Kids Not Always Covered by Parents' Health Insurance Plans
Just because parents have health insurance doesn't mean that their kids are covered, suggests a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.> The study found that more than 3 percent of kids and adolescents don't have insurance or are uninsured at some time during any given year, even if they have a parent who is insured. That means nearly 3 million children in the United States have no medical care or access to prescriptions at some point during a given year, HealthDay reports. A little more than half of those kids qualify for public health insurance but are not enrolled in such plans.
Inform Your Partners of STDs Via an E-card
"It's not what you brought to the party—it's what you left with." If an electronic postcard bearing this or a similar slogan lands in your E-mail in box, don't just click it to your trash bin, Lindsay Lyon reports. The message might be a warning that you've been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease. These free E-cards are part of inSPOT, a peer-to-peer, Web-based system developed by the nonprofit Internet Sexuality Information Services and the San Francisco Department of Public Health to help people face the daunting task of divulging an STD diagnosis to sexual partners. The cards, which say things like "No one wants to be the bearer of bad news...but I got diagnosed with STDs (You might have one, too)," can be sent to up to six people, anonymously, or they can include contact information with a personalized note.
Would You Rather Be Out for Your Colonoscopy?
Is the prospect of getting a colonoscopy less dreadful if you know you'll be knocked unconscious during the big event? The majority of patients in a small survey said yes, but some experts argue that it's the preparation procedure of bowel cleansing that generally makes people put off getting the test, not the screening itself. Whichever it is, removing barriers to screening is important, Michelle Andrews reports. Even though colorectal cancer screening is recommended for people starting at age 50 and every 10 years thereafter, only about half of people who should be screened get the test.
Earlier, Andrews reported that roughly half of states require insurance companies to cover colon cancer screening, the cost of which generally ranges from about $1,000 to $3,000.
Answering Questions About Vitamin D
People are puzzling over the new Vitamin D guidelines for children. U.S. News's Nancy Shute recently provided more information on the top two questions she received from readers: Can breastfeeding women increase their vitamin D so they don't have to give babies vitamin supplements, and why is it that living north of a certain latitude makes it difficult to synthesize vitamin D in the skin? Vitamin D is considered essential for bone growth and immune function and may play a role in preventing heart disease and other chronic diseases.
In June, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz described the host of health benefits attributed to sunlight.
—January W. Payne