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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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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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June is Men’s Health Month

Welcome to Men’s Health Month!

During the month of June we will be celebrating the men in our lives by promoting health and wellness. The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. As a company, we want to take this opportunity to raise awareness within the Tampa community and encourage men to have regular checkups and to seek early treatment for disease and injury. We want our men to stay strong and healthy!

As part of Men’s Health Month, we at Anderson Thornton Consultants have planned a “WWear Blue Dayear BLUE Day” here in the office. On Monday, June 15, everyone in our office will be decked out in blue! We encourage all of our clients and friends to do the same. Wear BLUE was created by Men’s Health Network to raise awareness about the importance of male health and to encourage men to live longer and healthier lives. It’s an easy way to show your support for a great cause.

We’ll be using the hashtag: #showusyourblue all month long. So join the cause and encourage the men in your life to get checked and live healthy! And, if you want to show your support by planning fun activities in your community visit menshealthmonth.org for more information.