More Important Tips on Florida’s Health Care Insurance

Read the following tips on Florida’s plan for the best health care insurance. This guide plan is designed to assist you in searching for the most affordable health care insurance coverage in Florida—regardless of your situation.

1.  Take the free money.  If your employer provides a plan for health insurance which offers to pay a few or all the premium for you, then you can opt to take the free money.   Bear in mind that most employers don’t offer their willingness to pay the premium portion for your children and spouse.  Therefore, if you have a family, then you can save more money by searching for individual health insurance for them, then you can choose the group health plan.  Individual health insurance has a lower rate than group health insurance because of the differences in the treatment of the pre-existing conditions.

Get More Tips on Florida Health Care Insurance

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What Are The Healthcare Trend Predictions in 2016?

The cost of supplying healthcare services always changes.  There are expenses like surgical costs that tend to increase due to the more expensive medical facilities and technologies being used by doctors. On the contrary, there are expenses like durable medical equipment that decrease due to less expensive materials.  The yearly changes in healthcare costs are known as “trends”. Care providers, employers, policyholders and insurance providers experience these trends impacts and these are the total cost changes throughout the industry of healthcare.  

Trend impact varies

It’s true, the impact of this trend varies by geography; however, the manner it impacts the employers doesn’t vary at all.  All over the healthcare industry, trends allow it.  Two employers in the same geography can go through the same yearly trends, even with occupational profiles that differ with each other. It happens because this healthcare trend is the anticipated change in claim cost before any employer initiatives, like the programs in health and productivity and the changes in plan design. The following can drive increases and decreases in trends.

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State of Florida Tops Obamacare Health Insurance Sign-Ups

State of Florida Tops Obamacare Health Insurance Sign-Ups

With few more days left for people to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, more and more people in Florida are joining the coverage sign up, including more than 14,000 enrolees in Tampa Bay area.

In spite of the Obamacare Health Insurance sign-up opposition coming from the leaders of the Republican, the state of Florida has enrolled more participants totalling to 1.3 million last January, 2015.  Among the 36 states in US, Florida is the one leading in the marketplace for the insurance. These are the totals coming from the people who have recently enrolled this year and who got renewed automatically on policies they picked last 2014. Among those enrolees, 142,905 came from Tampa Bay area.

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Creating a Safe, Healthy Playroom

Creating a Safe, Healthy Playroom
By: Erica-Lynn Huberty

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PLANNING FOR PLAYWhen designing a playroom, you’ll need to include plenty of play and crafting stations to keep your youngster busy. But make sure there’s enough adult-sized seating so grown-ups can enjoy the space, too.

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Keep It BrightIf the playroom is in the basement, you want to maximize whatever natural light you can. Placing plants in the window well outside, and near the window inside, keeps the place cheerful and less cellarlike.

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SEATING AND STORAGEIf you plan out multiple storage areas around the perimeter of the playroom, a toy bin is always within an arm’s length. Design the bins to double as built-in seating and you’ll maximize your space.

As the mother of a 4-year-old, and a fairly avid environmentalist, I know firsthand that “green” design can contribute to a beautiful playroom that you and your children will enjoy. All you need are some readily available, sustainable materials and some outside-the-box thinking. Here’s how I would approach it.

1. Materials

The key to a successful playroom is to make it a place adults will also want to spend time in. That means not skimping on the design elements: architectural details, interesting colors and furnishings, and comfortable fabrics. Besides, children are often far more visually sophisticated and aesthetically sensitive than we give them credit for.

A playroom is one of the best places to use natural materials because in addition to being earth-friendly, they’re also people-friendly. All-cotton fabrics and rugs resist mildew and clean up easily, which means they are healthier for children, who are more susceptible to allergic reactions from chemicals, mold, dust, and dander. Plus, many natural materials hold up better than their synthetic counterparts.

On the floor, consider cork, which is hypoallergenic, has a low-static surface so it resists collecting dust and pet hair, and can withstand moisture. It comes in easy-to-install planks or tiles and is as easy to maintain as hardwood. Cork is also soft underfoot, which makes crawling around more comfortable for kids. For the walls, you can now get low-VOC, water-based paints in a rainbow of colors from major brands like Benjamin Moore.

2. Design and Furnishings

While you want a room with furnishings scaled for kids, that doesn’t mean your playroom has to be a plastic palace. For instance, you can make a nice wooden kid-height table for finger painting or game playing by simply chopping a few inches off the legs of a full-size table. Likewise, wood garden benches can be cut down a few inches—just enough for little ones to be able to hoist themselves up, but not so low as to make sitting difficult for adults—and covered with comfy cushions.

Salvaged materials are obviously green, but they also give a room personality. Dress up windows with wood trim from an architectural salvage warehouse, finished in natural shellac and a coating of beeswax, which are nontoxic and won’t off-gas. Distressed painted furniture looks both fun and elegant; just be sure to seal it with water-based, clear topcoats so paint doesn’t chip off and into little mouths. Speaking of paint, to give the room a more airy feel, consider shades inspired by nature—water, sky, stone, or sand—instead of the ubiquitous primary colors.

Chances are your children are going to have heaps of toys that will need to have a home when not in use. Baskets, enamel bins, and garden containers set into armoires with the doors taken off make for beautiful, practical storage for toys and craft materials. Built-in seating and toy bins also clear up more floor space for playing and give kids another thing to crawl on and around.

3. Considerations for a Basement

Since you’re planning a basement playroom, you’ll need to pay special attention to such things as lighting and ceiling height, so kids don’t feel like they’ve been banished to the dungeon. I like to install tin ceiling tiles directly onto joists to get maximum headroom. On the walls I prefer plaster, which isn’t affected by moisture. If you frame up new walls, use paperless wallboard instead of the conventional kind, which can be a mildew magnet.

When it comes to lighting, take full advantage of whatever natural light you have and combine it with out-of-the-way fixtures like recessed can or track lighting. Larger, functioning windows are key to making a basement space feel inviting. To avoid a drab view, adorn window wells with potted plants or built-in planting beds. And if you make the entrance to the room a French door, you’ll get more light—plus you’ll be able to see your children enjoying their new space.

25 Tips for Smarter Holiday Travel

25 Tips for Smarter Holiday Travel

Published December 20, 2010 |

Holiday travel is a bit like dental surgery. You likely don’t do it unless you have to, you have to sit for a long time, and eventually you may be subject to some invasive probing. And when it’s all over you get presents, be it a toothbrush from your dentist or, assuming you’ve been good this year, something better than a toothbrush from your loved ones. How else are the two experiences similar? Neither is ever quite as bad as you think it’s going to be. But if you suspect I’m being foolishly optimistic about holiday travel not being torture, here are 25 tips that may make your trip a little jollier.

1. Be flexible with your travel dates when booking holiday fares, says Anne Banas, executive editor of, so that you can “avoid holiday surcharges on peak dates. Surcharges this year cost from $10 to $30 extra each way.”

2. Identify smaller airports near the major ones you ordinarily use “for some great deals,” says Casey Wohl, author of the Girls Getaway Guide.”For example, I found some better deals flying in and out of Sanford, Florida vs. Orlando International, and Sanford is just 30 minutes north of OIA.”

3. Know which airlines are most and least likely to bump you, says Hilary Stockton of Travel Sort. “JetBlue has a policy of not overbooking, so it very rarely denies boarding to passengers, followed by Hawaiian Airlines. The airlines most likely to bump passengers? American Eagle, US Airways, and Continental,” she says, based on analysis of early 2010 data. You’re less likely to get bumped, she says, if you snag a seat assignment early, check in online, and enroll in your airline’s frequent flier program.

4. Know which airlines commonly offer refunds when your airfare drops before the holidays, says Will Aldrich, vice president of  The top refunders “are Virgin America, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue and Frontier Airlines, each of which has offered refunds in conjunction with over 20% of their flights. The average traveler is saving between $100-$150 when they contact the airline for a refund.”

5. Don’t get jacked by your credit card company if you’re flying overseas, urges travel guide author James Kaiser. “Make sure your credit cards don’t charge a 3% international transaction fee, he says. “Most do, Capital One doesn’t. That 3% fee will add up quick on large purchases like hotels.”

6. Know which airlines are offering free Wi-Fi during the holidays, says Banas, noting that AirTran, Delta, and Virgin America are providing fliers with the free service through January 2.

7. Get a few workouts in before taking off for the holidays, suggests trip wellness specialist Elaine Masters. “Just as an athlete prepares for a marathon, another stress-buster is to get extra cardio in the week to few days before you leave,” even “walking briskly for 30 minutes a day,” she says. “This will help relieve accumulating stress about traveling, boost your immune system, [and will help your] circulation and digestion adjust to being sedentary on long drives and flights.”

8. Arrive at the airport in time for the flight that leaves before the one you’re booked on, says airefarewatchdog founder George Hobica.”If for some reason your scheduled flight or a connecting flight is delayed or canceled, this gives the airline the opportunity, assuming seats are available, to put you on the earlier flight.” When faced with this situation Hobica says “the airline offered me the next-earliest flight” telling him he’d “better hightail it through security because I’m leaving in 15 minutes.”

9. Know ahead of time how early your airline is checking passengers in, says Brooke Spillberg, eCommerce manager at Lonely Planet. “Some airlines have a very early check-in and if you aren’t there on time, they will immediately put you on stand-by even if you paid full price months in advance.”

10. Know how to safeguard your bags at the airport, says Robert Siciliano, CEO of “Whenever at a counter always place bags on the counter or between your legs,” he says, because if the bags are to your left or right “a distraction thief will approach your opposite side and talk to you while their accomplice takes your stuff.”

11. Follow this sequence when placing valuables on the airport x-ray belt. “Shoes and belt in their bin go in first,” suggests Larry Kramer, president, of the Personal Safety Group. “Next your carryon bag, then the laptop bag followed by your” 3-1-1 toiletry bag. “Only let the laptop onto the belt as you are about to step through the metal detector. You don’t need for your laptop to be floating around unattended on the ‘other side’ for longer than necessary.” Also slap on your laptop’s bottom a label with your first initial, last name, and phone number as the laptop won’t be in its case during its belt ride, says Kramer.

12. Stow snow globes in your checked bag, as evidently enough of us try so hard to bring these holiday gems to and from our destinations that the TSA has a rule about not having them in carry-ons. “They are sealed containers full of liquid that would have to be opened and destroyed to test,” explains the TSA.

13. Feel free to bring pies and cakes through airport security this holiday season, though the TSA notes that the baked goods are “subject to additional screening if our officers see any anomalies.”

14. If you have kids, prepare them for the possibility that they may be patted down, assuring them that they will not be separated from you. Likewise, assure little ones that you will be okay if you’re pulled aside for additional screening.

15. Help yourself avoid a pat-down, Banas says, by not wearing “jewelry, belts, or anything with metal, adding that “some belts, even non-metallic [ones], can interfere with the body scanner imaging, so it’s best to keep them off so you won’t get slowed down.”

16. Remove any body piercings before heading through security, because if the metal sets off the detector the TSA reserves the right to have you remove the piercings privately as an alternative to a pat-down. Also keep in mind that bras with under wires and hair barrettes with metal pieces may set off the metal detector, so consider amending your travel outfit accordingly.

17. If you’re picked for a pat-down or body scan, don’t leave your valuables on the x-ray belt, says Sally Treadwell, communications director at “The agent should allow you to either retrieve your belongings or retrieve them for you. On a recent trip to the UK I was very unnerved to find someone huddling over my laptop bin. Nothing was taken, but I sure was glad my pat-down hadn’t lasted any longer.”

18. Thwart carry-on thieves on board the plane by shoving your luggage “in the compartment over the person’s head across from you,” Siciliano says. “This way you can watch it. Otherwise if it is over your head someone can act as if they are getting something out of their luggage when it is yours.”

19. Download white noise or sleep-stream apps onto your iPhone, suggests frequent traveler Lori MacGregor. “I like the white noise setting but plenty of iPhone apps have ocean waves, rustling leaves, etc. that basically just calm the mind and drown out screaming children.”

20. Pamper yourself in flight by placing a small pillow or its equivalent behind your lower back for support, suggests holistic family doctor Tom Potisk, as “aiding the natural curvature of the lower spine in this way will prevent the back pain. To avoid swollen ankles, make sure you stand up and walk every few hours, or at least rotate your feet while sitting, as if drawing a circle with your big toe.”

21. Don’t succumb to “wrap rage” when opening gifts, says Chris Noble, general manager of “It’s easy to laugh at this, but there are a significant amount of injuries related to opening gifts, especially with those notoriously difficult ‘oyster shell’ plastic seal enclosures,” he says. “The Consumer Product Safety Commission made an estimate that 6,500 Americans visited emergency rooms in 2004 with “wrap-rage” related incidents — some requiring serious treatment.”

22. If you’re not going home for the holidays, seek out deals, says Lonely Planet U.S. travel editor Robert Reid, because while “hotels and airfares tend to go up from Dec 23 or 24 through” New Year’s, he says he’s “finding some traditional tourist destinations, like Vegas and Orlando, actually have some reduced fares that week, costing a bit less than they do in mid-December.”

23. Save money on a holiday getaway by considering the type of trip you want rather than thinking about a specific destination or property, says Andrea Mooney, site editor for “Be open to a cruise to anywhere in the Caribbean rather than just to Aruba. Or decide on a ski trip and look at Wyoming, Utah, and Oregon rather than a specific resort in Colorado.”

24. Ski the week before Christmas and save, suggests Stephen Daimler of vacation rental marketplace, who says that upon analyzing rentals in more than 10 resorts out west he found that if you ski the week before December 25 versus anytime through January 1, “there is 50% more availability and the average price of a vacation rental is 25% less.” The average rental price the week after Xmas is $647, he notes. The week before? $493.

25. Adjust your attitude for holiday travel and “keep things in perspective,” says psychologist and author Elizabeth R. Lombardo. “If you have to wait an extra couple hours at the airport because of some unforeseen event, such as bad weather, remind yourself that you are safe and on the ground,” and whether you’re stranded at the airport or in holiday traffic it might help to “ask yourself ‘what is good about my life right here and now?’ Consider the fact that you are going to visit people you love [and] you have the means to travel,” she says, adding that you should “force yourself to come up with at least five positives” in your life.


Floridians Have Thinner Blood- Cold Weather Tips


• Wear a hat and gloves and keep your feet warm. Dress in layers.

• Follow portable heater instructions carefully. Take the word “space” literally. Keep the heating unit 3 feet from other objects to avoid starting a fire. Avoid using older units that don’t have a tip-over switch. These switches are a safety feature that turn off the unit if it falls over. Check that the cords are not frayed or damaged. Do not use with extension cords. Kerosene heaters must be used in large rooms with a steady air supply. Use in small, sealed rooms risks carbon monoxide poisoning.

• Don’t put them near flammable materials, such as beds and clothes. Use a good extension cord, not a flimsy or torn one. If using kerosene heaters, open a window for ventilation. Make sure heating units that have not been used recently are grease- and dust-free before they are turned on.


• Use appliances and heaters sparingly. The power surge can cause a blackout. Try not to use appliances from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., or 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Florida Power and Light suggests that instead of turning the heat down at night, keep it at the same level– four degrees lower than usual– all day.

• Never use charcoal grills for heat inside. Fumes are deadly.

Your pets

• Bring them inside.

• If you don’t let your pet inside, make sure there is a place out of the cold and wind where it can sleep.

Your plants

• Bring in potted plants.

• Give extra protection by covering them with burlap or another fibrous cloth. Don’t cover them with plastic because it draws heat from plants. If the plant is too big, douse the ground around it with water before nightfall. Cold-tolerant plants left outside include junipers, hollies, ligustrums.

• Don’t worry about citrus trees or hardy vegetables such as broccoli, but irrigating or covering them won’t hurt as long as there is no water sitting on the plants overnight.

• During the day before a possible freeze, get as much water into the ground as you can but don’t get water on the plant after sunset. While commercial growers sometimes turn on sprinklers to protect plants during a freeze, it can backfire and ruin plants if you don’t know exactly when to turn them on and off.

If your plants have suffered damage from the cold, these steps might help:

• After the cold has passed, resist the temptation to prune cold-damaged plants for a few days until the full extent of the damage is known. Wait a few days and see how the plant recovers. You may only need to trim away damaged parts

• Check the plant’s buds if leaves have shed because of the cold. The plant should be fine if the buds are still green.

• Give the plant only moderate amounts of water. If possible, keep exposure to the sun to a minimum.

Your heater

Even if the heater isn’t on all the time, heating your home can be two to three times more expensive than cooling it. Florida Power & Light Co. offers some ways to keep your bill down during a cold snap:

• Keep the thermostat set at 68 degrees or lower and adjust it to 65 degrees when going to sleep or when you are away from your home. Keep air filters clean to help make the heating unit run more efficiently, and do not turn up the thermostat to heat your home faster -that doesn’t work.

• Turn off all nonessential lights and things such as pool pumps. Use dishwashers and other major appliances only when necessary. Try to refrain from taking longer showers, which people often do when the weather is cold.

• Close windows and blinds to hold heat in. Also, use ceiling fans to distribute heat around a room.

• Use space heaters, but be careful: Use the proper fuel and read the instructions before turning one on. Keep space heaters away from curtains, bed linens, furniture and anything else combustible. Keep heaters away from water to avoid electric shock and make sure they automatically shut off if tipped over. Use a good extension cord, not a flimsy or torn one.

• Don’t sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater. Keep children away from space heaters, and turn them off before you leave the room for a long period of time.

How to dress warmly

• Dress in layers. The more, the better. They trap insulating air when you’re cold and are easy to peel when it gets warm.

• Start light and go heavy – Say a T-shirt, a shirt, a sweater.

• Silk may be thin, but it’s great at keeping you warm.

• Long underwear is a good layer too, if you own it.

• If you’re going to work up a sweat, like go skiing for example, (unlikely here, but just for discussion) cotton is not the best first layer because you will sweat and then the cotton will hold on to it.

• Wool and down make great outter layers.

• Cover your head, even if it doesn’t feel cold. Your body is sending heat there to insulate your brain. When that heat gets there, keep it there.

• Now is not the time for open-toe shoes. Keep feet warm by layering there too… wear both socks and shoes.

• A scarf isn’t just a fashion statement, it fills the space between the coat collar and the hat you’re going to wear.

• Turtle neck shirts and raised collars also suit this purpose.

Do Floridians actually have thinner blood?

It’s as predictable as January following December. When the season’s first blast of wintry air arrives, northern and midwestern transplants lament how, having become South Floridians, their “blood has thinned,” rendering them less tolerant of cold weather. So, is this a real phenomenon or old wives’ tale?

The latter, according to Dr. Ashok Kumar, a professor of family and community medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center. “What happens when you go to a cold climate, the blood viscosity – the technical term for the thickness – doesn’t change,” he said. However, at high altitudes, where it often is colder, your blood can thicken as it produces more red blood cells. But, said Kumar, “It’s not the temperature doing it — it’s the altitude.”

Kumar and other experts tend to agree: The human body simply becomes accustomed to the temperatures it’s most often exposed too – and unaccustomed to the ones it’s not.