I guessed this was my life review.

But emanating from the being projected pure love, up to that point in my life I had come across much laid back always blaming anyone and everyone for the results of my actions

I also saw from a further dimension an observation of my interactions with others from the other persons point.. I also saw parts of the future which was hazy however I distinctly remember being told that a girl I had met but would never marry had an important role in the creation of my son who was very special. I saw all of my educational achievements so far were purely superfluous but it was the way I treated others that was important and I could see the consequence of my lack of interactions with my fellow students at York University (which I had luckily just graduated a month before).

I could see how the other students saw me as weird and very anti social and they tried to avoid me where possible so that they could avoid the negative effect I had on them hence leading to a deeper feeling of depression thus increasing my isolation.

An endless viscous circle that had dominated my life.

I even could see the hurt on my best friend – The Gangsters emotions when he pulled a bird called Cherelle at Rooftop Gardens, but, I had done my best to split them up by pouring a pint of lager on her head and being very rude.

The tapestry of life was in front of me and I could see how my decisions now would effect the future all of my ambitions of being wealthy and having many material possessions was regarded by the being of light with has much distaste as was my lack of enthusiasm for interacting with
my fellow men.

I could see how my life would change and where I had once sought money and possessions I now treasured simply making other peoples lives more pleasurable at the expense of my own wellbeing.

The being of light then turned to me and said via thought dynamics “Michael, What have you done with your life so far?” I replied using my mind “Why didn’t someone tell me this was what life is about?” the being replied “Somebody did nearly 2000 years ago in your linear time – me!”

I suddenly found myself on the move again, this time we didn’t bother about doors it was straight up through the hospital roof, then we flew at incredible speeds across the surface of the earth however there was no wind to slow us and just a few moments later I found myself approaching a city beside a huge expanse of water.

In the city all the streets and offices were unbelievably crowded, and I could see people passing through other people like they wasn’t there.

We walked into a factory and I saw assembly line workers who were putting together lawnmowers enjoying a coffee break while behind them a woman was pleading for a drag of their cigarette as through she wanted it more than anything in the world.

When one of the workers clearly blind and deaf to the women behind him actually took a cigarette out of his packet and began to smoke it, the woman repeatedly snatched at it but, it was as if she was clawing at thin air.

I came to the conclusion that those people must be ghosts, even though they were dead, they remained chained to the material world by the very things they had deemed most important during their lifetimes their jobs, their cigarette smoking their material possessions.

Myself and the being of light moved from city to city visiting endless places he had to show to me, in one house I remember a younger man followed an older man from room to room “I am sorry dad!” he kept saying repeatedly “I did not know it would do this to my mum – I just didn’t understand!”

The older man was carrying a tray filled with tea and toast into a room where a clearly unwell elderly lady was sat up in bed “I AM SORRY” the younger man cried in frustration over and over again but, clearly his agony fell on deaf ears.

“Why is he so sorry?” I enquired to the being of light, referring to the younger mans pleas “He committed the ultimate selfish act” said the being touching his long beard “suicide” he continued with tears welling in the corner of his eyes “and chained to every consequence of their act of cowardice they are well and truly earthbound” he finished but I knew the answer before I asked.

My next visit was back to the night club in Wakefield called Rooftop Gardens where I had visited earlier in my disorientated state, but, without the concept of time earlier and later were meaningless it is a bit like telling someone bind from birth what is like to see.

Inside the nightclub was an impossibly crowded place where I watched ghost alcoholics mingling with living drunks and whenever a drunk lapsed into a drunken stupor a desperately thirsty ghost sprang inside his body so that the two became one.

The living could be distinguished from the ghosts by a faint cocoon of light around him, however when any living being became inebriated their light cocoon faded, enabling one of the many hovering ghosts to take over their body and literally possess the person.

S horrific was the scene that the only words in my mind that could describe this was “hell”

The mingling ghosts with their eyes so set on alcohol desperately clutching at real life beer glasses had blinded themselves to the magnificent being that accompanied me – Indeed the being told me to keep my eyes firmly on him – probably he was aware of my past record.

In this world of thought far beyond space and time (Thought is a more fundamental principle than the illusion of space or time which pale into mere shadows) it can seemingly be either heaven or hell of your own making.

Earthbound ghosts destroyed by hatred, lust and destructive thought patterns find that whatever they think however fleetingly or unwittingly became instantly apparent to all those who was around him and more completely than words could of expressed it and much faster than sound waves could of carried it.

The thought most commonly communicated amongst earthbound spirits was usually selfish thoughts and this by its very act kept the being earthbound, the being it seemed felt only compassion for these unfortunate souls but he knew it was their will not his that kept them there.

I felt like scrooge in The Christmas Carol having this wise being accompany me back to the hospital for the final time, I wanted to start my life again a fresh when I would care far more about other people and not myself.

No longer would money and possessions be my supreme objective but I would live my life with a desire to make other people happy – the old Mad Mick was truly dead and the new one ready for a reincarnation.

We entered the hospital room for the final time and the image of the being and the bed before me faded – the walls that surrounded my little room at Pinderfields became solid again it was early morning and I was informed by a nurse who had come into open the curtains that it was two days since my accident.

The pain was still there but somewhat dulled by the drugs I had been given, It was to be another thirteen weeks before I was released and I had many more strange experiences in there but nothing that could be compared to the one I have shared with you all.

After subsequent research into my favourite subject Physics I have found that with the merging of two theories of the universe Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity it appears that the 3 dimensions of space and one dimension of time is in fact an illusion created by the world of thought.

Spirits who remain earthbound do eventually find that the hatred and envy are the very emotions that keep them there but wouldn’t it be easier to help our fellow human beings while we are alive.

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth” Jesus…

Aarkstore Enterprise– Medical Equipment Industry

The report provides an overview of the Chinese market for medical equipment and devices, with focus on four key emerging markets beyond already established cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou.

Table of Contents :

Executive Summary
Industry Overview
Market Overview: Tianjin
Market Overview: Shenzhen
Market Overview: Nanjing
Market Overview: Chongqing
Trade Event
Key Contacts
About the Author
Aarkstore Enterprise is a leading provider of business and financial information and solutions worldwide. We specialize in providing online market business information on market research reports, books, magazines, conference at competitive prices, and strive to provide excellent and innovative service to our customers. Our customers include more than 700 leading financial institutions, professional service firms, consulting, law and accounting firms and other corporations throughout the world.

Market Research, Market Research Reports, Industry Analysis, Business Research, Business Market Research, Apparel, accessories, Babies Corner, Books, Food, Household Needs, Jewellery, Web Designing, Development, Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing, Automotive, Accounting, Banking, Finance, Biotechnology, Consumer Goods Construction, Energy Resources, Food Drink, Health Safety Insurance, Law & Regulation Management, Pharmaceuticals Telecommunications, Accounting Biography, Finance Health, Safety, Law, Regulation Educational, Management Engineering, market size information, market access strategies, market share, export and import information, market analysis, market trends, competition, domestic production, best sales prospects, statistical data, tariffs, regulations, distribution and business practices, end-user analysis, trade shows, contact points, conference, events, seminars, magazines.

Aarkstore Enterprise specialize in providing online market business information on market research reports, books, magazines, conference booking at competitive prices, and strive to provide excellent and innovative service to our customers.

The Commercial Real Estate Outlook for Agents and Realtors in 2012

The commercial property year has well and truly started, and in most locations formed some common trends and patterns. If you are a commercial agent it pays for you to read the patterns in the marketplace and use them for the opportunity they provide. Property change and churn factors are active in most markets. They are an opportunity in waiting.

These are some of the common trends that most agents are seeing:

  1. Sellers are now adjusting their prices to suit the real property market and the existing levels of enquiry
  2. Buyers are fewer and taking longer to make a decision. Some buyers are looking for bargains.
  3. Finance is still tougher to get and the banks remain selective and diligent in the provision of a mortgage to buyers.
  4. Tenants are out looking for better premises at more favourable rents
  5. Developers are not doing much unless they can see a significant demand for a certain property type
  6. Developers are finding in many cases that the set up and construction costs for the new developments is out of balance with the achievable sale prices

Taking these things on-board, it is the agent that works both the leasing and the selling market that catches more opportunity. You have to be versatile.

As this article is being written it is the start of the second quarter of the 2012 calendar year; it is commonly the time where more listings and deals occur leading up to the change of financial year.

Right now is the right time to push your marketing and networking to the fullest. Sellers and Landlords that need help with property this year are typically planning that process right now.

So the best ways forward if you are an agent is to build a solid prospecting and cold calling model that is relentless in its process and drive. You have 8 months of the year to make the commissions that you need. Now is the time to get moving on this as it takes about 3 months of real effort before the conversions and listings start to appear.

Should you list everything that comes your way? Probably not, given that the market and buyers or tenants are so selective currently. It is better to choose the properties to list that are realistically priced or rented. You only have a certain amount of time to apply to your listed properties, and on that basis they should be the properties that offer the most realistic chance of selling or renting.

On one final note, it is appropriate to look at your listing strategy and decide if you should be taking open listings or just exclusive listings. In the case of exclusive listings, you have control of the property for a definite period of time and you can do more in marketing. In simple terms and in most cases exclusive listings sell faster and at a better price than openly listed properties. Make the right choices here.

Car Insurance Costs Driven Down By Technology

Surprising for many is the fact that sometimes car insurance rates can actually go down. In fact, there are lots of exciting things happening that pose to save drivers lots of money. New technology that is already in the marketplace is saving money and lives already. Below are 3 new technologies that will keep more people safe on the road and reduce the cost of car insurance.

1. Electronic stability control (ESC). ESC systems use computer-controlled braking systems that help the driver maintain control of a vehicle that is beginning to lose control. In 2007, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began requiring all manufacturers to install ESC in all passenger cars, SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks. According to a study done by NHTSA, more than 2,200 lives were saved from 2008-2010 due to the installation of ESC. When more people are safe on the road, car insurance premiums tend to decrease.

2. Driver-less car technology. Google is leading the charge in developing cars that drive themselves. In fact, the Nevada DMV issued the first license for a self-driven vehicle in May 2012. While many do not want their car to drive them to work, the technology being developed will do amazing things to keep accidents to a minimum. Basically the car will know before you do that you are about to hit something and will react for you. Less accidents means less of a car insurance premium.

3. Attention control system. Driver fatigue causes thousands of crashes every year. Volkswagen has a new technology to combat this. A camera in the car monitors your blinking and if it detects a shortage of blinks, it assumes the driver is asleep. An alarm will sound that will alert the driver that is time to either pull over or switch drivers. Again, more safety means less accidents, which results in car insurance that is more affordable.

I would love to see a technology that would not allow a drunk driver to even start the car. That would also save thousands of lives. I’m sure this technology would be easy to develop if it hasn’t been developed already. Technology is improving every aspect of our lives. It’s even saving the lives of thousands. As better safety technology is developed, less accidents will occur on the road.

The safer everyone is on the road, the less we will have to shell out for car insurance. Car insurance companies will no longer have to spend millions of dollars on claims and we’ll all benefit!

Blu Cigs Cyberbanking Cigarettes

An cyberbanking cigarett (or ” Blu Cigs Cyberbanking Cigarettes “) is an another to smoked tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. But now smokers accept a safer another to tobacco smoker application the (vaping) ???Blu Cigs Cyberbanking Cigarettes??? or e- cigaret It can advice you abstain all the abandonment affection and auspiciously abdicate smoker for good.

It is a battery-powered accessory that provides inhaled doses of nicotine by carrying a vaporized propylene glycol/nicotine solution.. The cyberbanking cigarettes feels and looks like a absolute cigarette. It aswell tastes like a absolute cigaratte and you can drag and breathe a baptize breath that looks like absolute cigarete smoke.

The way the e-cigarette works is, you artlessly allegation up your cyberbanking cigarette battery, which looks actual agnate to a acceptable cigarette, and instead of inhaling the added baleful toxins that a accustomed cigarette has in them, the ??â„¢smoke??â„¢ that is emitted from the e-cigarette is in fact just baptize breath that contains aqueous nicotine, and is controllable to those about you.

Family associates of smokers who are anxious about additional duke smoke may acquisition this advantage a lot added tolerable. Some smokers see the smokeless cigarette as a abundant added able way to ???quit??â„¢ smoker always as it gives them the activity that they are still in fact smoking, even admitting they are not inhaling the aforementioned adverse chemicals as they were with approved cigarettes.

You will boring be abbreviation the bulk of nicotine your physique consumes and accordingly your physique will not accept to go through the acrid nicotine abandonment symptoms. You aswell wont ache from the cerebral furnishings that one goes through if you abdicate smoker because you will still be captivation the cyberbanking cigarette like a absolute cigarette and you will abide to inhale/exhale smoke. However, this smoke is baleful free, which agency it does not accommodate any blight causing ingredients.

The Blu Cigs e-cigarette uses technology agnate to added e-cigarette brands. Like a lot of added e-cigarettes, the Blue Cigs e-cigarette is not absolutely smoked but instead is “vaped”. That is because e-cigarettes do not bake anything. Instead, e-cigarettes vaporize aqueous nicotine into a accomplished brume that is inhaled, appropriately the appellation “vape”. The aqueous nicotine, which is independent in a appropriate cartridge, is angry into a brume by apparatus accepted as an atomizer. The atomizer in the Blu Cigs e-cigarette is powered by a baby rechargeable lithium ion battery.

AED – Automatic External Defibrillator

How many chances do you have in your life to save another?

Purchasing an AED (automatic external defibrillator) may seem as simple as purchasing a copier machine, but the choices you make today, may be instrumental in more than just reducing your insurance policy-it may actually save a life.

Just a few short years ago, the very concept of a average person using a defibrillator on a person in cardiac arrest may have resembled a comedy movie. Fortunately today, the advancement of technology has transformed science fiction into everyday convenience. The modern Automatic External Defibrillator is safe to use, simple to operate and portable enough to go anywhere.

With rapid advancement of technology comes explosive opportunities for the marketplace. Entire companies now focus on the manufacturing and sales of this important, life-saving device. With a wide variety of choices, colors, models and prices the uninitiated buyer will most definitely be confused.

Here are the 7 key things you should insist upon when purchasing an Automatic External Defib.


Variety of models. A “one size fits all” isn’t a good strategy. You may only have a single need, but a distributor with a variety of options will be able to custom fit the right device with your organizational needs.

Other medical equipment. On the surface it seems that a company that specializes in AED units would be the logical choice. However, by working with a company that has other medical equipment available, you’ll be working with a supplier for all your needs. Customization with one-stop shopping!

24/7 Support. While shopping may be a daytime activity, your lifestyle may not. Be sure to work with a company that has 24/7 support either by phone or online where you can get your order fulfilled, product tracked and questions answered.


Charging of the unit. What is the shelf life of the unit? How long can it last without be charged? What is the expiration date of the unit?

Accessories. Does the product come with pads compatible for children? Is it wall mounted on in a kiosk? Does the unit come with signage for the unit? Is a storage container included?

Training. Is the unit easy to use. Does it come with English only instructions or can a non-English speaking user easily operate the device? Does it come with a DVD or manual for the owner? Are appropriate compliance documents included?

The value you seek in purchasing a life-saving device must be clearly defined. Getting a good price doesn’t mean the lowest price. There will be more than one good choice of an AED for your organization, but selecting the best one will require you to eliminate those options which don’t fit your needs and working with a company that thinks and acts like you. By purchasing your AED from a supplier with a variety of models, options and prices, you’ll now only be confident you’ve made the right choice for you, but you’ll know that the value you received is 2nd to none. Be wary of discounts in parachutes, insurance and defibrillator’s. The life you save, could be your own.