New Study Says Humans Can Live to 115 Years

Human LifespanThe average lifespan of a human varies depending on various factors, including location. However, in the United States the average life expectancy of a male is 76, while a female’s average life expectancy is around 81. Of course, people can live longer than this – in fact, according to a new study, the longest a human can live is 115 years.

Human Life Expectancy

The world record for the longest life belongs to Jeanne Calment, who died at the age of 122 back in 1997. Over the last century, people have lived longer and longer, with the average life expectancy continually going up. However, researchers believe that the limit has finally been reached – and that limit is 115.

The debate over whether the human life span has a natural barrier is one that has been going on for years and years. Dr. Vijg, an aging expert at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, believes that even though there are examples of humans growing older than 115 years, such as Jeanne Calment, nobody will ever surpass that age again.

Dr. Vijg and his students looked at data based on survival and mortality rates. They tracked how many people were alive in a given year and compared these figures from year to year so that they could determine how quickly the population grew at each age. Research revealed that the fastest growing part of society has been old people. For example, in France during the 1920’s, the fastest growing group of women were 85-year olds.

This trend kept increasing, with the fastest growing group of French women in the 1990’s being 100-year olds. However, this trend of increases slowed down and then stopped. Dr. Vijg discovered the same overall trend in over 40 countries. He also discovered that 115 was the age at which the increase stopped.

Dr. Vijg’s theory that no one can grow older than 115 is based on available data, but many scientists reject the notion that humans have a life span limit. Keep up with all the latest health news by visiting The Benefits Store today.

Covered California’s 2017 Rate Hikes Hit Home

Covered California Rate HikeAnyone that has signed up for the Covered California state health insurance exchange can expect large rate hikes next year. In fact, Covered California recently began to mail notices out to its 1.3 million customers notifying them about this rate hike as well as informing them about how much their premiums would increase by, thereby giving them a chance to shop around for cheaper options.

The 2017 Health Insurance Premium Rate Hike

The notice sent out by Covered California encourages customers to sign into their Covered California online account and to use the shop and compare tool to identify exactly how much their premiums will be for their current plans. Customers will also be able to compare the cost of their premiums and the details of their plans to other plans within their region.

Although customers have experienced moderate rate increases over the past two years, premiums are expected to skyrocket in 2017 by an average of 13.2 percent throughout the entire state. It wasn’t until recently that customers knew how the expected rate hike would affect them since health plan prices differ throughout the state, by insurer and by a number of other factors that include age, income level, family size, and more.

Some customers are seeing massive out-of-pocket premium hikes even after tax credits are applied. There have even been cases in which some customers have experienced increases of 57 percent. It’s recommended that anyone facing such a large rate hike shop around and choose the lowest priced plan available at their current level of benefits. Doing so can allow them to cap their premium increases at five percent.

One of the problems facing many customers is that they do not want to shop around because they don’t want to lose the doctor that they currently have, whom they know and trust. What’s worrying to many customers is that rates will continue jumping even higher year after year.

Insurance premiums are expected to go up drastically in 2017. For more news concerning the rate hike or insurance plans in general, visit us at The Benefits Store today.

Is Cancer Genetic?

Cancer and geneticsOne of the biggest questions on people’s minds when it comes to cancer is whether or not it’s genetic. In a way, it can be. However, the majority of causes linked to cancer are lifestyle choices, such as smoking, just to name an example. The way that genetics affect cancer growth is that genes control the way cells work. Mutations or faults within cells are what leads to cancer growth and because of this, cancer can be inherited.

The Way Genetic Changes Lead to Cancer

In order to be a cancerous cell, a cell must have at least six faults or mutations. This stops the cell from functioning normally and causes it to become cancerous. Changes in a body’s cell can occur due to a number of reasons, from random mistakes during a cell’s division as a person grows older or due to the exposure to substances known as carcinogens. These types of gene changes won’t affect all body cells and aren’t inherited.

In some cases, a history of cancer in the family can just be coincidental. Cancer is relatively common, especially among older people, which means that it’s not uncommon for several persons in your family to have had cancer.

The Way Cancer Risks Are Passed On

So how exactly can cancer be hereditary? Some faulty genes that increase the risk of cancer can be passed from the parent to their child. These are known as inherited cancer genes. They happen when the genes within the egg or sperm cell contain a mistake or a fault.

Roughly five to 10 percent of all cancer cases happen to those who have inherited genetic mutations that raise their risk of developing cancer. Some of the mutations and syndromes that can increase cancer risk include BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations, Cowden syndrome, and multiple endocrine neoplasia.

Although a higher risk of developing cancer can be inherited, most cancers are caused by gene changes such as aging or lifestyle choices. To educate yourself on more health-related topics, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.


4 Ways to Fix Leaky Pockets and Save Cash

Saving MoneySaving money may sometimes seem like an impossible challenge, but odds are there are one or two money leaks that most people aren’t aware of. The following are four ways to save money:

  1. Cancel old vehicle insurance. In addition to having a primary vehicle, some people also have secondary or third vehicles. If they never use their secondary vehicles, they should consider either selling them or stopping their insurance on them. For example, there’s no point in paying insurance on a motorcycle that’s been gathering dust in the garage for years. The amount being paid on insurance for such an unused vehicle can add up to be substantial.
  2. Check for bank fees. Many bank customers don’t realize that their banks are charging them fees for certain things. For example, some banks charge their customers a fee if they don’t retain a certain amount in their savings account each month. Customers should check with their bank to see if any such fees exist and find out if they can switch to an account that doesn’t have such fees.
  3. Avoid ATMs. Out of network ATMs usually charge a small fee – usually around two dollars. This may not seem like much, but some people find themselves using the ATM on a regular basis, which means that those fees could add up to quite a lot. Instead of getting money at an ATM, get cash back at grocery stores, convenience stores, or pharmacies where they don’t charge additional fees.
  4. Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use. A lot of people don’t realize that simply turning off an appliance or electronic device doesn’t stop them from absorbing power. As long as the device is plugged in, it is using up energy. Unplug appliances such as the toaster, coffeemaker, hairdryer and laptop when not in use in order to reduce monthly energy costs.

Anyone having difficulties with their finances should be sure to check to see if they’re experiencing any of these money leaks. For additional advice on saving money – especially in regards to health insurance plans – visit The Benefits Store today.

How to Choose a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

Choosing a Medicare Prescription PlanAmericans that are currently on a Medicare plan are probably aware of the rising costs in prescription drugs – especially if they take prescription drugs themselves. The cost of prescription medications has been rising for years now. Costs were up by an estimated 12.6 percent in 2014, and since then have been projected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to rise by roughly 7.3 percent every year. Fortunately, there are ways for people with Medicare to lower their prescription drug costs as long as they plan properly or at least prepare for the rising costs.

Choosing the Right Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

People can avoid high prescription drug costs by choosing the right Medicare prescription drug plan. One thing to keep in mind is that premiums, deductibles, co-payments, and the list of accepted medications can actually change from one year to the next because of the fact that insurance companies revise their formularies throughout the year. The following are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing a medicare prescription drug plan:

  • Prepare a list of prescription medications that you expect to take over the next year.
  • Compare insurance plans with a Medicare Part D drug plan. Choose three plans to compare.
  • Compare the plans and drug formularies at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services website.
  • Speak with a representative at the State Health Insurance Assistance Program.
  • Speak with a pharmacist. Most pharmacists have in-depth knowledge in regards to different prescription drug plans.
  • Compare the annual costs of prescription drugs. Evaluate each plan by comparing premiums, deductibles, and out of pocket expenses. Those with a Medicare Advantage plan don’t need to do this since their drug costs are part of the plan.
  • Check the formulary, which is a list of covered medications. Make sure your medications are covered. Drug cost tiers change over the years – especially for brand names.
  • Figure out all costs – sometimes you can be charged differently depending on the pharmacy you use.

Use these tips to choose a Medicare prescription drug plan and visit The Benefits Store for more health insurance advice.