Every year at this time of year, we get something in the mail or something through work saying we need to look at our benefits package and make changes if you would like to. What exactly does that mean?
For most of us, it means trying to get health care while we can. Trying to fit those benefits in our budget. Reading as to what is the best health care plan for us.
Being a military wife, we never had to worry about health insurance. It was a given. In our house, it's an advantage to be able to go to the doctor when we need to. When I was single, I knew what it was like to make a decision as to how badly I needed to go to the doctor. How exactly do you make the decision for your healthcare?
Some people exercise daily, some eat healthy, some avoid smoking and drinking. I try to do all of those. A big part of staying healthy is also getting the right health plan for you and your family. It doesn't take forever and it doesn't take a lot of research. Sometimes, with the right tips, you can make an informed decision in an hour or less. Here are five tips on how to make that decision easier.
1. You want to calculate about how much you are going to need to spend. Make sure you can afford the premiums. For some plans, there's a lower monthly cost, but a higher cost when you go to the doctor etc. You may want to look at your previous years health costs to make adjustments.
2. Predict what routine exams you're going to need. You need to get the preventive care that is recommended to prevent bigger costs in the future. Also along with the prediction, think about whether or not you have some finances in savings for those emergencies. If not, and you live an active lifestyle, you may want to opt for the plan that has more benefits. Also, look for discounts for not smoking or drinking, for gym memberships, and for being a healthy weight.
3. Compare the health plan options that you can get. If you don't have any options, then use the benefits that you are paying for. If your plan comes with a free eye exam every year, what is it going to hurt to get one? You're paying for it anyway!
4. Enroll when it's open enrollment, don't procrastinate. If you wait until the last day possible to register, something may come up that prevents you from registering. Then you would have to wait a whole year to get your benefits. Do it right away!
5. Look for cheaper alternatives to some health benefits. The local planned parenthood offers birth control based on income. The local health district offers shots and goes on a sliding scale. There are usually free health screenings everywhere. Also, use a mail order pharmacy if your insurance covers it, they are usually much cheaper than going to the pharmacy, and you don't have to wait in line.
With this family, we don't have to worry about health care, like most. We're automatically covered. Our premium is taken out of the retirement check before we even think about it. I really don't even know how much we pay for our health insurance (bad I know). Most people aren't this lucky though. So, pay attention to that "useless" paperwork that comes to your house. there could be big time money saving information there!!!
I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Aetna blogging program, making me eligible to get a $30 Target gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here
A couple months back, I did a back to school blog that included Airwear lenses. Then I got an email asking if I would like to review these wonderful lenses. I was ecstatic, how did they know that I needed to get new glasses. So, I answered the email and bought the new frames and sent them in. About a week and a half later, I got my glasses back with Airwear lenses in them.
At first, because I wear contacts often, it was a big effort to wear glasses again. The main reason I have glasses is for first thing in the morning and at night because I LOVE TO READ! So, I purposefully went without contacts for a couple of days to try the glasses, and I have been wearing the glasses more than the contacts since then.
Let me give you a little bit of background as to WHY I wanted these lenses so much. (Most of the following is taken from the Airwear website)
1. They're ECO FRIENDLY!!! 100% of the production waste from Airwear lenses are recycled. They use 100% recycled water during manufacture. They're packaging is also 100% recycled.
2. They're lighter and more durable than regular lenses and protect your eyes from the harmful UVA and UVB rays.
3. The Essilor Junior lenses are 12x stronger and 45% lighter than regular lenses AND come with a 1 year unlimited warranty from Essilor.
I have to say, I'm hard on my glasses. My old glasses had numerous scratches on them, even though they were the photo gray type that is supposed to resist scratches. Also, I have one eye that is nearsighted and one eye that is farsighted, so my lenses look kinda funny. When I wear my new glasses, they are amazingly light. The only reason I can usually remember that I'm wearing them is I have excellent peripheral vision and can actually see the frames, which is why I usually prefer to wear contacts.
These new glasses have already survived Monster also. There was one time he was playing on our bed, and crawled up to the headboard super fast and grabbed them, and then proceeded to throw them on the floor. Not a scratch...and we have hardwood floors in our house. They has also survived being put in my purse without the case at the last minute because when I wear my ERGObaby baby carrier, Monster likes to grab things within reach-hair, Bluetooth, GLASSES!!! And then there's the wow factor that I got from my eye doctor, who happens to be a family friend also. I told him that I was just buying frames after my last exam because I'm getting the lenses for the review. He was surprised that I actually knew about the different lenses!
So, when we buy TheDHCaveman's next glasses, we're getting him Airwear lenses. And, since I caught Monster's eye problem early, he doesn't currently need glasses anymore, but, if he needs them in the future, he's most definitely getting Airwear lenses in them. And, I'm now recommending these to all of my friends that happen to tell me they need new glasses. I love the fact that they're eco-friendly. If you know our family, you know that we even recycle chicken poop for fertilizer for our garden!!! They're stronger than normal lenses for kids, which is a big plus when you have a little boy! All I have to say is I LOVE AIRWEAR LENSES! And I hope you will try them now!
What do you do about grammar? If you're like most people, you were assaulted with nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs, and adjectives amongst others in elementary school. Me, I would never have survived the standardized tests without multiple choice. Even School House Rock never helped me. The way that our teachers taught it was boring and confusing. Until high school, I always guessed at anything more than a noun and a verb. In high school, it only got a little better, VERY LITTLE. And then there was diagramming sentences...we won't even go there!
When I was given the opportunity to review "The Glamour of Grammar" by Roy Peter Clark, I jumped on it. I enjoy reading with a passion. I always have a book with me, even in my iPhone. I also wanted to brush up on my grammar skills for when Monster starts school.
The day I got the book in the mail, I was excited. Who can be excited about a grammar book? Yep, that would be me, I'm a nerd! I started reading it that day, not knowing what to expect. What I found was a huge sense of humor combining the classical grammar rules. This was grammar like I've never seen it. There was comedy, wit, and sarcasm all combined in a book about grammar. There were many times I found myself laughing out loud, literally, reading this book.
Mr. Clark brings a whole new life to a subject usually approached with a groan by people. I found myself opening the book at every opportunity, if even for a couple of paragraphs.
Mr. Clark outlines the proper use of certain words, for example the difference between lie and lay. He also outlines the proper use of punctuation, "Use the semicolon as a 'swinging gate'." He also suggested something that I used to do when I was younger, read the dictionary for fun and learning. During the summer months, my parents never took me to the library, so we had to settle for reading what was in the house. Since I was the only one that read a lot, I ran out of books quite fast. The encyclopedias were quite interesting at times.
Overall, I LOVED this book. It's also a great point of reference if you need to go back and research a certain point. I've bought a copy for my Kindle so that I can have it for reference, and also it became a favorite quite fast. I would recommend this book to anyone that has a child struggling with grammar, and also the college student wanting to write better papers. Heck, I would recommend this book to any avid reader as you will enjoy the wit that comes with learning something new. I bet you there's something in this book that you did NOT know yet!!!
*This book was provided free of charge for this review, it in no way affected my views on the review*
Because my husband is a Vet, and my doctor doesn't see infants, we have three different doctors. The one thing that we always coordinate is our flu shots. With DH going to the VA Clinic, he is the hardest to coordinate. But as soon as he gets the appointment for his shot, Monster and I usually get ours within a day or two. Why are we so vigilant about the flu shots in this family? Well, when you have a preemie, their health is the most important thing. And because they are preemies, their immune systems aren't all the way developed.
Now, why is it so important for people to get the flu vaccine every year? That is because, there are different viruses every year. Yes, it is always called the flu, but there are different viruses that go under the term "flu". The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds us of simple steps we as family and friends can take to help protect ourselves from the flu.
1. Always get your flu vaccine. Just because you got one last year, does not mean that you're protected this year!!
2. Always wash your hands! We don't always have a sink available, so we use hand sanitizer. While it's not the preferred way of keeping clean (it also kills the good germs) it's what we use when there's no other way available.
3. Children as young as 6 months can be vaccinated from the flu. I went to the doctor the day my son turned 6 months old for this one!
4. The flu vaccine is available in mist form for those that don't like shots. You can get more information on the mist form from your doctor or visit www.cdc.gov/flu
5. Even if you got the 2009 H1N1 Flu vaccine, you still need to get the 2010-11 flu vaccine for this season.
The most important thing in my life is my family! I do what I can to protect my husband and my son, and if that means causing a little discomfort for the sake of giving Monster a vaccine, I do it. Monster's doctor doesn't have the flu vaccine in yet, but we're on the list as soon as they get it, which means we will get an appointment that day! My doctor usually calls me, or sticks me when I have an appointment for something else, yes that has happened, "oh while you're here, you're getting the flu shot" has been said to me a couple of times. But that is also because I have Asthma and it's recommended for people who have Asthma to get the flu vaccine every year. And then all DH usually has to do is walk in and get his shot from the VA Clinic. So, we're all prepared and waiting on Monster's doctor, which should be in the next week or so.
I wrote this blog post while participating in a TwitterMoms blogging program for which I may receive a small thank you (valued at less than $20). For more information on how you can participate click here.