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Category: Health Benefits

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Don’t Place Curbs on ‘Stop-Loss’ Insurance, GOP Lawmakers Tell Administration

Three Republican senators have warned the Obama administration not to place new limits on the issuance of “stop-loss” insurance, which employers purchase in order to operate self-insured health plans. A recent Federal Register notice issued by the Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services suggests that the agencies “may be considering actions to limit stop-loss coverage for small and medium plans, which would be outside the limits of the administration’s existing... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Monday, July 9, 2012

Business as Usual for Employers After Supreme Court Upholds Health Reform

I have to admit that when we finally got the whole picture and the Supreme Court had upheld PPACA, it was a little anti-climactic Not because health reform itself is any less impactful, but because the employers I know have been moving forward with compliance and implementation assuming that health reform would stand and continue as the "law of the land". What else could they do? Waiting was just not an option as there was a lot of work to do. So, although the ruling itself was interesting... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Saturday, June 30, 2012

New, More User-Friendly Health Reform Website from American Benefits Council

From the National Business Coalition on Health: The American Benefits Council, an important strategic partner of NBCH, has announced its new, more user-friendly website. The Health Care Reform issue page is now divided into its component pages, covering the wide variety of health reform issues addressed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). These individual topics are: § Employer Shared Responsibility § Market Reforms & Adult Child/Age-26 Coverage §... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Friday, May 4, 2012

Costs of Many Preventive Services Vary Widely: What Employers Can Do

Kelly Kennedy's April 6, 2012 article in USA Today sheds light on the significant variance in the costs of preventive services, now required to be covered by insurance at 100%, not subject to co-pays or deductibles. "Over the past year, health plans and self-insured employers began paying for wellness exams — diabetes screening, mammographies, Pap smears and colonoscopies — as required by the law, without charging consumers a deductible or co-payment. But in looking at 15,000 consumers, a... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Disturbing Anti-Smoking Ads Convince Thousands to Quit

"(RNN) - Calls to a national stop-smoking line doubled and traffic to the government's anti-smoking website tripled after a hard-hitting TV advertising campaign seems to have convinced many Americans to quit the deadly habit. The Tips from Former Smokers ad campaign was launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office on Smoking and Health on March 19. The commercials profile former smokers and others who have been affected by second-hand smoking. The... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Saturday, April 7, 2012

Physician Groups Identify Tests and Procedures That are Often Not Necessary

Nine physician organizations have each identified five tests or procedures that may be overused or unnecessary as part of the Choosing Wisely campaign led by the ABIM Foundation, with Consumer Reports, in an effort to improve health care quality and patient safety. Patient advocates are calling the move a significant step toward improving the quality and safety of health care. As the nation increasingly focuses on ways to provide safer, higher-quality care to patients, the overuse... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Friday, April 6, 2012

Will CFOs Play or Pay Under Healthcare Reform?

Click here for copy. Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Thursday, April 5, 2012

Consumer Directed Health Plans Becoming Mainstream

MBGH attended the recent Memphis meeting presenting the results of the Annual Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans 2011. Although I had read the results when they were released in November 2011, at this meeting, I was particularly struck by the news about how employers are using Consumer Directed Health Plans (CDHPs) as shown by these survey results: 2011 saw the biggest year-over-year increase in CDHP offerings AND enrollment since 2007 for large... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Thursday, March 15, 2012

Are You Meeting Your Obligations to Nursing Mothers?

One of the highlights of MBGH's "Believe in a Healthy Memphis: the 2011 Let's CHANGE Summit" held last July in collaboration with the Healthy Memphis Common Table, the Shelby County Health Department, and Shelby County Mayor Luttrell's office, was the decision to encourage breastfeeding friendly practices in all area birth hospitals. The Shelby County Breastfeeding Coalition is taking the lead on this important initiative. Clearly the hospital and its staff play a significant role in... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Health Benefits Changes on the Horizon

Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health study finds health benefits changes are on the horizon. Although the rate of health care cost increases is expected to remain stable in 2012, employers are taking more aggressive steps to manage their rising costs and improve employee health, according to findings from the 2012 Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health (NBGH) Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care. Steps being taken focus on: Developing a... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Health Reform Ends Lifetime Limits for 2 Million Tennesseans

In a new report on how the health reform law has impacted people, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says that the health reform law has eliminated lifetime limits on coverage for more than 105 million Americans, including approximately 2 million Tennesseans. According to Sebelius, before health reform, many Americans with serious illnesses such as cancer risked hitting the lifetime limit on the dollar amount their insurance companies would cover for their health care... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Employers Interested in Exploring a Corporate Health Exchange Model

From Aon Hewitt: Employers Interested in Exploring a Corporate Health Exchange Model, Says Aon Hewitt  --  March 23 marks two years since Health Care Reform legislation passed. During this time, many employers have re-examined the way in which they provide health care benefits to employees. While state exchanges will not be available to employers with more than 100 employees until at least 2017, organizations are exploring alternate health care models, such as Corporate... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Tuesday, March 13, 2012

U.S. Health Spending Growth Slows for 2nd Year in 2010

U.S. health care spending experienced historically low rates of growth in 2009 and 2010 according to the annual report of national health expenditures (NHE) from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published in the January issue of the journal Health Affairs. Analysts at CMS report that the increase in spending for 2009 represents the lowest rate of increase in the entire 51 year history of the NHE. The low rate of growth, the data show, reflects lower... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Monday, January 30, 2012

Organizations Team Up to Help Physicians, Patients "Choose Wisely"

In the field of medicine, the customer is not always right, but that doesn't necessarily stop physicians from ordering tests and procedures that may not be strictly medically indicated when their patients request such tests or procedures. Recognizing this problem, the American Academy of Family Practice (AAFP) has joined with 10 other organizations in the Choosing Wisely campaign, which is designed to develop a series of evidence-based lists of medical tests, procedures and... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Monday, January 30, 2012

ADP Survey: 40% of Employees Don't Understand Their Benefits

According to a recent article by Lisa Gillespie in Employee Benefit News... A new ADP survey shows a wide gap between the goals and reality of how employees understand their benefit plans. Eighty percent of human resources decision-makers believe it's important for employees to fully understand their benefit options, yet they estimate only about 60% of their own employees do – a finding with serious implications for how companies communicate one of the most important parts of... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Monday, January 30, 2012

Catalyst for Payment Reform Releases Model Contract for Employers

From the National Business Coalition on Health : The Catalyst for Payment Reform released a tool ( see model health plan contract language ) to unite employers and other health care purchasers around the shared goal to make 20% of health care payments based on value by 2020. This tool will help MBGH with our efforts to reform payment in the greater Memphis area. The model contract highlights immediate opportunities to reform how health plans pay doctors and hospitals. Together... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Thursday, January 19, 2012

TN Plans Encouraged to Give "Good Driver Discounts"

Proposed recommendations for the Tennessee Health Insurance Exchange encourage health plans and employers to establish expectations about personal responsibility and engagement through benefit designs in the Exchange.   The wellness program could provide some sort of "good driver discount" in the form of a lower premium or other incentives to those enrollees who satisfy these standards. Having the exchange plans offer these incentives will make it easier for larger employers too!... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Monday, December 12, 2011

Take Steps to Reduce Your Labor & Delivery Costs

Labor and delivery account for nearly 25% of all hospitalizations for many employers, and costs associated with pregnancy and its complications are a driving factor in the rising costs of health care. The growing use of medically unnecessary interventions is increasing costs and complications among mothers and babies, with no evidence of improved outcomes. The Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR), an independent, non-profit corporation working on behalf of large employers to catalyze... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Monday, December 12, 2011

Benefits Basics: MBGH Offers New Member Benefit in 2012

In 2012, MBGH is offering a series of Benefits Basics webinars, designed to "fill the gap" for educational programming geared toward new hires, where other programs are not readily available from reliable training sources (such as ISCEBS or WEB). These "101" level classes are for MBGH members-only and oriented toward new benefits staff, or individuals in need of refresher information.  Programs will be taught by seasoned benefits professionals and are being sponsored by the Health... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Friday, December 9, 2011

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