American General Life Insurance Company

My Quality Life from AGLA
The Official AGLA Blog.

Contact Us
Customer Service:
1-800-888-2452

American General Life Insurance Company
American General Center
Nashville, TN 37250

www.agla.com
.

American General Life Insurance Company Legal Notice.

(c) 2013. All rights reserved.
Posts tagged "Proactive Health Management"

Newly released statistics suggest that some of the best financial planning techniques may involve staying with an employer for a longer period of time as opposed to retiring.

According to recent data gathered and reported by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), more than half of today’s workers plan on working into their retirement years, mainly because they can continue to receive health coverage by doing so.

However, that’s not the case for everyone. The report also found that of those who had attempted to stay with their employer in the past, one in five said they weren’t able to remain with their employers in order to continue to receive health benefits.

Paul Fronstin, director of research and education at EBRI, indicates that the rules under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) may alter the way in which people plan out their retirement years, as the health reform law mandates that states set up health marketplace exchanges so that consumers have an alternative option to turn to if their employer doesn’t provide coverage. This, in turn, may cause retirees to leave their jobs when they had initially intended.

While the ACA requires businesses that employ more than 50 workers make affordable coverage available, some may opt to pay the fine and drop coverage from their benefit offerings. As it is currently, small business owners aren’t making coverage available as commonly as some may suspect. According to statistics from professional development organization LIMRA, less than half of small business owners offer health coverage to their employees, the lowest level recorded in 20 years.

LIMRA defines “small businesses” as those that have between two and 99 employees on the payroll.

Financial struggles often follow cancer diagnoses, a recent case study shows.As difficult and painful as a cancer diagnosis may be, a recent study suggests those who are diagnosed often face additional challenges that are unrelated to health.

The analysis, conducted by the Canadian Cancer Action Network, reviewed 72 case studies of individuals who were diagnosed with cancer. Individuals were then interviewed to better gauge what they went through.

"What emerged was a consistent picture of financial pressures," the report stated. "In some cases a cancer diagnosis began a financial tailspin that pushed families into debt, distress, bankruptcy and sometimes a lifetime on social assistance."

Paul Lapierre, vice president of public affairs for the Canadian Cancer Society, indicated that this is a sober reminder of the array of struggles that can impact those who are unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with cancer.

Though cancer rates are declining, it remains one of the most prevalent diseases in the world, with 300 of every 100,000 Americans developing some form of cancer each year, according to the World Health Organization. Cancer insurance can help individuals afford the medical expenses that comes through treatment.

Another factor is the integration of PHR use with mobile technologies, which improves convenience for consumers significantly. The ability to access electronic health records while on the move may help people ensure they take proper medications and generally take more responsibility for their own care.Americans may find personal health records (PHRs) useful for tracking and managing their own healthcare in the future, researchers say. The technology is beginning to spread despite slow adoption by consumers, in part due to its use by a growing number of physicians and hospitals, according to a report from Frost & Sullivan.

Another factor is the integration of PHR use with mobile technologies, which improves convenience for consumers significantly. The ability to access electronic health records while on the move may help people ensure they take proper medications and generally take more responsibility for their own care.

This trend should help to encourage a more proactive approach that keeps people involved in their own health decisions and engaged with professionals.

While estimates suggest only 7 percent of Americans are using these records so far, the report indicates that most of those find them helpful for keeping track of a chronic health condition. Chronic illnesses can interfere with life significantly and require continuous monitoring to ensure they are properly managed and do not worsen.

Sleeping regularly is more important than the amount of sleep, according to Agus, and establishing a routine can promote health over time. Avoiding prolonged sitting is also helpful, and he recommends wearing comfortable shoes both to encourage people to move around more and so that they will not experience inflammation or put strain on their back or joints.Healthy living habits can significantly reduce the likelihood that an individual will experience cancer, according to Dr. David Agus, oncologist and professor of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Agus recently told Marketwatch that there are several steps people can take over time to improve their odds of avoiding invasive cancer and other illnesses. One thing anyone can do is try to keep a stable schedule, eating, sleeping and exercising at regular times and ensuring that some time is set aside for relaxation.

Sleeping regularly is more important than the amount of sleep, according to Agus, and establishing a routine can promote health over time. Avoiding prolonged sitting is also helpful, and he recommends wearing comfortable shoes both to encourage people to move around more and so that they will not experience inflammation or put strain on their back or joints.

Similarly, he notes that an annual flu shot can moderate the body’s immune response and avoid inflammation triggered by the illness, which can weaken people so that they are more vulnerable to other health issues.

Separately, the Nurses' Health Study indicates that women who drink coffee may be less likely to experience depression. This finding did not apply to those drinking decaf, and analysts noted that consumption should be limited, according to the Consumers Union of the United States.A recent study by German scientists indicates that coffee drinkers are not at higher risk of developing heart disease or cancer and may actually be less likely to experience type 2 diabetes.

Researchers studied more than 40,000 people over the course of a decade and published their findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examining the issue after prior indications that coffee might increase the risk of developing serious conditions such as heart disease or stroke.

The probability of developing these illnesses was found to be fairly close for both those who drank coffee and those who did not, suggesting it does not impact the risks. When looking at type 2 diabetes, 3.6 percent of those who did not drink coffee developed the condition, compared to 3.2 percent of coffee drinkers. This agrees with the results of other studies.

Separately, the Nurses’ Health Study indicates that women who drink coffee may be less likely to experience depression. This finding did not apply to those drinking decaf, and analysts noted that consumption should be limited, according to the Consumers Union of the United States. The analysts also found that regular coffee consumption was associated with, although not necessarily a cause of, longer lifespans. Taken together, the data suggests that drinking caffeine in moderation may have substantial health benefits while not increasing the chances of invasive cancer and other medical problems, as some have feared.

At the same time, experts have found that drinking in moderation, limited to a single glass, may decrease the likelihood of experiencing a heart attack or stroke by up to 36 percent, according to the Belfast Telegraph. This suggests that light drinking may have some health benefits, but become problematic the more pronounced the behavior is.Women who drink the equivalent of three or more glasses of wine a day may substantially increase their risk of breast cancer, according to a recent review.

While past research has found that alcohol consumption may be linked to an increased incidence of several types of cancer, a review of past studies by experts at the University of Heidelberg suggests that women may have particular cause for concern with a 40 to 50 percent higher chance of developing breast cancer if they drink as many as three glasses of wine a day. For those who have the equivalent of only one, the increased risk may be about 4 percent.

At the same time, experts have found that drinking in moderation, limited to a single glass, may decrease the likelihood of experiencing a heart attack or stroke by up to 36 percent, according to the Belfast Telegraph. This suggests that light drinking may have some health benefits, but become problematic the more pronounced the behavior is.

If researchers are correct, then moderation is likely the most healthy approach overall, striking a balance between the risks and benefits of alcohol consumption. The news source notes that what behaviors are healthier may vary somewhat for individuals if they are at an increased risk of cancer or heart disease and stroke due to other factors.

Researchers say the study's results may illustrate that chocolate has beneficial effects on not only body weight, but also cholesterol and blood pressure. Led by Dr. Beatrice Golomb of the University of California, researchers determined that participants in a study were more likely to consume higher numbers of calories and amounts of saturated fat the more chocolate they ate, but were still likely to have lower body weight.People who eat chocolate a few times each week are likely to have a healthier body weight than those who do not, according to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers say the study’s results may illustrate that chocolate has beneficial effects on not only body weight, but also cholesterol and blood pressure. Led by Dr. Beatrice Golomb of the University of California, researchers determined that participants in a study were more likely to consume higher numbers of calories and amounts of saturated fat the more chocolate they ate, but were still likely to have lower body weight. Exercise, age and gender did not seem to have any impact on that particular trend, they stated in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The amount of chocolate was also not important, only the frequency with which people ate it.

Chocolate has been linked to lower blood pressure, healthier cholesterol levels and better insulin sensitivity in the past, possibly due to chemicals contained within it. Experts told Reuters that this may not be conclusive, since other factors could be responsible for the difference in health. One suggested that people with better health habits may reward themselves with chocolate, while another noted that economic factors may play a role. Researchers indicated that more study may be necessary.

This particular research did not differentiate between different types of chocolate, although past investigation has suggested that dark chocolate may be healthier than alternatives. While not conclusive, various studies have linked chocolate to decreased cancer risk and improved cardiovascular health, reducing the chances of heart disease.

Researchers determined that these associations were unlikely to be caused by factors including age, weight, exercise habits and family history of heart disease. Avoiding or limiting red meat in your diet may improve your chances of avoiding chronic and critical illnesses which can negatively impact or shorten your life. The healthiest choice was reportedly exchanging red meat for a serving of nuts instead.Consumption of red meat is linked to a greater chance of experiencing fatal heart attack and cancer, researchers found.

Conducted over more than 22 years by the Harvard School of Public Health, the study determined that those who get protein from fish, nuts and poultry experience a reduced risk of mortality. Excessive red meat consumption has already been linked to type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and some type of cancer in other studies, the report notes.

One daily serving of unprocessed red meat was associated with a 13 percent higher risk of fatal heart attack, while researchers linked processed red meat to a 20 percent increased risk. Healthier choices examined included fish, which was 7 percent less likely to be associated with these critical conditions. Poultry and whole grains had a 14 percent lower mortality risk, according to the report. Developing cardiovascular disease was 18 to 21 percent more likely for those eating red meats each day.

Researchers determined that these associations were unlikely to be caused by factors including age, weight, exercise habits and family history of heart disease. Avoiding or limiting red meat in your diet may improve your chances of avoiding chronic and critical illnesses which can negatively impact or shorten your life. The healthiest choice was reportedly exchanging red meat for a serving of nuts instead.

AGLA’s Thought:

While healthy eating habits and other choices can help reduce the chance that someone will experience a critical illness such as a major heart attack, such conditions remain a possibility in everyone’s life. To help prepare for the medical needs that go with such a condition, it may be wise to purchase supplemental health insurance coverage, distinct from better-known major medical insurance, that may provide benefits that typical major-medical policies do not.

The AHA suggests that people abstain from smoking, maintain a healthy diet, keep aware of their cholesterol and blood glucose levels, observe their blood pressure and exercise for at least a half hour three times a week. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicates that those who followed these recommendations most closely were about 51 percent less at risk of having passed away from any cause 15 years later.Following a healthy lifestyle in accordance with the recommendations of the American Heart Health Association may be more beneficial than originally thought, according to new research.

The AHA suggests that people abstain from smoking, maintain a healthy diet, keep aware of their cholesterol and blood glucose levels, observe their blood pressure and exercise for at least a half hour three times a week. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicates that those who followed these recommendations most closely were about 51 percent less at risk of having passed away from any cause 15 years later.

The likelihood that they died of heart disease was about 76 percent lower, although few followed the advice closely. One physician told seattlepi.com that while Americans typically have access to the necessary information on heart disease, many have difficulty implementing plans to stay healthy.

AGLA’s Thought:

Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the country, followed by cancer and stroke. While planning a lifestyle to minimize the risk, it may also be wise to plan for a future where a major heart attack or similar event occurs. A family or household may need financial assistance to get through the period after such an event, and people may be wise to consider the potential benefits of options such as  life insurance with living benefits that can help a family maintain their quality of life while coping with the economic and physical stress caused by a qualifying critical, chronic, or terminal illness or condition. For information about life insurance you don’t have to die to use, visit www.qualityoflifeinsurance.com.

He also noted that the study may indicate some people currently using medication to sleep better might be better served by other methods, and could benefit from examining alternatives. CBS Local Media notes that people with sleep apnea and some similar conditions may be increasing their risk of heart attack or stroke directly by taking medication, which could be a factor.People who take prescription sleeping pills may be at higher risk of cancer, according to a recent article in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers say the risk goes up quickly even for those who take pills twice a month or less, a population which is already more likely to experience a fatal stroke, heart disease or cancer, among other potential causes.

Experts examining the findings note that the sleeping pills are not necessarily the cause of these risk, however, just because they are associated with them. Neurologist Matt Bianchi from Mass General Hospital told New England Cable News that, while some prescription sleeping pills are not intended for long-term use, it is more likely that this signals the difficulty people with other health problems have in sleeping.

He also noted that the study may indicate some people currently using medication to sleep better might be better served by other methods, and could benefit from examining alternatives. CBS Local Media notes that people with sleep apnea and some similar conditions may be increasing their risk of heart attack or stroke directly by taking medication, which could be a factor.

While experts suggest that sleeping pills may not increase the risk of chronic or serious illness for most, such health conditions are fairly common. The costs of such illnesses also may not be fully covered under many health insurance policies, so Americans may benefit from purchasing insurance solutions to help with such costs.