Archive for April, 2010


I’m skeptical of the government’s ability to provide quality healthcare. Imagine if going to the doctor were like going to the DMV: long lines, poor customer service, that dirty feeling when you finally get out. Scary. And do you see how much the government already takes out of your paycheck? It would make more sense to be able to use that tax money in a way that benefits you, individually, instead of letting the government regulate it. I don’t trust the government that much, no matter who’s in charge.

As an alternative healthcare practitioner, I see the effects of our failed system on a daily basis. I hear my clients saying things like, “I need to go to the dentist, but I don’t have insurance,” or, “I sprained my foot, but I couldn’t do anything about it because I don’t have insurance.” I sympathize with them, because I know how it feels to one of the uninsured.

But I also tell them that you aren’t required to have insurance to go to the doctor. You do not have to use insurance to receive health care. There are alternatives to becoming a slave to the health insurance industry. We must change our perception and find alternatives, or the system will never change. One such alternative, a Health Savings Account (HSA), was made public in a provision of the Medicare Act of 2003.

“Health Savings Accounts are a new option for health insurance and they have two parts. The first part is a health insurance policy that covers large hospital bills. The second part of the Health Savings Account is an investment account or retirement account from which you can withdraw money tax-free for medical care. Otherwise, the money accumulates with tax-free interest until retirement, when you can withdraw for any purpose and pay normal income taxes.” (http://www.hsainsider.com/hsa basics.aspx)

First, you purchase a high-deductible health insurance plan to cover any catastrophic medical bills that you may incur. This covers you in case of an unexpected accident or disease (isn’t that what insurance is supposed to do insure against substantial loss?). Then you open an HSA to save for typical health expenses: doctor visits, glasses, massage, dental cleanings, therapy, or whatever treatments make you healthier.

An HSA works like any other savings account with many different options for how you want to store your money. For example, you can have a low-interest account with a trusted bank. This type of account usually allows you to pay for health expenses directly with a


Worryingly it seems up to a third of us are driving around without being able to see clearly! Interestingly we’re not talking about the elderly, who frequently get the blame for accidents, usually with a throw-away comment about the condition of their eyes! Rather it’s a cross section of individuals who are coming up short when it comes to their eyesight.

When it comes to van drivers the cause for concern is that bit more due to the fact that they do a lot more driving, covering a lot more mileage than the average car driver. With that in mind the likelihood of an accident is greatly increased if you couple their devotion to the road with lack lustre vision. This revealing study adds credence to the beliefs held by a lot of opticians who have felt that poor eyesight contributes heavily to causing accidents on UK roads.

Your safety and that of other road users and pedestrians alike is greatly reduced as the risk of accidents increase when you step behind the wheel knowing your eyesight is not up to par. Lack lustre eyesight reduces your ability to discern between stationary and moving objects, as well as reducing your ability to spot potential hazards and adjust your driving appropriately. No doubt if your driving capabilities are compromised in any way and the compromise is something that could been prevented, your insurance provider may raise an eyebrow or two if you are looking to make a claim.

The majority of vans being driven on UK roads today are done so for business purposes, whether it’s for a small, personal business or part of a fleet of vans owned by a large corporation. Regardless of whose business you promote and develop by using your van, if you are in an accident that is in part caused by your vision deficiency your claim may be refused because you drove the vehicle knowing your vision may not have been sufficient.

That said, for those that drive a van for an employer may not be aware that their employer may be responsible for the care of your eyesight and that you may be entitled to certain benefits, like a free eye-test and the provision of spectacles if you are found to be in need. This was one of the suggestions put forward by a massive 92 per cent of the drivers that had been interviewed at the road show. They expressed the belief that a compulsory eye sight every three years would certainly reduce the number of road accidents that were caused by drivers falling short of the legal requirements as set by the Department for Transport.

Of the 50 tested, a large proportion – 89 percent would consider having their eyes checked more often if it meant it would have a positive impact on their insurance premiums. On the one hand it is the responsibility of the individual to look after their eyesight, on the other hand with the cost of living spiralling out of control and each and every institution looking for ways to save pennies and spend fewer pounds, it’s not really surprising that individuals are forced to view things like eye care as a luxury.

Unfortunately in the event of an accident, van drivers and all other road users are forced to appreciate just how valuable they are to themselves. Rather than working for yourself or for a company for a wage that is spent simply on surviving, it is far more important to take care of yourself and your health. Life and health insurance offer discounts to those that look after their health as they note doing so will reduce the likelihood of a claim. In time maybe van insurance will do the same, maybe they will recognise the potent importance of one having pristine vision and will reward those that ensure they do.

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