Winter Haven In Florida Offers New Health Insurance For Prescription

The City of Winter Haven in Florida has a new health insurance coverage program that helps the residents without health insurance coverage to get prescription medications at affordable prices. The insurance programs is called Prescription Discount Card and is available only to the residents of the City of Winter Haven of FL.

Our search for Winter Haven affordable health insurance for this small Florida town lead us to the website of the City of Winter Haven where we found the following information about the prescription savings plan. The main three attractions of this Winter Haven health insurance program is that it has:

  • Free Access
  • No Restriction
  • Extra Savings

The City of Winter Haven has a new program to offer prescription drug savings to residents who have no health insurance, a traditional benefits plan or have prescriptions that are not covered by insurance. The Prescription Discount Card is made available to residents by the City of Winter Haven in collaboration with the National League of Cities (NLC) and is made possible through the City of Winter Haven’s membership in NLC. The card is FREE to all Winter Haven, FL residents, regardless of age, income or existing health insurance. Use the card and you may save an average of 20 percent off regular retail prescription drug prices at participating pharmacies.

The residents of Winter Haven can discover the savings with this health insurance plan, print the card, check drugs prices and locate participating pharmacies at Caremark.

Winter Haven, FL residents may also pick up the health insurance card at the following locations:

• City Hall, 451 Third St. NW
• City Hall Annex, 551 Third St. NW
• East Annex, 490 Third St. NW
• Senior Adult Center, 250 Lake Silver Drive
• Winter Haven Police Department, 125 N. Lake Silver Drive NW
• Willowbrook Golf Course, 4200 State Road 544 East
• Winter Haven Recreation and Cultural Center, 801 Ave. T NE
• Chain O’Lakes Complex, 210 Cypress Gardens Blvd.
• Winter Haven Public Library, 325 Ave. A NW
• Winter Haven Municipal Airport, 2073 U.S. Hwy. 92 West
• Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, 401 Ave. B NW

To learn more about the Prescription Discount Card health insurance savings Winter Haven’s residents can also call toll free: 1-888-620-1749.

Please note that this is not an insurance program in the traditional sense because the discounts are only available at participating pharmacies. By using this card, participants agree to pay the entire prescription cost less any applicable discount. Savings may vary by drug and pharmacy.

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Louisiana Increases Health Coverage For Uninsured Children

Louisiana is one of eight states, from a pool of 28 total applicants, that will receive funding and support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to increase enrollment of eligible children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program – called LaCHIP in Louisiana – and keep kids enrolled as long as they are eligible.

According to the most recent government data, 8.7 million children are uninsured in the United States, with most of these children eligible for public health insurance, but not enrolled. In Louisiana, the most recent estimates are that 64,355 children remain uninsured with more than 78 percent of them eligible for health insurance at little or no cost. In an effort to significantly decrease the number of uninsured children, a new national Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program, Maximizing Enrollment for Kids, will provide funding and technical support to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, which manages Louisiana Medicaid and LaCHIP.

According to program leaders, DHH was one of eight states selected from among 28 states applying for the grant because Louisiana demonstrated a strong commitment to increasing children’s enrollment in public coverage programs, even in the face of difficult economic times. The Maximizing Enrollment for Kids program is being launched as states prepare to receive more federal support for their efforts to insure kids following the recent Congressional extension of state’s CHIPs.

“We will not be content until we have enrolled every eligible child, which is a prerequisite for increased access to health care and ultimately better health outcomes for Louisiana citizens,” said DHH Secretary Alan Levine. “We are grateful for this assistance from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help us achieve this goal.”

Under the direction of the National Academy for State Health Policy, which serves as the national program office for Maximizing Enrollment for Kids, the program will help Louisiana officials strengthen systems, policies and procedures to maximize enrollment and retention for eligible children. The program will measure the impact of these changes and will share findings nationwide throughout the four-year initiative.

LaCHIP offers health care plans for uninsured Louisiana children up to age 19 at little or no cost to their families. Eligibility is based on family size and income. For example, beginning April 1 a family of four can earn as much as $55,000 and be eligible.

“While all Americans need health coverage, it is especially important for children. Making sure that kids have access to all their checkups and immunizations, as well as the care they need when they get sick, is critical to help them grow and learn,” said John R. Lumpkin, MD, MPH, senior vice president and director of the health care group at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Congress and the president have taken action to provide the resources for these kids to have health insurance; now we need to do our part. We are partnering with eight states across the nation to increase enrollment and use their experiences to help others.”

DHH will receive:

• An assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the state’s enrollment and renewal systems, policies and procedures;

• Tailored technical assistance to help the state develop and implement plans to increase enrollment and renewal of eligible children;

• Participation in peer-to-peer learning to share information with other states about challenges and effective strategies; and

• Assistance with data collection and analysis to help the state measure its progress.

“In order to make inroads in reducing the ranks of uninsured children, we need to help states apply best practices for enrolling eligible children and keeping them enrolled for as long as they qualify,” said Catherine Hess, the program’s director and a senior program director at NASHP. “This program also will help us and all states to learn more about the most effective ways to streamline enrollment and increase retention to cover more eligible children and youth.”

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Two Top Health Insurance Companies Spent 2.5 Million on Lobbying

The health insurance industry has been rocked by allegations of profiteering and price gouging. In the past month, several major providers including WellPoint and Humana have come under fire for their proposed rate hikes on individual health insurance plans. Now, reports reveal the two companies spent a large chunk of change lobbying the federal government in the fourth quarter 2009 when the health care debate was particularly heated.

The news comes as no surprise to industry veterans. Health insurance companies spend millions yearly to try and influence Congress and the government at large. President Obama’s proposed health care overhaul would wreak havoc on the health insurance system as it is today.

Private insurers like WellPoint who owns Blue Cross Blue Shield in 14 states, would face steeper taxes, higher overhead and a larger pool of members who possess pre-existing conditions and poor health. For health insurance providers, sick people are more of a burden on them. They raise up costs, while medical care spikes up in tandem.

WellPoint alone spent $1.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. Humana spent slightly more – $1.3 million. Critics charge that health insurance companies are merely playing for influence and have no legitimate reason to raise premiums on individual health insurance plans other than to profit for it.

Conversely, health insurance providers say the dwindling pool of healthy individuals coupled with the ever rising costs of medical care make it difficult to survive in the current economic environment. Furthermore, a health care overhaul may overload the system. New taxes and mandates are simply not welcomed by the health care industry who would prefer to keep the status quo.

Meanwhile, President Obama is continuing his all-or-nothing approach to get health care reform passed. He is currently pitching for the issue in a multi-state campaign including Ohio and Indiana. The President delayed his trip to Asia in order to push one more time for health insurance reform. The Democrats are close to coming to agreement on a bill. The legislation will need a simple majority vote to pass.

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Rising Number Of Uninsured Destabilizing Michigan’s Health Care

The number of uninsured children and adults in Michigan is rising and destabilizing the state’s health care delivery system. More than one million people in Michigan — one of every 8 people, including 160,000 children — are uninsured. Leaders from throughout the region representing insurers, health systems, labor, business and the faith community will come together to advocate for change as they launch Cover The Uninsured Week in Michigan at a special News Conference and Health Expo for the Uninsured, Monday, March 23 at Cobo Center from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM (News Conference at 10:30 AM).

“With the economy worsening, working families are losing access to care, forcing children and adults to put off care for chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes until a health crisis warrants costly emergency care,” says Garry Faja, President and CEO, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and East Michigan Regional Executive of Trinity Health, Novi, Mich. “This situation is not sustainable. We must advocate for change at the federal level to make healthcare delivery more efficient while bringing everyone into the system.”

Highlights of Cover The Uninsured Week include

* Monday, March 23: News Conference at 10:30 a.m. in the Riverfront Ballroom at Cobo Center. Participants will include Janet Olszewski, Michigan Department of Community Health; U.S. Congressman John Dingell (invited); Wayne County Executive Robert A. Ficano; City of Detroit Mayor Kenneth Cockrel, Jr.; Garry Faja, Trinity Health; and Marianne Udow-Phillips, Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation.

* Monday, March 23: Health Expo for the Uninsured, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the Riverfront Ballroom, Cobo Center. Free. Open to the public. More than 3,000 people are expected to attend the day-long community event featuring more than 100 exhibitors that provide services ranging from health insurance enrollment in for children and adults, to free and low cost health screenings, to primary care and mental health services, to home care and senior services, to prescription drug information. The Health Expo for the Uninsured is being co-sponsored by Wayne County Department of Health & Human Services, Wayne County Health Choice, the City of Detroit Department of Health & Wellness Promotion, Project Healthy Living, Wayne County Four Star, and the Michigan Cover the Uninsured Network.

* Monday, March 23: Children’s Health Insurance, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Cobo Center. Learn about low-cost or free health care programs for the uninsured, including enrollment training on how to help someone you know apply in programs such as MIChild and Healthy Kids. Sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Community Health. To register, call 1-248-448-4466 or kevery@bcbsm.com.

* Thursday, March 26, Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, 2080 West Grand Blvd. The event is free but reservations required. Sponsored by the Interfaith Health & Hope Coalition. Contact: Ron Beford at (810) 923-6940 or rbeford@yahoo.com.

Events during Cover The Uninsured Week are coordinated through the Michigan Cover The Uninsured Network (MCTUN) with a goal to raise awareness and advocate for affordable health coverage for the uninsured. MCTUN focuses on education, advocacy and improving access for the uninsured. Cover The Uninsured Week, March 22 – 28, is a national non-partisan effort to advocate for access to health care for 46 million uninsured nationally.

Cover the Uninsured Week 2009 sponsors include: Trinity Health, Novi, Mich., Henry Ford Health System, Beaumont Hospitals, St. John Health, DMC Children’s Hospital, Detroit Regional Chamber, University of Michigan Health System, Michigan Business & Professional Association, Michigan Health & Hospital Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan State Medical Society, Michigan Association of Health Plans, Omnicare Health Plan, Midwest Health Plan, Molina Healthcare, ProCare, Health Plan of Michigan, Health Plus of Michigan, AARP, American Cancer Society-Great Lakes Division, Michigan Nurses Association, Clark Hill PLC, Wayne County Health Choice, Wayne County Medical Society, Total Health, Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation, Greater Detroit Area Health Council, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Health Alliance Plan, Upper Peninsula Health Plan, Wayne County Four Star, Michigan Catholic Conference, I.U.O.E. Local #547, Michigan State AFL-CIO, Michigan Primary Care Association.

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Energy drink use may lead to alcohol dependence

  • Energy drinks are commonly consumed by teens and college students
  • A new study shows that energy drink consumption is strongly associated with increased risks for heavy drinking and alcohol dependence
  • These results call for more scrutiny regarding the possible negative health effects of energy drinks and public education about the risks of consuming energy drinks with alcohol

A hallmark of college life is staying up late to study for an exam the following morning, and many students stay awake by consuming an energy drink. Also increasing in popularity is the practice of mixing alcohol with energy drinks. But these drinks are highly caffeinated and can lead to other problems, in addition to losing sleep. Unfortunately, the contents of energy drinks are not regulated.

New research indicates that individuals who have a high frequency of energy drink consumption (52 or more times within a year) were at a statistically significant higher risk for alcohol dependence and episodes of heavy drinking.

The results will be published in the February 2011 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

Amelia M. Arria, the lead author of the study, Director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, and a Senior Scientist at the Treatment Research Institute, said that prior research has highlighted the dangers of combining energy drinks with alcohol.

“We were able to examine if energy drink use was still associated with alcohol dependence, after controlling for risk-taking characteristics. The relationship persisted and the use of energy drinks was found to be associated with an increase in the risk of alcohol dependence.”

The study utilized data from more than 1,000 students enrolled at a public university who were asked about their consumption of energy drinks and their alcohol drinking behaviors within the past 12 months. The researchers found that individuals who consumed energy drinks at a high frequency were more likely to get drunk at an earlier age, drink more per drinking session, and were more likely to develop alcohol dependence compared to both non-users of energy drinks and the low-frequency users.

The results of this study confirm and extend earlier research about the risks of energy drink consumption. A major concern is that mixing energy drinks with alcohol can lead to “wide-awake drunkenness,” where caffeine masks the feeling of drunkenness but does not decrease actual alcohol-related impairment. As a result, the individual feels less drunk than they really are, which could lead them to consume even more alcohol or engage in risky activities like drunk driving.

“Caffeine does not antagonize or cancel out the impairment associated with drunkenness—it merely disguises the more obvious markers of that impairment,” says Kathleen Miller, a research scientist from the Research Institute on Addictions at the University at Buffalo. According to her, the next steps in this research include identifying links between energy drinks and other forms of substance abuse, as well assessing the overall prevalence of energy drink use by adolescents and young adults.

“Also needed is research that directly assesses students’ reported reasons for mixing alcohol and energy drinks. Anecdotal reports suggest that part of this phenomenon may be driven by the perpetuation of myths (e.g., mixing alcohol and caffeine reduces drunkenness, prevents hangovers, or fools a breathalyzer test) that could be debunked through further education.”

Arria agrees, adding that further research and regulations are needed to curb this disturbing trend.

“The fact that there is no regulation on the amount of caffeine in energy drinks or no requirements related to the labeling of contents or possible health risks is concerning.”

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