Category Archives: health care

Dieting Ideas To Reduce Healthcare Costs

As healthcare costs continue to rise, more people are taking charge of their own health by focusing on prevention. One way to improve overall health and prevent disease is by eating a diet focused on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

As this story explains, more and more people are reducing their consumption of animal-based food products. Along with the six to eight million Americans who follow vegetarian or vegan diets, a growing number of people fall into the category of “flexitarians,” who follow a healthier diet that incorporates less meat and dairy, and more plant-based food.

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Healthcare’s Hidden Costs

Hang on to your health-insurance cards, because this one might surprise you: Despite those eye-popping prices at the gas pump and the grocery store, Americans are now spending more on health care than on transportation or food.

Nope. We’re serious.

And it’s even true for people with employer-sponsored health insurance, health economist Paul Keckley tells

Keckley, executive director of Deloitte Center for Health Solutions in Washington, warns that many insured workers don’t see these costs sneaking up on them, so they aren’t doing enough to track expenditures for co-payments, deductibles and over-the counter products.

But in fact, the average U.S. household spends 19.8 percent of its discretionary income on health care, Keckley says.

“The cost of the health system is embedded in every item we buy,” he says in the post. “But it is virtually invisible to most consumers because it’s hidden in indirect pass-throughs, piece-meal co-payments, and transfer taxes from those who don’t pay to those who do.”

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On Taking Things for Granted

If any startup understands the mess that is the U.S. healthcare system, it’s us.  Here at Cake Health, we are constantly talking about the broken system and rising costs.  We feel the frustrations of every man and woman in the nation who is paying more and unsure why.  For every family who is saving on groceries to make up for increased health costs.  We feel that stress and confusion every day, and it’s the very issue we are working to fix.

And while we work to clean up this mess, there are a couple of factors that are crucial to our success: optimism and gratefulness.  Not what you expected? So often when you read about startups you hear about “perseverance,” “hard-work,” “enthusiasm.”  But I’d argue that optimism and a sense of thankfulness is imperative when tackling an issue as big as health care.

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Forgetting Alzheimer’s

I’ll never forget the first time I witnessed Alzheimer’s.

My grandmother had been diagnosed while she and my grandfather resided in Florida.  I hadn’t seen the two of them for some time, so when I heard that they were coming to visit my family in CA, I couldn’t wait to see their smiling faces.  The excitement, however, quickly came to a halt a few minutes after their arrival.  Suffice it to say that my grandmother was no longer the same;  her words were jumbled and it was clear that she no longer recognized my face.  Her eyes were still a beautiful light blue, but no longer sparkled as they once did.  It would be a few short years until she passed.

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Alcohol Consumption Linked to Increased Risk Of Breast Cancer

While a glass of red wine each night may help with stress relief and heart disease, a new study suggests that you  should think twice before refilling your glass.

According to the results of an experiment by Dr. Wendy Y. Chen, consumption of 3-6 alcoholic drinks is now linked to an increase in the risk of breast cancer.

In order to make this conclusion, Chen followed 105,986 women from 1980 to 2008 with early adult alcohol assessments.  The study was conducted at Brigham’s Women’s Hopsital and Harvard Medical School, and tracked the effects of small amounts of alcohol over a long period of time, a tactic that had not been used in previous studies.

The conclusion? A link between drinks/day and increased risk of breast cancer.  More specifically, drinking 3-6 glasses of wine per week was associated with a 15% increased risk of the cancer, while drinking at least 2 drinks per day showed a considerable 51% increased risk, compared with non-drinkers. 

With the alarming new evidence, a debate over whether or not to drink or not drink, and/or how much is still deemed “healthy” arises.

Not to worry, Dr. Wendy Y. Chen assures us that we can still get our drink on.

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Web 2.0 Summit Wrap Up

They say all good things must come to an end, and sadly, Web 2.0 Summit is no different.  After three days jam packed with stellar presentations around the latest tech trends and some major league-networking, we’re back in the office with #w2s withdrawls, but feeling incredibly grateful.

This year Cake Health was invited to participate in the Innovation Gallery at the summit; providing us easy access to the best of the best in technology.  We had the opportunity to show off our product to Web 2.0 attendees and press, discuss our plans to change the health care industry one insurance plan at a time, and received useful feedback from many.  Thanks to all of those who took the time to stop by our booth, and to UBM TechWeb & O’Reilly for allowing us to participate in this great event.

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Young Adults Struggle to Get Needed Care

A recent study has reported that the number of U.S. families struggling to pay medical bills and debt is growing; so much in fact that last year 45% of young adults ages 19-29 struggled to get the health care they needed.  This means around 5/10 youth were unable to fill a prescription, go to the doctor when they were sick, or skipped a test, treatment or follow-up visit when needed.

Exhibit ES-3. The Number of Adults Without Insurance, Forgoing Health Care Because of Cost, and Paying Large Shares of Their Income on Health Care Has Increased 2001-2010

Adults ages 19–64




In the past 12 months:
Uninsured any time during the year


38 million


48 million


52 million

Any bill problem or medical debt*



58 million


73 million

Any cost-related access problem*


47 million


64 million


75 million

Spent 10% or more of household income on premiums*


10 million


14 million


14 million

Spent 10% or more of household income on premiums and total out-of-pocket costs*


31 million


35 million


49 million

Any of the above



107 million


123 million


According to the 2010 Commonwealth Fund’s Biennial Health Insurance Survey, these medical bill problems are leading to further issues such as youth not being able to pay for necessities such as food, heat, rent, incurring credit card debt or even declaring bankruptcy.

“Of those with medical bill problems or medical debt, one-third had to deplete their savings to pay their bills and one in five had to take on credit card debt,” the study reports.

Luckily, however, there’s still hope; under the Affordable Care Act thousands of young adults have made the decision to stay on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 25.  And it’s only getting better for this demographic; in 2012, college health plans will have to follow most of the same rules that private individual market health plans now face under the Affordable Care Act, meaning no more lifetime coverage limits and rescission and phasing out annual limits.  In addition, 2014 will bring extended Medicaid coverage to all adults with incomes below 133% of the poverty level, reaching an estimated 7.2 million young adults without health insurance.

Finally, in the upcoming years state health insurance exchanges will help low income young adults afford health care by offering comprehensive private health insurance with will include maternity benefits and subsidies.

“In 2014 nearly all young adults will have access to the comprehensive and affordable health insurance they need, allowing them to pursue their life and career goals without the worry that one serious illness or accident could derail their future plans,” said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis.

With these mandates it is safe to say that this burdened demographic will face less difficulty in the near future.


**Shout out to Brittney Roberts for guessing the correct percentage (around 50%) of young adults unable to afford needed care via our Facebook questionnaire**

An Issue That Continues To Grow

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”  -Tony Robbins

In 2011, the issue of obesity is only growing larger, along with those affected by the disease.  In fact, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health has just reported that in the last 15 years, adult obesity rates have nearly doubled in 17 states. 

“Two decades ago, not a single state had an obesity rate above 15 percent. Now they all do,” the report states.

Take away the emotional and physical toll that this disease is playing on its’ victims, there is no denying the financial problems that it is bringing to health care.

“[We] need to be addressing those environmental and those policy factors, but at the same time, [we] need to be motivating the country,” Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health states.

An issue that was once low on the priority list, is on its way up, and fast.  So what’s the solution, many have wondered?  Well, the first step is for us to realize that there is no easy solution.  The recent report agrees that we need a wide-net of solutions, including “boosting physical activity in schools, encouraging adults to get out and exercise, broadening access to affordable healthy foods and use of “pricing strategies” to encourage Americans to make better food choices.”

Above all, our society must learn how to take control of our own health.  We are the ones who choose Mad Men over spin class and Big Macs over spinach.  If we refuse to change these daily habits that are negatively impacting our own life, we will soon be left without one.

If you suffer from the above condition or a chronic illness, let us help you manage your costs so that you can focus on what’s important: your health.


To read the full report, visit

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You’ve Got Coverage

All new plans from September 23, 2010 and onward must cover a list of preventive services AND…without charging a copay, coinsurance, or deductible.  But how many people have a new plan since then?  Chances are you have a “grandfathered” in plan that may not provide these benefits without a cost to you.  To see the full list of services you could be getting under a new plan, has set up a page here.

Supposedly, adding preventive services to coverage would only increase premium prices by around 1.5%, or around $4 per person, if you can make sense of the mind bogglingly complex analysis that actuaries and consultants prepared for the government.  Of course we’re too smart not to notice the recent examples of extreme volatility that has occurred as a result of this and other measures to include more coverage.

A few of the covered services are a bit controversial, such as whether or not insurance should cover contraceptives for women, as The New York Times reported.  Since half of pregnancies in the US are unplanned, some argue that it should be part of preventive services to remove the cost barrier to birth control.  Others argue that pregnancy is not a disease, it is a choice and should not be covered.  These costs may be contributing to the rise in your premiums.

What do you think?  Do you think all insurance plans, existing or new, should include these preventive services?  Or are you concerned about the rising cost of premiums?  And do you think that contraceptives or family planning should be covered?

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