Wellness Coordinators: Are You Addressing the Positive Side of Health? (Start Today)

The focus of health and wellness professionals today is on disease and problems – in other words, what’s wrong (negative health). Wouldn’t you rather be focusing instead on positive health, or in other words, what’s right?

Health Today

Health today has a disease focus – a focus on risk reduction, avoidance, prevention and treatment of disease, infirmity and disability. This focus stems, no doubt, from medicine and its focus on pathogenesis, which is the study of the origin of disease. In a pathogenic model – health is measured by the incidence of disease or health related problems. Success in the pathogenic model is measured by the avoidance or elimination of problems, diseases and premature death.

Health is often depicted as being a continuum, with one end being premature death and the other end being wellness. The mid-point of the continuum is often described as being a neutral point where no discernible illness or wellness can be detected. If success in the pathogenic model is the avoidance or elimination of problems or disease, then success in this case this does not create a state of wellness, but instead a point there is no discernible illness or wellness. The betterment of health or the movement towards wellness would then require that deliberate, specific concrete actions to be taken.

The necessity of taking deliberate, concrete action to achieve optimal health, positive health or high level wellness would be consistent with what researchers have found in other areas. Researchers have shown that eliminating negatives alone does not, in and of itself, create positive conditions. Some examples that demonstrate what I am saying would include:

• Herzberg who showed that eliminating dissatisfaction does not create satisfaction

• Compton who showed that eliminating depression does not create joy

• Seligman who showed that mental health was not the mere absence of mental illness

• Becker and colleagues who showed that ending disease does not create positive health

Instead of aiming for a return to neutral or the status quo, a focus on positive health moves our focus towards outcomes that exceed our expectations, in other words, our idealized outcomes.

Positive Health

Positive health has its roots in the salutogenesis model. Salutogenesis provides a focus and methodology to discover and develop the causes or origins of positive health. Salutogenesis complements pathogenesis by working to optimize health and well-being through continuous and never-ending improvement. Salutogenesis is about how to add positive actions, opportunities, conditions and outcomes to move us beyond the neutral point to higher, positive levels.

Positive health is a deliberate consciouly created dynamic state. Positive health has also beed described as well-being, thriving or flourishing.

To achieve and continually improve positive health, a supportive, nurturing and encouraging environment must be consciously and thoughtfully developed and continuously improved. This supportive and nurturing environment is a necessary ingredient in the behavior change process.

Positive states are created through deliberate, conscious effort and action. To create positive states, specific efforts must be taken that go just beyond the elimination of health risks and problems. These specific efforts need to be supported through the use of following 9 Es and 1 C:

Engagement
Education
Empowerment
Effectiveness
Enablement
Evaluation
Emotions
Energy
Expectations
Comprehensive

Use these 9 Es and 1 C in your worksite wellness program to help your employees achieve positive health.

If you are interested in reading more, consider these references:

Antonovsky, A. (1979) Health, stress and coping. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Becker, C. M., Dolbier, C.L., Durham, T., Glascoff, M. A., & Adams, T.B. Development and preliminary evaluation of the validity and reliability of a positive health scale. (2008). American Journal of Health Education, 39(1), 34-41.

Becker, C. M., Moore, J., Whetstone, L., Glascoff, M., Chaney, E., Felts, M., & Anderson, L., (2009). Validity Evidence for the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS). American Journal of Health Behavior, 33(4), 455-465.

Becker, C., Glascoff, M., & Felts, W. (2010) Salutogenesis 30 years later: Where do we go from here? International Electronic Journal of Health Education, 13, 25-32.

Compton, W. C. (2005). Introduction to positive psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Dunn H. L. (1961). High-level wellness: A collection of twenty-nine short talks on different aspects of the theme “High-level wellness for man and society.” Arlington, VA: R.W. Beatty Co.

Herzberg F. (2003). One more time: How do you motivate employees? Harvard Business Review, 81(1), 86-96. (Original work published 1968).

Seligman, M. E. P. (2008). Positive health. Applied Psychology, 57(s1), 3-18.

Creating Positive Health

Changes in Big Health Insurance for 2013 College Grads

With all the fuss about the new policy, open enrollment period, the subsidies given by government and the necessity to have a health cover has created new choices and issues at the same time for the new college grads.

Some of the choices they make are; Mom & Dad’s plan, individually purchased coverage, short-term coverage, etc., but there is a whole new lot of options coming on for them.

How will health insurance options of today change for graduates when the last big provisions of the health reform law come into effect from January?

Here’s How!

Mom & Dad’s health insurance plan – A parent health insurance plan is best for you if you are thinking of moving back to your parent’s place, and you are looking for quality coverage or employer-based coverage is not available at the moment. With the help of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now a person graduating from college can stay insured under his parent’s health insurance plan till the age of 26. This is a very nice option for some of the graduates. But there are negative sides of this, like increased premium for the parents, or if you are not in the state then it is not possible to get the assistance of network doctor at the time of requirement. So these are the things that can hamper the benefits of your coverage.

In 2014: You will be treated as a holder of a health plan with your parents till the time you turn 26, but after that you are supposed to purchase a health cover of your own, in order to fit in the requirements of ACA.

Traditional individual health insurance plan -if you are looking for quality coverage and do not have an option of employer-based coverage at the moment, or you have an ambition of being financially independent, then you should go for a traditional major health insurance plan for yourself. A person with good health has many good and affordable options to choose from.You can get the best for you by getting the best information about your plan from an online marketplace. It is to be kept in mind that this is possible to decline coverage based on pre-existing conditions until 2014

In 2014: by the start of 2014, most of the people who are not covered under employer-based insurance will have to purchase these individual insurance plans. It will be a good thing if you will purchase one now. There is a chance of you getting the benefit of subsidies in 2014.

High-deductible health insurance plan – if you are not covered under any employer-based health insurance and want quality coverage, but do not have the need of it, as you are in a good health conditions and are not taking any kind of medical drug regularly, then you should go for a high deductible insurance plan. These are the traditional insurance plans with higher deductible. Here the meaning of higher deductibles is lower monthly premiums. Some of the higher deductible plans can be used in the health saving accounts, by which you will be getting some tax advantage and saving a considerable amount of money.

In 2014: At this time also the high-deductible plans and Health Savings Accounts will be available. Apart from these there will be plans available for everyone which are now a days only there for the people below 30 years of age.

Short-term health insurance plan – If all you want is the basic emergency coverage, or your employer-based coverage is not enough for you, then a short term health insurance will be a good option for you. The short term health insurance plans are easy to qualify and quite affordable. But it should be kept in mind that the short term plans do not cover the pre-existing conditions, preventive care or prescription drugs. You can easily purchase a short term health insurance plan.

In 2014: the short term health insurance will not be complying with the requirements of the health reform law in 2014. So you will be subject to a tax penalty on the federal taxes if you stay uncovered from a qualifying health plans for more than 90 days.

Going uninsured – It is a matter of concern that most of the young Americans are uninsured these days. The idea of health insurance sounds foolish at the time you are young and healthy. But a single medical emergency can cost to more than you can ever think with all the medical expenses these days. the success of the health reform will be vague without the involvement of young and healthy individuals.

In 2014: it is going to impact your finances if you are uninsured in 2014. Most of the uninsured people will face a tax penalty of 1% of their income or $95 (whichever is greater) and the penalty will keep increasing in the coming years.

Bristy Francis has been a specialist in the field of health insurance since 2008 counseling hundreds of individuals and families on policies which may be right for them.