Introducing new coverage for 1099 and contract employees

The health insurance industry doesn’t have a lot of solutions for 1099 and contract employees. So when answering the question “Are you covered?,” too often the answer is a resounding, “NO.”

We understand. For a lot of businesses with contract or 1099 employees, there just aren’t the financial or administrative resources available for a traditional group insurance plan. These plans require time and an employer contribution that businesses just don’t have.

But what that means is that employees are left to purchase plans either on the federal and state exchanges or through the private marketplace. The former often having limited plan options with even more limited networks and the latter being increasingly more expensive.

Businesses with contract and 1099 employees need a product customized to fit them — one that can be provided at no cost to the company.

Try a quote for a new type of plan with ClaimLinx. Our agents take care of the application process, plan setup and the administration of the policy for employees. It’s no hassle for the business and requires no employer premium contribution.

This product is set up just like a traditional group plan, but without the financial burdens for the company. The employees cover 100% of their own premiums, but because the plan is being purchased as a group they will receive lower rates than they will find on the private individual marketplace.

With a group plan, employees will also enjoy a much larger physicians network and a more comprehensive benefit plan, including better coverage and pharmacy benefits.

The best part is once the plan is set up, there is no additional administration to worry about for the business. ClaimLinx agents take care of billing employees, paying monthly premiums, enrolling dependents and terminating any policies. All of this is included for a small fee employees pay monthly along with their premiums.

This is the perfect product for any small business with contract and 1099 employees that doesn’t currently offer a benefit plan. ClaimLinx agents are ready to start the application process and send a quote to you.

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FDA Joins Modern Nutrition Thinking With Updates

Which afternoon snack do you think is healthier: a handful of almonds or a handful of Frosted Flakes?

According to the Food and Drug Administration’s current definition of the word “healthy,” you should grab the Frosted Flakes.

The agency announced this month that it will be reevaluating its regulations on which foods can be labeled “healthy,” as well as other nutrient claims, after decades of evolution in the field.

 “Just because a food contains certain ingredients that are considered good for you, such as nuts or fruit, it does not mean that food can bear a ‘healthy’ nutrient claim,” FDA spokeswoman Lauren Kotwicki wrote in an email to the Los Angeles Times.

Current food regulations reflect the more simplistic views from the 1980s and 1990s. As such, food can only be marketed as healthy if it meets five criteria: fat, saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol and beneficial nutrients, such as Vitamin C or Calcium.

When the term “healthy” was first officially defined in 1994, low fat content was the primary focus for health professionals. Sugar content, processed chemicals and sodium levels were not yet on the FDA’s or most nutritionists’ radar.

For this reason, foods like Kellogg Co.’s Frosted Flakes and Pop-Tarts and Campbell’s SpaghettiOs can be marketed as healthy. Though they are all still high in sugar and processed chemicals, they meet all the current criteria, as they are low in fat and are fortified with vitamins.

Meanwhile, foods like salmon, avocado and almonds could not be marketed as healthy under the current regulations, because of their high content of fat per serving.

Kind, makers of the fruit and nut bars, discovered firsthand how outdated the FDA’s regulations are when they received a warning letter to stop using the word healthy on its packaging. As most of Kind’s bars are made with almonds and other nuts, they do not meet the requirement for low fat content.

Kind has since petitioned the FDA to change the requirements and has received support from doctors, dietitians and lawmakers around the country.

“We very much hope the FDA will change the definition of healthy, so that you don’t end up in a silly situation where a toaster pastry or sugary cereal can be considered healthy and a piece of salmon or a bunch of almonds cannot,” Kind Chief Executive Daniel Lubetzky said in an interview.

Congress is pushing the FDA to make this issue a priority, as it affects how agricultural companies can market their products in the future. However, the process will still likely take several years.

If the FDA changes the definition, it will first propose updating the “healthy” definition, followed by a comment period for food makers and the public to submit their ideas and research what “healthy” means. Then the FDA will present its proposed rule change, followed by another comment period, the final rule and an implementation period to give food makers time to comply.

It would serve as a test case in a long list of necessary FDA regulation updates surrounding nutrition — changes many nutritionists agree are finally time to make.

New Cases Of Diabetes Finally Decline In The U.S.

The message was clear: obesity and the resulting cases of diabetes were harming millions of Americans. Changes in lifestyle and eating habits had to be made.

And it appears many citizens actually listened.

Finally, after decades of what appeared to be an insurmountable number of reported cases, rates of diabetes in the United States have declined.

The number of new cases fell by about 20 percent from 2008 to 2014, according to research at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s the first consistent drop since the disease started to explode in the country about 25 years ago.

The decline has been slow, so gradual over the years, in fact that the drop was not statistically meaningful until new data from 2014 was released. They showed there were 1.4 million new cases of diabetes in 2014, down from 1.7 million in 2008.

“It seems pretty clear that incidence rates have now actually started to drop,” Edward Gregg, a diabetes researcher for the CDC said to the New York Times. “Initially it was a little surprising because I had become so used to seeing increases everywhere we looked.”

Experts cannot yet confirm if the change can be attributed to the increased efforts to prevent diabetes or if the disease has peaked in the population. But the shift is consistent with recent progress reported in the overall health of Americans.

The amount of calories consumed daily by the typical American adult, which peaked around 2003, has declined consistently for the first time since federal statistics began tracking the information more than 40 years ago. Children are also consuming on average about 9 percent less calories per day.

For the first time since the late 1990s, the amount of full-calorie soft drinks Americans are consuming has declined by about a quarter. All of this has likely contributed to the marked halt in the rise of obesity rates for adults and school-aged children.

Americans will need to continue with these trends, as experts say the number of people with diabetes is still more than double what it was in the early 1990s.

“It’s not yet time to have a parade,” Dr. David M. Nathan, director of the Diabetes Center and Clinical Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, said to the New York Times. But he noted, “It has finally entered into the consciousness of our population that the sedentary lifestyle is a real problem, that increased body weight is a real problem.”

10 Tips For Staying Healthy During The Holiday Season

Happy Thanksgiving from ClaimLinx!

The upcoming holidays are a wonderful time to relax, enjoy family and indulge in the traditional tasty foods of the season: spicy pumpkin pie, creamy mashed potatoes, sweet honey ham and cold creamy eggnog.

But it’s important not to indulge too much. Although the average weight gain during the holiday season is only one pound, statistics show most people do not lose that pound during the year.  So that one pound can really add up year after year.

Keep the extra holiday weight off this year with these 10 tips from dieticians and nutritionists.

  1. Make holiday treats year-round – Prevent some of the “last-chance” eating we all do during the holidays by setting dates to make holiday favorites during other parts of the year: green bean casserole in February, pumpkin pie in March.
  2. Don’t be fooled – Many holiday foods seem healthy on concept, with ingredients like sweet potatoes, green beans and Brussels sprouts. But if vegetables are covered in cheese, butter or sugar, they’re no longer the healthy options. It’s important to treat these dishes like the indulgences they really are.
  3. Break out the skinny jeans – Loose clothing, stretchy waistbands and relaxed fit sweaters encourage everyone to overeat. For your next party, squeeze into your skinniest jeans, from-fitting dress or slim-fit suit. You’ll look good and your outfit will be a subtle reminder not to indulge too much.
  4. Catch those Zzzs – Busy holidays schedules, travel and all that shopping sometimes keep people from their regular sleeping schedules, but getting a consistent six to nine hours of sleep helps the body regulate hormones, recover from workouts and prevent sickness.
  5. Detox after the season is done – Over time, our bodies adapt to “hyperpalatble” foods, those stuffed with fat, salt and sugar. By eating these foods, we erode the body’s ability to taste subtler flavors. When the holiday season is over this year, try going just seven days without these foods and your old taste buds will return.
  6. Arrive for the party, not the food – Remember that the holiday season is more about socializing than eating. Try eating a lean meal before a party so that you are full when you arrive and you can enjoy others’ company.
  7. Set down the fork – Next time you’re eating with friends or family, try setting your fork down after each bite. You will naturally slow down your eating and be more aware of when you are full.
  8. Chug, chug, chug water – Don’t confuse hunger with thirst. You may continue to snack without ever feeling satisfied. Try drinking half your body weight in water, so if you weigh 140 pounds, drink 70 ounces of water.
  9. Splurge on your loves, not your likes – Don’t pile your plate high with foods that don’t make your taste buds soar. Choose only foods that you truly enjoy. Most often, you won’t miss munching on the foods you don’t adore.
  10. Set a treat day – The biggest mistake during the holidays is continuing the unhealthy habits. Be sure to keep your treats to only one day during the week.

For even more tips, read the article this information was taken from.

5 Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Happy Halloween from ClaimLinx!

This time of year brings with it one of tastiest seasonal foods: Pumpkin. This year, chow down on those seeds or bite into that pie with a little less guilt. Pumpkin actually contains these 5 surprising health benefits:

1. Skinny Food – In the perfect combination, pumpkin is rich in fiber and low in calories. That means it keeps you full without expanding your waistline.

2. Happy Heart – Nuts and seeds, including those from pumpkins, are packed with phytosterols, which studies show reduce LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.

3. Mood Booster – Pumpkin seeds are also rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which is a vital ingredient in the production of the serotonin, the body’s mood elevation chemical.

4. Stay Healthy – Your favorite fall treat, just like oranges, are a solid source of the essential nutrient Vitamin C, which helps to ward off sickness.

5. Power Up – Perfect for after a tough workout, pumpkin is full of the nutrient potassium, an important player when it comes to restoring the body’s electrolytes.

Just remember when we’re talking about the benefits of the pumpkin, we’re talking about the seeds and pure pumpkin. Those sugary treats flavored with pumpkin won’t pack the same healthy wallop. But we won’t tell, if it’s just a taste …