MAking a Family Healthy

Parents are responsible for the overall management of family life, including setting the values and seeing that everyone’s needs are met and that everyone is thriving. There are several good ways to focus the time you have with your family so you all stay physically and emotionally healthy.

  • Have Individual and Family Goals

In our complex technological society, it can become very easy to get over-involved with a heavy schedule of chores and obligations. If you want to do something more than just deal with what’s urgent, take some time to define your goals. Make sure some of your “urgent” activity each week is working toward your goals. Family goals might be diverse: to spend an evening each week playing together, to buy a new or bigger house, to take a trip to Disneyland by the time the youngest is five, to see that each child gets a solid education or to help all family members be as healthy as they can be. Individuals also have goals: to become an Eagle Scout, make the dance team, change careers or get more education.

  • Family Meetings

Sharing goals can lead to greater cooperation. When we know a family member’s goals, we can support her in achieving them. If Mom wants to go back to school to finish college, and the teenage son needs to be at basketball practice three nights a week, the family can come up with ways to help both of them get their needs met. Maybe Mom could take one less course this term, and the son could fix dinner for the family on the evening that Mom has class. A healthy family is one in which each person’s individual goals are taken into account as well as the family goals. If the goal is a family vacation to Disneyland, someone could take a part-time job to add to the vacation account, or the kids could agree to contribute a certain percent of their allowance each week. Family meetings let people bring up concerns, appreciations and the normal conflicts that arise when two or more people are sharing a life together. Conflicts almost always arise over issues like who will do the dishes. Actively resolving the conflict, at least temporarily, without a screaming match, can happen in a family meeting.

  • Open Communication

Open communication occurs when people know they can safely share their hurts, hopes, needs and longings without ridicule or retaliation. When a child feels safe enough to tell a parent when he is upset or angry, he is more apt to be honest and direct expressing his feelings. Parents model openness by the quality of the relationship they have with each other. Listening to a criticism or complaint of a spouse without sparring or fighting is a sign of maturity. Children learn how to live in the world by the example their parents set.

  • Managing Conflict

Conflict is part of most relationships. Two people rarely have the same goal in the same time frame. One style of conflict resolution is to declare one person the authority who makes all the decisions for all the family members. This can work, but it frequently leads to resentment, and decreases closeness. Another frequent solution is to use some method of allocating authority for different parts of family life to different people, often following gender norms. Although this type of family structure was common in the past, most modern people in the Western world establish families in which both genders have a significant voice and responsibility in the family life. Instead of passively agreeing to a plan someone has made unilaterally, family members should talk about what they want and reach a compromise in which everyone gets part of his needs met. Negotiation and listening skills will get stronger as a person learns how to better manage conflict.

The Average Cost of Family Health Insurance

One of the ways to protect your family is by providing health insurance. Injuries and illnesses can happen at any time and the stress brought on by an incident can be alleviated by having access to health care. However, the costs of having health insurance have become an expensive problem for many families today. Employers are also feeling the pinch and are trimming the costs to provide health insurance to their workers. As the costs continue to rise, more families will find it difficult to afford health insurance.

The Facts

In 2008, the average cost to pay for a family health policy was $12,680.That is 5 percent higher than in 2007 ($12,106) and 27 percent higher than in 2004. These costs in part have led to nearly 46 million Americans having no insurance, which includes more than 8 million children. In addition, employers in 2007 paid more for family health plans than they paid for employees working for minimum wage ($10,712).

Considerations

The rise in the costs of family health insurance is only part of the bigger issue concerning health care. Americans spent $2.4 trillion in 2008 paying for health care, which is 17 percent of gross domestic product of the United States. Providers and insurers pass on costs to their patients and clients in order to remain profitable.

Consider that $34 billion in hospital health services went unpaid in 2007, according to the American Hospital Association. Other factors leading to the increase in health care costs include administrative costs, technological advancements and production of expensive prescription drugs.

Significance

Many families are without health insurance due to the fact that the coverage plans are unaffordable. Since 1999, employee wages have risen 34 percent, while premiums have increased by 119 percent. Employers are also dropping health insurance plans from their payrolls since they are paying about 70 percent of the premium cost. As a result, eight out of 10 people who are uninsured come from a working family.

Misconceptions

Although companies are paying the majority of the premiums for their workers, employees are facing more responsibility for paying their health care costs. In 2008, 18 percent of covered workers faced deductibles that were more than $1,000 annually, up from 12 percent in 2007.The shift has affected workers in small businesses the greatest. One in three employees who worked for a company that employed up to 199 workers had a $1,000 deductible.

Warning

As the cost of purchasing health insurance rises, families left unprotected face many risks that could lead to severe consequences. Families will have to pay for health care expenses out of pocket and that could mean thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, 62 percent of bankruptcies, as well as 1.5 million annual foreclosures, are linked to medical costs. Also, families may face providers not willing to extend their services due to not being insured.

Determining Which Health Insurance Plan Is Right For My Family

Whether you are choosing among different health insurance plans that your employer is offering or seeking an individual health insurance policy for your family, there are several factors to take into account. Consider your typical health care usage against the type of health insurance plans that are available such as Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Indemnity and High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs).

Instructions

  • Review your family’s use of health care providers in the last year. Analyze how often family members went to the doctor, whether there are any conditions that warrant ongoing treatment or whether there are any upcoming health issues. Determine, in general, whether your family is at a healthy weight. Considering your family usage of health care services will shape the type of coverage you may need.
  • Review the options that your employer is offering. Typically, employers offer a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) and an Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). PPO plans offer a larger network of doctors you may see but may have higher out-of-pocket costs such as the premium and co-pays. The premium is the cost of the plan, and the co-pay is the portion of services you pay for as they are received—your insurer pays the rest. HMO plans are less flexible in what doctors you can visit and require that you stay within a limited network of providers. They often require that you visit a primary care physician before seeing a specialist. However, they are the least expensive option of the two for your family. If you’re purchasing a policy independent of an employer, these options are most cost-effective for families with frequent doctor visits.
  • Consider a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) if your family members are not high users of health care services and do not anticipate many future doctor visits. HDHP premiums are usually significantly lower than a PPO or HMO plan and may be accompanied by a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) into which your employer deposits dollars to pay for your health care. For HDHPs that meet IRS criteria, the covered person is eligible to establish a Health Savings Account (HSA). The money in the HRA and HSA accumulates and rolls over to the next year, making this a wise option for lower users of their health insurance.
  • Evaluate whether another plan, such as a Point of Service (POS) or Indemnity health plan, is the right option for your family. A POS plan is a hybrid between a PPO and HMO. Like the HMO, you will need to visit a primary care physician, but like a PPO you have a wider network of physicians for referrals. These plans are sometimes offered by employers but are more likely purchased individually and will be priced between a PPO and HMO. Indemnity coverage is the traditional, nonmanaged plan where you can see any doctor you want and the plan reimburses the provider on a fee-for-service basis. These plans have an annual deductible and may have higher premiums than other plan options.
  • Obtain premium quotes for each type of plan, and complete a cost analysis of each plan’s premiums against the type of service you think your family will need to determine what is the right health insurance plan for your family. In addition to cost, for each plan type you’ll want to consider their provider network, out-of-pocket costs and what services are covered.

Comparing Family Health Insurance Plans

Family health insurance is a considerable expense, but it is also necessary if families want to have affordable access to health care providers, medical services and prescription medications. Since every family is unique, health insurance companies offer many types of plans, so that families may choose the one that best meets their needs.

Rates

Health care insurance plans have different rates based on the benefits. A deductible is the amount that you pay before you are covered by your insurance benefits. The higher the deductible, the lower the monthly premium.

Features

Know what features and services are covered by the health plans. For example, some plans are inclusive of X-ray and routine diagnostic lab tests, while other plans do not cover these services. Check for plans that include emergency room, medical transportation and pharmacy benefits.

Types

Traditional health plans are offered by health insurance carriers. Health savings accounts (HSA), on the other hand, are set up through banks and serve as a tax-free medical savings account. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, these accounts are for high deductible health care plans, and the money is available for a family to spend on medical expenses.

Having a Healthy Family Life

You’ll need to constantly develop any relationship, including your family’s. Developing a healthy family life needs to be defined by what you and your family believe is healthy. A December 2003 Gallup Poll reveals that Americans voted family and health as the most important aspects of life. There is no certain mold your family should fit in. Most people want to meet the needs of their family financially, provide a safe home, and securing a well-paying job that will provide both.

Instructions

  • Create a habit of coming together at least once a day and talking. Use dinner time as a formal family meeting place to share and communicate the events of the day, as well as discussing any family dynamics. Schedule your meals around activities and work so you are all present at the same time. Help your family members feel comfortable talking by not overreacting to things they may confide in you. Create a healthy family atmosphere by communicating daily with each other.
  • Avoid arguing or fighting in front of the children. Children can become confused, nervous and sad each time they witness conflict in the family. Seeing unhealthy conflict can cause your children to act out in school or as adults themselves. If your children do see you argue, make sure you apologize to each other and explain that you’re having a disagreement but you still love each other. Teach your children you can have healthy conflict and go on to resolve the problem together.
  • Spend as much time as possible with your family. Plan family trips and get-aways for just your family. Picnics in the park and family beach day are enjoyable and inexpensive activities you can plan to bring your family together and have fun. Laughter is a healthy release for families. Family outings can build lasting memories for your family.
  • Develop your own family traditions to have a healthy family life. Your family will look forward to participating in family traditions you make together. Make a yearly weekend pilgrimage to a favorite destination, bake desserts together for special occasions, open presents on holidays, or choose a favorite sporting event to bring your family together. Making a family tradition will unite your family for years to come.
  • Eat well-balanced meals and exercise. Go on family walks to help your family get motivated to exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you should help kids and teens be active for at least one hour a day. Activities should raise their breathing and heart rates and also strengthen their muscles and bones. Getting your family moving will help create a healthy family life.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don’t force ideas on your family. Let your family come up with healthy family ideas that make them happy.
  • Always put your family first. They will grow to value your efforts and put forth the same initiative to take part in family activities.

The Role of the Family in Health Care

A policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics on the family’s role in health care states, “Health-care professionals who practice family-centered care recognize the vital role that families play in ensuring the health and well-being of children and family members of all ages.” The family plays an important role in a patient’s recovery after surgery or an accident, during an ongoing chronic illness, during and following childbirth and during hospitalization and terminal illness.

  • Childbirth

The model of childbirth that isolates a woman in labor from her partner and other family members began to go out of fashion during the latter part of the 20th century. As mothers started to insist on the father’s involvement and support, many hospitals established birthing suites, where couples stay together for the duration of labor and birth, often with the baby’s siblings or extended family members attending as well. In this setting, a woman is less likely to experience the intense anxiety that can accompany and sometimes complicate childbirth. There is also an opportunity for immediate bonding of both parents with the baby.

  • Trauma or Surgery

 

Patients who have suffered a serious accident or who have undergone surgery benefit from the involvement of close family members. This is particularly true for children, but extends to patients of all ages. The presence of family members eases the anxiety connected with such events. Patients with family involvement experience quicker discharge times after surgery, and children require less medication.

  • Chronic Illness

Parents and other family members are in a position to make significant contributions to the care of a patient with a chronic illness. These care team members can ensure that the patient takes her medication regularly, performs any exercises or health care routines as prescribed by the physician, and goes to scheduled checkups and follow-up visits.

  • Hospitalization and Hospice

 

During hospitalization, a patient’s family can provide a significant link between patient and hospital staff by interpreting doctors’ and nurses’ instructions, safeguarding against staff mistakes and securing the patient’s cooperation when necessary. In a hospice setting, the family of a terminally ill patient brings much needed comfort and emotional support, as well as practical assistance with issues such as pain control.

  • Mental Health Care

The family plays a critical role in the ongoing care of a patient suffering from severe mental illness. A study by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs found that “veterans with schizophrenia who had family support reported a higher quality of life, fewer hospital days and lower health care costs.” As with any ongoing illness, families of mentally ill patients can see that the patient takes medication as prescribed and follows any other instructions.

Looking for the Best Family Health Insurances

Family health insurance is a necessity. If you’re looking for family health insurance, you are not alone. Millions of individuals just like you are searching for the best rates. In this article, we’ll discuss how to look for family health insurance.

Instructions

  • The first thing you need to do is determine the highest amount you can afford to pay for monthly premiums. By getting this out of the way first, you can stick to your budget as you browse through insurance companies. Calculate your monthly household income and then subtract your monthly household expenses to find out what you can afford for insurance. You should be able to afford to pay 25 percent of what you have left over each month and no more.
  • Evaluate the types of insurance you need. When you have small children, you probably need insurance that covers emergency room visits and physician checkups. If your family is mostly healthy, you might only need emergency coverage and regular checkup insurance. If someone in your family has poor vision, you might need coverage for eye doctors. It’s about analyzing the health of your family and then determining what you need. Obviously, you wouldn’t need maternity insurance if no one in your family is pregnant. So, take the time to think about the kind of insurance you need.
  • Speak with your doctor’s office. If you have a regular doctor, it might be worth it to find out what kind of insurance he or she accepts. This might bring some insurance plans into consideration for you and might even stop you from having to conduct a long and exhaustive search for insurance plans.
  • Another great option when searching for family insurance is to go with companies that are well known and reliable. One of the most popular insurance companies is Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Start with the most well known companies in your area and determine whether they have any plans that meet both your budget requirements and your health insurance coverage requirements.
  • Check for consumer complaints. This is a great way to save yourself a lot of frustration and disappointment. You can use the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to discover whether a company you’re interested in has had any consumer complaints filed against it.

By using the steps above, you can find an insurance plan that meets both your budget and your insurance needs for yourself and your family.

What are The Effects of Communication on Family Health Status?

An important element of developing good family well being is family communication. Family communication is a term used to describe how persons of a family unit interact with one another.

  • Significance

A family unit operates under a set of rules. Those rules are established through family communication, whether written or spoken. A family who effectively communicates the rules of the household will maintain a good family health status. Developing good family well being will be extremely difficult for those who are unable to set certain parameters through family communication.

  • Healthy Family

A healthy family is one that is able to work together in a loving way at tasks like decision making and problem solving. Each family member’s expression of his thoughts and feelings are an important part of family communication and developing good family well being. Listening without interrupting is an important part of this communication.

  • Unhealthy Family

A family with poor family health status is likely to be described as dysfunctional. Dysfunctional families are commonly a result of a power struggle within a family. An example of how a family power struggle develops is when parents use totalitarian authority and do not welcome feedback from children during family communication. The children in the family may rebel against the parents, creating a dysfunctional family system.

  • Future Generations

A child from a dysfunctional family is more likely to grow up and start a dysfunctional family of his own. This is because the proper family communication skills were never learned.

  • Considerations

A child from a single parent family may experience difficulty communicating with someone of the same gender as the missing parental figure. This could affect the person’s ability to start and maintain a family with a healthy status.

The Resources Are Allowed for Family Health Plus

Family Health Plus is a public health insurance program for low-income adults ages 19 through 64 administered by the New York State Department of Health. It is available for singles, couples without children, and parents. The program has set limits for eligibility depending on income status, as well as citizenship and immigration requirements. While registering for the program is not too difficult, you should know what resources are allowed in order to qualify.

Single Resources

For a single individual without children, the maximum qualifying income is $10,830 per year, or $903 per month. This income level is on par with the defined New York State poverty line.
Family Resources

The income level allowed for families to qualify for Family Health Plus depends on family size. As of 2011, for a couple with no children the qualifying maximum combined income is $14,710 per year. Couples with children are allowed to receive benefits for dependents up until the child reaches 21 years of age. For a family of two, defined as one parent or legal guardian and one dependent below 21, the maximum annual income for eligibility is set at $22,065. The maximum income criterion increases with family size. A family of three is allowed an income of $27,795, and for each additional family member, eligibility requirements allow for an additional $5,730 per year.

Other Insurance Coverage

If you have another form of insurance coverage, such as through federal, state, municipal or school district programs, you are not eligible to enroll in Family Health Plus. However, if you receive employer-sponsored benefits, you may be eligible for the Family Health Plus Premium Assistance. This program, which began in 2007, is part of the State initiative to recognize that health savings can be achieved through making better use of private insurance options. The program allows for individuals receiving private insurance to receive modified benefits to help cover the costs of deductibles, premiums and co-payments.

Resource Test

Effective as of January 1, 2010, there is no longer a resource test requirement to enroll in Family Health Plus. The resource test was a verification of applicants’ assets to assess financial eligibility. However, enrollment still requires proper documentation of income, and applicants need to be prepared to demonstrate not only wage income, but also any interest or dividends from investments and other holdings.

Union Benefits

Low-income union members may also be eligible for coverage through the Family Health Plus Buy In Program. This branch of the program grants the same maximum income standards as Family Health Plus, and allows low-wage earning union members to purchase additional medical coverage at low cost to help defray medical expenses.

Maintaining a Healthy Family

Maintaining a healthy family must address both physical and emotional health, which are often intertwined within a family setting. Starting family traditions at a young age can help to foster closeness and healthy habits. However, it’s never too late to start working on helping family members develop emotional and physical strength.

Instructions

  • Set family dinnertime every night if possible and let the entire family participate in preparing it together. Choose healthful ingredients including fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains and lean proteins. As you eat your meal together, discuss the day’s events and any upcoming plans. Let every family member contribute something to the conversation so no one feels left out. According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration eating dinner together every night keeps family communication open, lowers the chance for teens abusing drugs and developing unhealthy eating habits.
  • Set up open lines of communication where family members feel comfortable discussing problems among each other, without fear or embarrassment. Set the ground rules for discussions as a family with resolution to conflicts as the goal. Discussions can occur one on one, or with family meetings regularly scheduled on a weekly, monthly and as-need basis.
  • Exercise together at least once a week by doing family-friendly activities such as walking, hiking, biking, swimming, yoga, playing sports or even doing board games such as Twister that encourage movement.
  • Volunteer as family to develop camaraderie, learn to work together and help those less fortunate.

1 2