Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Spine is Not Designed for Sitting Around

A familiar argument against intelligent design is the one that is based on observations of supposed bad design in nature - inept, unintelligent or in other words nonexistent design. Interviewer Claudia Dreifus asks Harvard evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman. "People with bad backs often blame evolution for their pain. They say, 'My back aches because man was not meant to walk on two feet.' Are they right?" Answers Lieberman: "If that were true, natural selection would have its toll and we'd be extinct. 

What is more likely is that many people sit in chairs all day, get no exercise, and thus have weak backs. We did not evolve to sit in chairs all day." Lieberman makes the case for learning from evolution how best to care for our bodies. Of course, what he calls evolution could just as well be termed design. 

Read Full Article Here...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Frequent Flyer Diseases

A century ago - before jet planes - it took new diseases months to travel around the world, and many pathogens probably never made it out of their isolated rural stomping grounds. But now no place is truly isolated, no matter how remote. 

We live in a world that's more connected than ever before, one where humans - and the viruses hitchhiking inside us - can circle the planet in a day. As a result, we're at greater risk from new infectious diseases than ever before. But there's an upside to our interconnectedness as well. 

Thanks to the Internet and cell phones, we can know what's happening in nearly every corner of the globe almost instantaneously - and that's a boon for epidemiology. 

Read Full Article Here...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Coolest Images of Charleston

I have a couple of the coolest photos and pics from Charleston.  I know this site is normally about insurance but I decided to go into something that I find fascinating and that is the town I live in.  I am a sucker for history and old records.  I have a couple of old maps that are incredibly interesting.  Keep in mind that Charleston is one of the oldest cities in the country so the history behind this town goes a lot further back than insurance.

Charleston's Trademark

 This is basically Charleston's signature image.  When it was completed in '05, there was one of the best fireworks shows I've ever seen.  It lasted for over 30 minutes and it was synchronized with music and it really hit Charleston with a bang.

Arthur Ravenel Bridge

Here is another view of it.

Charleston Peninsula

I had to blow this one up big so that you could see some of the streets.  Keep in mind that the reason much of downtown floods is because it is originally marsh and wetlands.  I love old historical photos and maps like this.

Charleston Peninsula 2
You might have to click on this one to see it well. Check out the location of the Citadel and now its over near what's labeled as the Washington Race Course.  Does anyone know what this is or was?

Shem Creek

This is the creek that winds up behind my house.  It is a signature location for Mt Pleasant which is just east of Charleston.  In fact, the bridge, pictured above connects Charleston to Mt Pleasant.

Mt Pleasant
This is a picture of the sunrise in my backyard on Shem Creek.

Alhambre Hall

This is a park in Mt Pleasant that is stunning at sunset.  In the distance you can see the bridge.

Old Mt Pleasant
This is one of the only old maps I could find that actually said Mt Pleasant on it.

I normally stick to insurance but I thought this would be a neat post for a change.  Let me know your comments and if you have any other cools maps to research.  I love to discuss and find old records too so comment away.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Short Term Insurance...the Most Affordable, Lesser Known Health Insurance

When this product first came out, many thought it would flop because it didn't have all the moving parts of a major medical policy.  Short Term health insurance is no joke.  If you have just been hired, just been fired or not even employed, this is a great policy to check out. 

When one gets hired, normally there is at least a 90 day waiting period before the benefits kick in and that can be an anxious 90 days.  You might find yourself walking on eggshells or at least thinking of them until that health insurance policy kicks in. You might drive a little safer and take a few less chances until you get that insurance policy in your hands... right. 

 Well now you have a policy that can fill the gap.  it's called a Short Term Medical Policy.  This is a great policy that is so cheap.  I'm talking less than a hundred bucks a month.  There are some short falls and I will cover that shortly but I want to emphasize keeping creditable coverage until getting full benefits from the bossman.

The other reason to have Short Term medical coverage, is when leaving that job.  I speak with so many folks who say the only reason they stay at a job is because of the benefits.  Well don't!  I've always followed my heart when it comes to work and if you are not happy with what you are doing your performance will show.  Now you can quit that sucky job and keep creditable coverage until you find another job.  Granted its not gonna be the same quality but again, it fills the gap. 

And you don't have to pay those ridiculous premiums of COBRA.  These are outrageous costs to anyone who has left an employer and needs to maintain coverage.  Well look no further your fairy godmother is here and she is in the form of Short Term medical coverage... haha.

I want you to picture starting up your own business.  Now keep in mind you are doing what you love and you feel motivated and passionately inspired by your work but now you have responsibility that you've never had to think of before and that's benefits for your company.  Well to start you'd only have to insure yourself and that can easily be a short term policy becasue we all know that starting a busines there won't be a whole lot of extra cash laying around.  Then once business picks up you can move onto an individual or group policy.

Now most Short term products do not carry co-pays or drug coverage, but there are built in features that discount those services and you still have the major medical aspect if there were a major event that required emergency care or hospitalization.  We can even combine coverages to coordinate policies that pay only co-pays and drug coverage. They are also considered short term because they do not normally cover more than 2 years.

Its not that hard determining your options as long as you have a dedicated insurance agent who can advise you on you benefits.  Short Term policies aren't new, but they have sure come up a lot in the past couple of years especially when considering today prices.  So pick up the phone, or shoot an email to your local agent.  You'll be glad you did.

Friday, August 5, 2011

How to Lower Health Care Costs

So what is it actually going to take to lower health care costs?  Legislation isn't the only thing that can work.  In fact it is probably making it worse.  Health care as a whole is going to take a massive nationwide mindset change to improve our outlook for medical and healthcare expenses.

The infograph above indicates that many doctors office visits could be avoided.  The first thing people think when they are sick should be to treat themselves with OTC drugs, then treatment from a doctors office.

If those 10% of visits were avoided and managed at home, over $5 billion according to calculations from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) would be conserved in health spending.

Imagine the savings here if a fraction of these costs were cut.  These are the figure we should be focused on at the legislative level and not the healthcare management.  Leave the private insurance companies to their own.
Fraud and abuse alone account for over 100 billion in funds.

An entrenched system is hard to change. Hospitals currently have little incentive to keep patients healthy. On the contrary, fitter patients would mean lower volumes and smaller margins, says Michael Nugent of Navigant Consulting, an expert on ACOs. Nevertheless, the current system is clearly unsustainable.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Does Dave Ramsey’s 12 percent growth stock fund exist?

Dave Ramsey, the nationally-syndicated radio talk show host, has done a great deal of good for a great number of people. His core message – that the only reliable way to obtain financial peace is to consistently live within your means so that you can pay off your debts and accumulate savings – makes perfect sense.

I cringe, however, whenever he mentions that people should put their savings into — in his words — a good growth stock mutual fund because it will earn 12 percent annually.

Whether it is on his radio show, his website, his books or his educational programs, Dave Ramsey quotes that 12 percent figure again and again. He uses the 12 percent figure to tout the superiority of stock mutual funds over nearly every possible alternative, such as annuities and cash value life insurance products.

I investigated whether the 12 percent return that he quotes is realistic, and I found some surprising facts.

I started my research with Dave’s explanation, which is found on his website. He says, “The current average annual return from 1926, the year of the S&P’s inception, through 2010 is 11.84 percent. From 1986–2010, it’s 11.28 percent.”

These return figures include the value of reinvested dividends.

You think that would settle the issue, but let’s look deeper at three questions.a) Is that truly the S&P 500’s average return?
b) Has the average person actually achieved that return?
c) Is the past return a good indication of the future expected return?
Shockingly, the answer to each of these three questions is a resounding no.