Consumer Directed Health Plans

Most of you have heard about “consumer directed health plans”. The Bush administration has been a strong supporter of this concept as a way to get a handle on soaring healthcare costs. The recent inaugeration of Mr. Bush signals that consumer directed health plans will increasingly make up a larger percentage of group medical plans over the next several years. In the past, consumer directed plan designs have taken on many forms: Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

Many experts consider HRAs and HSAs to be the first generation of viable consumer directed health care products. HRAs are typically paired with a high-deductible health plan and are employer-funded Section 105 defined contribution plans. HSAs are the latest version of consumer directed health care plans. The core components of HSAs include a high deductible insurance product and a cash spending account. HSAs combine the pre-tax treatment of a FSA, the portability and roll-over characteristics of a 401(k), and the tax-free distributions of a Roth IRA.

One of the main goals of any consumer directed health plan should be to get the consumer more involved in both the cost and statistical outcomes of certain healthcare procedures. Informed healthcare consumers will make wise healthcare decisions and typically these decisions will result in both lower costs and improved quality.

Although the advantages of HRAs and HSAs can be substantial, employers will want to do their homework prior to setting them up. Effective implementation will require a clear understanding of the consumer directed healthcare plan that best fits your organization as well as the administrative requirements. Employee education will be essential. Companies will also need to look into how the creation of a HSA or HRA may affect their HIPAA medical privacy compliance requirements.

Just like most endeavors, the successful implementation of a HSA or HRA will greatly depend on how much research your organization does on the pro’s and con’s of each alternative. The type of consumer directed health plan that best fits your company will depend on a combination of your corporate structure as well as the overall objectives of your group health insurance plan.

Although consumer directed healthcare plans are becoming very familiar to human resource managers and other benefit professionals, remember that your employees and their dependents will need a substantial amount of education and communication.

Michael Ertel is the President of Ertel & Company ( http://www.ertelandcompany.com ) and has over 15 years of experience in the health insurance business. He is the founder of http://www.MedicalInsuranceNow.com which is an internet based service that assists individuals, families, and small business owners by providing side by side comparisons of health insurance alternatives and the convenience of applying for health coverage online.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Michael_Ertel/2729

 

How To Remember Names

The ambush. We have all been there.

You are in the grocery store, pushing your cart around the corner when WHAM! You run into that woman with the big blue eyes. You met her at that local meeting or perhaps some business lunch. Either way, you remember that face. but what is her name? Before your mind can get any further than that thought, she smiles and says, “Hi Joe, how are you?” Now you are really trapped. She remembers your name!!

During my years as a professional memory trainer, I can not tell you how many variations of this story I have heard. The truth is most people have trouble remembering names. This is because our memories are not designed to learn names through verbal cues. Our memory works through image, action, and emotion.

Here are my six steps to never forgetting a name again:

1) Create Facial Files

When you meet a person for the first time, pick out something striking about their facial appearance. Perhaps it is their nose, large forehead, or lips. It is important that when picking out these features you stay away from hair (of any kind) or glasses because all of these can change over time.

2) Introduction: Stop and listen

Do not think about what you are going to say. Too often, we meet someone and immediately transition into another conversation. Next time you meet someone try these techniques:

  1. Pay attention
  2. Repeat their name back to them three times. Don’t overdo it.

3) Turn Names into Pictures

This converts the name into an image, which is the language of your memory. For instance when you meet Barbara think of a barbed wire fence. Attaching a picture to a name is simple and because you will run into so many people with the same names, you will need fewer images than you think.

4) Take the Picture and Glue the Image of the Name to the Person’s Face or Upper Body

This will sink it into your memory. For instance, if you pictured barbed wire for Barbara, now picture her wrapped in barbed wire. This links the image to an action, and that is the language of your mind. Make the picture vivid and the action memorable.

5) Tie the First and Second Name Together

Use a chain of visualization when you need to remember both. Just make sure you keep them in the correct order.

6) Review

This step is dependent on how long you want to remember the name. You do not need to do this with every person. However, if you want to remember something long term, review it in one hour, one day, and one week.

More than anything, remember to be patient with yourself when you put these new skills to practice.

Tom Weber, aka The Memory Guy, is an instructor for Freedom Speakers and Trainers. He has trained everyone from CEO’s of Fortune 500 company’s to gradeschool students. He conducts memory workshops across the country and is the coauthor of the award winning CD – “Winning the Name Game”. For more information visit http://www.deliverfreedom.com/speakers_tom.html or call 888-233-0407 x 200. To order “Winning the Name Game” go to http://www.deliverfreedom.com/name.html

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Tom_Weber/354906

 

Take Care of Your Inner Beauty

Let us talk about beauty from a different angle!

We have our own criteria for judging the beauty of a woman. We look the beauty of a lady from a certain angle and then pass the remarks whether she is beautiful or not. It’s not fair. Let me tell every woman that she is unique and beautiful.

The business of beauty is thriving everywhere. Women are spending much of their time and money on buying beauty products. Even in the third world countries, women living below the poverty line, buy cheap and substandard beauty products, which give more harm to their skin than good.

It’s the fundamental right of every woman to look beautiful. Every woman wants to listen the sweet words “you are beautiful”. But the beauty of a woman is far from her looks or figure. Physical beauty is only one aspect while a beautiful charming personality is a complete blend of many fine characteristics such as good manners, etiquette, behavior, smile, intelligence, sense of humor, social and family values etc., all make a woman look beautiful and attractive.

Didn’t you know that there is a marked difference between a carefully hand woven expensive Persian carpet and a cheap machine made carpet. Both of these cannot be equated. A beautiful woman is like an elegant hand-knotted Persian carpet. Each and every silky, colorful thread of her character, nicely woven into her personality, gives a woman an everlasting beauty and attraction.

Looks are very important indeed but the characteristics of a person are much more important. Besides taking care of your physical beauty, why not think of improving your inner beauty. The beauty which everyone admires is becoming a rare commodity these days. While on your way to a beauty parlor keep on thinking ways of improving your inner beauty.

Take care of yourself and take care of your inner beauty. No doubt you are a beautiful person.

Return to the Article

Hifzur Reman is the author of popular articles on self improvement. He is also the editor of his website: http://www.selfimprovement.ch which is a great source of self-improvement related information on various aspects of life. A visit to his site will open the doors of happiness for you!

Hifzur Rehman © 2004 – All Rights Reserved

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Hifzur_Rehman/632

 

Why Study Shamanism?

This is probably the most common question asked today. And you know why so many people ask it? Because we are brought up in a society that does not have Shamanism. Worse than that we are brought up without community.

In the old days we were raised with a strong community around us. We lived together, played together, grew up together and sometimes even died together. We had elders and doctors and teachers and medical advisors right within this strong close knit community. Think of the Klingit tribes of Indians who live in Alaska. Although they may seem isolated from the outside, they are completely self contained with a very strong sense of communal identity.

But today, we are lucky to have a strong family or church community and in many ways we are less fortunate than long ago.

In the old days, the elders would watch the children and find what each child was strong in and had a knack for. Then that gift or gifts were encouraged and the child grew into whatever came naturally to him or her. If a child seemed good with numbers, that talent was grown and the child might become the treasurer for the community. If the child was given to visions he or she may be groomed to be the community’s visionary. If the child could speak to the animals, perhaps the child would become the communicator to the spirit world. Each child would have one or more gifts he or she was born with. It was the community, the elders, the teachers, and the parents who realized the blessings and were happy to help the child be what he or she was meant to be in life.

Today we have no such possibility for ourselves or for our children. For the most part, we are raised to fit into a box; to learn what everyone else learns and to ignore or abandon anything that does not fit into society’s box. If our parents see us talking to the birds we are taken to a psychologist and told not to do that. In fact there is very little encouragement to develop the gifts and talents that we were born into. And so our society is losing out on the largest talent bank ever assembled on this planet today.

This is the problem. Shamanism could disappear from the face of the earth because children of today are not allowed to study it and to grow their own special gifts of healing for themselves and for society. It doesn’t have to be this way. We have a choice. It is not too late to look inside and find those special gifts we were born with. We may have pushed them down and buried them deep inside because our parents, our family, our society said they were wrong or worthless or should not be used. But they are still within us.

What are these gifts?

Healing the spirit is the primary function of a Shaman.

This includes
Soul-extraction,
Soul-retrieval,
Soul-restoration
Herbal healing
Hands on healing
Divination
Dream Work
Soul Leading

Soul extraction involves the Shaman extracting psychic darts or chords that have intruded upon the soul or etheric body of the patient. This is sometimes an attack from someone who has attempted to harm, maim, or kill the patient. The classic dart attack will often manifest as pains where no wounds exist. This involves, according to Michael Harner, author of The Way of the Shaman, a literal “sucking out” of the intrusion. This sucking out of the intrusions is done both psychically and mentally. There are other methods of soul extraction as well.

Soul-retrieval is the process by which the Shaman retrieves pieces of the person lost soul. This is often accomplished by journeying to the spirit world and requesting assistance from the spirits, ancestors, and guides that dwell in Other Realities or Worlds. These beings assist the Shaman in discovering what is wrong with the person and often help the Shaman fight a battle with the being now possessing those parts to win them back and bring them to the patient. Some of the classic symptoms of a person in need of soul retrieval would perhaps include those suffering from a mental illness; those abused as children, or those who sense that something is missing in their lives.

This is a dangerous act and often the Shaman if he or she is not trained well enough can fall into physical or mental traps laid by the possessing entities that may cause illness or psychosis for the Shaman.

Soul restoration is the literally restoring of one’s soul. This occurs when a person is near death and his/her soul seeks to move on. This “death” could be the result of a psychic attack or an accident from which the body has recovered physically, but not spiritually. Again the Shaman will journey to the place where the patient has lost his or her soul and barter for that soul to bring it back and restore it to the patient. It takes much strength and power by the Shaman to deal with these otherworld entities and the Shaman must know how and where to wield that power for the good of all. Shamans are not in the business of destruction but rather healing. I cannot emphasize the role of personal power and education for the Shaman enough.

Hands- on healing or bodywork is most certainly a part of what a Shaman does. This technique is still widely used today by Reiki masters, massage therapists, chiropractors and Shamans. Shamanistic hands-on healing involves the energy or spirit of the Shaman working with the energy or spirit of the patient.

Divination is the means by which a Shaman can foretell the future, describe the illnesses of people and find their cure. Divination shows the path to the Shaman; which direction the patient should walk to receive healing. This is accomplished in varying ways and the method used often depends on the teaching the Shaman received from his particular tribe or elder. The most common shamanic method is journeying to the Otherworld and requesting information from elders, guides and spirits who live there. It is been said that Genghis Khan used his shamans that way. There are many other beings who are greatly involved in your life and wish to see you whole and happy. A Shaman has intimate relationship with these wise ones and uses this gift on the patient’s behalf.

Herbal healing gives credence to the true belief that the Shaman is a medicine man or witch doctor. Herbal healing began with the beginning of the earth. Many of the hunting and gathering tribes had the ability to heal with plants indigenous to their area. Today this knowledge is fast disappearing and Shamans everywhere try to support the preservation of indigenous plantlife and the lore surrounding them. Many Shamans spend their entire careers discovering and recording these plants for the future of us all.

Herbalism is used in conjunction with spirit healing to facilitate recovery. All Shamans are herbalists.

Dreamwork or dream interpretation is another Shamanic tool to assist with healing. Shamans will listen to the dreamer’s dream, sometimes for several days, until they fully connect with it. Then they will dream the dream themselves and resolve the conflict to the highest good of the dreamer. This again is a difficult task and requires rigorous training by the Shaman in his or her apprenticeship to accomplish.

Soul leading is another important function of a Shaman. This is the process in which the Shaman will escort the newly dead to their place in the Otherworld. This is done because the Shaman who is familiar and a frequent visitor to the Otherworld will be able to find the “soul” its proper place.

Not all Shamans are all of the above but a good Shaman is all this and more. What a Shaman is according to Eliade is a “Master of the Ecstatic.” This is true for it is in the mastery of the ecstatic that the Shaman garners his or her power.

Each of us had one or more of these gifts buried somewhere inside our spirits. It is our gift, our right, actually our duty to find the gift, study the gift, gain power over the gift or gifts and use the gift to heal ourselves and others. Can you imagine how beautiful this world would be if each of us took responsibility for the gifts we were given? Who would be left sick? Or poor?

There is a course available called Shaman Apprenticeship 101 to help unlock those gifts and re-member the skills and the power to make one’s life everything it is meant to be! Studying Shamanism will bring back the harmony in one’s life and create a strong connection to spirit. Come Home! Allow yourself to be who you truly are! Find your personal power. Take charge of your situation. Find your sense of purpose in this world. Give that gift that is uniquely yours to give.

You can find out more about this course by going to http://www.shamanelder.com

As a Shaman Elder, Maggie Wahls has spent years working with children, observing them in constructive and purposeful play activities designed to discover those gifts and talents within each child. As a community we can then encourage and nurture those gifts into the powerful skills that they can be for happiness, self-fulfillment, motivation, excellence, achievement and success. And so, she is also creating an experiential self-discovery course for children. Maggie is available for counseling in this area and would be happy to offer assistance in helping your child find his or her own true potential. It is the job of a Shaman.
Aho!

Shaman Elder Maggie Wahls is one of America’s most loved teachers of Shamanism for today’s modern society. Her classes are ongoing online and in 5 day intensives in New Mexico. She is currently writing a book on the art of Shamanism and also offers free counseling to anyone who wishes it. Learn more at http://www.shamanelder.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Maggie_Wahls/64267

 

Fighting the Good Fight

You work hard to make a difference for your family. You go to war each day to earn a buck, but you’re caught in a never-ending cycle of conflict. And worse, it’s everywhere you turn. Even at home. Day in and day out, it’s fight, fight, fight. What are you to do? Run away from it all? Give up, and let yourself be beat down? Or do you meet conflict with conflict?

If you’re like many, you probably wonder why you put yourself through all this. The usual answer is there isn’t any other way. But there is!

You don’t have to live with senseless fighting all the time. And you certainly don’t have to be prepared for attack around every turn, ready to strike at the slightest provocation. Yet that’s the way so many of us go about our business. And worse, it’s the way we deal with our loved ones.

Let’s face it. Sometimes we’re so tightly wound from all life’s arrows that anything even remotely resembling an attack sets us off. It’s like we’ve lost the ability to be civil, even with those we love most. Were we always like this?

As we took responsibility’s heavy weight onto our shoulders, we began to believe that we could only keep it up through sheer force of will. And that meant imposing it upon everyone who crosses our path.

Now, in business we have to be somewhat tactful with those who think otherwise, for through them flow our bread and butter. Still, modern economists have adopted the Japanese view that business is war, the principles of which they teach from A Book of Five Rings by the legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Certainly our courts and negotiating tables are filled with those who take that approach.

Unfortunately, the social restraints that keep us from completely losing it at work don’t necessarily follow us into the home. Emotions run high as we continually push the buttons that inflame those we love, and they in us. It’s like we’re addicted to the conflict, and can’t stop. And in a sense, it’s true. As much as we profess to hate the fighting, we do it all the time. Often reveling in the process, and its impact on others.

So what are we to do?

Any hope of ending the cycle of combat starts with an understanding of why it happens. And that’s not easy. Many factors interact, not the least of which is that we believe things should be a certain way, and feel a need to defend that belief and make it reality.

Think about some recent argument. You asserted your views. The other person did, too. The problem is, both of you saw it differently, and neither was willing to accept the other’s view. So on you went, trying to prove who was right. To make matters worse, you may have even been talking about different things, but you were so preoccupied with presenting your thoughts that you missed an open window of agreement.

Don’t feel bad. You’re not the only one. Most of us are the same way. We’re so caught up in our own thoughts we block any chance another’s can enter. So we’re left to figure out some way for our differing beliefs to coexist.

Coexistence usually means we’ll never see eye-to-eye, but will give in just enough to get our way on those things that really matter. Hopefully we don’t each need to have our way on the same things. This win-win approach is how most experts teach negotiation. Ultimately it is doomed to fail on those issues that matter most. After all, it flies in the face of the underlying “business is war” philosophy, and goes against our innate tendency to hold on to what we want.

I propose another way. And that is to look at the underlying beliefs and thoughts that led to the confrontation in the first place. Why is it that we believe those things anyway? What are the factors that cause us to fight so hard over things that really don’t matter as much as we’d like to think?

The real process of interaction, whether in the organized warfare of a lawsuit or in conversation with a spouse, is not one of trying to compromise. Because if you only win some, you lose some, too. And no one likes to lose. Even a little. So we harbor resentments that tend to come back and bite us down the road.

Instead, what really happens is that we fight until we tire of the conflict. Those moments of emotional exhaustion allow us to reconcile our beliefs with the toll of the fight, and we stop trying to get everything our way. In other words, we loosen our attachment to the ideas we fought over in the first place. This provides room to explore other possibilities to find solutions.

Let’s look at the common divorce where emotions run high. Each side gets a lawyer to fight for them, and off they go. Round and round they fight, spewing venom at spouse and lawyer alike. Sooner or later, one or both tire and want it over. Maybe the costs are mounting more than they think it’s worth. Maybe what they were fighting over doesn’t seem quite so important. Either way, they loosen their grip on how the outcome should look, and start trying to work things out. Maybe half-heartedly. Or even reluctantly. But at least they open a crack through which a resolution can emerge.

So maybe there’s a place for fighting the good fight. But let me suggest the answer lies not in the methods of combat, but in the things we fight over. If we quit clinging so tightly to those things we believe or want to happen, maybe we can find a way to live together in peace. Peace, then, comes not from anyone giving in. But by going to the place that was staring them in the face at the start, but they were too blind to see it.

So next time you’re fighting over anything, whether negotiating a big deal or trying to decide how to remodel the kitchen, why not stop and ask what you’re fighting about? And while you’re at it, give thanks the conflict gave you the chance to see it.

There’s always more than we know. It’s there waiting for us to look.

Copyright 2004 by John Dennison. John is a voice for those who do not hear or know they have an inner voice. Author of Whispers in the Silence: Living by the Light of Your Soul, he can be reached at john@WhisperZone.org or visit him at WhisperZone.org, home for those who know their own way.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/John_Dennison/4560