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Archives for: February 2011


  10:32:31 pm, by MedBen5   , 178 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

What Constitutes "Essential" Care?

The Wall Street Journal examines an aspect of health care reform that promises to provoke a great deal of debate: the question of what constitutes “essential” care. When health care exchanges are launched in 2014, regulators are expected to… more »
  05:08:25 pm, by MedBen5   , 182 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Moderate Alcohol Consumption Good For The Heart, Researchers Find

Drinking alcohol in moderation – and we’ll stress those words again, in moderation – may decrease your risk of developing heart disease, USA Today reports. Two separate studies, both by research teams at the University of Calgary,… more »


  08:06:44 pm, by MedBen5   , 352 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

MedBen Cost Containment Partner Recognized By National Cancer Network

AWAC, a leading provider of cost containment and medical consulting solutions to third party administrators and insurance plans, has been recognized by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) as an organization that supports the appropriate… more »


  05:09:51 pm, by MedBen5   , 244 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Gastric Bypass Isn't A Cure-All For Obesity

In the “quick fix” culture we live in, gastric bypass, or GIB, surgery is viewed by some as a cure-all solution to being overweight. No more yo-yo diets or failed exercise campaigns… a few hours under the knife and the problem is… more »


  10:16:33 pm, by MedBen5   , 223 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Third Judge Upholds Constitutionality of Health Reform Law

Another federal judge has weighed in on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, and ruled in the affirmative, The New York Times reports. Judge Gladys Kessler of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, an appointee of President… more »
  09:30:26 pm, by MedBen5   , 176 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Flu Bug Still Out There, And Still Dangerous

If you’ve managed to evade the flu so far this winter, don’t sound the “all-clear” just yet. We’re only just now reaching the peak of the season, and the flu has now got a foothold in all 50 states – and is widespread… more »


  09:46:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 97 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Health and Human Services Launches Health Data Warehouse

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has introduced a one-stop shop for web surfers in search of health data, Employee Benefit News reports. The Health Indicators Warehouse (HIW) contains a wealth of information from 170 data sources,… more »
  09:07:35 pm, by MedBen5   , 165 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Cell Phone Usage Linked to Higher Brain Activity

Sometimes it seems like researchers are working overtime to find a health problem that can be linked to cell phone usage. While a new study doesn’t quite achieve that elusive goal, it does provide fuel for further research and debate. The New… more »


  09:43:52 pm, by MedBen5   , 203 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Major Anti-fraud Sweep Nets 111 Arrests, $226.5 Million in False Claims

Last week, in a massive operation involving more than 700 federal agents from the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services, the Medicare Fraud Task Force arrested 111 doctors, nurses and health care executives in nine cities across the U.S.… more »
  08:58:11 pm, by MedBen5   , 216 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Daily High-fiber Diet Reduces Risk of Premature Death

It’s not like fiber needs any more positive PR – the American public seems to agree that it’s beneficial to you in any number of ways, i.e., lowering cholesterol, aiding with weight loss, and so on. But that won’t stop… more »


  05:34:38 pm, by MedBen5   , 146 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

House Amendments Block Health Reform Funding

USA Today reports that the Republican-led House of Representatives today voted to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as Majority Leader Eric Cantor said they would do last week. During debate on a federal spending bill that would pay for government… more »
  11:25:12 am, by MedBen5   , 179 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Multiple Studies Find Fast-Food Habits Hard to Break

While the FDA shores up the details of the menu-labeling law, researchers have been busy casting doubt upon its effectiveness. Last month, we summarized a study of Seattle fast food restaurants that posted nutritional information on its menu, only to… more »
  10:33:20 am, by MedBen5   , 201 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Put the Pedal to the... Cubicle?

If your job seems like an uphill climb to begin with, you may as well shed some calories as you ascend. A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine actually analyzed the viability of pedaling your way to better health – at your… more »


  05:25:16 pm, by MedBen5   , 256 words,  
Categories: Prescription

Debating the Merits of "Me-Too" Drugs

Are pharmaceutical companies spending too much time and money making duplicates of their most popular products? NPR reports on the issue of “me-too” medications – drugs that serve similar functions (i.e., reducing cholesterol) as… more »
  01:21:57 pm, by MedBen5   , 126 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Kidney Disease Expenses Top $25 Billion Annually

The ACP Internist website reports that medical spending to treat kidney disease averaged $25.3 billion annually from 2003 to 2007, almost half of which was spent on ambulatory visits. Hospital stays accounted for about 40% of yearly costs, followed by… more »


  06:37:48 pm, by MedBen5   , 184 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Breast Pumps Can Now Be Bought with FSA Funds

The Associated Press (via The Detroit News) reports that the IRS has ruled that the cost of breast pumps will be treated as a tax-deductible expense. For MedBen Health FSA participants, this means that pumps and related supplies that assist lactation… more »
  01:08:13 pm, by MedBen5   , 193 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Tread Lightly Before Springing Into Activities

The weather is beginning to warm up (finally!), which means that outdoor activities are just around the corner. But before you get off the couch and get into motion, help your body make the proper transition from inactivity to action. HealthDay News… more »


  06:23:07 pm, by MedBen5   , 281 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Confronting High Medical Costs

As we noted on this blog last week, pivotal to making health coverage available to all – be it through insurance plans, government programs, or a blend of the two – is reducing medical costs. And by ignoring this major issue in favor of… more »
  12:35:10 pm, by MedBen5   , 261 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Heart Not-What-To-Do's

Seeing that today is Valentine’s Day, it seems the perfect time to speak about affairs of the heart. Not the lovey-dovey, arrow-through-it variety, mind you – we’re referring to the fist-sized organ that pumps blood around the body.… more »


  05:38:59 pm, by MedBen5   , 176 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Employee Wellness Incentives on the Rise

Gift cards and contributions to consumer-driven health plans are among the incentives employers are increasingly using to encourage participation in worksite wellness programs, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to a recent Fidelity Investments… more »
  03:26:20 pm, by MedBen5   , 159 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

High-Risk Pool Enrollments Up, But Not By Much

Enrollments in high-risk health pools picked up during the past three months but still lag far behind initial projections, The Washington Post reports. The pools were created last year as a temporary insurance option for individuals with pre-existing… more »
  02:10:10 pm, by MedBen5   , 349 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Stroke Studies Find Rises, Risks and Potential Prevention

For some unknown reason, there’s been a lot of news items about strokes over the past few days. (A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a vessel leading to the brain.) Here’s a roundup of some of the articles we’ve run across: New… more »


  10:24:46 pm, by MedBen5   , 176 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Breast Cancer Study May Reduce Need for Lymph Node Removal

A recent study is having a major impact on an established medical practice, allowing some women with early breast cancers to forgo a potentially painful procedure, USA Today reports. Frequently in breast cancer cases, doctors will remove cancerous… more »
  05:08:35 pm, by MedBen5   , 180 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

GOP Letter Demands Big Changes to Insurance Exchanges

Yesterday we touched on a letter sent earlier this week by 21 Republican governors to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in which they warned that they would not get involved with the creation of state-run insurance exchanges unless… more »
  10:49:05 am, by MedBen5   , 175 words,  
Categories: News

Doctors Share Their Views on Patients

Ever wonder what your doctor is thinking about? Consumer Reports asked 660 primary care providers to dish on their patients – no names, of course, just general opinions – and learned a few interesting things in the process (as reported in… more »


  12:51:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 242 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Republicans Fight Reform Act on State and Federal Levels

Health care reform news has been coming in fast and furious these days. Here are two items that caught our collective eye: During the election campaign, Republican Congressional candidates said that they would would halt funding for health care… more »
  11:16:07 am, by MedBen5   , 194 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Dubious Food Label Claims Under Scrutiny

Government agencies have increasingly cracked down on food companies that place misleading or scientifically unproven claims on their product packaging. But USA Today reports that even accurate food labels may not tell the whole story. The Food and… more »


  06:53:52 pm, by MedBen5   , 270 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Finding A Healthy Balance with Doctor Visits

“See your family doctor once a year.” It’s the kind of sage advice that we’re all familar with, and sometimes even follow. But as author Eric Van De Graaff, MD observes on, doctors themselves have no hard and fast… more »
  06:48:12 pm, by MedBen5   , 179 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

If Insurance Mandate Gets Repealed, What's Next?

All signs point to the legality question of the individual mandate provision being eventually settled in the Supreme Court. That’s likely a ways down the road, but it hasn’t stopped experts (and non-experts) from coming up with possible… more »
  05:13:59 pm, by MedBen5   , 136 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Walking Workouts Good for the Brain

Noting that the hippocampus – a part of the brain critical to memory development – starts to decline around age 55 or 60, some psychologists believe that aerobic activity can reverse the process and actually boost recall. The New York Times… more »


  11:02:56 pm, by MedBen5   , 210 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Real Cost-Saving Health Care Solutions

The See First Blog touches on something that too often gets lost in all the talk about reforming health care – how to bring down the cost of care. It’s easy to point fingers at the health insurance industry about rising premiums, but doing… more »
  02:26:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 194 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study Finds Link Between Childhood Obesity, Formula, and Early Solid Foods

If you want to get your newborn baby on the right path to better health, don’t rush the solid food: That’s the advice of a new study published in the industry journal Pediatrics. Researchers found that formula-fed infants who eat solid food… more »


  06:44:56 pm, by MedBen5   , 278 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Don't Take a Super Bowl Loss to Heart

Ready for the big game? Like most of the roughly one-third of the populace who will be watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, you likely aren’t rooting for one particular team, you just want to see a good game (and good commercials, of course). But if… more »
  06:08:28 pm, by MedBen5   , 209 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Reform Repeal Rejected, But 1099 Reporting Requirement Gets the Axe

As you’ve probably heard by now – and as we’ve predicted on this blog from the get-go – the Senate rejected the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed by the House last month. The votes fell along party lines, 47-51.… more »
  05:42:09 pm, by MedBen5   , 224 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Avoid Making Workout Mistakes

Sticking to your resolution to put in a little more time at the gym? As the Women’s Day website points out, “getting to the gym on a regular basis is only half the battle.” Equally important is to commit yourself to a varied and… more »


  05:52:56 pm, by MedBen5   , 527 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Florida Ruling Challenges Reach of Federal Powers

As we reported on this blog yesterday, a federal judge in Florida has ruled that a key element of the health care reform act – the mandate that every U.S. citizen purchase health insurance – is unconstitutional. As the attorneys general from… more »
  05:30:15 pm, by MedBen5   , 174 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Bad Cholesterol Still High in Many U.S. Adults, CDC Reports

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced yesterday that one-third of American adults have high levels of bad cholesterol, and only half of them get treatment for it. Further, many of those who do receive treatment still fail to control… more »
  04:59:08 pm, by MedBen5   , 227 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Legislation Calling for Removal of FSA Restrictions Forthcoming

As we write this, the Senate is debating the health-care reform repeal bill already passed by the Republican-led House. As we await a vote later this evening in which (SPOILER ALERT) the Democratic-led Senate rejects the bill, we’ll focus on… more »


  06:08:13 pm, by MedBen5   , 194 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Federal Judge finds Health Reform Law Unconstitutional

Talk about upping the ante… Roger Vinson, a federal judge in Florida, has ruled that the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional, and therefore the entire law “must be declared void,” The Wall Street… more »
  05:15:01 pm, by MedBen5   , 187 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Cold Hard Facts (and Fiction) about Colds

Got a cold? Put down the orange juice and brew up a kettle of tea. That’s just two of the handy hints you’ll find in the Woman’s Day article, “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Colds“. To be clear, there’s… more »
  04:38:05 pm, by MedBen5   , 170 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

FDA Rejects Weight-loss Drug

It’s one step forward, two steps back for diet drug manufacturers. After the advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration endorsed the weight-loss pill Contrave in December, the common wisdom that final approval by the FDA was a near… more »
  03:39:51 pm, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Breakfast Doesn't Influence Overall Food Consumption, Study Finds

Breakfast may be “the most important meal of the day", but as a foundation for the meals to follow, eating more in the morning doesn’t guarantee you’ll eat less in the afternoon and evening. That’s the conclusion of a new study,… more »