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Archives for: May 2011

05/31/11

  05:52:55 pm, by MedBen5   , 230 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Drug Labels Stuffed With Side Effect Info: Study

We recently posted here about efforts by the Food and Drug Administration to streamline prescription drug instructions. As it turns out, there’s a good reason for doing so: The lists of side effects for many popular medications could fill up an… more »
  04:25:07 pm, by MedBen5   , 258 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Decreased Physical Activity At Job Translates To Increased Weight

An increasing lack of physical activity at the workplace may be a contributing factor to the nationwide rise in obesity, The New York Times reports. Researchers for the journal PLoS One found that the percentage of jobs requiring moderate physical… more »

05/27/11

  04:52:11 pm, by MedBen5   , 281 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Wellness

Wellness Compliance Information Available on MedBen Access

MedBen Worksite Wellness members have access to a convenient online feature that tracks important medical information. Simply by going to the MedBen Access website, you can check your compliance with six critical wellness examinations. MedBen Worksite… more »
  03:40:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 156 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study: Almost 1 In 5 Young Adults Have High Blood Pressure

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health has found that nearly 1 in 5 young adults has high blood pressure, USA Today reports. Researchers from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill asked men and women between the ages of 24 and 32… more »
  03:04:15 pm, by MedBen5   , 210 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Practice Safe Grilling This Holiday Weekend

Gonna fire up the grill this holiday weekend? Nancy Donely, founder of STOP Foodborne Illness, offers a few suggestions (via HealthDay News) to ensure that your barbeque or picnic fixin’s stay safe before, during and after preparation. Keep a… more »

05/26/11

  04:33:06 pm, by MedBen5   , 214 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Diet Programs Among Least Popular Weight Loss Options, Study Finds

Last week, we wrote about a Consumer Reports study that declared Jenny Craig to be the most effective diet program (at least when offered for free). But as so often seems to happen, along comes another study to bring Jenny and her ilk down a peg.… more »

05/25/11

  04:29:28 pm, by MedBen5   , 235 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Survey Spotlights Employer Thoughts On Health Care Plans

The crew at Price Waterhouse Coopers has apparently been busy these days. Last week, the consulting firm reported that employers can expect average health care cost increases of 8.5% in 2012. This month also saw the release of PWC’s 2011 Health… more »
  01:29:33 pm, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Top Five "Don'ts" For Family Doctors

A group of doctors has a few ideas about how fellow members of their profession can improve quality while reducing costs, NPR reports. And better yet, they’ve tested their ideas and offered them up in convenient list form. The group’s work,… more »

05/24/11

  02:04:30 pm, by MedBen5   , 314 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Health Plan Management

MedBen Rolling Out Online Medical Provider Portal

MedBen clients and their plan members already have the ability to check claims and benefits online. Now, our network of medical providers can avail themselves of the same convenience by logging on to the MedBen Access website. Using the… more »
  12:15:44 pm, by MedBen5   , 295 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Health Reform Notes: Government Compromise And Authority

There are no big news stories on the health care reform radar at the moment, but a couple of related items peaked our interest: Several top congressional Republican have bandied about the “C’ word – compromise – in regard to… more »
  10:41:47 am, by MedBen5   , 211 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Simple Steps To Prevent Arthritis

The Harvard Health Blog reminds readers that May is National Arthritis Awareness Month (in case your calendar wasn’t already marked). One important point stressed is arthritis is not an inevitable part of getting old. While about 20% of adults in… more »

05/23/11

  04:52:09 pm, by MedBen5   , 118 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

IRS Releases HSA Cost-of-living Adjustments

The IRS has released the 2012 cost-of-living adjustments affecting HSAs. The HSA contribution limits and HDHP out-of-pocket maximums will increase, while the HDHP minimum required deductibles remain the same. HSA Contribution Limits – The… more »
  04:30:50 pm, by MedBen5   , 223 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Retroactive Termination of Former Spouse's Coverage Doesn't Constitute Rescission

Consulting firm EBIA has addressed the question of employer responsibility when an employee divorces but doesn’t notify their employer until sometime later. Does retroactively cancelling the ex-spouse’s insurance coverage back to the date of… more »
  04:09:36 pm, by MedBen5   , 244 words,  
Categories: Wellness

U.S. Obesity Graphs Paint An Unflattering Picture

In an eye-opening sets of charts and graphs, NPR shows the state of obesity in America – its growth over the past two decades, its costs, and how our eating habits have changed in the last half-century. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a… more »

05/20/11

  04:02:53 pm, by MedBen5   , 214 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Medical Malpractice Reform Loses Momentum

Malpractice reform seems like one health care issue that both political parties could find some common ground – even President Obama stated as much in his State of Union address. But the Connecticut Mirror reports that progress on curbing… more »
  01:05:13 pm, by MedBen5   , 377 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Weight-Loss Program Comparison Omits Vital Information

As we’ve mentioned here before, scientific research is only as good as the methodology used to gather data. For example, in a recent study linking coffee to a reduced stroke risk in women (posted here in March), researchers used basic… more »
  11:07:38 am, by MedBen5   , 186 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Government Prepares Citizenry For Looming Zombie Onslaught (No, Really)

An “Only-because-it’s-Friday” post… The Centers for Disease Control has posted instructions on how to ensure readiness for the upcoming zombie apocalypse. And no, we’re not kidding. “The rise of zombies in pop… more »

05/19/11

  05:28:45 pm, by MedBen5   , 269 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

US Employer Health Cost Expected To Rise 8.5% In 2012

Employer health care costs will rise by an average of 8.5% in 2012, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study. The Wall Street Journal MarketWatch reports that while more moderate than previous years, the cost increase does reflect a growing… more »
  12:10:12 pm, by MedBen5   , 172 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

FDA Panel Recommends Infant Doses On Children's Fever Medicines

The federal government may require soon changes to the packaging of children’s medications. USA Today reports that a panel of Food and Drug Administration advisors voted unanimously yesterday to add doses for children six months to two years old… more »
  11:29:43 am, by MedBen5   , 273 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Battling Kid Obesity Through Toy Bans, Clown Layoffs

The fast food industry has, of late, been caught in the crosshairs of local governments and public health advocates. Back in September, we noted that the city of San Francisco was in the process of enacting a ban on free toys in McDonald’s Happy… more »

05/18/11

  05:35:41 pm, by MedBen5   , 285 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Winning The Workplace Snack War

We’ve all done it: We’re at work, we walk by a candy jar or open bag of “fun-sized” chocolate bars, and our resolve immediately goes right out the window. We grab a couple – one for now, one for ten minutes later –… more »
  01:33:25 pm, by MedBen5   , 344 words,  
Categories: News

Insurance Exchanges Already Giving States Headaches

Health insurance exchanges, a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act, will offer individuals and business a standard package of benefits while giving states a fair amount of leeway in their operation. And even though they won’t be available until… more »
  11:54:51 am, by MedBen5   , 196 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

High Coffee Consumption May Ward Off Deadly Prostate Cancer: Study

What a difference a day makes… just a mere 24 hours ago, we posted an item about a study linking obesity to the spread of prostate cancer. And now comes news about another prostate cancer study… but this time, the results are much more… more »

05/17/11

  12:16:45 pm, by MedBen5   , 232 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Major Savings Potential From Enhanced Anti-Fraud Focus

The jury is still out (way, way out, really) on the ultimate effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act, but there’s no denying that at least one good thing has come from it. The federal government has stepped up efforts to reduce fraudlent activity… more »
  11:21:40 am, by MedBen5   , 200 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Cost Awareness Translates To Reduction In Unneeded Blood Tests

You’re probably heard the saying that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing"… and in the wrong hands, that may be true. But get the right knowledge to the right people and good things can happen. Case in point: A new study finds… more »
  10:43:58 am, by MedBen5   , 160 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study Links Obesity To Prostate Cancer Spread

There’s yet another good reason for males to pay a little more attention to their waist size. In a new study, researchers found that obese and overweight men greatly increased their risk of prostate cancer spreading. WebMD reports that overweight… more »

05/13/11

  04:44:50 pm, by MedBen5   , 266 words,  
Categories: Prescription

Painkiller Studies Emphasize Need For Professional Rx Guidance

Is online availability of prescription medicines contributing to rising drug abuse? That’s the hypothesis posed in a Health Affairs study, which shows that from the years 1997 to 2007, admissions to drug abuse treatment facilities increased 1% for… more »
  03:22:15 pm, by MedBen5   , 307 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Separating Sunscreen Myths From Reality

Here in the Midwest, we’re finally seeing a spell of warm weather… and only two months into spring, no less! But for us fair-skinned types – and really, anyone who wants to take steps to guard against skin cancer – it’s… more »

05/12/11

  05:36:34 pm, by MedBen5   , 202 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

AMA President On Health Insurance And Individual Responsibility

KevinMD.com features a guest column by American Medical Association President Cecil B. Wilson, who writes about the importance of responsibility when it comes to health insurance – for the individuals who do and don’t have it, as well as for… more »
  05:10:52 pm, by MedBen5   , 158 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Over One-Third Of Doctor's Offices Now E-Prescribe

The era of handing the pharmacist a seemingly illegible presecription may soon come to a close. Medscape Medical News reports that an etimated 36% of office-based physicians were transmitting theur prescriptions electronically in 2010 – a jump of… more »

05/11/11

  05:55:46 pm, by MedBen5   , 164 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Nine States Want Medical Loss Ratio Requirement Reduced

NPR reports that nine states have asked the federal government to waive the requirement that insurers spend at least 80% of their premiums on medical care or give rebates to individual policyholders. Under current Affordable Care Act guidelines,… more »
  04:57:29 pm, by MedBen5   , 226 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Workplace Harmony May Contribute To Longer Lives

Sure, your fellow employees can drive you up a tree sometimes. But if you can somehow find a way to keep your work relationships on an even keel, not only it you make the workday more tolerable, it may give you more time down the road to enjoy your… more »

05/10/11

  05:28:30 pm, by MedBen5   , 211 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

MedBen Among Attendees at Fisher-Titus Health Fair

MedBen was among the organizations in attendance at the 1st Annual Fisher-Titus Medical Center (FTMC) Employee Health Fair in Norwalk, Ohio on Tuesday, May 10. Headed by FTMC Vice President of Human Resources Phil Annarino and Benefits Coordinator… more »
  04:14:39 pm, by MedBen5   , 183 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Twin Bills Propose National Single-Payer Health Care System

Republicans have been pretty busy these days introducing – and in the House, passing – bills to change the face of federal health care reform. So you can’t really blame those on the other side of the aisle for wanting to get in on the… more »
  03:25:17 pm, by MedBen5   , 216 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Many Patients Receive Excessive Colon Cancer Screenings: Study

Yesterday on this blog, we touched on the question of how early and often women should receive mammograms. Today, we look at the other side of the equation, albeit regarding a different test – patients who get colorectal cancer screenings more… more »

05/09/11

  05:25:47 pm, by MedBen5   , 212 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

High-Risk Plan Popularity Improves, Though Enrollments Still Low

Enrollment in high-risk insurance pools has grown steadily this year, but still lags well behind initial estimates. NPR reports. As of the end of March, 18,313 people nationwide have signed up for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan – a… more »
  04:10:12 pm, by MedBen5   , 214 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Despite Guideline Controversy, Women Think Mammograms Should Start In 40s

When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended in 2009 that most women don’t need to get a mammogram until age 50, it set off an immediate firestorm, followed quickly by an about-face from the Department of Health and Human… more »

05/06/11

  05:39:01 pm, by MedBen5   , 257 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Health Survey Results Emphasize Need For Wellness Promotion

First, the bad news: A new annual survey from the International Food Information Council found that people are steadily losing interest in keeping the excess pounds off. According to WebMD, only 57% of respondents say they are concerned about their… more »
  12:50:06 pm, by MedBen5   , 228 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Health Plan Management

US Near The Bottom In OOP Health Spending Percentage

Megan McArdle of The Atlantic recently published an interesting chart that we thought we’d share with you here. The chart appears in an response to a piece by columnist Paul Krugman in which he criticizes consumer-driven health plans because,… more »
  10:48:53 am, by MedBen5   , 237 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Making "Healthier" Fast Food Breakfast Choices

Let’s face it… you’re in the car one morning, you’re in a hurry, but you’re hungry… what are you gonna do? Most likely, you get in line at the drive-thru of your local fast food outlet for quick relief. Of course, you… more »

05/05/11

  03:55:39 pm, by MedBen5   , 200 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

26 States File Motion Challenging Health Reform Law

Plantiffs representing 26 states have filed a motion asking the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to uphold a federal judge’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act exceeds the federal government’s powers, the Associated Press reports.… more »
  01:10:28 pm, by MedBen5   , 243 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Excess Salt Good For You? Depends Who You Ask

A brouhaha that has arisen from a new sodium study that demonstrates how such research should be taken with a grain of, er. salt. WebMD reports that a Belgian study of sodium levels in healthy middle-aged people found that those with higher sodium… more »

05/04/11

  05:16:33 pm, by MedBen5   , 288 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Most People Uninformed About OTC Ingredients, Study Finds

A troubling study finds that many people are unaware of the active ingredients in over-the-counter pain relievers, Medical Express reports. Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine researchers learned that only 31% of participants knew… more »
  04:03:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 216 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

House Repeals Funding For State Insurance Exchanges

As we reported here a few days ago, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted in March to repeal grants to help states set up health insurance exchanges. Yesterday, the full House concurred, voting 238-183 to cut funding, according to The Associated… more »

05/03/11

  04:50:29 pm, by MedBen5   , 198 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Consumer-Driven Approach Appealing To More Businesses

Medical News Today reports that consumer-driven health plans continue to grow in popularity. According to a Mercer study commissioned by the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations (AAPPO), CDHP enrollments rose from 23 million in 2009… more »
  03:55:09 pm, by MedBen5   , 221 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Survey Highlights U.S. Health Care Concerns

The Kevin.MD blog brings up a rather brilliant point: When members of Congress were shaping the Affordable Care Act, just how much input did they get from average Americans about what they want from health care? The Commonwealth Fund has taken on the… more »
  03:02:49 pm, by MedBen5   , 169 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Studies Link Extra Weight To Physical And Mental Risks

Need even more incentive to get off the couch and on the treadmill? Here’s two new studies that may give you additional, uh, food for thought: Even a slight beer belly increases the risk of death for people with coronary artery disease, say… more »

05/01/11

  11:50:57 pm, by MedBen5   , 107 words,  
Categories: Announcements

Ohio Senate Bill 5 Summary Now Available to Registered MedBen Clients

MedBen has put together a summary of Ohio Senate Bill 5 (SB 5), which Governor John Kasich recently passed into law. The comprehensive – and controversial – legislation re-defines how public employers and their employees can collectively… more »
  10:08:50 pm, by MedBen5   , 150 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Repeal Of Exchange Grant Could Save $14 Billion, But Lead To Enrollment Headaches

The Hill website reports that repealing grants to help states set up health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act could save $14 billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office – but no grants would also… more »
  09:22:18 pm, by MedBen5   , 274 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Tired Of Insomnia? Try These Natural Fixes

Given how many Americans get less than eight hours of sleep every night, the last thing we can afford is to lose what little rest we do allow ourselves. So should you suffer from insomnia, it helps to have a game plan to dose off again fast. And if you… more »