Many Insurance Companies No Longer Providing COBRA Coverage

July 27th, 2016

Group of people in business clothesRecently many insurance carriers have decided they will no longer provide COBRA services to their clients.  This leaves businesses with the trouble of having to manage COBRA related matters on their own. Insurance Administrator of America can relieve companies of this costly and time consuming burden.

How IAA can Help

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)of 1985 requires most employers with group health insurance plans to continue offering employee health coverage under the employer’s plan on a temporary basis in the event of any change in employment status.

IAA COBRA Smart administrative services handle your COBRA administration by providing the following notifications and services:

  • Qualifying event notification by first class mail with proof of mailing certification by U.S. Postal Service to qualified beneficiaries for qualifying events
  • Online qualifying event notifications and history detail
  • Certification of coverage notification: Initial certificate included with qualifying event notification and second certificate following termination of COBRA.
  • Update notification by first class mail to covered employees, COBRA participants, and/or qualified beneficiaries as required by amendment to the regulations, or changes to covered benefit plans
  • Non-payment termination notification and/or end of COBRA termination
  • Billing, premium collection and remittance to the company
  • IAA maintains a database of qualifying beneficiaries to whom any notifications have been sent
  • IAA provides employer reports via email, website or through an IAA Account Executive  

With IAA’s smart, innovative, member-based system you can:

  • Control administrative costs
  • Deploy your labor force more efficiently
  • Minimize the risk of penalties and fines for non-compliance
  • Save time, money and headaches by eliminating COBRA hassle

Any new plan information or enrollment applications should be sent to COBRA participants by the broker or employer at the time that the active employees are notified.

General Process

The standard process when working alongside IAA for your business’ COBRA administration is:

  1. The employee participant experiences a COBRA qualifying event.
  2. The employer notifies IAA to send the COBRA letter. The employer has 30 days to notify IAA of a COBRA event.
  3. The employer terminates coverage with the insurance carrier.
  4. IAA sends the COBRA packet to the participant.
  5. The participant has 60 days from the loss of coverage or 60 days from the date of the COBRA letter to elect COBRA.
  6. Once IAA receives the written election and first payment, IAA notifies the employer/broker to reinstate the COBRA coverage with the insurance carrier.

IAA should be notified which plan the COBRA participant elects if there are any new options so that the proper rates and coupon notices can be sent.

 Please feel free to contact IAA for your COBRA administration needs!

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New Study Published on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

July 20th, 2016

Hand with CFS painted on itA new study has identified a bacterial blue print for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), offering further evidence that it is a physical disease with biological causes and a not a psychological condition.

New Study on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

In a study published in Microbiome, researchers analyzed the quantity and variety of bacteria species in participants’ stool samples. They also searched for markers of inflammation in their blood.

Stool samples of those with CFS had significantly lower diversity of species compared with the healthy peopleScientists also discovered that people with CFS had higher blood levels of lipopolysaccharides, inflammation molecules that may indicate that bacteria have moved from the gut into the bloodstream, where they can produce various symptoms of disease.  

Using these criteria, researchers were able to accurately identify more than 83 percent of CFS cases based on the diversity of their gut bacteria and lipopolysaccharides in their blood.

Signs and Symptoms of CFS

CFS is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. People with CFS function at a significantly lower level of activity than they were capable of before they become ill.

The fatigue of CFS is accompanied by characteristic illness symptoms, lasting at least six months. Symptoms affect several body systems and may include:

  • Headache
  • Impaired memory and/or mental concentration
  • Increased malaise (extreme exhaustion and sickness following physical activity or mental exertion)
  • Insomnia
  • Joint pain (without redness or swelling)
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • Tender lymph nodes in the neck or armpit
  • Weakness

CFS can be misdiagnosed or overlooked because its symptoms are similar to so many illnesses.

Scientists have not yet identified what causes CFS. Scientists think that the following may be contributing factors:  

  • Hormonal imbalances: People who have CFS sometimes experience abnormal blood levels of hormones produced in the hypothalamus, pituitary glands or adrenal glands. 
  • Immune system problems: The immune systems of people who have CFS appear to be impaired slightly.
  • Viral infections: Because some people get chronic fatigue syndrome after having a viral infection, researchers question whether some viruses might trigger the disorder.

As scientists have not found a definitive cause of CFS, there is still more research that needs to be done.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America is here to bring you news from the world of health. Researchers are finding new information every day, and IAA wants to make sure you are in the know. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Interested in reading more on this topic? Click here!

New Study Shows Marketing can get Children to Eat Vegetables

July 13th, 2016

Kids chopping vegetablesScientists have seen that marketing junk food in commercials for children directly influences the amount of unhealthy foods those kids consume. But what happens when healthy foods are marketed the same way?

Marketing is key to Getting Kids to eat More Vegetables

Branded marketing tactics, from banners to commercials, nearly tripled the likelihood of a child choosing to eat veggies at lunch, according to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Researchers tested three marketing approaches in 10 public elementary schools in New York for six weeks:

  1. Displaying vinyl banners with animated vegetable characters with super powers called “super sprowtz” around the salad bar in the school cafeteria.
  2. Showing short television segments about health education delivered by the vegetable characters in the school lunch rooms.
  3. Combining the banner with the short video.

A control group experienced no marketing interventions.

Researchers found that before the banners, only about 12 percent of students took vegetables, but after the banners about 24 percent of students did.  The banners combined with the videos resulted in a 239 percent increase in the number of students who visited the salad bar. Before the marketing only about 10 percent of students took vegetables, but after 34 percent did. The television segment alone did not have a significant impact on students’ eating behaviors.

Children vs. Food

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents over the past 30 years. Kids who actually enjoy healthy foods may be less likely to join the growing numbers of their peers who face weight problems.

Kids are hard-wired to prefer sweet and salty tastes and umami, which is more of a savory tasteIt’s thought that these tastes are predispositions that have evolved to help children to be oriented to foods that contain energy.

Every parent wants their child to grow up healthy, but it can be hard when mealtime becomes a wrestling ring. Prevent mealtime battles:

  1. Respect your child’s appetite, or lack of one: If your child isn’t hungry, don’t force a meal or a snack. Likewise, don’t bribe your children to eat certain foods or clean his or her plate. This might ignite or reinforce a power struggle over food. In addition, your child might come to associate mealtime with anxiety or frustration.
  2. Be patient with new foods: Kids can require up to five to 10 exposures to see an increase in liking new foods.
  3. Recruit your child’s help: At the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods.
  4. Set a good example: If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.

Keep in mind it is important to give children repeated opportunities to experience foods. It is not just the number of times children experience foods, it is also whether those experiences are positive or negative.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America knows that getting kids to eat their veggies can be hard, but as research shows, good marketing can help! Make vegetables fun for your children and you may see an increase in their liking vegetables. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Interested in reading more on this topic? Click here!

Take Precautions When Exercising in the Heat

July 6th, 2016

Guy in jersey hanging on to fenceExercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. If you don’t take care when exercising in the heat, you risk causing a serious illness.

Heat Related Illnesses

During the summer both exercise and air temperature increase your core body temperature. To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which in turn increases your heart rate. If the humidity is also high, your body faces added stress because sweat doesn’t readily evaporate from your skin. That pushes your body temperature even higher. Under normal conditions your skin, blood vessels and perspiration level adjust to the heat. But these natural cooling systems may fail if you’re exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long, you sweat heavily and you don’t drink enough fluids.  The result may be a heat-related illness. Heat-related illnesses occur along a spectrum, starting out as mild, but worsening if left untreated. Heat illnesses include:

  • Heat cramps: Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions. Affected muscles may be firm to the touch. Your body temperature may be normal.
  • Heat exhaustion: With heat exhaustion, your body temperature rises as high as 104°F and you may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, weakness, and cold, clammy skin.
  • Heat stroke: Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 104°F. Your skin may be hot, but you body may stop sweating to help cool itself.
  • Heat syncope and exercise-associated collapse: Heat syncope is a feeling of lightheadedness or fainting caused by high temperatures, often occurring after standing for a long period of time, or standing up quickly after sitting for a long period of time. Exercise-associated collapse is feeling lightheaded or fainting immediately after exercising.

Signs and symptoms of heat-related illness are:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate
  • Irritability
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating extensively
  • Visual problems
  • Weakness

If you develop any of these symptoms, you must lower your body temperature and get hydrated.

Keep Cool When Exercising

When you exercise in hot weather, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Avoid midday sun: Exercise in the morning or evening when it’s likely to be cooler outdoors. Hit the streets before 10 am and after 3 pm.
  • Dress appropriately: Lightweight, loose fitting clothing helps sweat evaporate and keeps you cooler. Avoid dark colors which can absorb heat.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Dehydration is a key factor in heat illness. Help your body sweat and cool down by staying well hydrated with water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink fluids.  Once you start craving water you are already three percent dehydrated.
  • Get acclimated: If you’re used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first when you exercise in the heat. As your body adapts to the heat over the course of one to two weeks, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts.
  • Know your fitness level: If you’re unfit or new to exercise, be extra cautious when working out in the heat. Your body may have a lower tolerance to the heat. Reduce your exercise intensity and take frequent breaks.
  • Watch the temperature: Pay attention to weather forecasts and heat alerts. Know what the temperature is expected to be for the duration of your planned outdoor activity.
  • Wear sunscreen: Sunburn decreases your body’s ability to cool itself.

If the temperature outside is lower than 80°F, you usually can be active outside without taking extra precautions.

What IAA has to Say

Exercising in hot weather can mean dealing with heath issues. Insurance Administrator of America wants you to keep up with physical activity this summer, just be cautious! Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Interested in reading more on this topic? Click here!

Are You a Mosquito Magnet?

June 29th, 2016

Bug spray killing bugSummertime means it is open season for mosquitoes! While some people aren't as effected by these pesky insects, there are others who always seem to be a mosquito target.

Mosquito Magnets

One in about 10 people are highly attractive to mosquitoes. It's not dinner they're after, female mosquitoes (males don't bite people) need human blood to develop fertile eggs. But what is so attractive about these people?

  • Acids: Mosquitoes target  people who produce excess amounts of certain acids. Lactic acid (given off while exercising), acetone (a chemical released in your breath) and estradiol (a breakdown product of estrogen) can all be released at varying concentrations.   These substances can trigger  mosquitoes sense of smell, leaving them to land on unsuspecting victims.
  • Carbon dioxide: Any type of carbon dioxide is attractive, even over a long-distance. Larger people tend to give off more carbon dioxide, which is why mosquitoes typically prefer munching on adults to small children.
  • Cholesterol: People with high concentrations of steroids or cholesterol on their skin's surface attract mosquitoes. That doesn't necessarily mean  that mosquitoes attack people  with higher overall cholesterol. These people may be more efficient in processing cholesterol, the byproducts of which remain on the skin's surface. 
  • Genetics: This accounts for 85 percent of a person's susceptibility to mosquito bites.
  • Heat: Before mosquitoes can take a bite they have to find an area of the body where the blood is close to the surface. Common areas include: forehead, wrist, elbows, and neck. People who are overheated or who just finished working out will have blood closer to the surface of the skin. Mosquitoes use heat to determine where blood is closest to the surface.

But with more than 350 compounds isolated from odors produced by human skin, researchers have barely scratched the surface behind a mosquitoes' preference to certain people.

Prevent Bites

While typically mosquito bites are just irritating, it can become more serious. To prevent bites:

  • Avoid wearing dark denim or all black outfits. Some mosquitoes are visual hunters  that search you out by looking for signs of life against the horizon.
  • Regularly remove standing water near your home (i.e. gutters, pool covers, pet's water dishes, etc.)
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or IR3535. Some oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-methane-diol products also provide protection.
  •  Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors

Keeping mosquitoes at bay can help prevent any serious illness that can be received through a mosquito bite.

What IAA has to Say

It may be hard to stop yourself from becoming a mosquito magnet, but Insurance Administrator of America wants you to protect yourself. Just think of IAA as your third-party mosquito whisperer, giving you a heads up on those flying pests. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Interested in reading more on these topics? Click here and here!