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Sorting out impact of new health act

Updated: December 18, 2012 1:39PM



Q. I’m confused about the Affordable Care Act. Will I lose my health insurance from work? What are the benefits?

A. We won’t know all the benefits until 2014 — if then — when the law goes into full effect. But we’ll try to answer your questions.

Your employer always has been and is still able to change coverage at will; but if you are covered now, you most likely will be insured in 2014.

If your work-provided insurance ends, you’ll be required to buy individual insurance, but you won’t have to pay if you have religious objections or cannot afford it.

To control the cost of premiums, by 2014, every state will have an insurance exchange so consumers can shop for their best plan and rates. Other benefits:

† Insurance can’t be canceled once you’re sick! And kids with pre-existing conditions can’t be denied coverage (as of 2014 that covers adults, too).

† Kids can stay on their folks’ plan until they’re 26.

† If your insurance provider spends less than 80 percent to 85 percent of your premium dollars on medical care, you’ll get a rebate from the insurance company.

† There’s no cost for preventive services, like cholesterol tests and mammograms.

While we wait to see how it shakes out, one thing we know is prevention reduces health-care costs! Which brings us to our FOR KEEPS Health Care Policy:

† Keep your waist circumference at 32.5 inches for women and 35 inches for men.

† Keep your blood pressure at or below 115/76.

† Keep LDL cholesterol under 100 mg/dL, and triglycerides at 100 or less.

† Keep fasting blood sugar at 100 or less.

To achieve these goals and dodge heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and dementia:

Stand up. Turn off the tube and get moving; aim for at least 30 minutes or more of daily activity

Lighten up. Fill your diet with 100 percent whole grains, fruits, veggies, fish and lean protein. Look up. Practice optimism, altruism and volunteerism.

Q. My cousin lives in Hoboken, N.J., and he’s digging out after Sandy. How important is it for him to use a face mask to protect himself from the mold?

A. Your cousin (and anyone else who cleans out a flooded basement) should be on his toes after floodwaters recede. Water contaminated with raw sewage is a greater concern than mold in the short term.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s suggestions for a safe cleanup are at www.emergency.cdc.gov/ disasters/floods.

King Features



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