Younger Americans more likely to lose health insurance during pandemic

Roughly 3 out of 10 younger Americans say their health insurance coverage has been affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey from TransUnion. 

About 33% of Gen Z (defined here as those born during 1995 or after) and 29% of millennials (those born between 1980-1994) had their health insurance impacted by the pandemic, including losing coverage, according to a survey TransUnion Healthcare conducted last month of more than 3,000 people who visited a hospital, health-care clinic, doctor’s office or health-care organization in the last year. 

Only about 12% of baby boomers experienced an impact because of Covid-19.

Beyond losing health-care coverage, about half of Americans say the current state of the economy has affected how they seek medical care, TransUnion’s survey finds. Within that, a higher percentage of Gen Zers and millennials reported a difference. 

Yet overall out-of-pocket cost trends have not changed dramatically, TransUnion finds. The average consumer spent about $485 on emergency room visits and $5,002 on inpatient care this year, which is a decrease of 7% and 5%, respectively, from last year.

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That may be due to fewer Americans seeking care. About 44% of employed Americans have put off medical care during the pandemic, according to a Willis Towers Watson survey released Wednesday. Of those that deferred care, 61% said it was because of Covid-19 fears and 42% cited cost concerns. 

Additionally, 47% of Americans have used virtual care services in place of in-person appointments this year — almost three times more than last year (17%), Wills Towers Watson finds. 

An average telehealth visit costs about $79, compared with about $146 for an office visit, according to a research paper published in May. But while telehealth could increase access and potentially replace an expensive urgent care visit with a virtual assessment, these appointments typically led to additional medical use, the researchers found. Only about 12% of telemedicine visits completely replaced an in-person provider visit, which could increase out-of-pocket costs overall. 

However, many times, telemedicine visits may be provided for free by your employer or your insurer, making it a “smart thing” to look into using before heading into the doctor’s office, says Tracy Watts, a senior consultant with Mercer.

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Asymptomatic virus sufferers lose antibodies sooner: study

Asymptomatic coronavirus sufferers appear to lose detectable antibodies sooner than people who have exhibited Covid-19 symptoms, according to one of the biggest studies of its kind in Britain published on Tuesday.

The findings by Imperial College London and market research firm Ipsos Mori also suggest the loss of antibodies was slower in 18–24 year-olds compared to those aged 75 and over.

Overall, samples from hundreds of thousands of people across England between mid-June and late September showed the prevalence of virus antibodies fell by more than a quarter.

The research, commissioned by the British government and published Tuesday by Imperial, indicates people’s immune response to Covid-19 reduces over time following infection.

James Bethell, a junior health minister, called it “a critical piece of research, helping us to understand the nature of Covid-19 antibodies over time”.

But scientists involved cautioned that a great deal remains unknown about people’s long-term antibody response to the virus.

“It remains unclear what level of immunity antibodies provide, or for how long this immunity lasts,” said Paul Elliott, of Imperial’s School of Public Health. 

The study involved 365,000 randomly-selected adults administering at home three rounds of finger prick tests for coronavirus antibodies between June 20 and September 28.  

The results showed the number of people with antibodies fell by 26.5 percent over the approximate three-month period.

Scaled up to a nationwide level, it meant the proportion of the English population with antibodies dropped from 6.0 percent to 4.4 percent, according to the study.

The decline coincided with the prevalence of the virus falling dramatically across England — and the rest of Britain — following a months-long national shutdown which was eased over the summer.

However, the research found the number of health care workers testing positive for antibodies did not change over time, potentially reflecting repeated, or higher initial, exposure to the virus. 

“This very large study has shown that the proportion of people with detectable antibodies is falling over time,” said Helen Ward, one of the lead authors.

“We don’t yet know whether this will leave these people at risk of reinfection with the virus that causes Covid-19, but it is essential that everyone continues to follow guidance to reduce the risk to themselves and others.”


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3 tips that helped this man lose 155 pounds, run half-marathons

In 2018, Matthew Morgan made a New Year’s resolution that sounded a lot like ones he made in the past: He vowed to lose weight. Then in February he had a minor heart attack. But instead of letting that derail his goals, it emphasized how he needed to stick with his healthy habits.

“I used it as motivation. I actually suffered a heart attack from having the extra weight,” the 41-year-old from Brunswick, Maryland told TODAY. “That was enough of a wake-up call that I needed to continue down the path that I was going rather than go back. Because the heart attack was the result of what I’ve pretty much done my whole life.”

Unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle led Matthew Morgan to weigh 330 pounds. (Courtesy Matthew Morgan)
Unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle led Matthew Morgan to weigh 330 pounds. (Courtesy Matthew Morgan)

A life of dieting

Morgan was overweight most of his life, but in high school and college he was in the marching band and that activity kept his weight a little bit lower.

“I’ve so-called dieted pretty much my whole life,” he said. “After college because I wasn’t active and got stuck in a sedentary lifestyle — I wasn’t exercising — the weight just kept coming on.”

At his heaviest, he weighed 330 pounds and that’s when he knew he had to take his health seriously. He started by tracking what he ate on the weight-loss app, Lose It!

“I would use the app to track every single thing that went in my mouth to the extent of having a food scale and weighing every single piece of food,” Morgan explained. “I would use the recipe builder on a portion of the Lose It! app to enter in all the ingredients for stuff I was cooking so that I could get an accurate count.”


He also started to move more, first walking.

“It was difficult because you’re going from a lifestyle where you’re really sitting on the couch, sitting at work, sitting at home — not really moving a whole lot — to trying to be as active as possible,” he said.

When Matthew Morgan was losing weight he ate foods, such as yogurt, almonds, fruits and vegetables. As he maintains his 155-pound loss, he still relies on these foods. (Courtesy Matthew Morgan)
When Matthew Morgan was losing weight he ate foods, such as yogurt, almonds, fruits and vegetables. As he maintains his 155-pound loss, he still relies on these foods. (Courtesy Matthew Morgan)

But then Morgan stared listening to podcasts about people using running to help with their weight loss and he wondered if he, too, could run.

“Being someone that was overweight my whole life I assumed that I would never ever be able to run,” Morgan said. “Running is actually something I do for entertainment. Now if I find I’m bored or have a stressful day — you name it — I go out for a run.”

He runs four to five times a week for an average of 20 miles. Since making his resolution, Morgan lost 155 pounds to weigh 175 pounds. He’s run several half-marathons, though they have all been virtual due to COVID-19. He’s looking forward to someday running a

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Cut Throat Medicine: A New Theory on Why You Have Tonsils and What Happens If You Lose Them

Why do we have tonsils? Is there a particular function they serve?

Despite high tech medicine, there are still some basic questions about how the human body works that stump the medical profession. And the function of the tonsils is one of them.

When I was in medical school, almost nothing was mentioned about the tonsils. Textbooks devote only a paragraph or two to these organs. So doctors know more about how to remove them than what they do in your body.

Despite not knowing what they do or why our bodies have them, US doctors perform about 650,000 tonsillectomies each year. At around $ 10,000 per surgery, this means that removing tonsils generates close to $ 6.5 billion annually. And that's for only one surgical procedure.

Removing the tonsils was at one time the fashion, and was supposed to relieve throat infections, although evidence suggests that there is not a significant enough decrease in throat infections following tonsillectomy to justify widespread use of this procedure. Now, the primary reason for tonsillectomies in children is for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders thought to be caused by enlarged tonsils obstructing the throat and airway.

What do doctors know about the function of the tonsils?

Medicine contends that the tonsils are part of the lymphatic system which helps to fight infections, since the tonsils contain lymphoid tissue that produced white blood cells and antibodies. However, tonsils are not lymph nodes. Lymph nodes have sinuses through which lymph fluid filters. Nothing like that happens with tonsils.

The tonsils are walnut sized glands composed of lymphoid tissue that surrounds several deep crypts, or folds. Lymph does not filter through the tonsils, but saliva filled with bacteria and food does contact the tonsil crypts. Bacteria are known to reside within these folds. As we swallow, food and saliva wash past these folds sending samples of the bacteria in them down our throats.

Medicine claims it has no idea what tonsils are really supposed to be doing in the body, apart from some vague immunity function. Textbooks say the tonsils are the first line of defense against infection, although any pathogen in the tonsils is already in your intestines and / or lungs, so it is hard to understand how this is a first line of defense. The tonsils are also said to trap pathogens in the mouth, although there is no mechanism to describe how tonsils can do this since they are not a filter, as are lymph nodes. In fact, tonsils are accused of spreading bacteria, not trapping it. Research also shows that removal of the tonsils does not seem to increase susceptibility to infection. So the role of tonsils in immunity is unclear.

Strange, isn't it, that medicine can map the human genome, but they can't tell you what the tonsils are for.

Tonsils and Bacteria

I would like to propose a new theory on the function of the tonsils and why we have them. But to understand their purpose in the …

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Lose Weight With the 60 Day Food and Fitness Program & Journal

Keeping a weight loss journal can double your weightloss, studies show. Studies also now support the idea that old-fashioned calorie counting works the best for losing weight. Put these two weightloss tips to work for you with The 60 Day Food and Fitness Program & Journal by Brad Peterson, one of the most comprehensive weightloss journals available.

Why Keep a Weightloss Journal

Often people believe they are eating much less than they actually are. They don’t pay

attention to portion size and often estimate that they are eating many less calories than they actually consume. We kid ourselves that that little handful of chips or that cookie didn’t really count.

Keeping a weightloss journal allows you keep track of all the calories you actually eat throughout the day and stop estimating.

You might even see some interesting patterns, like empty calories spent on snacks or eating too much after dinner and before bedtime. You’ll see lots of ways you can save calories by keeping the journal.

What you’ll find in the 60 Day Food and Fitness Program & Journal

The 60 Day Food and Fitness Program & Journal focuses on keeping track of not only the foods you eat but the exercise you get to burn those calories and shrink those inches. There is great information provided in the front and back of the book relating to setting goals and how to reach them, with a page to write out your own goals. There are also charts on how many calories you burn with different activities and nutritional information on various foods, with a section just on fast food. There are also several pages of healthy recipes and a place to write in your own favorites.

The 60 Day Food and Fitness Program gives you a page to list all the foods you eat in a given day and helps you keep track of calories, fat and time of day that you ate. The opposite page is where you list your fitness activities, duration and calories burned. There is also a comment section to write down any notes and boxes to check off for each glass of water you drink. (There is a great article in the book about why drinking water is important to a weightloss program too!)

Once a week, there is a weight in page where you keep track of your weightloss and set your goals for the coming week. You can also keep track of your shrinking measurements. Other charts in the front of the book help you set up a fitness program and track your progress as well.

To lose a pound of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories. No matter what weightloss plan or diet you adhere to, this fact won’t change. You can cut 3,500 calories from your diet – perhaps 500 calories a day – or you can do a combination of cutting calories and increasing exercise to burn those calories and you will lose weight. A weight loss journal can …

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