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Health Insurance Brokers, Kids and Career Tracks, and Curly Hair: Houston Matters for Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

This year’s deadline for Texans wishing to sign up for health insurance through healthcare.gov is Feb. 15, just a few weeks away. It’s the second season of enrollment made available through the Affordable Care Act. During this second round, insurance brokers are taking a more proactive approach, marketing themselves more aggressively as a resource for those […]

This year’s deadline for Texans wishing to sign up for health insurance through healthcare.gov is Feb. 15, just a few weeks away. It’s the second season of enrollment made available through the Affordable Care Act. During this second round, insurance brokers are taking a more proactive approach, marketing themselves more aggressively as a resource for those who need help selecting an appropriate plan.

On this edition of Houston Matters, Houston Public Media health and science reporter Carrie Feibel joins us to discuss why some health insurance brokers and agents have had an uneasy relationship with the Affordable Care Act, but are pressing ahead to offer themselves as licensed professionals who believe can better serve those seeking new health insurance coverage.

Also this hour: We discuss how students and their parents are handling requirements set out in an education law (House Bill 5) passed back in 2013. The bill stipulates, among other things, that eighth graders choose one of five areas of study, which will affect the courses they take in high school: STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), business and industry, public service, the arts and humanities, or multidisciplinary studies. This has led to some anxiety for students and parents alike, as — whether intended or not — it presses 14-year-olds to, in essence, contemplate their career track. We consider whether 14 is too young an age to realistically assess the kind of career you’ll want, as we talk with Dr. Susan Landry, founder and director of the Children’s Learning Institute at UTHealth.

Then: We’re inundated with food ads. Fast food is cheap and convenient. Television programs regularly highlight some of the most alarming pig-out food you’ll ever see. Here in Texas, we celebrate everything being big — including the portion sizes at restaurants. Let’s face it — our culture doesn’t exactly celebrate eating healthy. Still, many of us do try to eat better, which can be challenging, as you peruse food labels at the supermarket, or menus in a restaurant. How do you gauge what makes one dish healthier than another? We contemplate that, and other dietary concerns, as we welcome your questions for Houston-based registered dietician Catherine Kruppa.

And: Life in Houston can be hard. Especially if you have curly hair. Houston Matters producer Paige Phelps will explain.

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