The Real Cost of Cosmetic Surgery

The field of cosmetic surgery has some pretty slick advertising and salespeople. This should come as a surprise to no-one except the most naive. However, what that means to the customer is that very frequently the real cost of the treatment is misrepresented. A surgical procedure that is promoted as being a certain price can often turn out to have untold hidden costs. Time and time again people listen to the sales pitch, and only when it feels too late to back out do they find out about the “extras”.

This is most particularly the case when the prospective patient is trying to find the more affordable options. Each practitioner vies to quote the most attractive price, and so as to seemingly undercut each other’s prices, the quotation very often includes only the cosmetic surgery itself.

This practice, while misleading, is quite legal. It is similar to what the budget airlines do, where you are charged extra fees for online check-in, purchasing with a credit card, baggage allowance and tax.

So what are the “extras” that will make up the real cost of your cosmetic surgery?

Don’t be deceived, these are not “optional” extras, they are all essential, and fairly expensive. The first item that a cosmetic surgeon may have left off your quote is the anesthetist fee. This is obviously a necessity, and is quite a heavy charge, as the procedure in itself is quite specialised.

Another of these added expenses is often the hospital fees. Your quote was just for the surgery? Then there’s a good chance you may have to stump up the cash for the usage of the cosmetic clinic.

If the surgery is likely to require an overnight stay at the clinic, then you should make sure that this is factored into the cost for your cosmetic surgery. And if it is not, then what if there are any complication, that require you to stay in the clinic for observation.

It is not unheard-of for the patient to receive a bill for even minor items, such as the surgical vest!

Probably most importantly, will you need to pay more if something goes wrong, and remedial surgery is required? Many surgeons do not automatically include any revision work in their bills, so you could be in for a nasty shock if your breast implant needs to be removed.

All of these need to be added up, to do an effective cost comparison between different quotes for cosmetic surgery. What seems the cheapest option is often not the cheapest option at all. Always view cosmetic surgery costs with a healthy dose of skepticism, and you will not go far wrong!

Health Savings Accounts – An American Innovation in Health Insurance

INTRODUCTON – The term “health insurance” is commonly used in the United States to describe any program that helps pay for medical expenses, whether through privately purchased insurance, social insurance or a non-insurance social welfare program funded by the government. Synonyms for this usage include “health coverage,” “health care coverage” and “health benefits” and “medical insurance.” In a more technical sense, the term is used to describe any form of insurance that provides protection against injury or illness.

In America, the health insurance industry has changed rapidly during the last few decades. In the 1970’s most people who had health insurance had indemnity insurance. Indemnity insurance is often called fee-forservice. It is the traditional health insurance in which the medical provider (usually a doctor or hospital) is paid a fee for each service provided to the patient covered under the policy. An important category associated with the indemnity plans is that of consumer driven health care (CDHC). Consumer-directed health plans allow individuals and families to have greater control over their health care, including when and how they access care, what types of care they receive and how much they spend on health care services.

These plans are however associated with higher deductibles that the insured have to pay from their pocket before they can claim insurance money. Consumer driven health care plans include Health Reimbursement Plans (HRAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), high deductible health plans (HDHps), Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Of these, the Health Savings Accounts are the most recent and they have witnessed rapid growth during the last decade.

WHAT IS A HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT?

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged medical savings account available to taxpayers in the United States. The funds contributed to the account are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit. These may be used to pay for qualified medical expenses at any time without federal tax liability.

Another feature is that the funds contributed to Health Savings Account roll over and accumulate year over year if not spent. These can be withdrawn by the employees at the time of retirement without any tax liabilities. Withdrawals for qualified expenses and interest earned are also not subject to federal income taxes. According to the U.S. Treasury Office, ‘A Health Savings Account is an alternative to traditional health insurance; it is a savings product that offers a different way for consumers to pay for their health care.

HSA’s enable you to pay for current health expenses and save for future qualified medical and retiree health expenses on a tax-free basis.’ Thus the Health Savings Account is an effort to increase the efficiency of the American health care system and to encourage people to be more responsible and prudent towards their health care needs. It falls in the category of consumer driven health care plans.

Origin of Health Savings Account

The Health Savings Account was established under the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act passed by the U.S. Congress in June 2003, by the Senate in July 2003 and signed by President Bush on December 8, 2003.

Eligibility –

The following individuals are eligible to open a Health Savings Account –

– Those who are covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).

– Those not covered by other health insurance plans.

– Those not enrolled in Medicare4.

Also there are no income limits on who may contribute to an HAS and there is no requirement of having earned income to contribute to an HAS. However HAS’s can’t be set up by those who are dependent on someone else’s tax return. Also HSA’s cannot be set up independently by children.

What is a High Deductible Health plan (HDHP)?

Enrollment in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) is a necessary qualification for anyone wishing to open a Health Savings Account. In fact the HDHPs got a boost by the Medicare Modernization Act which introduced the HSAs. A High Deductible Health Plan is a health insurance plan which has a certain deductible threshold. This limit must be crossed before the insured person can claim insurance money. It does not cover first dollar medical expenses. So an individual has to himself pay the initial expenses that are called out-of-pocket costs.

In a number of HDHPs costs of immunization and preventive health care are excluded from the deductible which means that the individual is reimbursed for them. HDHPs can be taken both by individuals (self employed as well as employed) and employers. In 2008, HDHPs are being offered by insurance companies in America with deductibles ranging from a minimum of $1,100 for Self and $2,200 for Self and Family coverage. The maximum amount out-of-pocket limits for HDHPs is $5,600 for self and $11,200 for Self and Family enrollment. These deductible limits are called IRS limits as they are set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In HDHPs the relation between the deductibles and the premium paid by the insured is inversely propotional i.e. higher the deductible, lower the premium and vice versa. The major purported advantages of HDHPs are that they will a) lower health care costs by causing patients to be more cost-conscious, and b) make insurance premiums more affordable for the uninsured. The logic is that when the patients are fully covered (i.e. have health plans with low deductibles), they tend to be less health conscious and also less cost conscious when going for treatment.

Opening a Health Savings Account

An individual can sign up for HSAs with banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other approved companies. However not all insurance companies offer HSAqualified health insurance plans so it is important to use an insurance company that offers this type of qualified insurance plan. The employer may also set up a plan for the employees. However, the account is always owned by the individual. Direct online enrollment in HSA-qualified health insurance is available in all states except Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Contributions to the Health Savings Account

Contributions to HSAs can be made by an individual who owns the account, by an employer or by any other person. When made by the employer, the contribution is not included in the income of the employee. When made by an employee, it is treated as exempted from federal tax. For 2008, the maximum amount that can be contributed (and deducted) to an HSA from all sources is:

$2,900 (self-only coverage)

$5,800 (family coverage)

These limits are set by the U.S. Congress through statutes and they are indexed annually for inflation. For individuals above 55 years of age, there is a special catch up provision that allows them to deposit additional $800 for 2008 and $900 for 2009. The actual maximum amount an individual can contribute also depends on the number of months he is covered by an HDHP (pro-rated basis) as of the first day of a month. For eg If you have family HDHP coverage from January 1,2008 until June 30, 2008, then cease having HDHP coverage, you are allowed an HSA contribution of 6/12 of $5,800, or $2,900 for 2008. If you have family HDHP coverage from January 1,2008 until June 30, 2008, and have self-only HDHP coverage from July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008, you are allowed an HSA contribution of 6/12 x $5,800 plus 6/12 of $2,900, or $4,350 for 2008. If an individual opens an HDHP on the first day of a month, then he can contribute to HSA on the first day itself. However, if he/she opens an account on any other day than the first, then he can contribute to the HSA from the next month onwards. Contributions can be made as late as April 15 of the following year. Contributions to the HSA in excess of the contribution limits must be withdrawn by the individual or be subject to an excise tax. The individual must pay income tax on the excess withdrawn amount.

Contributions by the Employer

The employer can make contributions to the employee’s HAS account under a salary reduction plan known as Section 125 plan. It is also called a cafeteria plan. The contributions made under the cafeteria plan are made on a pre-tax basis i.e. they are excluded from the employee’s income. The employer must make the contribution on a comparable basis. Comparable contributions are contributions to all HSAs of an employer which are 1) the same amount or 2) the same percentage of the annual deductible. However, part time employees who work for less than 30 hours a week can be treated separately. The employer can also categorize employees into those who opt for self coverage only and those who opt for a family coverage. The employer can automatically make contributions to the HSAs on the behalf of the employee unless the employee specifically chooses not to have such contributions by the employer.

Withdrawals from the HSAs

The HSA is owned by the employee and he/she can make qualified expenses from it whenever required. He/She also decides how much to contribute to it, how much to withdraw for qualified expenses, which company will hold the account and what type of investments will be made to grow the account. Another feature is that the funds remain in the account and role over from year to year. There are no use it or lose it rules. The HSA participants do not have to obtain advance approval from their HSA trustee or their medical insurer to withdraw funds, and the funds are not subject to income taxation if made for ‘qualified medical expenses’. Qualified medical expenses include costs for services and items covered by the health plan but subject to cost sharing such as a deductible and coinsurance, or co-payments, as well as many other expenses not covered under medical plans, such as dental, vision and chiropractic care; durable medical equipment such as eyeglasses and hearing aids; and transportation expenses related to medical care. Nonprescription, over-the-counter medications are also eligible. However, qualified medical expense must be incurred on or after the HSA was established.

Tax free distributions can be taken from the HSA for the qualified medical expenses of the person covered by the HDHP, the spouse (even if not covered) of the individual and any dependent (even if not covered) of the individual.12 The HSA account can also be used to pay previous year’s qualified expenses subject to the condition that those expenses were incurred after the HSA was set up. The individual must preserve the receipts for expenses met from the HSA as they may be needed to prove that the withdrawals from the HSA were made for qualified medical expenses and not otherwise used. Also the individual may have to produce the receipts before the insurance company to prove that the deductible limit was met. If a withdrawal is made for unqualified medical expenses, then the amount withdrawn is considered taxable (it is added to the individuals income) and is also subject to an additional 10 percent penalty. Normally the money also cannot be used for paying medical insurance premiums. However, in certain circumstances, exceptions are allowed.

These are –

1) to pay for any health plan coverage while receiving federal or state unemployment benefits.

2) COBRA continuation coverage after leaving employment with a company that offers health insurance coverage.

3) Qualified long-term care insurance.

4) Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance for: Part A (hospital and inpatient services), Part B (physician and outpatient services), Part C (Medicare HMO and PPO plans) and Part D (prescription drugs).

However, if an individual dies, becomes disabled or reaches the age of 65, then withdrawals from the Health Savings Account are considered exempted from income tax and additional 10 percent penalty irrespective of the purpose for which those withdrawals are made. There are different methods through which funds can be withdrawn from the HSAs. Some HSAs provide account holders with debit cards, some with cheques and some have options for a reimbursement process similar to medical insurance.

Growth of HSAs

Ever since the Health Savings Accounts came into being in January 2004, there has been a phenomenal growth in their numbers. From around 1 million enrollees in March 2005, the number has grown to 6.1 million enrollees in January 2008.14 This represents an increase of 1.6 million since January 2007, 2.9 million since January 2006 and 5.1 million since March 2005. This growth has been visible across all segments. However, the growth in large groups and small groups has been much higher than in the individual category. According to the projections made by the U.S. Treasury Department, the number of HSA policy holders will increase to 14 million by 2010. These 14 million policies will provide cover to 25 to 30 million U.S. citizens.

In the Individual Market, 1.5 million people were covered by HSA/HDHPs purchased as on January 2008. Based on the number of covered lives, 27 percent of newly purchased individual policies (defined as those purchased during the most recent full month or quarter) were enrolled in HSA/HDHP coverage. In the small group market, enrollment stood at 1.8 million as of January 2008. In this group 31 percent of all new enrollments were in the HSA/HDHP category. The large group category had the largest enrollment with 2.8 million enrollees as of January 2008. In this category, six percent of all new enrollments were in the HSA/HDHP category.

Benefits of HSAs

The proponents of HSAs envisage a number of benefits from them. First and foremost it is believed that as they have a high deductible threshold, the insured will be more health conscious. Also they will be more cost conscious. The high deductibles will encourage people to be more careful about their health and health care expenses and will make them shop for bargains and be more vigilant against excesses in the health care industry. This, it is believed, will reduce the growing cost of health care and increase the efficiency of the health care system in the United States. HSA-eligible plans typically provide enrollee decision support tools that include, to some extent, information on the cost of health care services and the quality of health care providers. Experts suggest that reliable information about the cost of particular health care services and the quality of specific health care providers would help enrollees become more actively engaged in making health care purchasing decisions. These tools may be provided by health insurance carriers to all health insurance plan enrollees, but are likely to be more important to enrollees of HSA-eligible plans who have a greater financial incentive to make informed decisions about the quality and costs of health care providers and services.

It is believed that lower premiums associated with HSAs/HDHPs will enable more people to enroll for medical insurance. This will mean that lower income groups who do not have access to medicare will be able to open HSAs. No doubt higher deductibles are associated with HSA eligible HDHPs, but it is estimated that tax savings under HSAs and lower premiums will make them less expensive than other insurance plans. The funds put in the HSA can be rolled over from year to year. There are no use it or lose it rules. This leads to a growth in savings of the account holder. The funds can be accumulated tax free for future medical expenses if the holder so desires. Also the savings in the HSA can be grown through investments.

The nature of such investments is decided by the insured. The earnings on savings in the HSA are also exempt from income tax. The holder can withdraw his savings in the HSA after turning 65 years old without paying any taxes or penalties. The account holder has complete control over his/her account. He/She is the owner of the account right from its inception. A person can withdraw money as and when required without any gatekeeper. Also the owner decides how much to put in his/her account, how much to spend and how much to save for the future. The HSAs are portable in nature. This means that if the holder changes his/her job, becomes unemployed or moves to another location, he/she can still retain the account.

Also if the account holder so desires he can transfer his Health Saving Account from one managing agency to another. Thus portability is an advantage of HSAs. Another advantage is that most HSA plans provide first-dollar coverage for preventive care. This is true of virtually all HSA plans offered by large employers and over 95% of the plans offered by small employers. It was also true of over half (59%) of the plans which were purchased by individuals.

All of the plans offering first-dollar preventive care benefits included annual physicals, immunizations, well-baby and wellchild care, mammograms and Pap tests; 90% included prostate cancer screenings and 80% included colon cancer screenings. Some analysts believe that HSAs are more beneficial for the young and healthy as they do not have to pay frequent out of pocket costs. On the other hand, they have to pay lower premiums for HDHPs which help them meet unforeseen contingencies.

Health Savings Accounts are also advantageous for the employers. The benefits of choosing a health Savings Account over a traditional health insurance plan can directly affect the bottom line of an employer’s benefit budget. For instance Health Savings Accounts are dependent on a high deductible insurance policy, which lowers the premiums of the employee’s plan. Also all contributions to the Health Savings Account are pre-tax, thus lowering the gross payroll and reducing the amount of taxes the employer must pay.

Criticism of HSAs

The opponents of Health Savings Accounts contend that they would do more harm than good to America’s health insurance system. Some consumer organizations, such as Consumers Union, and many medical organizations, such as the American Public Health Association, have rejected HSAs because, in their opinion, they benefit only healthy, younger people and make the health care system more expensive for everyone else. According to Stanford economist Victor Fuchs, “The main effect of putting more of it on the consumer is to reduce the social redistributive element of insurance.

Some others believe that HSAs remove healthy people from the insurance pool and it makes premiums rise for everyone left. HSAs encourage people to look out for themselves more and spread the risk around less. Another concern is that the money people save in HSAs will be inadequate. Some people believe that HSAs do not allow for enough savings to cover costs. Even the person who contributes the maximum and never takes any money out would not be able to cover health care costs in retirement if inflation continues in the health care industry.

Opponents of HSAs, also include distinguished figures like state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, who called them a “dangerous prescription” that will destabilize the health insurance marketplace and make things even worse for the uninsured. Another criticism is that they benefit the rich more than the poor. Those who earn more will be able to get bigger tax breaks than those who earn less. Critics point out that higher deductibles along with insurance premiums will take away a large share of the earnings of the low income groups. Also lower income groups will not benefit substantially from tax breaks as they are already paying little or no taxes. On the other hand tax breaks on savings in HSAs and on further income from those HSA savings will cost billions of dollars of tax money to the exchequer.

The Treasury Department has estimated HSAs would cost the government $156 billion over a decade. Critics say that this could rise substantially. Several surveys have been conducted regarding the efficacy of the HSAs and some have found that the account holders are not particularly satisfied with the HSA scheme and many are even ignorant about the working of the HSAs. One such survey conducted in 2007 of American employees by the human resources consulting firm Towers Perrin showed satisfaction with account based health plans (ABHPs) was low. People were not happy with them in general compared with people with more traditional health care. Respondants said they were not comfortable with the risk and did not understand how it works.

According to the Commonwealth Fund, early experience with HAS eligible high-deductible health plans reveals low satisfaction, high out of- pocket costs, and cost-related access problems. Another survey conducted with the Employee Benefits Research Institute found that people enrolled in HSA-eligible high-deductible health plans were much less satisfied with many aspects of their health care than adults in more comprehensive plans People in these plans allocate substantial amounts of income to their health care, especially those who have poorer health or lower incomes. The survey also found that adults in high-deductible health plans are far more likely to delay or avoid getting needed care, or to skip medications, because of the cost. Problems are particularly pronounced among those with poorer health or lower incomes.

Political leaders have also been vocal about their criticism of the HSAs. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. issued the following statement criticizing the HSAs “The President’s health care plan is not about covering the uninsured, making health insurance affordable, or even driving down the cost of health care. Its real purpose is to make it easier for businesses to dump their health insurance burden onto workers, give tax breaks to the wealthy, and boost the profits of banks and financial brokers. The health care policies concocted at the behest of special interests do nothing to help the average American. In many cases, they can make health care even more inaccessible.” In fact a report of the U.S. governments Accountability office, published on April 1, 2008 says that the rate of enrollment in the HSAs is greater for higher income individuals than for lower income ones.

A study titled “Health Savings Accounts and High Deductible Health Plans: Are They an Option for Low-Income Families? By Catherine Hoffman and Jennifer Tolbert which was sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation reported the following key findings regarding the HSAs:

a) Premiums for HSA-qualified health plans may be lower than for traditional insurance, but these plans shift more of the financial risk to individuals and families through higher deductibles.

b) Premiums and out-of-pocket costs for HSA-qualified health plans would consume a substantial portion of a low-income family’s budget.

c) Most low-income individuals and families do not face high enough tax liability to benefit in a significant way from tax deductions associated with HSAs.

d) People with chronic conditions, disabilities, and others with high cost medical needs may face even greater out-of-pocket costs under HSA-qualified health plans.

e) Cost-sharing reduces the use of health care, especially primary and preventive services, and low-income individuals and those who are sicker are particularly sensitive to cost-sharing increases.

f) Health savings accounts and high deductible plans are unlikely to substantially increase health insurance coverage among the uninsured.

Choosing a Health Plan

Despite the advantages offered by the HSA, it may not be suitable for everyone. While choosing an insurance plan, an individual must consider the following factors:

1. The premiums to be paid.

2. Coverage/benefits available under the scheme.

3. Various exclusions and limitations.

4. Portability.

5. Out-of-pocket costs like coinsurance, co-pays, and deductibles.

6. Access to doctors, hospitals, and other providers.

7. How much and sometimes how one pays for care.

8. Any existing health issue or physical disability.

9. Type of tax savings available.

The plan you choose should according to your requirements and financial ability.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1 Questions and Answers about Health Insurance- A Consumer Guide’ published jointly by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)

2 http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_savings_account

3 2002 AHIP Survey of Health Insurance Plans

4 “How High Is Too High? Implications of High-Deductible Health Plans” Davis, Karen; Michelle Doty and Alice Ho. The Commonwealth Fund, April 2005

5 http://www.fdhc.state.fl.us/schs/pdf/hsa_tri-fold_brochure.pdf

6 HSA/HDHP CENSUS 2008 by Hannah Yoo, Center for Policy and Research, America’s Health Insurance Plans

7″HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS Early Enrollee Experiences with Accounts and Eligible Health Plans” John E. Dicken Director, Health Care.

8 Thomas Wilder and Hannah Yoo, “A Survey of Preventive Benefits in Health Savings Account (HSA)Plans, July 2007,” America’s Health Insurance Plans, November 2007

9 Gladwell, Malcolm, “The Moral Hazard Myth”, The New Yorker (29-08-2005)

10 2008 Benchmark Survey HAS Bank

11. Employer Health Benefits 2007 Annual Survey, Kaiser Family Foundation

12. Health Savings Accounts and High Deductible Health Plans: Are They An Option for Low-Income Families?Catherine Hoffman and Jennifer Tolbert for Kaiser Family Foundation, October 2006

13. Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003

Five Fascinating Registered Nurse Jobs

Although the idea of becoming a medical professional may be exciting, many people do not find the grueling hours spent in a hospital to be especially enticing. A nursing career is most often associated with medical facilities, but that’s not where most of these specialists work. The Bureau Of Labor Statistics reports that less than 60 percent of registered nurse jobs are within hospitals. A career in this field can open many unique and fascinating positions up to intelligent and helpful men and women.

In The Navy

For medical enthusiasts who have a penchant for military life, working as a Navy nurse may be ideal. The Navy employs more than 12,000 healthcare personnel. Medical professionals who work in the Navy have access to cutting-edge technology, and in many cases, their training is paid for by the military. Those who enjoy traveling will fit right in as Navy personnel, since they will regularly be stationed in different areas of the world.

Forensic Crime Fighters

Medical professionals who are motivated to fight crime can find registered nurse jobs on forensic teams. Forensic medical agents are the first line of defense for sexual assault victims and other special victims.

These scientifically inclined crime fighters collect medical evidence from victims, test for sexually transmitted diseases, and compile information for building a case against those charged with crimes. Not only is this line of work rewarding, but it also has far more variety in day-to-day activities than hospital work.

Saving Lives By Car Or Plane

Aspiring nurses who love to move fast while saving lives can become part of a critical transport team. These small-yet-savvy teams are utilized when critically ill patients need to be transported between medical facilities.

Most critical care transportation is done via ambulance, but some teams are specially trained to work aboard helicopters. Flight nurses must be highly skilled and quick to act, because they are a third of the critical transport team; the other two members are the pilot and paramedic.

In Prison

Prison inmates need medical attention as much as any other person does. All United States correctional facilities are required to provide medical aid and monitoring to each prisoner from their booking to the day of their release. Registered nursing jobs are available in abundance in facilities where inmate overcrowding is prevalent.

Nurses wear many hats in correctional facilities. They are the professionals who administer physical exams during intake, and they are the ones who monitor each prisoner throughout their sentence. All health issues are handled primarily by nursing staff, except for serious illnesses that warrant a visit from the prison doctor.

Editors In Chief

Nurses with sufficient field experience can hope to take a break from the front line if they enjoy editing medical journals. Nursing journals make up a sub niche in the medical literature, and these publications must be headed by none other than accomplished RN’s.

The editors of such publications are tasked with deciding which articles are published and how each issue is laid out. They are also in charge of ensuring that the information in each article is accurate and up-to-date. Overseeing such details requires that each editor keep up with periodic retraining commitments.

There is currently an abundance of fascinating registered nurse jobs. They fill vital roles performing fulfilling work in a number of exciting industries.

Benefits of Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery is one of the most popular topics in discussion today and everybody knows about its various benefits.

Plastic surgery is a delicate art and a serious science that helps to boost a person’s self esteem and adjust to different surroundings. People start feeling inferior as wrinkles set in with age and feel an urge to improve their appearance. For this they can now choose the procedures that are available with many plastic surgery clinics.

The main purpose of plastic surgery is not just to make your face and body prettier but the main aim of reconstructive surgery is to restore the appearance and function of several body parts. For instance such surgeries are done in cases of a serious trauma or car accidents. Such operations can also be life saving in many cases.

The psychological health of a patient also gets a boost which is another merit of cosmetic surgery. The persons who have undergone such beauty procedures say that that they feel more confident about themselves post surgery which is another great advantage of cosmetic surgery. Research has also proven that plastic surgery procedures make people feel more sexually attractive. This confirms the fact that even minor changes in the outside can bring great advantages in the inside.

The patient must have realistic expectations for achieving external and internal benefits of cosmetic surgery completely before going to a specialist. They have to know that the doctors cannot perform miracles and fully change a person’s appearance. Such unrealistic expectations will only lead to disappointment and dissatisfaction.

Whether a person opts for cosmetic surgery to improve his look or lifestyle, there will be greater emotional benefits as the patient starts feeling comfortable in their body. After undergoing such procedures, many people have stated that they have become more confident and sociable. When they get used to this change and this greater level of self confidence, it can be a benefit that stays forever and with great benefits.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. We aim to be as accurate as possible, but there may be some unintentional omission of information. The content is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on within this article.

Health – Entering a Hospital

A hospital is driven by the goal of saving lives. It may range in size and service from a small unit that provides general care and low-risk treatments to large, specialized centers offering dramatic and experimental therapies. You may be limited in your choice of a hospital by factors beyond your control, including insurance coverage, your physician’s hospital affiliation, and type of care available.

Before entering a hospital, you should be aware of possible dangers. Well-known hospital hazards are unnecessary operations, unexpected drug reactions, harmful or even fatal blunders, and hospital borne infections. The Institute of Medicine recently identified three areas in which the health-care system, in general, and hospitals and their staff, in specific, often fall short: the use of unnecessary or inappropriate care (too many antibiotics), underused of effective care (too few immunizations or Pap smears), and shortcomings in technical and interpersonal skills . The greatest single danger that a hospital presents is infection, which is largely preventable.

What can lay people do to ensure proper and safe care while in the hospital? The following guidelines should be considered.

If you have a choice of hospitals, inquire about their accreditation status. Hospitals are subject to inspection to make sure they are in compliance with federal standards. Policies implemented in 1989 require the release of information on request to state health departments regarding a hospital’s mortality rate, its accreditation status, and its major deficiencies.

Before checking into a hospital, you need to decide on your accommodations. Do you want to pay extra for a single room? Do you want a nonsmoker for a roommate? Do you need a special diet? Do you need a place to store refrigerated medicine? If someone will be staying with you, will they need a cot? You should try to avoid going in on a weekend when few procedures are done. When you get to your room, you should speak up immediately if it’s unacceptable.

You need to be familiar with your rights as a patient . Hospitals should provide an information booklet that includes a Patient’s Bill of Rights. The booklet will inform you that you have the right to considerate and respectful care; information about tests, drugs, and procedures; dignity; courtesy; respect; and the opportunity to make decisions, including when to leave the hospital.

You should make informed decisions. Before authorizing any procedure, patients must be informed about their medical condition, treatment options, expected risks, prognosis of the condition, and the name of the person in charge of treatment. This is called informed consent. The only times hospitals are not required to obtain informed consent are cases involving life-threatening emergencies, unconscious patients when no relatives are present, and/or compliance with the law or a court order, such as examination of sexually transmitted diseases. If you are asked to sign a consent form, you should read it first. If you want more information, you should ask before signing. If you are skeptical, you have the right to post pone the procedure and discuss it with your doctor.

Authorization of a medical procedure may be given nonverbally, such as an appearance at a doctor’s office for treatment, cooperation during the administration of tests, or failure to object when consent can be easily refused. This is called implied consent.

You need to weigh the risks of drug therapy, x-ray examinations, and laboratory tests with their expected benefits. When tests or treatments are ordered, you should ask about their purpose, possible risks, and possible actions if a test finds something wrong. For example, the injection or ingestion of x-ray dyes makes body structures more visible and greatly facilitates a physician’s ability to make a correct diagnosis. However, dyes can cause an allergic reaction that ranges from a skin rash to circulatory collapse and death. Finally, you should inquire about prescribed drugs. You should avoid taking drugs, including pain and sleeping medication, unless you feel confident of their benefits and are aware of their hazards.

When scheduled for surgery, prepare for anesthesia. In rare cases general anesthesia can cause brain damage and death. One cause of such catastrophes is vomiting while unconscious. To reduce the risk, refuse any food or drink that may be offered by mistake in the 8 hours before surgery.

You need to know who is in charge of your care and record the office number and when you can expect a visit. If your doctor is transferring your care to someone else, you need to know who it is. If your doctor is not available and you do not know what is happening, you can ask for the nurse in charge of your case.

You should keep a daily log of procedures, medicines, and doctor visits. When you get your bill, compare each item with your written record. Insist on an itemized bill.

You should stay active within the limits of your medical problem. Many body functions begin to suffer from just a few days’ inactivity. Moving about, walking, bending, and contracting muscles help to clear body fluids, reduce the risk of infections (especially in the lungs), and cope with the stress of hospital procedures that add to the depression and malaise of hospitalization.

You should be alert. Throughout your stay, you can keep asking questions until you know all you need to know. According to some experts, the biggest improvement in health care has not been technological advances; it’s been patients asking questions. The more questions, the fewer mistakes and the more power patients have in the doctor-patient relationship

Selecting a Health-Care Professional

Choosing a physician for your general health care is an important and necessary duty. Only physicians are discussed here, but this information applies to the selection of all health-care practitioners. You must select one who will listen carefully to your problems and diagnose them accurately. At the same time, you need a physician who can move you through the modern medical maze of technology and specialists.

For most people, good health care means having a primary-care physician, a professional who assists you as you assume responsibility for your overall health and directs you when specialized care is necessary. Your primary-care physician should be familiar with your complete medical history, as well as your home, work, and other environments. You are better understood in periods of sickness when your physician also sees you during periods of wellness. Finding a primary-care physician, however, may be difficult. Of the 700,000 doctors in the United States, only 200,000 (less than 30%) are in primary care.

For adults, primary-care physicians are usually family practitioners, once called “general practitioners,” and internists, specialists in internal medicine. Pediatricians often serve as primary-care physicians for children. Obstetricians and gynecologists, who specialize in pregnancy, childbirth, and diseases of the female reproductive system, often serve as primary-care physicians to women. In some places, general surgeons may offer primary care in addition to the surgery they perform. Some osteopathic physicians also practice family medicine. A doctor of osteopathy (DO) emphasizes manipulation of the body to treat symptoms.

There are several sources of information for obtaining the names of physicians in your area:

Local and state medical societies can identify doctors by specialty and tell you a doctor’s basic credentials. You should check on the doctor’s hospital affiliation and make sure the hospital is accredited. Another sign of standing is the type of societies in which the doctor has membership. The qualifications of a surgeon, for example, are enhanced by a fellowship in the American College of Surgeons (abbreviated as FACS after the surgeon’s name). An internist fellowship in the American College of Physicians is abbreviated F ACP. Membership in academies indicates a physician’s special interest.

All physicians board certified in the United States are listed in the American Medical Directory published by the American Medical Association and available in larger libraries. About one fourth of the practicing physicians in the United States are not board certified. This may mean that a doctor failed the exam, never completed training, or is incompetent. It could also mean that the doctor simply has not taken the exam.

The American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS) publishes the Compendium of Certified Medical Specialties, which lists physicians by name, specialty, and location. Pharmacists can be asked to recommend names.

Hospitals can give you names of staff physicians who also practice in the community.

Local medical schools can identify faculty members who also practice privately.

Many colleges and universities have health centers that keep a list of physicians for student referral.

Friends may have recommendations, but you should allow for the possibility that your opinion of the doctor may be different.

Once you have identified a leading candidate, you can make an appointment. You need to check with the office staff about office hours, availability of emergency care at night or on weekends, backup doctors, procedures when you call for advice, hospital affiliation, and payment and insurance procedure.You should schedule your first visit while in good health. Once you have seen your doctor, reflect on the following: Did the doctor seem to be listening to you? Were your questions answered? Was a medical history taken? Were you informed of possible side effects of drugs or tests? Was respect shown for your need of privacy? Was the doctor open to the suggestion of a second opinion?