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febr ua ry 201 4 | h ea lth ca r e


Straight Talk

More Idahoans dialing into Your Health Idaho for less politics, more facts


What the Red Fez Means The open secret of the Shriners’ service to kids


Cracking Kids

Chiropractic care for a healthy pregnancy and healthy children


Cash Only

Paying out-of-pocket for health care in 2014

2 | BE HEALTHY BOISE 2014 | BOISEweekly



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BOISEweekly | BE HEALTHY BOISE 2014 | 3


To Be Healthy Boise Zach Hagadone It used to be that “health care” was something most people thought about in vague terms of cholesterol (“I should cut down on my butter intake), cigarettes (“Quit, definitely) and exercise (“Get more of it”). Those days are long gone; now, health care is The Story dominating news coverage, as well as coffee shop and kitchen table conversations across the country. Boise Weekly has not failed to notice this, and is happy to launch this first edition of Be Healthy Boise—a special publication dedicated to exploring a range of topics related to health care in general, and health care in Boise, specifically. We’re planning to publish this special section once a year to start. In the 2014 installment, you’ll find an in-depth examination of the beating heart of the current health care conversation: the Affordable Care Act. As the ACA rolls out, questions abound: What kind of coverage is available? How much will cost? How do I even sign up? BW News Editor George Prentice tackled these questions head-on, spending time with the folks who are manning the phones at the Idaho Health Exchange and seeking answers straight from the source. Beyond the nitty-gritty of changing health care policies, the inaugural Be Healthy Boise also explores topics like complementary care—specifically, services like chiropractic for children and pregnant women—and how to manage the frontline of your health: diet. In keeping with that central health care question (“How do I pay for this?”), we also check in with a local practitioner who has gone his own way in the face of the national insurance mandate: only accepting cash for services at his practice. Finally, we all know the Shriners from their unique red fez headgear and, in Boise, the organization has enjoyed a higher profile in recent years because of its gracious offer of the El Korah Shrine as a venue at the Treefort Music Fest. Less known, however, is the not-for-profit organization’s mission to help children receive care for everything from injuries to congenital ailments like club foot. There are countless facets to our health care—as unique as ourselves—and we hope you enjoy exploring them with us in this, and future, installments of Be Healthy Boise.

Be HEALTHY Boise Publisher: Sally Freeman Office Manager: Meg Natti Editorial Editor: Zach Hagadone Proof Reader: Jay Vail Contributing Writers: Amy Atkins, Jennifer Dorn, Shannon McGuire, George Prentice, Andrew Rostenberg Advertising Advertising Director: Brad Hoyd Account Executives: Tommy Budell, Karen Corn, Jill Weigel, Darcy Williams, Creative Graphic Designers: Jen Grable, Kelsey Hawes, Tomas Montano, Contributing Artists: James Lloyd, Laurie Pearman Circulation Man About Town: Stan Jackson

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Bar Bar Inc. prints 34,000 copies of Be Healthy Boise, which is available free of charge inside the Feb. 19, 2014 edition of Boise Weekly at more than 1,000 locations, limited to one copy per reader. Additional copies of this edition of Be Healthy Boise are available for purchase at the Boise Weekly offices. No person may, without permission of the publisher, take more than one copy of each issue. To contact us: Boise Weekly’s office is located at: 523 Broad St., Boise, ID 83702 Phone: 208-344-2055 Fax: 208-342-4733 E-mail: Address editorial, business and production correspondence to: Boise Weekly P.O. Box 1657 Boise, ID 83701 The entire contents and design of Be Healthy Boise are ©2014 by Bar Bar, Inc. Boise weekly is an independently owned and operated newspaper. Cover Photo: Kelsey Hawes Cover Models: Chelsie Cassity and Mike Hildebrandt of Axiom Fitness Parkcenter, Boise.



BOISEweekly | BE HEALTHY BOISE 2014 | 5

george prentice

Straight Talk

More Idahoans dialing into Your Health Idaho for less politics, more facts

George Prentice

Loralie Walker likes talking with the public. She’d better, considering the urgency of what she’s talking about. “On our first day, 10 of us handled close to 500 calls,” said Walker. “I got home that day and told my son, who is also a customer service rep for Idaho Power, that I just took 47 calls and I felt like I was run over by a freight train. He said, ‘Welcome to my world.’” But Walker’s “world” isn’t anything like Idaho Power—as one of 10 call center operators at Your Health Idaho, she’s on the frontline of Idaho’s health insurance exchange. And Walker is perfect for the job: She’s as sweet as pie, smart as a whip and knows how to turn almost any negative into a positive. “One person’s Obamacare is another person’s Affordable Care Act,” she said with a broad smile. “You know, I come from very conservative roots and I have been very pleasantly surprised at some of the reactions, even from my own family. I was expecting a little more negativity. At times, callers may try to draw us into political conversations, and I’ve become very good at deflecting that. It’s not my role to discuss beliefs or opinions. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t tell me how they feel. I’m just not going to get sucked into that.” Walker, who along with her call center colleagues is a full-time temporary employee contracted by Your Health Idaho, said the tone of recent phone conversations is dramatically different than when she first started fielding questions in the fall of 2013. “At the beginning, people were just really confused. I don’t think they were ready to start thinking about actual enrollment, and there were a lot of calls where people just wanted to vent,” she said. “Now, people are really serious about enrolling.” The Your Health Idaho call center is rather modest: a group of cubicles tucked into a corner of office space owned by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare off of Westgate Drive in Boise. In fact, just several feet away from the call center, scores of Idahoans were getting assistance from IDHW workers in applying for food stamps, child support or medical coverage for children. But Your Health Idaho is not a part of IDHW, or any other state agency (they rent the call center space and technology from the state). In fact, in trying to define 6 | BE HEALTHY BOISE 2014 | BOISEweekly

Your Health Idaho, it’s easier to say what it is not. For starters, it’s not even a state agency. “We are an ‘Independent Corporate Body and Politic.’ That’s how the legislation reads,” said Jody Olson, Your Health Idaho’s director of communications. Under Idaho law, Your Health Idaho is not an Idaho agency but is deemed by statute to perform an “essential government function” and to serve a “public purpose,” and to that end is considered “a governmental entity.” “It’s a quasi-government agency,” said Alberto Gonzalez, operations project manager. Additionally, while Your Health Idaho is not classified as a nonprofit entity, it acts like a nonmember nonprofit corporation in that it has “no members or equity owners who are entitled to vote or receive any dividends or distributions during its existence or liquidation.” And even though it is not technically a tax-exempt organization, “as a governmental entity, Your Health Idaho is not subject to federal or state income taxation.” And while some Idaho politicians continue their heated debate over who holds the reins of the exchange and how, or even if, it should function, there are increasing signs that Idahoans have moved on from the politics and are now more focused on how they might benefit from the Affordable Care Act. “Take a good look at those plans in the silver category. That’s where the screaming deals are,” David Chase, a so-called “in-person assister,” told Boise Weekly when we attended an ACA workshop Jan. 8 (BW, News, “Credits, Penalties and Deadlines,” Jan. 15, 2014). Chase was referring to one of the ACA’s four categories—platinum, gold, silver and bronze—that offer plans with higher or lower deductibles and co-pays. “A lot of families have come to us and said, ‘You know, we really couldn’t afford insurance before.’ But now they’re finding affordable coverage,” said Gonzalez Gonzalez and Olson have received ample Idaho feedback on the ACA. Since the bumpy Oct. 1, 2013, launch of the exchange, Your Health Idaho regrouped and decided to hit the road. “When (the federal exchange that Idaho will continue to utilize until the fall of 2014) wasn’t working, we decided to pull back our advertising and increase our ground game,” said Olson. “We said it would make a lot more sense to cont. 8 travel throughout the state and offer education

From Boise Weekly’s Facebook page: “Have you signed up for health insurance through the Idaho Health Insurance Exchange?“ Madeline Godsill: With no income, the state expects me to pay almost 200 dollars a month to be covered. In my opinion that isn’t very affordable… Sam Johnson: OBAMACARE SUCCESS! Yes, it took a whole hour of my time. Yes, it was boring. Yes, I had to fill out several forms and read many many words about my choices— BUT the Affordable Care Act just made my night! I went from a $150 monthly premium with a $2,000 deductible and ~$7,000 out of pocket max (which I thought was pretty good coverage under the old system)... to a mind-boggling $85 a month, $150 deductible and $2,000 out of pocket max. Not only that, it was EASY to sign up! Thank you www. I shall now spend the savings crafting gigantic puppets. Clare Baxter: I now have affordable health care for the first time in 20 years. Mary Ivory Smith: Yes & no—I went through the exchange, figured out I was eligible and that it would save me a bunch of $$ but couldn’t figure out which plan was best for me based on the data online—went directly to Blue Cross and picked a plan and signed up directly with them. Whole process was easy and will save me several thousand dollars a year for better coverage. Jared Hight: It took me 5 1/2 weeks using three separate accounts before it finally let me sign up. That was trying every day for the first three weeks

cont. 11



BOISEweekly | BE HEALTHY BOISE 2014 | 7

james lloyd

All roads lead to coverage. (Information courtesy of: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, and information on a one-on-one basis.” “And these are people who are falling below the miniGonzalez and Olson have barely unpacked mum guidelines in order to be eligible to shop in the extheir bags in the past 60 days. change marketplace, and generally, they’re not eligible “We’ve done 110 events in every corner of for Medicaid either,” said Walker. Idaho,” said Olson. “So far, we’ve reached 9,000 people, The 2013 Idaho Legislature chose not to expand eyeball-to-eyeball. And we’ll have more events Medicaid coverage to low-income adults, effecall the way through the end of March [the tive Jan. 1, 2014, and every indication is deadline for securing 2014 coverage that the 2014 legislature won’t conthrough the exchange].” sider it either. And about that deadline: To a “That’s a tough one. It has been person, everyone BW spoke to the hardest thing,” said Walker, regarding this story acknowlwho paused for a moment beedged that misinformation fore continuing. “In the very continues to be spread, particbeginning last fall, I was very ularly about the deadline and uncomfortable in delivering penalties. For the record, you that message. But we’ve gotcan be penalized if you don’t ten to the point where we’re have proof of health insurance able to deliver that message coverage for three months or with some compassion. Some more. In the first year, the penpeople are, quite honestly, devalty is $95 per person ($47.50 astated. They really thought for children) or 1 percent of that this would be the first time your income, whichever is that they might be able to get higher. In year two, it doubles. insurance.” Planned Parenthood Votes By year three, it’s $600 per perHannah Brass Greer knows son ($300 per child) or 2.5 perthe dilemma all too well. As Northwest Field Organizer cent of your income. Idaho legislative director for Jonny Carkin “But we try not to make that Planned Parenthood Votes mandate the main driver of our message,” said GonzaNorthwest, she spends her days at the Idaho Statehouse, lez. “You never want to mandate fear.” advocating for greater health care access. But perhaps the most difficult conversations that Your “It’s an election year,” said Brass Greer. “In 2013, the Health Idaho call center operators have had to endure is Idaho Legislature faced the possibilities of expanding when they talk with Idahoans who are, quite simply, too Medicaid and the creation of an exchange. They chose poor to participate in the exchange. the exchange, and that was it. They spent their political from 6

8 | BE HEALTHY BOISE 2014 | BOISEweekly

capital in getting the exchange through.” And since it is an election year, Brass Greer added that health care advocates will remind voters that Medicaid expansion (or lack thereof) is something worth considering when choosing one candidate over another. “I expect we’ll see some of that, especially as all of this relates to the economics of Idaho families,” she said. Meanwhile, Brass Greer’s Planned Parenthood colleagues have spent the past several months mobilizing scores of volunteers to go door-to-door throughout the Treasure Valley talking to citizens about the ACA. “Hi, my name is Jonny with Planned Parenthood. We’re talking with folks in your neighborhood about the new health care law,” said Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest Field Organizer Jonny Carkin, rehearsing with a team of volunteers. “May I ask if you currently have health insurance?” On an early Saturday morning, a team of volunteers, including retirees, health care professionals, students and recent college graduates prepared to hit the bricks in an effort to talk to residents about the ACA. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised,” said Carkin. “We’ve really been able to have in-depth conversations to dispel some of those myths. Door-to-door is much more effective than mailers or robo calls. This is much more reasoned and less controversial. People in Idaho still have a soft spot for volunteers and they’re less inclined to be abrasive or rude when you’re face-to-face.” Carkin coached the volunteers on the different types of people they might encounter. “There are the ‘chatty supporters’ but you really can’t waste too much time with them; and then there are the ‘chatty opponents’ cont. 11 who think you’re there to have a spirited W W W.B O ISE W E E KLY.C O M


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shriners hospital portland

WHAT THE RED FEZ MEANS The open secret of the Shriners ’ service to kids Amy Atkins

On the edge of downtown Boise sits a large grayish-brown stone building topped with a rust-colored roof, its facade broken up by a long bas-relief sign and two sets of cherry-red double doors. The awnings above are emblazoned with the words “El Korah Shrine” and a logo comprised of a scimitar, the bust of a sphinx and crescent moon surrounding a star. That building is a gathering place for local Shriners, a service organization that boasts 400,000-plus members around the world. But it wasn’t until the Shriners opened the doors of the El Korah Shrine to host some of the 2012 Treefort Music Fest’s biggest acts that many Boiseans discovered what a hidden gem the temple is. And what many still didn’t know is what lies at the heart of the organization’s mission: The Shriners Hospitals for Children. To be a Shriner (short for the Ancient Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine), a man must first be a Freemason or Mason—though not all Masons are Shriners, all Shriners must be Masons and must, in fact, have achieved the rank of Master Mason before petitioning to become a Shriner. Shortly after the Shriners fraternity was founded in 1872, its members began looking at adopting an official charity. They had donated money to San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and, in 1915, they donated to war relief. But in 1920, they elected to use the $2 annual assessment from each Shriner (members now pay $5 per year) to support the establishment of the first Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children in Shreveport, La., and to create an endowment fund. Since that time, the Shriners Hospitals for Children system has grown to include a network of 22 nonprofit hospitals in Canada, the U.S. (the closest to Boise being in Portland, Ore.; Spokane, Wash.; and Salt Lake City, Utah), Mexico and Panama. Though different hospitals specialize in different areas, the Shriners hospitals system offers orthopaedic care, burn care and care for spinal cord injuries—exclu10 | BE HEALTHY BOISE 2014 | BOISEweekly

sively for children and completely free of charge. nancial status, children up to age 18 receive care free of Kay Weber-Ekeya, the public information officer at charge, although they will submit bills to a family’s inthe Portland, Ore.-based Shriners hospital, explained surance carrier if applicable. And while treatment used some of the conditions that the facilities treat. to be reserved for underserved children or those whose “Originally, we were treating kids with polio,” Weber- families were unable to afford it, for the better part of Ekeya said, adding that once a cure for polio was found, the past 60 years, a child’s financial status is irrelevant. the focus shifted to any diagnosis pertaining to bones, “Whether [a kid has] 10 cents or $10 million, we feel joints and muscles, such as congenital conditions like like we have some of the best pediatric specialists in our scoliosis and clubfoot. The Portland hospital alone has hospitals. As a parent, that’s who I would want helping treated more than 700 cases of children with club feet, my kid,” Weber-Ekeya said. but Shriners facilities also treat injuries. Jerry Reed, a Shriner from Boise, wanted that as well. “[We treat] kids who have been backed over by a Reed’s stepson Tim was born with bilateral club feet. lawnmower and lost a leg, kids with sports injuries, kids As an infant (before Reed had even met Tim’s mother), who have been riding behind a motorboat and gotten Tim underwent an expensive surgery to correct the contheir hand caught in a propeller,” Weber-Ekeya said. dition. And although the now-17-year-old Tim is comIn cases like those, children go to the Shriners after pletely mobile, he does have some muscle weakness. emergency care for follow-up rehabilitation, physical While playing basketball at school, Tim fell and dislotherapy and even prosthetics, built on-site at the Portland cated his kneecap and tore some ligaments in his leg. hospital. They treat symptoms of cerebral palsy by help“I got a hold of the Portland [Shriners] hospital and ing children with range of motion, providing head arrays they said if I could get Tim there the next morning, they to allow for communication (nonverbal) or wheelchairs could get him in to see someone,” Reed said. “Everyto give them some mobility body there was great. It was a and independence. The hosgreat experience.” pital also provides extensive At a recent ceremony at the “Whether a kid has 10 cents care for children born with El Korah Temple in which 14 a cleft lip and/or cleft palate, new Shriners were inducted, or $10 million, we feel like we which includes repair, orthit was with gravitas and pride have some of the best pediatric odontia and cosmetic work. that senior officials spoke specialists in our hospitals.” None of the work perto the new members about formed in any of the Shriners what they were encouraged Kay Weber-Ekeya hospitals is inexpensive. Since to think of as “their hospithe first hospital was foundtals.” And while part of being ed, Shriners have spent more a Shriner requires a committhan $7 billion on construction and operating costs, inment to the Shriners hospitals system, including fundcluding treatment, education and research. raising and hospital visits, the requirements for a child to Weber-Ekeya explained that the operating costs for be treated within the system are minimal—as a matter of the Portland Shriners hospital alone is about $30 million fact, there is only one. annually—the cost of the entire Shriners Hospitals for “As long as it is a condition that the hospital can treat, Children system is approximately $1.2 million per day, we will treat any child,” Weber-Ekeya said. paid for through the endowment fund, donations, fund- For more information on the Shriners Hospitals for raising and the annual assessment paid by each Shriner. Children, visit Regardless of ethnicity, religion or their family’s fiW W W.B O ISE W E E KLY.C O M

debate and have no intention hype and lay out the facts.” of changing their minds,” said Back at the Your Health Idaho call cenCarkin. “But then there are the ter, Loralie Walker said she’s been talking ‘undecideds.’ These people are to nearly every demographic. gold, and those are the conversations that “A little while ago, I spoke to a we want you to have.” 19-year-old and I just off the phone with a BW spoke to the volunteers who had 62-year-old,” she said. “But the one thing varying degrees of confidence for talking we keep hearing is that they’re grateful to strangers about the ACA. to be talking to someone in Idaho. And, “I’m a big Planned Parenthood sup- I think, we can speak very competently porter. I always have been,” said Steve, a about the exchange, versus a call center 60-something retiree. that is heavily scripted. That’s a huge dif“I’m excited but I’m nervous,” said ference.” Carol, a 50-something home health care So far, the average length of a converworker. sation with a “I’ve never Your Health gone doorIdaho call cen“We’ve really been able to have to-door but ter operator in-depth conversations to dispel I’m really not has been apnervous about proximately some of those myths.” talking about five minutes. Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest this,” said There is very 1 9 - y e a r- o l d little, if any, Field Organizer Jonny Carkin Sydney, a Boise hold time to State student. talk to a rep“ H o n e s t l y, resentative. I’m more nervous talking to you than But things will only get busier with the I am talking to someone about health March 31 deadline looming. care,” said 22-year-old Kim, a recent col“The time will fly by in the blink of an lege graduate. eye,” said Gonzalez. “As the time nears, Carkin said that even though the Af- this is a call to action, and time is alfordable Care Act has “been at the foremost up. But Idahoans should know that front for anyone who follows politics,” whether it’s at the call center or at one of he was anxious for his team of volunteers our in-person meetings throughout the “to de-politicize it.” state, there are a lot of people who can “One of the reasons it’s so controver- help.” sial is because of the opposition and the And more calls won’t faze Walker one messaging that they’ve churned out. I’m bit. sure that you’ve heard about some of the “Am I ready for a flood of calls in robo calls warning about death panels,” March? You bet; I like to be busy.” he said. “Our goal is to forget all of that from 8

and a couple times a week for the rest. After all that, the HI company can’t accept payment over the phone or internet for exchange enrollments so I have to drive to Meridian to pay in person. After all that, I am paying more for comparable coverage.

from 6

LeRoy Fiscus: I had a great experience, because I am a student I am only paying $27 a month. Farzan Faramarzi: I’m a student and my only income resource is work study & I’ve to pay $170. Not really affordable. Henry Ptasinki: The federal site is far from great, but it was at least reasonably functional when I signed up in November. It took me almost no time, up until I got to the payment step—because BCI’s system wouldn’t accept payment online! Ended up spending time at BCI’s office in Meridian, sorting out my old policy, new policy, and payment processing. Net result is that I’m paying virtually the same for a new WW W.B O IS E W E E K LY. COM

ACA-compliant plan as I was paying for my old plan. Heather Bergstrom: It saved me about $150 a month. The process was a little confusing, but it all worked out. I’m happy with it. Mike Ludlow: My insurance was cancelled, I do not get to keep my doctor. Obama lied... If I want decent insurance I have to pay $300 more a month than I did in 2013… David Colcord: Took several attempts over the course of several weeks, encompassing approximately 12-15 hours. But, eventually, got all signed up and ended up with a great silver level package for under $70 a month. Brett Jacobson: I’ve called and went through the motions, thought I was good… Got a call three weeks later, lost info. Tried two more times on the phone, computers weren’t working… Tried online, not working… I’ll crack a bottle of wine and try again later.

BOISEweekly | BE HEALTHY BOISE 2014 | 11


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12 | BE HEALTHY BOISE 2014 | BOISEweekly


Cracking kids

Chiropractic care for a healthy pregnancy and healthy children Jennifer Dorn, DC

More and more people are taking their health and the health of their family into their own hands. They are respecting their bodies’ natural design and function, therefore seeking “alternative/complementary therapies.” Why? Because it’s affordable and works. With changes in the Affordable Care Act, the state of Idaho (as well as 45 other states) chose to include chiropractic services as an essential benefit. Pregnant women are also recognizing the positive impact chiropractic has on their comfort levels and preparing for birth with swiftness and ease. Chiropractic care in pregnancy is an important prenatal choice. Studies have indicated that chiropractic can assist in pre-pregnancy preparation with fertility support, as the spinal nerves travel from the spinal cord directly to the reproductive system. According to research from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, if there is interference in the spine, it is possible that it has affected fertility. More couples are being encouraged to try the conservative and natural approach of chiropractic before investing a lot of time, money and energy into drug therapies and artificial options. This choice makes sense if we want to have a nervous system functioning at its full potential, prior to and during pregnancy. Chiropractic care can also help maintain a healthy pregnancy by helping to control symptoms of nausea and inflammation; relieve back, neck and joint pain caused by the changes to the mother’s body; reduce the time of labor and delivery; balance the pelvis and uterine sack, which allows for optimal room for the baby to move, develop and thrive; as well as even prevent a possible cesarean delivery. It’s hard for most women to grasp at times that pregWW W.B O IS E W E E K LY. COM

nancy does not have to be painful. The Webster Techschool, but resistance to the idea of children “getting nique, named for ICPA founder Dr. Larry Webster, is cracked” is common (it should be noted that the amount a specific chiropractic analysis technique that removes of pressure applied on a baby’s body during chiropractic sacral subluxation—a Latin term meaning “less light is about 4 ounces—similar to the pressure you would apexpressing,” and short-hand for an interference in the ply to your eyeball safely). spinal cord—by balancing the pelvis and uterine sack, Just like adults, children’s nervous systems control and thus reducing the effects of sacroiliac joint dysfunction, communicate their development. What’s more, the most which can often be the cause of a breech presentation. development we experience in our entire lives occurs in The technique cannot claim to turn breech babies, but I the first year of life, as we transition from helpless newcan tell you that I have had successful experiences with born to active toddler. Since significant spinal and cranial breech presentations turning vertex (the proper position interference can occur at birth, many parents get their for a healthy vaginal birth). newborns checked right after birth to resolve any potenPostnatal pregnancy care is ideal as well—after holdtial issues in the future. Of course, newborns go on to ing the baby, nursing and carrying the car seat, mothers learn how to hold up their head, start sitting up and turn often feel tension and pain with these adaptations. into crawling, then walking toddlers. These are all times Chiropractic care for children starts during the moth- in spinal development when spinal subluxation may beer’s pregnancy, but doesn’t come present and adversely end there—an increasing affect proper nervous system number of children are recommunication between the ceiving chiropractic care. rapidly growing brain and According to the American body. Chiropractic Association, As a child begins to parchiropractic is the most comticipate in regular childhood mon form of doctor-directed activities like riding a bike Jennifer Dorn complementary or alternative or skating, and experiences medicine used by children. In traumas associated with these an ICPA study, parents reportactivities, small yet significant ed three unexpected results spinal misalignments may ocfrom chiropractic care: improved sleep, better attitude cur. If neglected, the injuries during this period of rapid and behaviors, as well as increased immunity, resulting in growth may lead to more serious problems later in life. fewer colds and flus. They also may find resolution from colic, cranky babies, torticollis, hearing impairments, Jennifer Dorn practices at BoDo Chiropractic, which ADD/ADHD, clogged tear ducts, ear infections, asthma, specializes in pregnancy and pediatric care, and is allergies and headaches, sensory-neural dysfunction, recertified in the Webster Technique. BoDo Chiropractic spiratory disorders and bedwetting—all this resulting in can be reached at 208-342-7136 or maximized brain and nerve development. Kids who get adjusted are often the healthiest at their

“It’s hard for most women to grasp at times that pregnancy does not have to be painful.”

BOISEweekly | BE HEALTHY BOISE 2014 | 13

Cash Only

Invest in Your Health

Dr. Andrew Rostenberg

Shannon McGuire

Paying out-of-pocket for health care in 2014

Despite what we hear and read in the mainstream media, not all health care is billed through insurance. Many people in this country are electing to spend money on out-of-pocket treatments; as of 2010, more than $360 billion is spent each year by the public on health care not covered by insurance. Of that total more than 83 million adults are spending $33 billion a year out-ofpocket on alternative health care—services such as chiropractic, acupuncture and massage. In addition, the annual market for nutritional supplements is $55 billion, another large market of outof-pocket spending. Why would someone willingly choose a treatment that is not covered by insurance? What advantage is there to going around insurance companies and simply paying a fair price for health care? First I should introduce myself. I am a natural medicine doctor at Red Mountain Natural Medicine in Boise. During the past 24 months, Red Mountain has grown from a small, one-room operation into a full-size clinic serving hundreds of patients each month. All of this growth occurred without ever receiving a single dollar from an insurance company. It may seem strange that a doctor would voluntarily avoid taking insurance, but viewed from inside the professional landscape it makes perfect sense. When a doctor signs up with an insurance company, he or she in essence no longer works for the patient. Legally and in order to get paid, doctors must follow rigid treatment guidelines set by insurance companies, which may or may not be the best option for the patient. For example, even though research has shown that diet and lifestyle are the keys to preventing and reversing chronic disease, most insurance will only cover nutritional coaching for a few specific diagnoses—thus only covering a fraction of the people who actually need this type 14 | BE HEALTHY BOISE 2014 | BOISEweekly

of care. Often they don’t fit a traditional diagnosis, or receive a diagnosis where only drugs or surgery are offered as treatments. Some have tried those remedies and are looking for more options. In fact there may be many treatments and protocols that could help the patient, such as nutritional supplements, nutritional counseling, and diet and lifestyle education, among others. Despite thousands of research studies, which prove they work, these are still deemed radical and experimental approaches by most insurance companies and, as such, are not covered services. Instead of a system where doctors are able to treat the cause of patients’ health problems, practitioners are limited by what insurance contracts reimburse for. In other words, insurance companies control which treatments are used; and, remember, their main objective is to increase profits. When doctors are not restricted by third-party contracts, costs come down. In the out-of-pocket model, doctors are free to spend more time with each patient. Consider that the average doctor visit is only about seven minutes long. Meanwhile, dealing with insurance consumes anywhere from 30-60 percent of a medical office’s time and money, forcing some insurance-based practices to see four times as many patients as a comparable cash-based practice. It takes a small army of staff to ensure doctors get fairly reimbursed for the care they provide. If more people paid cash for their care, hospitals, clinics and insurance companies could provide more reasonably priced services. While there is certainly a time and place for insurance in health care—and even as more Americans will have insurance coverage—some, like myself, will still choose high deductible plans and choose to use the savings to focus on wellness and prevention. After all, nothing is as costly, even with good insurance, as chronic disease.

Good food = good health

Life is full of great investment opportunities for you to take advantage of—you can invest in things like space exploration or laser technology, or, if you’re lucky, maybe you could get in early on a hot, new food truck built into the back of a Lamborghini and staffed by robots that sells sushi tacos (don’t steal our idea). Of course, the best and most rewarding investments come from things you can really believe in and truly get behind. I’m talking about things like investing in your community, in your family and in yourself—and one of the best ways to invest in yourself is to invest in your health. When it comes to your health, you get out what you put in; it’s a very low-risk and very high-yield investment. What have you got to lose? Nothing. What is there to gain? Well, that all depends on you, but you stand to gain a lot. I hope that by this point you’re thinking to yourself, “I’d love to invest in my health, but how do I do it?” It’s easy, and here’s a good place to start: food. It’s a pretty safe bet that you’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” If you haven’t, you’re aware of it now. While eating a banana does not literally make you a banana, the saying does ring true in some ways. You reap what you sow, and this applies to your diet, too. Food is the best medicine, and eating right and eating well is the best way to start investing in yourself. While eating an apple a day may not keep the doctor away all the time, eating right is probably the best, cheapest and easiest way to keep you feeling tip-top and ship-shape. Nutrition is paramount to your well-being. Did you know that adding color to your diet is a great way to invest in your health? It’s true! Eating a rainbow of organic fruits and vegetables like red tomatoes, oranges, yellow squash, green beans, blueberries and purple grapes will ensure that you’re getting a great variety of nutrients. So, eat the rainbow—it’s

good for you. Did you know that foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, cereals and grains are chock full of protein? It’s true! And eating these foods is another awesome, easy way to invest in your health. If you really want to get the most out of your health investment, it takes more than just eating well. It also takes a bit of exercise. The good news is, exercise is fun and you can do it just about anywhere at any time. Here are some really simple ways to add even just a little more activity to your day: · Walk or ride your bike everywhere and anywhere. (Wear a helmet though— you need your brain. Being in good health won’t matter much if your brain doesn’t work.) · If you’re driving, park far away from where you’re going and walk the rest of the way. Even better, run the rest of the way at top speed while waving your arms over your head—people might look at you funny, but trust me, you look awesome and you’ll feel great. · If you’re going to watch TV (and you should keep that to a minimum, but you know, sometimes Dancing with the Stars is on), don’t use the remote. Get off the couch if you want to watch something else. Better yet, skip the TV entirely and go outside. When it comes down to it, investing in your health is not only easy and fun— it’s also really important. You’re the only you on this entire beautiful planet, and maybe even this entire universe. Though, given its unfathomably vast size and the possibility of infinite possibilities, it is entirely possible that there could be another you. Regardless of whether you’re the only you in this universe or not, you’ve got to take care of yourself. Eat right and live well—here’s to your health! Shannon McGuire is marketing and outreach manager for the Boise Co-op.



BOISEweekly | BE HEALTHY BOISE 2014 | 15

Be Healthy Boise  
Be Healthy Boise  

Boise Weekly launches its inaugural health & fitness publication in the Treasure Valley