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Archives for: December 2010

12/30/10

  03:12:43 pm, by MedBen5   , 352 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Prescription, Health Plan Management

FSA OTC Deadline Reminder; IRS Revises Debit Card Rule

An almost-last-minute reminder: December 31 is the final day that FSA and HRA participants can use their account funds to pay for over-the-counter drugs without a prescription. So if you have an outstanding balance on your FSA, now is the time to stock… more »
  01:59:53 pm, by MedBen5   , 218 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Seasonal Workout Slowdown Not Disastrous To Health Gains

If you exercise regularly but have slacked off a bit during the holidays, fear not – you can reduce your workout load occasionally without losing too much of the gains you have aleady made, The New York Times reports. Several studies monitoring… more »

12/28/10

  12:29:39 pm, by MedBen5   , 193 words,  
Categories: News

End-of-life Planning Added To Medicare Reform

President Obama has quietly approved a new Medicare regulation for end-of-life planning, The New York Times reports. The new policy, which states that the government will pay doctors who provide end-of-life counseling to patients, echos a provision… more »
  11:16:05 am, by MedBen5   , 244 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Heed Headache Warning Signs

It’s normal to write off a headache as the result of stress or overwork, pop a couple of ibuprofen, and go on with your day. But headaches come in different types and levels of severity, and it’s important to recognize what your body is… more »

12/27/10

  05:46:32 pm, by MedBen5   , 139 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Prescription

2011 MedBen Drug Formularies Available Online

Formulary updates for prescription plans administered by Pharmacy Data Management, Inc. (PDMI) are now available at the Forms area of MedBen.com. The new formularies become effective January 1, 2011. If you still need a 2010 formulary, they will be… more »
  05:34:32 pm, by MedBen5   , 246 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Break Down That "Eat Healthier" Resolution

Already got that “eat healthier” resolution on your New Year’s to do list? WebMD recommends you make the transition in a series of steps rather than one non-specific, all-encompassing resolution, and offers simple tips to help you stay… more »
  05:11:58 pm, by MedBen5   , 232 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Mental Health Law Spurs Some Employers To Drop Coverage

The mental health parity law is set to take effect, and a handful of employers have dropped their mental health coverage in anticipation, The Wall Street Journal reports. The 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires mental… more »

12/23/10

  06:12:19 pm, by MedBen5   , 223 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Health Plan Management

Partners Plan Praised By Times-Recorder Columnist

Zanesville Times-Recorder columnist SueEllen Skinner has written some complimentary things about Partners Community Health Plan – you can read her column here. A partnership between MedBen, Genesis HealthCare System of Zanesville (OH), and other… more »
  05:31:46 pm, by MedBen5   , 183 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

$950 Billion, Give Or Take A Trillion

A recent Quinnscommentary blog entry explores the “real” costs of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The Congressional Budget Office estimates that PPACA will run about $950 billion over ten years, but as the article… more »
  04:50:20 pm, by MedBen5   , 203 words,  
Categories: Wellness

'Tis the Season to Research Your Family Health History

Looking for something to fill the awkward pauses during your next holiday family get-together? MedicineNet.com offers a good suggestion (seriously) – inquire about your family health history. Lynn Holt, director of the School of Health… more »

12/21/10

  03:03:24 pm, by MedBen5   , 182 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Health Plan Management

MedBen Announces 2011 Employer Roundtables

To help employers take control of their benefit dollars, MedBen will sponsor two industry-specific roundtables in April 2011. The Hospital Employer Roundtable Hospital will be held on the morning of Thursday, April 7, and the Government Roundtable will… more »
  01:52:59 pm, by MedBen5   , 179 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Have a Holly, Jolly, Stress-free Christmas

As the holidays grow ever closer, it’s not unusual to feel a little out of sorts. We face a lot of activities compressed into a short period of time, and stress is a natural reaction when our schedules get busier than normal. Dr. Gary Kaplan,… more »
  01:33:45 pm, by MedBen5   , 298 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Can Health Care Reform Work Without An Individual Mandate?

Could the individual mandate get the boot? Last week, a Virginia federal judge declared the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision unconstitutional – and with majority of Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican presidents, the possibility that… more »

12/20/10

  04:48:57 pm, by MedBen5   , 268 words,  
Categories: Announcements

MedBen Online Services Available Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve

Happy holidays from the staff at MedBen! Our home office will be closed on Friday, December 24 and will reopen at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, December 27. On Friday, December 31, our home office will again be closed all day. We will reopen at 8:00 a.m. on… more »
  10:12:48 am, by MedBen5   , 161 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Spotlighting A "Berry" Healthy Option

Berries have earned a good reputation among the fruit family for their healthy benefits. And now they’re received a truly impressive accolade: a stamp of approval from Consumer Reports. (Well, we were impressed, anyhow.) As summarized in The… more »

12/16/10

  03:57:41 pm, by MedBen5   , 182 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Large Percentage of Women Not Getting Recommended Mammograms

As The Wall Street Journal Health Blog observes, mammography has been a heated topic in the wake of recommendations by U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that most women could safely wait until age 50 before screening tests. But lost in the debate is… more »
  03:57:37 pm, by MedBen5   , 202 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Make Exercise Part of Your Holiday Agenda

Ah, the end of another year. Parties, shopping, travel, shopping, family dinners, shopping… you know the drill. But just because you’ve got a million things to do between now and January 1 is no excuse to skimp on exercise, even if you… more »

12/15/10

  04:36:27 pm, by MedBen5   , 276 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Unraveling The Preventive Care Rules

Employee Benefit News explores the considerations for preventive care coverage facing employers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The preventive care provision, which affects all plans that renew or have plan years that begin on or… more »
  04:36:20 pm, by MedBen5   , 163 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Tobacco Use High Among Teen and Young Adult Diabetics

Smoking and diabetes are hardly a match made in heaven – the habit is bad enough even if you’re disease free. But according to WebMD, a new federal study revealed that smoking rates are high among teens and young adults with diabetes.… more »

12/14/10

  04:24:36 pm, by MedBen5   , 247 words,  
Categories: Prescription

Professional Tips For Saving Patient Rx Dollars

On the KevinMD.com blog, primary care physician Dr.Leslie Ramirez provides some smart financial advice for patients to heed when their doctors prescribe medications: Price compare between pharmacies. All pharmacies are not created equal. Prices can… more »
  04:23:52 pm, by MedBen5   , 183 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Elections Change The State Reform Playbook In 2011

Kaiser Health News examines how health care reform will proceed in 2011 now that the balance of power has shifted a bit on Capitol Hill and across the country. The article’s authors feel the the likelihood of a Republican-led repeal is slight… more »

12/13/10

  04:47:50 pm, by MedBen5   , 280 words,  
Categories: Announcements

MedBen Closes Early on December 17; Online Customer Services Available

On Friday, December 17, MedBen will be closing at 12:00 p.m. EST for a companywide end-of-year recognition banquet. We will reopen on Monday, December 20 at 8:00 a.m. EST. Although our customer service department will be closed early that day, you can… more »
  04:47:43 pm, by MedBen5   , 168 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Helping Your Doctor Prevent Medical Errors

To err is human… but when medical care is involved, “errs” can sometimes be difficult to forgive. Of course, you expect your doctors to perform their jobs with 100% professionalism… and most work diligently to meet your… more »

12/10/10

  04:35:53 pm, by MedBen5   , 181 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Health Plan Management

Southeastern Med Joins Partners Community Health Plan

MedBen is pleased to announce the addition of Southeastern Med to Partners Community Health Plan. The Cambridge, Ohio-based hospital joins Coshocton County Memorial Hospital, Genesis Healthcare System, Marietta Memorial Hospital and Quality Care… more »

12/09/10

  04:48:03 pm, by MedBen5   , 184 words,  
Categories: Prescription

Failing The Drug Compliance Test

A Boston Globe editorial comments on the problem of patients who don’t comply with their doctors’ prescriptions. Upwards of 40-60% of people with such chronic conditions as high blood pressure, heart failure, and diabetes fail to take their… more »
  04:27:51 pm, by MedBen5   , 166 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Effective Weight Loss Comes Down To Calories

Writing for the Los Angeles Times, strength and conditioning specialist James Fell is amused by the global reaction to the so-called “Twinkie Diet”, in which a Kansas State University professor lost 27 pounds over 10 weeks on a diet… more »

12/08/10

  05:58:25 pm, by MedBen5   , 256 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Study Shows Marked Contrast Of Medicare, Private Insurer Spending

A Health Affairs study of two Texas cities offers evidence that private insurers are better equipped to control health care costs than Medicare, ModernHealthcare.com reports. (Free registration is required to read the article.) Building on data from a… more »
  05:20:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 217 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Diet Drug On Track To Receive FDA Approval

With all the ads and late-night infomercials out there for weight-loss pills, you might suspect that the Food and Drug Administration is rubber-stamping any new diet drug that shows up on their doorstep. But the reality is that the agency rarely okays… more »

12/07/10

  06:28:44 pm, by MedBen5   , 203 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

HSAs Now Among Options In Federal High-Risk Pools

A recent blog entry on KevinMD.com peaked our interest. Not simply because it examines the difficulty federally-funded high-risk pools have had gaining traction nationwide (we’ve covered the topic here ourselves) but also because it notes several… more »
  05:11:23 pm, by MedBen5   , 193 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

More Americans Getting Flu Shots This Season

Be it heightened awareness of the risks or simply some lingering swine flu concerns, Americans are taking influenza more seriously this year. According to the Associated Press, about 1 in 3 people have received vaccinations – a slight bump upward… more »
  02:20:15 pm, by MedBen5   , 198 words,  
Categories: News

Crunching the "Uninsured" Numbers

An editorial on the Investor.com website points out a disparity of perspective in regard to uninsured Americans. Is the number of uninsured cited by the federal government accurate, or does it fail to take some critical factors into account? Writer… more »

12/06/10

  06:15:27 pm, by MedBen5   , 222 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Share Your Symptoms -- With Your Doctor, That Is

Medical Lessons Blog examines the tendency of patients to withhold symptoms from their doctor, even in cases where they are suffering as a result of those symptoms. Elaine Schattner, M.D. offers five reasons why otherwise articulate patients might be… more »
  05:50:10 pm, by MedBen5   , 212 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Deficit Reduction Proposals Don't Make The Cut

In a development that caught absolutely no one off guard, President Obama’s 18- member National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform did not provide the 14 votes that would send its cost-cutting suggestions to Congress. However, the 11-7… more »

12/03/10

  01:43:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 344 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Some Weighty Headlines

Body weight is, uh, big in the news today: A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that carrying around even a few extra pounds can be detremental to your well-bring. In a major study of 1.5 million otherwise healthy white… more »

12/01/10

  05:34:12 pm, by MedBen5   , 212 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Deficit Reduction Plan Promises To Be An Equal Opportunity Annoyer

President Obama’s fiscal commission has released its controversial plan for bringing the deficit down to size, by nearly $4 trillion over the next decade. In addition to removing tax breaks for employer-based health insurance (which we blogged… more »
  04:50:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 214 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Diet Soda Doesn't Cause Weight Gain, Obesity Researcher Says

If you drink diet soda, you’ve probably heard that frequent consumption actually promotes weight gain – and still you continue to imbibe, because let’s face it, nothing quite equals that yummy diet soda aftertaste. But if you cling to… more »
  04:27:18 pm, by MedBen5   , 172 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Federal Judge Upholds Constitutionality of Individual Mandate

The individual mandate is arguably the most controversial component of the Patient Protect and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), with multiple state lawsuits and elections questioning the constitutionality of mandated health insurance coverage. Several… more »