How To Pick Dental Braces

•January 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

By S Porter

Many people have tooth alignment problems that need to be corrected by braces; some can be handled during childhood, and some after they become an adult. When you are faced with this problem, it is important to pick a type of braces that best fit your need. There are several types of braces that all do similar things but at a range of different costs and drawbacks. Some braces are subtle in their appearance but the trade off for better looking is higher cost or more discomfort. The important thing to remember about braces is that they will be with you for a long time; that means pictures and memories of your braces will never go away.

The cheapest type of braces are metal, and they are what everyone thinks of when they have braces in mind. They cost about $5,000 but as with most dental procedures, dentists are usually more than happy to arrange a payment schedule to spread out the cost. Gold braces will cost a little more, but not as much as the other types of cosmetic solutions. The average length of time it takes for this type of braces to work is about 2 years and metal and gold will work exactly the same way. They can be uncomfortable and unattractive, but everyone is happy they did it after the braces come off.

Ceramic braces are similar to metal and gold braces, but they are clear so the only thing to see is the wire connecting them. It’s still obvious you have braces but they don’t attract the eye as much, so many people think this is a great compromise. They take just a little longer to work than metal braces and the cost a little more, but if you are looking for middle of the road; this is it. Lingual braces are the ultimate in looks, price and discomfort for the person who decides to get them. They go on the backside of your teeth so no one can see them at all, but they will also cut your tongue and make it difficult to talk properly. They are hard to install and work on, so the cost of lingual braces is high.

Invisalign braces are a new type of braces that are completely clear and they can be worn at night like a retainer, or all the time like regular braces. The drawback to Invisalign is the amount of time it takes to fix an alignment problem, and the cost is much higher than normal braces. They can’t be adjusted like regular braces; once your teeth have moved a small amount, they need to make a whole new mold to move your teeth the next increment. Not all dentists are trained to use Invisalign and they won’t allow untrained dentists to use their braces, so if this is your solution you need to find a dentist who is certified by Invisalign. I have no experience with Invisalign, but I’ve heard from many other people that they are the best way to go if you have the money.

Getting tooth alignment problems fixed during childhood is usually the best choice, but sometimes the funds just aren’t there. Wisdom teeth coming in later in life can also cause tooth alignment problems that need to be fixed with braces. If money is the problem there are many dental plans out there like Delta Dental and Ameriplan Dental to help ease the cost, but they will be expensive no matter what you do. We all want to look our best and getting your teeth straightened can do wonders for your self confidence. Cost, comfort, time and looks are things to consider when choosing the right braces for you, but you will be thankful you did it once your teeth are nice and straight.

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What Can A Thief Do With My ID?

•December 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

By S Porter

Everyone has heard of identity theft, even though 10 years ago we all used our social security numbers for almost everything. Now, 1 in 13 people will have their identity compromised this year alone. The type of identity theft ranges from minimal to very serious, but once it has happened it will change the way you see your id forever. The average dollar value of damage is between $3,000 and $5,000 and it takes hundreds of hours of time to repair all of the problems with your id. These are pretty common figures but what can a thief actually do with your identity?

The simplest form of identity theft involves small amounts of money that can be easily overlooked. Someone gets your credit card number and name, and they can make charges to your card by online shopping. If they have your bank account number and name, they can access your checking and savings and clean them out. With the same information they can also put cable, telephone, electric, water and various other bills in your name and leave you with the bill after they have already moved on to another identity. This type of theft is a big deal, but not as serious as some of the more long term id problems they can do with your information.

With your social security number and few other pieces of info, a thief can begin opening lines of credit in your name. They don’t need to steal your credit card number, they can simply open several new credit cards in your name and max them out before you even know what’s happening. After 1 month, your credit is shot and the thief will move on to someone else’s credit; but creditors may not start hounding you for another 3 months. Monitoring your credit report is a good idea, but it won’t protect you from this kind of theft because creditors won’t report it until it’s already too late. Dumpster divers can use the pre approved credit card offers in your trash, but they can also just apply for credit online using your social security number.

Medical Theft is one of the more serious forms of identity theft, and it is becoming more common with the rising costs of healthcare. Hospitals don’t start sending you bills until your problem has been taken care of, so by the time you hear about it the damage has already been done. A thief only needs your name and social security number to do this, but an insurance card will work even better. Medical bills can rack up quickly to hundreds of thousands of dollars and convincing the hospital that it wasn’t you can be a very difficult task. The medical bill collectors can have liens places against your home or have your wages garnished for years until the debt is settled.

The most serious forms of identity theft are more rare, but they can ruin your entire life. A major purchase like a luxury car or boat can seriously hurt your credit, but what about a criminal record in your name? A thief committing crimes in your name will stick with you a lot longer than a bad credit score and it is much harder to explain. Even worse, someone could steal you passport info and use it for terrorist activities overseas. This type of theft could get you on a terror watch list or arrested and charged with a crime in a foreign nation; leaving you holding the bag with little to defend yourself.

There are companies that can help with identity theft problems, but most people don’t see a need for them until its already too late. LifeLock and TrustedID are both companies that will make it almost impossible for someone to pose as you. Other companies like Ameriplan offer a service that will help you repair your good name after your ID has already been stolen. You can do everything they do yourself, but it requires a lot of time and constant vigilance to stay on top of your credit report and identification. As time moves on, technology will advance and make it more difficult for our id to be stolen; but until then the duty of protecting yourself is up to you.

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Repeal and Replace the Healthcare Bill, or Just Revise

•December 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

By S Porter

Its been several months since the healthcare bill passed and despite the fact that most of it hasn’t taken effect, we are already seeing how it will impact our lives. Insurance companies are now required to take people with pre existing conditions and young adults up to the age of 25 are now on their parents plan. The result is that now there are a lot more people that need health insurance dollars, but they aren’t making up the difference. Health insurance companies only make about 4 percent of the total they bring in as profit, so they have to pass on to the customer the bulk of the cost increase. Healthcare premiums are now going up at a staggering pace and the mandate for everyone to buy health insurance doesn’t begin for another 2 years.

It is true that healthcare costs would have gone up if we had done nothing, but now they are going up much faster and we were told the healthcare bill would make them go down. New taxes on medical equipment have kicked in causing the overhead for hospitals and private practices to go up and be passed on to us, along with Medicare cuts which are also being passed on to us. None of this comes as a shock to those of us in the healthcare field, and the American people were warned about this before the bill was passed. Congress was aware of the unpopularity of the measure and decided to pass it anyway. Americans have now cleaned out their house and given control back to Republicans in the mid term elections.

The logical course of action would be to repeal the whole bill and then work on it piece by piece, but as we all know; politics have nothing to do with logic. Republicans may try to repeal the bill, and they could get it through the house but not the Democrat controlled Senate. Even if they could get it through the Senate, President Obama would simply veto the measure making the whole exercise a waste of time. The next step they might try would be to defund the new bill but even if they succeeded, it wouldn’t have any effect on the new taxes and mandates that are already making our premiums go up. The only course of action left is to revise certain parts of the legislation that both Republicans and Democrats can agree on.

Now we come to the real problem with politics; the only things that everyone can agree on will make the situation worse for those of us paying for our heath insurance. The healthcare bill will already cost far more than we were told and the most popular part of the bill to repeal is the mandate that everyone purchase health insurance; which will make it cost much more. If we were to repeal the Medicare cuts or tax increases, the result would also be a greatly increased cost of the bill. Repealing the pre existing conditions part of the law would reduce the costs of our premiums, but no politician would do that and risk being seen as insensitive. They could add some of the Republicans ideas to the bill like tort reform and purchasing health insurance over state lines, but none of their ideas will be useful if private health insurance companies start going out of business.

In the end, we are stuck with the government’s “help” for at least the next 2 years. We have all been assured that we could keep the health insurance we had if we wanted to keep it, but there are some hitches to that statement. Most Americans get their health insurance from their employers, and if it becomes more cost effective to just pay the tax for not insuring their employees then you will lose the choice to keep your plan. No one mentioned how much your plan will cost to keep either. All of this is designed to drive everyone to a single payer program run by the government that will drive the quality of healthcare down and the cost to the tax payer beyond our limits. We need real solutions that don’t involve government intervention, like discount fee for service plans and group employer plans purchased over state lines. Ameriplan, AARP and various other private companies have these plans, but we have been convinced that private companies are the enemy. Until we get common sense leaders and change our viewpoint on private industry, the sky is the limit on the amount of “help” we are going to get.

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How To Choose A Dental Plan

•December 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

By S Porter

Many families in the United States do not have any type of dental coverage, and the recent healthcare bill does not include any real guide lines regarding dental plans. We all still need to get our teeth fixed, but nothing has changed in several years regarding dental plans. When you or your family need to see a dentist, shopping around for a new plan is a good idea; but it can be very overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Depending on how much dental work you need and how soon you need it, there are 3 major types of plans to consider.

The first is a regular dental insurance plan provided by a major company like Delta Dental. These insurance plans are the most expensive on a monthly basis but they require the least amount of money out of pocket at the dental office. They also have a waiting period, usually consisting of several months, that you need to wait before you can have any work done. If you need dental tomorrow this is not the right plan for you, but if you need a lot of work done this can be the cheapest in the long run. It is also important to note that these plans usually have a limit on how much they will pay out in a calendar year. Traditional insurance is usually the best bet if you can afford it, and you plan far enough ahead to let the waiting period expire; otherwise one of the other two types of plans may be a better fit for you and your family.

The second option is very much like traditional insurance but its offered by the dentist or dental chain you are seeing for your work. These plans aren’t quite as expensive on a monthly basis, but you have to pay more at the dentist office when you have your work done. You can only see the dentist you have the plan through, or one of their affiliated offices if its a dental chain like perfect teeth. The limit on how much work you can have done is a little bit higher than with regular insurance because the dentist would like you to keep coming in. This middle of the road plan is a good arrangement for most people, but it limits your ability to change dentists and specialists aren’t usually covered; so if you need some type of oral surgery be prepared to pay full price. Some plans have a small waiting period and some don’t, but that is one of the many things to consider when you purchase one of these plans directly from the dentist.

The third type of dental plan is a discount fee for service plan like Ameriplan, and they have become very popular over the last decade as more and more employers drop coverage for their employees. These plans cost the least on a monthly basis, but the most out of pocket for each procedure at the dentist office. There are no limits on how often you see the dentist or how much dental work you have done, and there is no paperwork or contracts to fill out. If you need to see the dentist as soon as possible, this is the best way to go because there are no waiting periods either.

Dealing with health and dental plans can be a huge headache; but with a little information you can make a difficult decision much easier. Delta Dental, Ameriplan and chain dentists are all good options if you know exactly what you are looking for. Regular insurance is great if you need lots of dental work but don’t mind waiting. Discount plans are great if you need dental right away, and chain insurance is great if you already have a dentist that offers it. You can’t put off dental work forever but that doesn’t mean you have to pay too much for it!

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When Swine Flu Attacks

•December 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

By S Porter

As a nation, we haven’t had to worry about a major flu outbreak for many years. Swine Flu made an appearance about 30 years ago, but didn’t do the damage that many people thought it would. At times in our history, a flu epidemic has caused large death counts but Americans today aren’t very worried about a repeat. We keep hearing that another big flu is on its way, but is the swine flu the one we all have to worry about? Our medical care is far better today than it was during great epidemics of the past, but as of right now there is no vaccine for this particular strain.

The symptoms of swine flu are exactly the same as every other flu; lack of energy accompanied by a slight fever. Some people have stomach problems along with diarrhea and various other discomforts. Unfortunately there really isn’t a way to tell the difference between this flu or any other, so once you’re infected you won’t know if it’s swine flu or not. The flu and a cold feel very much alike, but the fever only comes with the flu so you know you have the flu if you have a high temperature. If you do start to display symptoms; bed rest and plenty of fluids are the best remedy.

The good news about the swine flu is that it isn’t very dangerous. Many people die from the regular flu every year, but those in danger already have some sort of health problem. Infants with underdeveloped immune systems, the elderly and people with other health difficulties are the most at risk. Fewer people die from this flu strain than every other strain that we see on a yearly basis. All the things we normally do to fight the regular flu also work with this strain; like bed rest and flu medication.

Now for the bad news; the majority of the population has no immunity to this strain because it hasn’t circulated in so long. The World Health Organization believes that once this strain has run its course, almost 2 billion people world wide will have caught it. Nearly 1/3 of earth’s entire population will have to deal with the effects of this flu as it spreads from person to person across the entire world. There is a vaccine in the works right now that still needs to go through human trials and the side effects examined, but it won’t be ready for use until most of the damage has already been done. Nevertheless, our government will spend billions of dollars developing this vaccine for future use.

We all have a one in three chance of catching this strain, but the danger of getting it isn’t any greater than catching a regular flu was before. Once we get through this flu season, swine flu will again disappear for a generation and we can all breath a sigh of relief. Life throws many curves at us, but having a good discount plan like Ameriplan or good health insurance will help to ease the mind. I hate getting sick and I don’t know anyone who is anxious to go through this, but it would appear that we don’t have any choice. The good thing about events like this is that they bring us together as a single force, and give us a reason to band together and rely on each other.

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Dental Care for the Masses

•November 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

By S Porter

Healthcare reform is being hotly debated across the country right now, but the need for dental services isn’t being discussed.  The cost for just healthcare is in the trillions and just like employer based insurance, dental is an afterthought.  Everyone needs to have their teeth checked and the price for these services isn’t going down any time soon.   Many people no longer get dental through their employer and the government health reforms won’t have any affect on that; the government also won’t be providing it through a public health system.  The good news is that there are many options available to the general public to keep your families teeth in good shape.

Dental insurance is the most common type of plan that people think of when they are shopping around.  Companies like Delta Dental, Cigna and Metlife all offer these plans and they usually cost in the hundreds each month for a family of four.  They usually have some limits on how many times you can go to the dentist and what kinds of things you can have done.  Teeth whitening and other cosmetic work isn’t covered, but most of the services your family needs are taken care of with a small co-pay.  Depending on your budget, these plans work for most Americans as long as you are willing to pay on a monthly basis.

A dental plan through your dentist is something a lot of the larger dental chains have started doing.  These plans are cheaper than insurance, but slightly more expensive than dental discount plans.  The biggest problem with getting one of these programs is that they only work at the dental chain you purchased it from.  If you have no preference about the state of your dental care then this isn’t a big deal, but many people don’t like the impersonal feel of ‘factory dental’.  Large chains have many dentists all working at the same location and it’s rare that you get to see the same dentist from visit to visit.

Dental discount plans are also very common today and offer more than just dental benefits with their services.  Ameriplan and Aetna carry these kinds of benefits and they also include things like vision or hearing programs as well.  These plans are usually the least expensive on a monthly basis, but what you pay on a per visit basis is higher.  Discount plans are my personal favorites because they give the customer the greatest amount of choice in the care they receive.  Cosmetic dentistry is also included in these programs, but if you don’t want to pay for it you don’t have to.  There are also no limits on visits or services with a discount plan, so you can go as often as you like and have whatever work you want done depending on your budget.

Paying for dental today has many choices, but as time goes on it becomes more the customer’s responsibility to arrange payment than it was in the past.  Employer based plans and insurance through the government are becoming less likely, but the need for us to go to the dentist is the same.  Maybe it’s for the best that we are given the full array of choices, but some people will always want to have things taken care of for them.  A bright white smile is something we all take pride in and paying for it will always be a difficult decision.  Taking care of your health is essential to a happy life and that includes you teeth and mouth.

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How to Run an Ameriplan Business Online

•November 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

By S Porter

Starting an Ameriplan business is a very popular opportunity right now and many people are interested in giving it a try.  Opening a restaurant or another traditional business can cost thousands of dollars and requires a business license; along with a great amount of knowledge about the field you are getting into.  Ameriplan is cheap to start and doesn’t require a license, so it’s a great way to get your feet wet in personal business.  They deal with discount health and dental programs, so there is a great need for what they provide.  This all sounds great, until you actually get started and realize that you have no idea what to do next.

 There are thousands of different ways to advertise and most people stick to the basics, like flyers and business cards.  Finding customers is the most difficult part of any business and success or failure depends on your ability to find them and close the deal.  The most common way that beginners get customers is to go get them one by one, but when you advertise they begin to come to you.  Everyone is familiar with the internet, but few people know how to run their business with it.  Like regular advertising there are thousands of ways to advertise online, and finding the way that works for you can launch your business to all new heights.

 I can’t possibly describe all the ways to advertise online, so instead I will describe some of the ways that worked in the past.  The best thing to remember is to go where the people are, but most other IBOs haven’t gone yet.  Years ago, an IBO named Bill Bertha began using Pay Per Click advertising on Yahoo and Google and made a killing.  He paid for a sponsored result spot under the Ameriplan keyword so that when people went to a search engine and typed in Ameriplan they found his website right at the top.  To this day he has signed up more members than almost anyone else ever has, but other IBOs eventually caught on to this method and its no longer cheap or easy to try this.

 Craig’s list and other free classified ads were big for awhile, but now they are flooded with spam and other business opportunities.  One of the ways that I have seen recently is to purchase a banner ad in your local area online newspaper.  There are still many opportunities to use this method if you are willing to pay for the banner ad but as soon as you have to compete with another IBO in your local area, the price will go up.  Another way that still works is social networking sites like the many work at home mom websites.  On these websites, many people come together looking for good ways to make money from home and save money on their families benefits.  Finding new websites where future entrepreneurs come together will work perfectly for people just getting started, and they are free to talk to people on.

 As old ways of online advertising go out of style, there are always new ways replacing them.  Millions of people are currently obsessed with sites like My space and Twitter, but it’s only a matter of time before someone figures out how to use them.  Having a good feel for where people are flocking to on the internet can give you the upper hand, but if you don’t use the internet much you may want to stick with what you know.  Advertising in the real world always works, but the internet changes every day.  If you see a good opportunity to advertise your Ameriplan business online, jump on it because it may not work tomorrow!

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