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Stay informed about Arizona health insurance trends, news and changes in laws and coverage.

Whew! We survived the 2018 Arizona health insurance open enrollment.

Now that the open enrollment is behind us, our attention can now shift to that one topic we all love - Taxes!!

Did you know the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires you to declare your Affordable Care Act (ACA) status when you file your tax return?

That’s right, the ACA is in cahoots with the IRS.

To keep the public informed about it’s collaborating with the ACA, the IRS makes occasional announcements and offers a What’s Trending page with FAQs on the ACA.

You can visit those pages to get the info yourself, or you can keep reading to get a quick summary of what’s new at the IRS about the ACA and your Arizona health insurance coverage.

Visitors who come to Arizona often imagine it as one of the healthiest states in the union. After all, isn't this the place where people come to soak in hot springs and take a sun-soaked "spa vacation"?

It would be difficult to convince people from cold and damp locales that Arizonans face higher risks for certain diseases.

While on the surface it seems like everyone here is tan and in terrific shape, that isn't always the case; particularly in a state where 13 percent of adults do not have health insurance in Arizona.

hsa investmentAs healthcare costs rise, many insurance providers have started offering flexible plans to meet every budget. Instead of limiting members to a choice between PPO, HMO and Short-Term health coverage, they started offering high-deductible health plans (HDHPs.) While these plans certainly addressed the hefty monthly premiums, they made it difficult for members to reap the benefits without paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. Enter the "Health Savings Account," otherwise known as the HSA.

high_protein_foodsHigh protein diets may have changed over the years – starting with liquid protein in the 80’s, followed by the Atkins Diet and South Beach.  While some people still claim that low-fat diets are better than low-carbs, high protein foods are more effective at satisfying hunger.  When the overall goal is to reduce calorie intake; it’s usually better to stick with foods that fill keep hunger at bay, but not all high-protein foods are created equal.

Gluten_free_dietIf you’ve heard the claims of gluten-free diet fanatics, it may sound a little too good to be true.  The dietary side effects of wheat gluten have been blamed for everything from obesity to heart disease and A.D.D., so it’s no surprise there would be some skeptics who find it hard to believe.  The truth is that gluten sensitivity itself is considered a disease; one which results in a wide variety of symptoms including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other bone and joint pain symptoms.  Does this mean that everyone who consumes too much gluten will develop arthritis?  Probably not, but a gluten-free diet has been shown to ease the pain for many arthritis sufferers.

According to the popular book, “Wheat Belly” by cardiologist William Davis, arthritis is one of many illnesses that have been all but “cured” by avoiding gluten, but it’s important to understand that there are many systemic causes for painful and swollen joints.  While both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can be irritated by food intolerances such as celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, it is important to understand the differences between the two main types of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of joint cartilage, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that results in painful swelling and inflammation of the joints.  Both diseases may have similar symptoms, but each of them is treated differently and each patient will have a unique response to dietary changes.

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