Health Insurance In California: Will Healthcare Reform Affect You?

It’s estimated that 4 million Californians will get access to healthcare with the changes initiated by the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act. You can use your annual income to see whether you’ll be qualified for assistance. 

If you make between $14,403 and $41,000 a year, or your combined annual family income is under $73,240, you will be eligible to get Health Insurance Plans in California through the exchange and you can use subsidies to make it more affordable. 

If you don’t have children and your annual income is below $14,403, or you are a parent and your annual income for a family of three is under $24,360, you will be eligible for Medi-Cal. Healthcare reform expands this public program to increase financial assistance to people with incomes in the low to middle range 

What Does Healthcare Reform Do For Children?

Healthcare reform will extend coverage to more children by increasing help to families, but it also allows parents to cover their children under their California health insurance for several more years. As of September 2010, children can be protected by their parent’s coverage until they become 26.

In addition, healthcare reform specifically ends exclusions on pre-existing health problems. If you are one of the millions of children with a problem like asthma who have been barred from medical care for years, you’ll have access to much-needed care. 

Does Healthcare Reform Affect Seniors?

If you are at least 65, you will continue to get Medicare, and healthcare reform extends the viability of Medicare. For seniors in the infamous Medicare “doughnut hole,” which means Medicare does not pay for your prescriptions, healthcare reform cuts your out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs with a $250 rebate check in 2010. Ultimately, reform is designed to completely remove the Medicare gap in coverage for prescriptions by 2020. 

In September 2010, healthcare reform ends the charging for recommended preventive services so seniors can receive an annual wellness check-up for free. This can help catch health problems early when they are most treatable and reversible, and give seniors peace of mind.

What Does Healthcare Reform Mean To Legal U.S. Residents?

If you have been a legal, permanent U.S. residents for less than five years, you will be able to buy insurance through the exchange in 2014 and take advantage of subsidies to make it more affordable. 

If you have been a legal, permanent resident for more than five years, you may be eligible for Medi-Cal in 2014. 

Undocumented immigrants will not be able to participate in the exchange or Medi-Cal, but healthcare reform does not block them from receiving care at health centers, hospitals or local community clinics when they need emergency medical help. 

When Will You Be Able To Get California Health Insurance?

Whether you need family or individual coverage, the exchange is mandated to be available in 2014. California may expand the Medi-Cal program (Medicaid) before 2014. 

If it expands Medi-Cal to all residents with an annual income below $14,403 (that’s 133 percent of the federal poverty level) before 2014, the federal government may help California cover the cost. 

When Will You Need To Have Health Insurance In California?

If you are a U.S. citizens or a legal resident (with a few exceptions), you will need minimal essential coverage for yourself and your dependents in 2014. You can be covered through employers, individual plans, the exchange or Medi-Cal. 

American Indians, people who prove financial hardship or religious objections, those in prison and undocumented immigrants do not have to purchase health insurance. 

All others will have to pay a tax penalty of $95 in 2014 if you decide not get health insurance. If you are still not covered with a health plan in 2016, that penalty will have grown to $695. 

It’s estimated that 8.2 million are now without coverage in California. Healthcare reform is expected to extend coverage to an estimated 4 million. What about the other 4.2 million people? They are believed to be mostly undocumented immigrants who will not participate in the extended coverage.

Volvo Previewed the Concept XC Coupe

If you were one of those who went to the 2014 North American International Auto Show this January in Detroit, you probably already seen the three new vehicles in the Volvo line. These vehicles weren’t anything you have seen on the road or at one of the local dealers because they are concept cars. Even though they were designed to be put on display, they haven’t been given the go for production. One of those cars was the XC Coupe, which brings together safety, sport and the design elements that makes Volvo what it is.

If you weren’t one of those close to 838,000 who went to the auto show, you can find the information on the vehicle below. The coupe has two doors, but there is room for four inside. The vehicle is also based upon the scalable architecture wherein all of the developments for the vehicle are going to contain the three main elements that represent the Volvo brand.

As of yet, the powertrain details haven’t been released on the coupe. Volvo isn’t even letting people know if, let alone when, this vehicle will actually be produced. It does fit within the culture of the automaker, so it would make sense to produce it.


The XC Coupe is definitely a sporty ride. The design of the car was based on modern sports equipment from POC, which is a Swedish firm that develops sports equipment for the most extreme of athletes. One of the first indicators of just how sporty the ride is comes with the 21-inch wheels, which give it a powerful look and stance. Skid plates and side moldings help accentuate the vehicle further.


Even though Volvo isn’t releasing what’s going to be under the hood, a big clue came from the sticker it had on it saying plug-in hybrid. When the details are released, it wouldn’t be a surprise if there are eco-friendly features that come with it.


Various design elements make this coupe stunning. Look at the floating grille, a bow extending the length of the car and t-shaped DRL lights. Not only is the appearance on the adventurous side, but it is great for attracting others to you. All it takes is one glance at the coupe to imagine yourself in any number of different places. Even though there isn’t a word on when the vehicle is going to be released, you can expect the coupe to appear in other models like the XC90, XC70 and XC60, as well as the cross-country V40.

Vitamin D: Can it Really Keep You Cancer Free?

Once only associated with strong bones and teeth, new scientific research is finding that Vitamin D can cut your risk of developing common cancers by as much as 50%.

Says Sara Hiom, head of health information at Cancer Research UK, “There is evidence to suggest that the vitamin (Vitamin D) plays a role in keeping cells healthy.”

Researchers in the U.S. have found that the “natural” form of Vitamin D, D3 or cholecalciferol, can dramatically cut our chances of getting breast, ovarian, colon, and prostate cancers by up to 50%.

As a matter of fact, researchers are telling us that they have known about the link between Vitamin D and a decreased cancer risk for years.

Well my question to them is this… what has been taking you so long to tell us?

They say that up until just recently, they did not know the levels of Vitamin D necessary to provide this decreased risk.

What current research is now finding is that the optimum amount of Vitamin D necessary to reduce your risk of developing these cancers is 1000 IU. This is two and a half times the Recommended Daily Allowance of 400 IU set forth by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine here in the U.S.

Many experts now believe that the current RDA of 400 IU for an adult is too low and does nothing more than help ward off chronic bone diseases such as rickets and osteoporosis.

Recently, an article appearing in the American Journal of Public Health, after reviewing 63 independent studies, concluded that thousands of lives might be saved each year and thousands more cancers prevented by folks taking supplemental Vitamin D.

Professor Cedric Garland of the University of California in San Diego who led a major study on the relationship between Vitamin D and cancer risk said this, “A preponderance of evidence, from the best observational studies the medical world has to offer has led to the conclusion that public health action is needed.”

This public health action he advocates is the education of the public concerning Vitamin D.

What form of Vitamin D is Best?

Remember that your body has the ability to manufacture its own Vitamin D through direct exposure to sunlight. This form of Vitamin D is called Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. This of course is the best form of the vitamin.

The synthetic form is Vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol. This is what is used to fortify milk for instance. It is estimated that it takes twice as much D2 to get the same benefit as Vitamin D3.

Vitamin D3 can also be found in oily fish such as salmon (3 ounces = 530 IU), sardines (3 ounces = 231 IU), and Mackerel (3 ounces = 214 IU).

Unfortunately not all of us can get the required amount of sunlight necessary to produce enough Vitamin D3.

Some of us have fair skin and need to use sunscreen when we venture outdoors. Some of us have dark skin and do not produce as much Vitamin D3 due to our skin pigment.

And of course, the cold parts of the year can keep most of us indoors or bundled up when we do head outside.

And also unless you eat lots of oily fish, you are not going to get your 1000 IU there either.

Professor Garland warned about the dangers of overexposure to the sun, “Dark-skinned people, however, may need more exposure to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D, and some fair-skinned people shouldn’t try to get any vitamin D from the sun. The easiest and most reliable way of getting the appropriate amount (of Vitamin D) is from food and a daily supplement.”

What You Need To Know About Horse Care In The Winter

In this article I would like to share with you some useful information about horse care in the winter. The fact horse’s nutritional needs change during different times of the year. Very few of us live in places where the climate is constant, which means that as a horse owner you have got to be prepared for the winter 2013 / 2014.

Majority of the horses lose their condition in the winter and they do not look and feel as great as they do during the hot months of summer. The fact is that both in Spring and Summer grazing conditions are perfect and horses tend to get most of the nutrients that their bodies need simply by grazing out in the field.

The fact is that in winter, when the weather gets cold, grazing conditions tend to worse and horses have to rely on forrage and other types of food that aren’t necessarily fresh. Yes, you can rely on horse feeds such as haylage, barley, oats, maize, bran and etc. The fact is that most of these horse feeds are relatively “recent” developments in equine nutrition. Tens of thousands of years ago horses and their evolutionary ancestors relied on fresh grass.

I don’t want to get too sidetracked here, but the point that I am trying to make here is that in the winter, as a results of poor grazing conditions, your horse will not get as many different vitamins, nutrients and minerals as your horse needs and this nutrient deficiency will lead to loss in condition and topline.

To ensure that your horse does not lose his condition and topline, to make sure that throughout winter your horse looks and feels great, you should invest in a high quality feed balancer.

The fact is that there are hundreds of different types of equine feed balancers out there. Some of them are good, some of them are bad, but the key point that I am trying to make here is that supplementing your horse’s diet with a feed balancer is a must.

Equine feed balancers are just like multi-vitamin supplements for us, humans. They are packed with all of the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients that your horse needs to look healthy and strong. They contain active ingredients such as oils that promote the development of healthy skin and glossy coat, they contain minerals that promote healthy hoof development, they contain digestive aids and plenty of other good stuff that will improve your horse’s overall health and well being.

How To Teach Fitness Classes In Schools

The government has issued new PE objectives to schools indicating that they must increase their structured PE during school time to every child by 2010. They also have to provide an additional 2 hours of out of school PE by 2014. By using real life case studies from successful instructors who are leading the field in developing regular ETM classes and strategies for schools this article explains how to present yourself as an expert, understanding all school ‘s love for acronyms and coding systems and pinpoint who to approach within schools .

Diversification has to be the buzz word in the fitness industry right now. There are so many avenues for the discerning fitness professional to go down within group fitness. These niche markets are in desperate need of the qualified Group Fitness Instructors skills, expertise and knowledge. No longer is teaching in a health club or sports centre the only option. Classes in the community, GP referrals, corporate venues, children, teens and the plus sized market are all MASSIVE opportunities and are relatively untapped areas. We need to start making significant steps towards finding solutions and creating specific programmes for these target groups.

Teaching fitness to children is not the same as teaching to adults so you will need to do a specialist teaching qualification (see the end of this article for course information) as an add onto your existing qualification. Remember you will not be insured to teach under 16’s unless you have a separate specialist qualification. You will also be required to be CRB checked but I am sure your school will be able to help you with this.

But how do you approach schools? who do you approach in schools? and how does it all work?

Liz Hindley owns a highly successful business in Preston, Lancashire called Physikidz ( After completing the CAFitness qualification Liz ( who is a mum of 3) began approaching schools with her unique ideas for getting children into exercise. “Leaping Liz” as Liz is known by the children , has developed C.A.T.S (Classroom Aerobics Training System). She identified that children at key stage level 1 and 2 would benefit from doing short simple exercise sessions every day. These sessions are taught in the classroom, without the need to get changed. Leaping Liz visits the participating schools periodically but in the meantime has designed and created all her C.A.T.S routines on a DVD which the teachers play every day for the children.

“The programme I run is operating in Preston (the UKs newest city!) and surrounding areas. I have run INSET days for teachers in Liverpool and Chorley, and spoke about my programme at a conference for SScos at the JJB Stadium in Wigan, which covered the whole of the Northwest. On the back of that and the website, I have sold C.A.T.S (Classroom-based Aerobic Training System) Dvds to schools all around the country.”

Liz is a fully qualified group fitness teacher and I asked her what motivated her to make the push into schools:

“A family friend, a local PDM, was concerned that schools in his partnership were falling short of the 2 hours structured PE that is a Government requirement for 2010, particularly at Key Stage 1. I offered to work with a school in his area to see whether there was a solution to the problem. My simple, short routines were such a hit, that other schools in the area asked me to visit. My alter ego “Leaping Liz” quickly became a local celebrity among teachers and the requests for school visits came flooding in. More than that, I found that I really enjoyed working with these little bundles of energy. I feel that I am really making a difference to the fitness levels of children in our area. They all feel inspired to tell me about their activities – swimming, judo, gymnastics, ballet – between my visits. I am also helping teachers to achieve a simple solution to the problem of fitting more PE into an already packed curriculum. No two schools are the same; no two children are the same. It is challenging, but enormous fun “ Says Liz
But how do you break into the schools system?

Liz offered to run half-hour aerobics sessions to three key stage one classes over six weeks at no cost to the school. Since going into that school, they have asked her back to work with key stage two, to work for a whole day during Health Week, to run after school sessions for the staff, to do a step taster session with Year 6 and to do a sponsored aerobics charity event. They also passed Liz’s contact details onto the primary school across the road, who booked her for six weeks, and so it continued.

Decide which age group you want to aim at to begin with. Better to approach a school and offer to teach Junior Yoga for 3 weeks in half hour sessions to Key Stage one, than to try to offer all your skills to the whole school. It makes you look more professional, and once you are in the school, they inevitably want you to try different things with different groups. Getting your foot in the door is the number one aim.

Getting into schools can be quite challenging. It is not a question of just writing to the head of PE or Head Teacher you need to understand how the school framework operates when using outside Instructors.

Caroline Oliver is a fully qualified PE teacher and is Exercise to Music /Fitness Pilates trained. She runs a website called Caroline is also a School Sports Coordinator who along with the schools Professional Development Manager are the key people you need to contact if you are looking for work within schools. But what is a SSCO and a PDM. Caroline explains who they are and how these people can help you in your quest to teach in the school system.

PDM – Partnership Development Manager – your most important contact. The PDM looks after a cluster of secondary schools and primary schools in the area. They are based usually within one of the secondary schools, this role is to co-ordinate all the partnership schools and get the structured PE time up to 2 hours in every school, which is a Government target for 2010. They have a pot of centralized money which is designated for PE.

You can find your local PDMs contact by doing a search on GOOGLE. Your local authority will have these details on a website or contact Youth Sport Trust in your region
SSCo – School Sports Co-ordinator. This is a role in Secondary School, and is where a PE teacher looks after 6 or so primary feeder schools. The SSco also has access to additional PE designated funds. Contact your local secondary schools to get the contact details of the SSco.

“Teachers are buried under mountains of paperwork and are very busy so an email to the SSCO and the PDM would be your first port of call. Introduce yourself and explain what you can offer the school, your qualifications and availability. Offer to pop in for a chat and discuss your ideas”

I emailed all the PDMs in my area offering my Street Dance Programme and Fitness Pilates for teenage girls. It took a few weeks for the PDMs to get back to me so by this time I contacted the SSCos in each school via email. I also let all my local community classes members know that I was aiming to offer classes in school, as many of my regular’s have children in schools are class room assistants and many pupils attend my evening classes so they helped to spread the word. I now teach Street Dance in 3 schools during PE Lessons and run 2 afterschool clubs. Once you get into one school word spreads like wildfire! My phone now rings constantly with other schools wanting to offer the sessions.
Donna Podesta of White Feathers Fitness has also been making headway within teaching in schools.

“I am in my 3rd year of running the Dance Club at my local High School and last year decided to take my video camera into the class to film the dance we had been working on. I then made this into a DVD (inspiration from [!]) and passed it on to the SSco at the school. I only really did this to show them how well the students were doing and the progress they had made with dance. Lucky for me he passed this on to the PDM for my area and I now have a contract, funded by the lottery to deliver a KS1 Dance Development Programme to 31 Primary Schools in my area. I have 2 girls working for my company now ‘White Feather Fitness & Inch Loss’ as I can’t deliver all the dance classes myself, we have just finished our first week and the children were so enthusiastic and excited they have been a pleasure to teach. Dance is such a fun way for children to become more active and improve balance, co-ordination and build confidence. Hopefully this positive introduction to exercise for these little ones will encourage them to continue to be active in later years” says Donna Podesta (
By providing children and teens with safe, effective and FUN ETM classes we can encourage a lifelong habit of exercise and show the next generation the joys of exercising together in a group with friends to music. By forging partnerships with schools and the local community we can make a difference to the health of children and also provide ourselves with a rewarding way to take our services forward in new directions.