Communicate Health Benefits Information More Effectively

All employers have responsibility of guiding their employees about the health benefit schemes offered by them. Even the employees on the other hand also have the right to receive information about the health benefit schemes offered to them. Therefore an employer has the right to inform the employees about certain information regarding the health benefit schemes. For this reason, organizations have created the position of Health Benefit Manager having communication as one of the responsibilities for health benefit related schemes and procedures.

Key information heads to be shared by employer

There is a plethora of information available for communication. It is the skill of the Health benefit Manager to present them in a structured manner on behalf of the employer.

– Employers need to provide a detailed list of information to the employees about what health benefit schemes are provided to them or the scheme they are entitled to.
– Providing information regarding cost sharing as well as arrangements
– To take up necessary steps to resolve problem as well as to deal with appeals.
– To provide and guide its employees about the status of accreditation, certification as well as licensure.
– Provide sufficient and necessary information about the composition of the provider network too.
– To use the emergency care services as when required by the employees of the organization.
– To obtain referrals to specialists
– Most importantly provide all the information regarding the quality, safety of the health benefit plan and the cost of the employer sponsored plan.

Regulatory directives
According to the Employer Retirement and Income Security Act of 1974, it is necessary to provide all detailed information that the employees are entitled to that includes plan rules, covered benefits, documents about the plan management and operation as well. The employees are also entitled to receive a document with the summary plan description, known as SPD. The SPD contains

– Information of the health care services that are covered in the plan.
– Description of what services are being provided by the plan and how these schemes function.
– It provides information also on how to calculate the benefits.
– Explanation on the cost that the plan covers and the cost that the beneficiary has to pay.

Tools and Methods for communicating
There are various methods by which the Health Benefit Manager, on behalf of the employers, can communicate health benefit information to the employees:

– One of the best ways is to communicate with the employees about the health coverage plan but providing too much information of it should also be avoided. The employees should be given the required time to understand the scheme and ask questions if any.

– It is best to explain the changes in simple terms to the employees to make them understand.

– Apart from the employees it is also necessary to explain the health benefit plans to the health benefit managers so that they can explain it to the employees to.

– Employers should be ready to face any questions asked by employees regarding the health benefit scheme and clear their doubts.

– It is equally important as well to be direct and honest when discussing about the coverage plan especially if employees face cost increase due to the coverage plan.

– Discussing the 5C’s too is essential with the employees. This 5C’s include cost, changes in plans, coverage of the plan, comparison of the previous year’s plan and also the current option.

– It is necessary to provide information the employees about the health care providers that are available in the revised and new plan option.

– Providing testimonials of other employees about the changes in health benefit plans can also be quite helpful for the present employees.

– Taking the help of various means like internet, face to face discussions, telephonic conversations, office intranet as well as printed materials can be helpful too. However it is also necessary to use materials that are easily understood by employees.

Using health communication campaigns

What are its advantages?

– It is important for the employers to conduct communication campaigns to educate the employees about the need of health benefit schemes and how they operate.

– The responsible manager’s aim should be to identify the objective and aim of the health care campaign.

– To develop health care message that meets the objectives and aim of the campaign.

– Setting up the criteria for evaluation of the campaign and also the degree to which it is getting conveyed among the employees.

– To implement and the campaign and make sure that the employees understand message that is being conveyed by the employer.

– It is also necessary to make sure that the employees also to address the education need of the employees with language barrier, literacy issues etc.

To conclude, an effective way to communicate about the health benefit scheme is the cornerstone of every business organization. In these schemes, employers can also guide and help its employees to select a scheme and explain every detail they should know. The authority should also explain the new health scheme option and also about the changes in the existing benefits. To improve the health plan costs the employer’s must keep in mind the factor of low health literacy. Health plans and employers should also be able to successfully communicate with employees. Lastly, employees and employers should also be able to communicate clearly about the health benefit plans.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Dr_Sudip_Bose/1711351

 

What Should Health Priorities Be?

The question of health priorities is an extremely important one, and a question that should effectively be both asked and answered by the individual themselves as to what their own health priorities are.

There is a tendency with all matters regarding health to refer to other people or so-called experts either at a governmental or medical or professional level.

The issue of health priorities actually refers to a person’s own specific needs, and such needs can only really be determined and understood by the individual themselves.The nature of an individual’s role in their own understanding about their health and to what extent they are responsible for it is quite a complex area.

Many people believe that life just happens and that they have no specific role in determining how they are affected by it. Other people believe that they have complete control over themselves and are responsible for everything that happens to them pretty much, especially as it affects their health.

In truth, both these positions are slightly extreme and the reality is that there are certain areas over one’s own health that one does have control of and there are certain areas that one does not have control of.

It is often in being able to distinguish what one does have control of and what one does not have control of that a real truth can emerge.As regards health priorities, this is an area that becomes more important as time progresses, and the cost of healthcare particularly health insurance and the scope of availability of health insurance becomes more difficult.

There may well be a shift in culture that forces people to own their own health concerns more, either by way of really embracing health prevention measures and health promotion activities, or by seeking more alternative methods of dealing with health care problems themselves, rather than simply relying on the advice and experience of qualified medical and nursing personnel.

Health priorities inevitably are about an individual’s own needs, and should be focused on the areas of physical/emotional and social health, areas which are commonly referred to as lifestyles.

Lifestyle is quite a misleading term in so far as it is commonly used as a marketing term for a number of real estate and other related industries as a sales pitch rather than as a literal description of health priorities of an individual.

The key to understanding one’s own health priorities is actually in having the freedom to ask oneself what your priorities are. It is in the questioning that you come to understand your own needs and subsequently be able to process them.

Health priorities can also change very quickly, sometimes even on a daily basis, given how circumstances of oneself and one’s family can change in an instant.

Peter Main is freelance writer who writes extensively about health, healthcare and health insurance with a particular focus on current issues and debates, such as the state of healthcare reform and its implications for peoples health.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Peter_Main/788973

 

Wellness Coordinators: Are You Addressing the Positive Side of Health? (Start Today)

The focus of health and wellness professionals today is on disease and problems – in other words, what’s wrong (negative health). Wouldn’t you rather be focusing instead on positive health, or in other words, what’s right?

Health Today

Health today has a disease focus – a focus on risk reduction, avoidance, prevention and treatment of disease, infirmity and disability. This focus stems, no doubt, from medicine and its focus on pathogenesis, which is the study of the origin of disease. In a pathogenic model – health is measured by the incidence of disease or health related problems. Success in the pathogenic model is measured by the avoidance or elimination of problems, diseases and premature death.

Health is often depicted as being a continuum, with one end being premature death and the other end being wellness. The mid-point of the continuum is often described as being a neutral point where no discernible illness or wellness can be detected. If success in the pathogenic model is the avoidance or elimination of problems or disease, then success in this case this does not create a state of wellness, but instead a point there is no discernible illness or wellness. The betterment of health or the movement towards wellness would then require that deliberate, specific concrete actions to be taken.

The necessity of taking deliberate, concrete action to achieve optimal health, positive health or high level wellness would be consistent with what researchers have found in other areas. Researchers have shown that eliminating negatives alone does not, in and of itself, create positive conditions. Some examples that demonstrate what I am saying would include:

• Herzberg who showed that eliminating dissatisfaction does not create satisfaction

• Compton who showed that eliminating depression does not create joy

• Seligman who showed that mental health was not the mere absence of mental illness

• Becker and colleagues who showed that ending disease does not create positive health

Instead of aiming for a return to neutral or the status quo, a focus on positive health moves our focus towards outcomes that exceed our expectations, in other words, our idealized outcomes.

Positive Health

Positive health has its roots in the salutogenesis model. Salutogenesis provides a focus and methodology to discover and develop the causes or origins of positive health. Salutogenesis complements pathogenesis by working to optimize health and well-being through continuous and never-ending improvement. Salutogenesis is about how to add positive actions, opportunities, conditions and outcomes to move us beyond the neutral point to higher, positive levels.

Positive health is a deliberate consciouly created dynamic state. Positive health has also beed described as well-being, thriving or flourishing.

To achieve and continually improve positive health, a supportive, nurturing and encouraging environment must be consciously and thoughtfully developed and continuously improved. This supportive and nurturing environment is a necessary ingredient in the behavior change process.

Positive states are created through deliberate, conscious effort and action. To create positive states, specific efforts must be taken that go just beyond the elimination of health risks and problems. These specific efforts need to be supported through the use of following 9 Es and 1 C:

  • Engagement
  • Education
  • Empowerment
  • Effectiveness
  • Enablement
  • Evaluation
  • Emotions
  • Energy
  • Expectations
  • Comprehensive

Use these 9 Es and 1 C in your worksite wellness program to help your employees achieve positive health.

If you are interested in reading more, consider these references:

Antonovsky, A. (1979) Health, stress and coping. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Becker, C. M., Dolbier, C.L., Durham, T., Glascoff, M. A., & Adams, T.B. Development and preliminary evaluation of the validity and reliability of a positive health scale. (2008). American Journal of Health Education, 39(1), 34-41.

Becker, C. M., Moore, J., Whetstone, L., Glascoff, M., Chaney, E., Felts, M., & Anderson, L., (2009). Validity Evidence for the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS). American Journal of Health Behavior, 33(4), 455-465.

Becker, C., Glascoff, M., & Felts, W. (2010) Salutogenesis 30 years later: Where do we go from here? International Electronic Journal of Health Education, 13, 25-32.

Compton, W. C. (2005). Introduction to positive psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Dunn H. L. (1961). High-level wellness: A collection of twenty-nine short talks on different aspects of the theme “High-level wellness for man and society.” Arlington, VA: R.W. Beatty Co.

Herzberg F. (2003). One more time: How do you motivate employees? Harvard Business Review, 81(1), 86-96. (Original work published 1968).

Seligman, M. E. P. (2008). Positive health. Applied Psychology, 57(s1), 3-18.

Creating Positive Health

Using a positive health approach will add value to your worksite wellness program. I invite you to let me help you create your effective, successful and sustainable wellness program. I specialize in mentoring worksite wellness program coordinators and creating Done With You worksite wellness and well-being programs. You can contact me at williammcpeck@gmail.com.

I invite you to let me help you create your own Done With You effective, successful and sustainable worksite wellness program. I specialize in mentoring worksite wellness program coordinators. You can contact me at williammcpeck@gmail.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/William_McPeck/1737577

 

Wellness Coordinators – Let’s Do Both Worksite Wellness and Employee Health Status Improvement

Many employers today are launching worksite wellness programs. But are these efforts truly wellness programs? Read on to see why they may not be.

Within worksite wellness, I too often think we view issues as being either/or, rather than being inclusive. Most worksite wellness programs today are not about wellness at all, but rather improving the health status of individual employees. While our attention is focused on employee health status, this does not mean we can’t also start to deliver wellness type programming and interventions as well.

So what is the difference?

While there are a number of wellness definitions available to consider, I will use the definition and model put forth by the National Wellness Institute (NWI). NWI defines wellness as “an active process through which people become aware of and make choices toward a more successful existence.” The NWI model of wellness consists of six, interconnected dimensions:

• Physical

• Social

• Intellectual

• Spiritual

• Emotional

• Occupational

Like wellness, health is often described as being a multi-dimensional concept. Health is generally measured in terms of:

• Physical conditions such as pain, disability or condition likely to cause death

• Emotional conditions

• Social functioning

Health status is a snapshot of health at any one particular point-in-time. Health status can be measured at both the individual and population levels. Individual health status can be measured objectively through:

• The presence or absence of illness

• The presence or absence of risk factors

• The severity of any diseases present

• Overall perception of health

In the workplace, employee health status is generally measured through the use of health risk assessments and biometric screenings.

As best as I can determine, there is no absolute measure of health status. And because the measure of health status also includes overall perception of health, health status is also somewhat subjective.

By comparing the above definitions with the way worksite wellness is being practiced today, we can clearly see that what is being called wellness today is not really wellness, but really employee health status improvement (EHSI). So from my perspective, let’s stop calling what we do today worksite wellness and call it employee health status improvement or employee health improvement instead. Instead of creating phony worksite wellness programs, let’s instead focus on creating solid, effective EHSI programs instead.

Given today’s worksite wellness program focus almost exclusively on physical health, many of the concepts and practices already in place can be readily applied in the EHSI program model. Since health status is a function of disease states, risk factors and overall health perception, let’s focus the attention of EHSI programs on risk reduction, chronic disease management, medical self-care and helping employees to better perceive and act on their health status.

Since we are not faced with an either/or situation here, let’s also start to do wellness programs at the same time we are doing EHSI programs. EHSI programs will never equate to wellness because they are not designed to. At their best, EHSI programs are designed to avoid health problems. Prevention or avoidance alone will never yield wellness. Creating wellness requires the taking of deliberate actions to move beyond the point of prevention or no health risks. Prevention and avoidance are based on the pathogenesis model which will not, by itself, ever create wellness.

Recall the definition of wellness. Wellness is about creating opportunities for “a more successful existence.” Wellness is a process where employee health status is a static snapshot at one specific point-in-time. Wellness is closely aligned with the concept of salutogenesis, or the creation of opportunities for health.

Given that wellness is multi-dimensional, here are my present thoughts about what constitute wellness type programming in the workplace for each of the wellness dimensions:

• Physical – This domain will be covered by the EHSI program

• Social – Creating positive, supportive, employee first or employee centric organizational cultures and workplace climates; random acts of kindness; employee volunteer programs

• Intellectual – Brain health and fitness

• Spiritual – Helping employees find meaning and purpose in both work and life

• Emotional – Workplace mental health promotion; stress management; building resilience

• Occupational – Integration with employee safety; integration with employee training and development

I believe pathogenesis and salutogenesis represent different segments of the health – wellness continuum and can successfully co-exist by building off each other’s core principles. Employers can and should deliver both EHSI and worksite wellness programs.

Doing Both

Prevention and risk reduction will never result in wellness. I invite you to let me help you create your own effective, successful and sustainable program. I specialize in mentoring worksite program coordinators and creating Done With You worksite employee health and well-being programs. You can contact me at williammcpeck@gmail.com.

Brought to you by Bill McPeck, Your Worksite Wellness Mentor. Dedicated to helping employers and worksite program coordinators create successful, sustainable employee health and well-being programs, especially in small employer settings.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/William_McPeck/1737577

 

How Can A Health Coach Help Me?

When was the last time you visited you primary care physician? Did they provide you with some recommendations, to eat better, or to lose some weight? Then I’ll bet they sat down with you for about 40 or 50 minutes, explaining to you just how you should execute their recommendation, right? If your doctor didn’t explain what you should eat, how to prepare it, what exercises you should perform, or basically provide with a blueprint for success, you’re not alone. If your doctor spent 15 minutes with you, that is about the average time you’ll get before they shake your hand and scurry off to the next patient. If you physician recommended you to a health coach they are partnered with, then your doctor is on the cutting edge of a new wave in healthcare.

Health coaches are one of the fastest growing segments in the Health and Wellness industry today. They carve out niches ranging from emotional eating to single moms, who don’t have time to cook. Health coaches provide patients/clients a sounding board for their issues and a platform to express their personal health goals and intentions, that normally are not found in most doctor’s practices.

The relationship between a client and a health coach normally begins with a health history. The health history is confidential and provides the coach with basic information about the client. A typical health history will include personal, social, health, medical, and food information. If the client fills out the health history form beforehand, the health coach can review it before the session begins, but it can also be filled out during the session. Either way works well for most coaches.

The health history session will normally last around 40-50 minutes. It is sometimes referred to as an initial breakthrough or discovery session because the client has an opportunity talk about themselves. This helps to build a relationship between the client and health coach. When this happens, clients end up providing a wealth of information not only to the coach, but to themselves. The coaches job here is not to just provide detailed recommendations, but to perhaps understand the root causes of the issue the doctor is treating, i.e. food allergies, or sugar addiction. Armed with this knowledge, both the client and coach can begin to set 1-month, 3-month, and 6-month goals.

It is up to the client as to whether or not they will work the coach. If they decide to work with the health coach, they will most likely meet every other week for 6 months. In between sessions, the client can email or call the coach, depending on their agreement, to ask questions and obtain clarity on the coaches recommendations. The coach will provide the client with session notes, CDs/DVDs, food samples, and handouts. Also some coaches will send the client’s doctor a progress report on a monthly basis.

Patients find that when they have achievable goals and a plan, recommendations to lose weight, lower their blood glucose, or blood pressure can be accomplished with the help, support and assistance of a health coach. So, can a health coach help you? The next time your doctor makes some recommendations that you’re not quite sure how to execute, ask them do they partner with a health coach, and find out for yourself.

George Vaughn is an Integrative Nutrition Certified Holistic Health Coach. If you are struggling with making the lifestyle changes necessary to prevent or reverse diabetes, you can get a FREE confidential health history consultation by going to http://www.nutrahealth4life.com/forms. For signing up for you FREE confidential health history, you’ll receive a FREE Healthy Shopping DVD and the current Freeby of the Month (FOM)

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/George_Michael_Vaughn/1835613