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Posts Tagged ‘health’

About six weeks ago I was given the opportunity to try some products from Healtop, which the company’s founder describes as “a company dedicated to increasing health & wellness through natural, efficient and effective proven supplements, vitamins, skincare products, and more.”  You can read more about the people behind Healtop and the philosophy of the company right here.

healtop logo

As a U.S. Family Guide blogger, I agreed to provide an honest review of the products they sent me.  I picked the bundle of products for women over 45.

momsover45package healtop

My bundle arrived with the items in pretty floral packaging and I could already smell them before I opened them  (That’s a good thing–I LOVE the way they smell!)  My bundle had face cream, body cream, and a bottle of some kind of liquid supplement called “Balance.”

I didn’t really know what to make of the supplement but I know what to do with face and body creams so I started using those right away.  They are made of all natural ingredients and like I said they smelled wonderful.  I really enjoyed using them,  especially the face cream.  When you get older and your skin gets drier sometimes it has almost a thirsty feeling, you know?  And this cream really satisfies this.  I think coconut oil is its base ingredient and it’s a little hard to get used to because it is kind of shiny going on, but once it is absorbed there is no greasy feel to it at all.

So I loved the externally applied Healtop products, but let’s talk about the supplement.  Balance has a lot of herbs in it you might have heard of like Dong Quai, Black Cohosh, and Elderberry.  I didn’t really know what it was supposed to do, but I said I’d try it so I started taking a dose morning and night (twenty drops of it in water).  I am still taking it and I think I will have to buy more when it’s gone because . . . WOW.

I had to engage in some very physical tasks after I started taking this involving carrying heavy things up steep stairs multiple times for about five days.  Y’all, I had SO MUCH ENERGY.  I have been feeling old and draggy for quite awhile now and all of a sudden I was just invigorated! I wasn’t doing anything different other than taking this Balance stuff.   So I am sold.

If you are lucky enough NOT to be over 45, they haven’t forgotten about you.  Check out these bundles:

infantpackage healtopmomspackage healtop

Plus you can buy any products individually.  Take a look right here to see all that Healtop has to offer!

 

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Dear Facebook Friends:

Next time you are tempted to gleefully post about how happy you are to see ObamaCare repealed, I want you to think about the people whose lives are going to be affected dramatically when that happens.  I want you to think about people who are terrified of losing their coverage, who went years uninsured,  who saw doctors only when in dire need, who went bankrupt due to medical bills, who visited the emergency room for care because they didn’t have the money a clinic would have demanded up front, who spent hours researching online and filling out forms and chasing down doctors for signatures to get prescription medication payment assistance, who figured out which of their medications they could forgo in a given month, who held their breath in the pharmacy drive-through line while they waited to hear the terrible total.

You are entitled to your opinion and the ACA isn’t perfect, but it’s sure better than the nothing many people had before it was passed.  You can suggest changes and discuss drawbacks and talk policy without appearing to be enthusiastic about the fact that millions of Americans stand to lose their care and that some of them are going to die.

Consider, please, how it makes me (and others) feel when I see people who are supposed to be my friends celebrating the fact that my family may soon be without health insurance and thus effectively without care.  In my posts on this topic in the past I have always been careful to affirm my friends who told me that the implementation of the ACA had caused them difficulties like higher premiums and changes in doctors.  I was always sympathetic and willing to concede the imperfections in the ACA, as evidenced by my many honest posts  (which I will link at the end).  I agreed that improvement–although not repeal–was needed.

Remember that there are suffering people who see your Facebook posts, people who are frightened, for whom this isn’t about politics or partisanship or finances but about staying alive.  Remember that, and if you care about those people, watch the tone of your posts.

Your friend,

A Once and Possibly Future Uninsured American

My previous posts on ObamaCare:

The $64,000 Question, Answered

Who Are the Uninsured?

Uninsured No More

ObamaCare Update

ObamaCare Update 2

ObamaCare:  My Latest Update

ObamaCare Revisited

More on Our Journey to Health, Brought to You by Obamacare

It’s Good to Be Insured: An ObamaCare Update

Obamacare in Practice:  An Update

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There’s just something about a new year, isn’t there?  It feels fresh and new and full of possibilities.  Hence the talk of resolutions and the increase in gym membership purchases!

I am reluctant to commit to something so definite and portentous as resolutions any more.  Not sticking to them seems like failure and who needs more reasons to feel bad?

Still, I can’t deny that some of the good health habits I worked so hard to form a few years ago have become somewhat less habitual. And a new year is as good a time as any for taking stock and making some changes.  I’m still lighter and healthier and stronger than I was before my healthy journey began, but let’s just say that pie has a lot of carbs, and that we don’t hike every weekend any more.  And I’ve got a BIG birthday coming up this year (gulp!), and I’d like to feel healthier and stronger by then.

So I’m going back to the gym and walking and healthy eating, but I’m not calling it a resolution.  In case you are feeling like doing something similar, here’s what I am going to do.  For the rest of this month I am going to reshare posts I’ve written on health, low carb eating, recipes, and hiking, to help motivate myself and anyone else who could use some motivation!  If you want to see what I’m sharing, follow Life in Every Limb on Facebook and be sure to check “see first” so you don’t miss any posts.

Happy New Year and good luck to you on your resolutions or goals for the year or whatever you wish to call them!  Tell me about them in the comments, if you want.

 

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The first year we had health insurance via the ACA, I updated y’all frequently and promised to keep doing so.  I realize that’s a promise I didn’t keep.  Now that the law’s very existence is threatened, it seems like a good time to share how it’s been going for us in the almost two years since my last post.

I’m listing here for comparison some numbers I just crunched from the three years we have been covered thus far.

2014

  • Premiums paid:  $3,796.75
  • Physician Charges:  $41,191.17
  • Prescriptions:  $9,581.96
  • Our portion after insurance:  $5,454.47
  • Total health care costs: $9,251.22

2015

  • Premiums paid:  $7,558.68
  • Physician Charges:  $10,083.20
  • Prescriptions:  $7,603.03
  • Our portion after insurance:  $2,668.16
  • Total health care costs: $10,226.84

2016 (to date)

  • Premiums paid:  $7,239.24
  • Physician Charges:  $16,849.10
  • Prescriptions:  $6,492.23
  • Our portion after insurance:  $2,613.13
  • Total health care costs: $10,452.37

You will probably notice a couple of things:  Our premiums went UP, and our physician charges went DOWN.

Well, it’s no secret that premiums are going up across the land, which many people blame on ObamaCare.  Ours would be unaffordable by now if it weren’t for the generous government subsidy we receive thanks to the size of our family vs. the size of our income.

Our physician charges went down because for one thing we didn’t have a major medical issue as we did the first year when Jake required surgery for a severed tendon, and the first year we also all went to the doctor a lot to make up for years of not being able to do so.  One of the things that has been driving costs up has been exactly this–people who hadn’t been able to access care, some of them very sick as a result, finally getting the care they need.   Presumably some of that will improve as time goes on, as it has for us.

So our experience continues to be positive.  We love our doctors.  We love that we can still provide insurance for our two adult children who are not in school.  We love that whenever anyone is sick we don’t have to worry about paying for or accessing care.  We love having regular preventive care and psychological care too.  And we love the lack of sticker shock at the pharmacy.

None of that is to say that there aren’t problems that need to be fixed.  Because insurance companies now have to cover those who they used to be able to reject, they haven’t been able to make a profit for the past three years.  Premiums continue to rise.  And Blue Cross has pulled out of Knoxville so we have to find another plan for next year.  Any day now I will have to devote a couple of hours to the hell on earth otherwise known as Healthcare.gov–which has only improved marginally since the last time I was there.

Now that I’ve got you all caught up, count on seeing more–a LOT more–on this topic over the next few weeks.

 

And here’s the rest of our ObamaCare story:

The $64,000 Question, Answered

Who Are the Uninsured?

Uninsured No More

ObamaCare Update

ObamaCare Update 2

ObamaCare:  My Latest Update

ObamaCare Revisited

More on Our Journey to Health, Brought to You by Obamacare

It’s Good to Be Insured: An ObamaCare Update

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Surprise, surprise! It’s another sponsored review post from me.  I know these disclosures can get boring, but ethics require I let you know that I received the following product for free in return for my honest review.

This time I am going to write about my experience with Bulu Box, another one of those fun (and inexpensive) monthly subscription boxes that keep springing up.  If you like packages and surprises, you will like this one.  Here’s the official blurb:

The perfect partner in the pursuit of a healthier you, Bulu Box is like having a personal trainer and a nutritionist as a best friend. Each month, a box of healthy discoveries is shipped right to your door for just $10. You learn about that month’s 4-5 premium samples, try each one and see what fits into your individual healthy lifestyle. For sharing your opinions on each month’s samples through a quick survey, we will give you 50 Rewards Points (that’s $5!) to use in our shop to get more of your favorites.

Don’t laugh, but one of the things I loved about Bulu Box was . . . well . . . the BOX.

bulu 1

bulu 4

I mean, I got a little uplift just from reading all the slogans on the box.  Seriously.

Then there was the fun of opening the box to see the surprises inside.  And they were surprising! With the other subscription boxes I’ve shared with you, at least I knew I’d find coffee, or tea, or hot sauce.  With Bulu Box there is a lot more variety.

For some reason I neglected to photograph the contents of my third box, but these two pictures will give you an idea:

As you can see, these are health-related samples:  some are performance-oriented (I shared these with Teddy), some are snacks (Lorelei taste-tested these), and some are vitamins/supplements (which I kept for myself!).

Some we liked, some we didn’t, but that’s really going to be up to the individual, plus your samples won’t necessarily be the same as the ones I received.  You can order full sizes of anything you liked directly from Bulu Box.  And reviewing your samples gets you points (lots of points, and it’s relatively easy to get them) to redeem for free or reduced-price products).

Ultimately, I won’t be renewing my subscription, because the only products I found personally compelling were the supplements, yet when you only get a pill or two it’s really impossible to tell whether they had any effect.  Still, if you have the disposable income to take a chance on a supplement or other product introduced in your Bulu Box, it’s a great way to learn about what’s out there.

If that sounds like you, feel free to take advantage of this special offer for my readers:

Get a 3 Month Subscription for just $15 (regularly $30)! at Bulu Box – Use code WOWZA
Or you can access the offer at this link.
bulubox_logo_2c_rgb

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bulubox_logo_2c_rgbOK, y’all, let me start by saying that this is a sponsored post, which I get to do because I am a US Family Guide Blogger.  I will be compensated for this post with a free subscription to this product, which I will then (HONESTLY, I PROMISE!) review.  As of right now, I don’t know anything about this Bulu Box other than what I am about to share with you, but I do think it sounds awesome and I am excited to get to try it.

bulu_box_holding

The promo materials state:  The perfect partner in the pursuit of a healthier you, Bulu Box is like having a personal trainer and a nutritionist as a best friend. Each month, a box of healthy discoveries is shipped right to your door for just $10. You learn about that month’s 4-5 premium samples, try each one and see what fits into your individual healthy lifestyle. For sharing your opinions on each month’s samples through a quick survey, we will give you 50 Rewards Points (that’s $5!) to use in our shop to get more of your favorites.
bulu 2
Now here’s the offer you have access to because you read my blog! 🙂
Get a 3 Month Subscription for just $15 (regularly $30)! at Bulu Box – Use code WOWZA
Or you can access the computer at this link.

bulu
I’m not sure when my own Bulu Box will arrive, but I’ll tell y’all all about it when it does.
bulu_kelsey_sitting_boxpiles

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I have been uninsured most of my adult life.  Even when our kids qualified for TennCare, even when for a brief happy time we were able to insure John via TennCare Standard thanks to his existing medical conditions, unless I qualified via pregnancy, we could not afford to buy private insurance for me.  For the most part, in retrospect, that worked out well for us.  We gambled on my continued good health, and we won.  It would have been nice to be able to go to the doctor for checkups like insured folk, but I was never hit with a medical catastrophe while uninsured.

It’s a gamble taken by many young healthy people, and one some of them don’t win.

Let’s take Jake, my twenty-year-old son, for example.  Jake was covered by TennCare until he aged out.  He was briefly uninsured until we obtained our policy through the Health Insurance Marketplace earlier this year.  If it were not for Obamacare, he would have joined the ranks of the adult uninsured.

Just about a month ago, Jake was cutting some sheet rock with a box cutter when his hand slipped.  He ended up in the emergency room with a deep laceration to his right pinky.  And a little over a week later he was at the orthopedist’s office being diagnosed with a severed tendon.  Then came surgery, and now rehab.  So far, we have been to various medical providers seven times.  We are just getting started.  We will be billed by the hospital, the emergency room doctor, the orthopedist, the surgery center, the anesthesiologist, the supplier of medical equipment, and the physical therapist.

According to the Blue Cross website, about $9,000 in bills have been processed so far.  What have we paid?  About $150.  I realize we will be paying much, much more.  We have already met our deductible and have to pay 20%; but we won’t be paying $1,800 of that, because as insured folk we are offered the negotiated rate which is much, much less.  Also, as insured folk we are offered the courtesy of being billed.  Only the surgery center insisted on being paid up front.

Without Obamacare, this would have been a financial catastrophe.  What would we have done?  Well, what we would have done probably is gotten help from family members to pay the necessary up front charges, then paid off the rest in installments.  But what would happen to a young working man with no family to help him?  He could end up without the use of a finger on his dominant hand, permanently affecting his grip and his ability to write, not to mention causing disfigurement.  That should not be an option in the United States of America.

Jake has to endure two months or so of not being able to work or drive or write or do much of anything, and that sucks for him.  But at the end of it his hand will be almost as good as new, and we won’t be bankrupted by the bills.  BIG WIN for Obamacare.

Jake with Red Hair

 

 

Less dramatic wins . . . John has lost 30 lbs. since his first check up.  His cholesterol and triglycerides are now within normal limits, and his diabetes is under control.  He will see the doctor for more blood work to monitor his progress in November, and there’s a good possibility he may be able to ditch some medicines then.  My third appointment was today.  I’ve lost 46 lbs., but much more impressive and important is that my cholesterol and triglycerides are now within normal limits, and every one of my numbers improved since my last appointment.  I still have a few points to go on my blood sugar, and then I will be able to sign my name on the “normal numbers” poster on the doctor’s office wall!

Want to read the beginning of the story?  See below:

The $64,000 Question, Answered

Who Are the Uninsured?

Uninsured No More

ObamaCare Update

ObamaCare Update 2

ObamaCare:  My Latest Update

ObamaCare Revisited

More on Our Journey to Health, Brought to You by Obamacare

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