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Breast Cancer Awareness: Lower Your Risk

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, after skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 231,000 Americans will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, 60,000 with non-invasive, and 40,000 are expected to die

October is designated to bring awareness to breast cancer so women can be informed of early detection and getting the proper treatments. It’s also a good time to inform women of healthy habits they need to implement into their daily lives to lower their risk of breast cancer. The more common risk factors associated with breast cancer are: age, genetics, and being a women. These factors can’t be changed, but risk factors such as being overweight, lack of exercise, smoking, unhealthy diet, can be changed. Here’s what you can do to lower your risk of breast cancer:

Lower Intake of Unhealthy Foods

Doing this will not only lower your risk for breast cancer, but it will make a difference in your overall health! According to BreastCancer.org, diet is partly responsible for about 30% to 40% of all cancers. No food or diet can prevent you from getting breast cancer. But some foods can make your body the healthiest it can be, boost your immune system, and help keep your risk for breast cancer as low as possible.

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A study published in the journal BMJ Open found women who went up a skirt size every decade between their 20s and 60s, increased their risk by 33 percent compared to the 77 percent risk for those who increased two sizes per decade. You can seek counsel from your healthcare provider to help you get your health on the right track.

Add Exercise to Your Daily Routine

Research has shown that exercising 4 to 7 hours a week can lower your risk of breast cancer. People who exercise regularly tend to be healthier and have a lower body fat percentage. According to BreastCancer.org, fat cells make estrogen and extra fat makes extra estrogen. When breast cells are exposed to estrogen over time, the risk of developing breast cancer is high.

Stop Smoking

This bad habit is linked to a number of cancers and diseases. Smoking is linked to a higher risk of  breast cancer in young premenopausal women. There is also a link between very heavy secondhand smoke exposure and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women. Smoking can be hard to to quit cold turkey, but there are programs that can help you. Talk with your doctor about what program will work best for you, or visit the American Lung Association for information on a free online smoking cessation program.

“By choosing the healthiest lifestyle options possible, you can empower yourself and make sure your breast cancer risk is as low as possible.” – BreastCancer.org

Improvements in detection, treatment, and awareness have increased over the past few years. Because of this, women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are living more. Nevertheless, it’s still important to stay as healthy as possible to lower your chance of breast cancer. Before making any significant changes to your lifestyle, consult with your physician. Don’t have a doctor? Contact us today and we can get you set up with an in-network provider to meet your needs.


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A Better Breakfast

September is the start of fall and the changing of the leaves, but one thing that isn’t as widely recognized about September is it’s also Better Breakfast Month.

What is Better Breakfast month?

Through the month of September, healthy breakfasts are celebrated and encouraged tOatmeal With Fruito improve health. In our opinion it’s just an excuse to celebrate the best meal of the day! Better Breakfast Month is celebrated on September 23, but we’ll be celebrating all month long with new recipes and ideas to spice up the start of your day.

Today, we’re sharing a few simple choices to kick start your day.

Oatmeal – Add fruit topping or cinnamon for extra flavor.

Fruit Salad – Our favorite combination is grapes, pineapple and mango.

Whole grain toast – Spread some delicious avocado on it for extra protein.

Smoothie – Great for when you’re on the go! Add greens and protein powder to keep you full until lunch.

What is your favorite breakfast combination? We want to hear from you! Check back throughout the month for recipes and tips for a better breakfast, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news in healthcare.


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Health Tips for Back to School

Summer is almost over and that means you’re most likely preparing your kids for the new school year. While getting your children fashion ready with new clothes and gathering all the necessary supplies is an important component to going back to school, it’s also a good time to fit in appointments to the pediatrician, dentist and eye doctor. 

To prepare your children for their first day of school we turned to the experts to make sure their health fits the grade.

Establish a sleep routine

Those nights of staying up late are coming to an end. Getting up early can be a hard adjustment especially for the younger kids. Dr. Warren Seigel, Chairman of Pediatrics at Coney Island Hospital in New York, says: “Start with going to bed one hour earlier every night and waking up early until the new routine is established,” he told CBS News. “It needs to be done a week or two before going back to school, not the night before school starts.”

Another thing to incorporate into your kids’ nightly routine is powering off their electronic devices an hour before bedtime. Studies have shown that the glowing light from a cellphone or tablet can disrupt sleep cycles.

Get an annual physical

Keep your child’s medical and vaccination records up to date with an annual check up from the pediatriciaimmunizationn.

“We won’t enroll any student without an immunization record,” says Candy Mac Donald, RN, PHN, MSN, school nurse for eight schools in the Marysville Joint United School District in Marysville, Calif., north of Sacramento. “There are more and more shots now, too,” she adds, including hepatitis B, chickenpox, and possibly a booster of the MMR in junior high (flu shots also may be recommended). 

The American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) website fully explains childhood vaccinations, advising you what is needed at what age. Your school district or local health department will also make this clear, and you can consult your pediatrician as well. If you are in doubt, ask the school secretary for guidance.

Eye exams

When you go in for your child’s physical exam ask about getting a vision screening as well. Dr. Sarah Armstrong, director of Duke’s Healthy Lifestyles Clinic and an associate professor of Pediatrics and Community and Family Medicine said, “Having poor vision can sometimes go unnoticed. Kids might not say anything or know that something is amiss with their vision. If your child has to squint or strain to see the front of the classroom, it could show up as headaches during the day, poor school performance or even behavioral problems. Pediatricians can advise when a visit to a an optometrist or ophthalmologist is needed.” 

Dental check ups

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay is one of the most common chronic conditions among children and results in a staggering number of missed school days. All kids should go to the dentist twice a year for routine cleanings to keep up with good oral hygiene. If your child is overdue, make an appointment before they start school so they won’t have to skip out on class later on.

Pack healthy luncheslunch

Kids can develop unhealthy eating habits during summer break. Now is the perfect time to get them back into their regular routine of eating three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Check in with your child’s school to find out about lunch options and lunch schedules before the school year starts. Also, inform the school of any food allergies. Healthy eating will help your child before their best throughout the school year. 

Lighten the backpack burden

With numerous textbooks and binders, the weight of your child’s backpack can put a strain on their neck, shoulders and back. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids always use both shoulder straps when wearing a backpack. “Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles,” the group states on its website. Discuss with their teachers ways to lighten the load, or if the school allows rolling backpacks.

Create a healthy study environment

Get your kids on a regular homework routine. Make sure it’s in an environment where they will be free from distractions like the TV or electronic devices. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests creating an environment in the home that is conducive to doing homework. “Children need a consistent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that is quiet, without distractions, and promotes study,” the group advises.


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Termination Checklist

Terminating an employee, whether voluntary or involuntary, is never fun, but it’s part of running a business. In the event a termination is necessary it’s helpful to have a checklist. Follow the steps below as a guide through the termination process.

Course Correction

When problems arise, effectively communicate to the employee(s) involved of their misconduct. A well designed discipline program is intended to help employees correct any shortcomings with the goal of becoming a valuable, contributing member of the workforce.

  • Notify the employee of their violation and keep records of these violations
  • Obtain signed acknowledgment from the employee in regards to the violationTermination Checklist Blog Picture
  • Provide employee opportunity to improve
  • Act immediately on allegations of harassment or other serious cases
  • Establish a complaint system and grievance program
  • Investigate if and when appropriate

Carrying Out the Termination

After addressing issues of misconduct and giving opportunities to improve, termination may be required.  This will aid in the creation of the termination report.  A termination report is crucial to the termination process, as it will be used in possible legal matters and will be recorded.

  • Complete the termination report
  • Draft the termination letter
  • Inform human resources and payroll
  • Inform those in charge of medical benefit plans

During the Meeting

Once the previous steps have been completed, a meeting will be held with the employee.  This meeting will be used to discuss various topics, such as retirement, COBRA, health benefits, and more.  Be sure to cover all necessary topics with the employee to avoid future issues.

  • Include the supervisor
  • Inform employee of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). This program allows a terminated employee access to their health benefits for a period of time.
  • Review retirement plan options such as a 401k
  • Communicate information regarding outplacement services
  • Establish contact

Post-Termination Actions

  • Contact your insurance broker to cancel employee benefits and issue a COBRA letter
  • Confidential information
  • Collect company information such as client lists and trade secrets
  • Issue final paycheck (complying with state requirements)

What steps do you take when terminating an employee? How do you overcome challenges? Share your comments with us below.

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Understanding Your Copayment and Coinsurance

As your broker, education is the key to our success. We want to help employers and their employees understand their benefits and get the most from their health care plan. Health plans have many different components, and we’re here to breakdown those components to help you better understand their meaning. A copayment and coinsurance are two parts that make up your plan. All plans have some form of copayment and coinsurance in place, but some plans may utilize just one. Check your plan!

How a copay works:Closeup of happy businesspeople enjoying

A copayment is a fixed amount you pay for a covered health care service, usually when the service is provided. For example, you might pay $30 to see a doctor and $20 to fill a prescription. The amount can vary based on the specifics of the plan.

How coinsurance works:

Coinsurance is the amount or percentage you pay for certain covered health care services under your health plan. This is typically the amount paid after a deductible is met, and can vary based on the plan design. For example, if the health plan’s allowed amount for an office visit is $100 and you’ve met your deductible, your coinsurance payment of 20% would be $20. The health insurance or plan pays the rest of the allowed amount.

Why are these concepts important?

A copayment and coinsurance are integral parts of your health care plan. Understanding how these components work will help you pick a plan that will meet your financial needs. As your broker, it’s our job to provide the best quality care and assist you in your decision making process.

Check out our blog regularly, as we educate our readers on a weekly basis on health care and all the fun that comes with it. For more information on health care terms, check out our Benefits Glossary.

If you would like to learn more about similar concepts, plans, or access other information please contact us. We’re here to help you understand your benefits and provide care that exceeds expectations. Our educational material will enable you to make decisions with both ease and confidence.

Have a great week!


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The Importance of Being an Involved Father

This weekend we celebrate our fathers! Being a father is the most important role a man can have. They have a great responsibility to raise their children to be the best they can be. With it being Men’s Health Month and the end of Men’s Health Week, we want to help all of our dads (and future dads) out there be the best role model for their kids.

The making of a good father:

Being a father is hard work! But, it’s one of life’s greatest joys. A good father has many qualities which include:

Love: Always show love towards children and spouse.  Country-Father-And-Son

Patience: It takes a lot of patience to manage family, home and work life all at the same time.

Communication: Make time to talk to your children and get to know them.

Stability: Supporting a family through financial means creates stability. Stability within a family reduces stress and creates a positive atmosphere within the home.

Leading: Provide guidance and take advantage of teaching opportunities when problems arise for your children.

Honesty: Create a bond of trust between you and your kids so they feel comfortable discussing problems in their lives.

Loyalty: Stand by your children and spouse  through the good and bad times.

Benefits of a good father:

Children with involved fathers have a decreased chance of psychological distress, are more likely to be successful in school, are typically more likely to take an active role in the raising of their own kids, and are more likely to physically develop properly.  However, not all the benefits revolve around the child as the mother and father benefit emotionally and physically through their support for one another, leading to a stronger family relationship.

Here are some tips on how to set a healthy example for your children:

  • Leave work at workhappy_father_and_son
  • Create a routine
  • Do a weekly activity together
  • Play with your child (children learn a lot through play)
  • Work as a team with your partner
  • Support your child emotionally and physically

As you can see, dads are important! Take time this weekend to show appreciation to the fathers in your life. Encourage healthy habits, and support them in their successes. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information concerning healthcare, insurance, and more.

Happy Father’s Day, dads!


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10 Reasons Men Avoid the Doctor: No More Excuses!

During Men’s Health Month, our goal is to encourage men to visit medical professionals in an effort to stay Athlete Eating an Applehealthy. Men think they’re tough, and as insurance agents we’ve heard all the excuses as to why they aren’t getting checked. When it comes to your health, there is no room for excuses.  It’s important not just for the individual, but loved ones as well. Scroll through our list of why men don’t get checked. Sound familiar?

“I don’t have a doctor”– Finding a trustworthy doctor can be very simple, checking with your insurance company can be a good source.  At Anderson Thornton Consultants, the MAPS program appoints medical professionals to assist you with any medical treatments you may need.

“I don’t have insurance”– If you don’t have insurance then you can always get a free quote online at our website.

“There’s probably nothing wrong”– While you may be correct, you’re most likely not a doctor.  It’s very important to consult a professional, as most conditions are easy to resolve early on.

“I don’t’ have time”– Spending an hour or two receiving medical care could greatly increase the amount of time you’re healthy. You wouldn’t want to miss out on watching the game with your buddies all because you didn’t go to your check-up, would you?

“I don’t want to spend the money”– Similar to the previous point, it’s better to spend the money now (when you’re not in the hospital) than to spend thousands when you’re in the hospital.  Being in the hospital is bad enough, take necessary precautions to prevent this from happening to you.

“Doctors don’t do anything”– It is not the doctor’s job to perform a miracle and make you healthy.  The doctor is there to provide you with the necessary knowledge and guidance to become healthy.younger guy visiting doctor

“I don’t want to hear what the doctor has to say”– Maybe you have bad habits that have resulted in negative health effects.  Your doctor can assist you with this. Don’t be surprised if he tells you to skip out on ice cream before bed.

“But, that sounds really uncomfortable”–  While most men don’t look forward to a prostate exam, as it is rather invasive, it’s imperative to a their health. To learn more about the prostate and other related issues check out our prostate guide.

“I’d rather tough it out”– While it may seem like the “manly” thing to do, it is not the healthy thing to do.  If living a long life is important to you, get checked!  Besides, real men get checked.

“But, honey I don’t need to go”– If your significant other is already pushing you to see your doctor give in and stay healthy!

Now, you’re out of excuses! Start your journey towards health today.

Check out Men’s Health Network for more information on staying healthy!

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