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Archives for: July 2011

07/29/11

  05:41:38 pm, by MedBen5   , 203 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Heart Disease Prevention Benefits Physically And Financially

Preventing health disease saves lives but can also aid the nation’s struggling economy, says a new statement from the American Heart Association (AHA). WebMD reports that direct and indirect costs of the disease topped $450 billion in 2010, and… more »
  04:56:19 pm, by MedBen5   , 192 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Legal Group Asks Supreme Court To Review Individual Mandate

The highest court in the land may be one step closer to deciding the question of whether Americans can be required to purchase health insurance. Earlier this week, the Thomas More Law Center asked the Supreme Court to review and overturn an appeal court… more »
  02:17:52 pm, by MedBen5   , 192 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Few Customers Heeding Calorie Info At Fast-Food Restaurants

Fast-food restaurant patrons are following the calorie information on menu boards – provided they notice them in the first place. Trouble is, most people aren’t paying any attention, WebMD reports. A multi-year study of New York City fast… more »

07/28/11

  05:52:51 pm, by MedBen5   , 223 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

CMS Report Predicts Big Jump In Health Care Spending

Americans will continue to see health spending rise this decade, from $2.6 trillion last year to a projected $4.6 trillion in 2020, CNN reports. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that with the introduction of the Affordable… more »
  04:26:44 pm, by MedBen5   , 264 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Wellness

Extending Pill Life Carries Safety Concerns

The Los Angeles Times looks at methods people use to get extra mileage out of their medications. Is there any harm in cutting pills? What about taking medicine after it has expired? Pill Splitting: Even before one considers whether half a pill is… more »
  10:34:42 am, by MedBen5   , 177 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Mammography Software Ineffective In Finding Tumors, Study Says

Computer-aided detection technology (CAD) used in conjuction with breast cancer screenings doesn’t help doctors find invasive tumors, according to new research. Medical Xpress reports that not only did radiologists find tumors at a similar stage… more »

07/27/11

  05:08:09 pm, by MedBen5   , 338 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Health Plan Management

MedBen Well On Pace To Meet HIPAA 5010 Standards

To ensure that personal information is handled in strict accordance with federal government regulations, MedBen is in the process of upgrading its computer coding to comply with HIPAA 5010 transaction standards. All health benefit companies and… more »
  01:36:59 pm, by MedBen5   , 174 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

A Wave Of Expiring Rx Patents Promises Lower Generic Costs

People who regularly use Lipitor, Plavix and several other popular brand-name drugs will soon have an opportunity to substantially lower their prescription budgets. The Associated Press reports over the next 14 months, seven of the world’s 20… more »
  12:20:24 pm, by MedBen5   , 236 words,  
Categories: Wellness

When The Temperature Rises, Stay Safe

As many parts of the United States grapple with an expended spell of hot weather, keeping cool is more than a matter of comfort – it’s critical to your well-being as well. HealthDay News notes that health problems caused by extreme heat kill… more »

07/26/11

  01:29:43 pm, by MedBen5   , 238 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Keeping The Patient Front And "Centered"

Evan Falchuk, on his See First blog, examines “patient-centered care” – how it benefits patient and provider alike, and how a growing problem puts the concept in jeopardary. Falchuk highlights a recent University of California study which notes… more »
  11:15:05 am, by MedBen5   , 247 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

"Gaming" Health Care Reform Loopholes

When you write a 2,700-page piece of legislation, it’s inevitable you’re going to accidently drop in a loophole here and there (and there, and there…). John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog spotlights a dispatch from Chris Jacobs,… more »
  10:41:48 am, by MedBen5   , 219 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Happy Meals To Get Slightly Healthier

Following a pledge by major restaurant chains to offer healthier menu options for children, McDonald’s has announced that it will make changes to its popular Happy Meals. The Los Angeles Times reports that the fast food behemoth will add a serving… more »

07/25/11

  05:26:32 pm, by MedBen5   , 203 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Using Generics For Chronic Conditions May Mean Big Savings

A team of Harvard researchers has taken a closer look at the potential savings of using generic drugs to treat chronic conditions, ACP Internist reports – and found, compared to brand-name medications, a per-patient cost differential adding up to… more »
  04:39:47 pm, by MedBen5   , 260 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Ohio Will Build A State Insurance Exchange, Governor Says

Add Ohio to the list of the states that will create its own health insurance exchange. Gov. John Kasich said last week that plans are moving forward to build a marketplace that would allow uninsured individuals and small businesses to purchase… more »
  03:53:47 pm, by MedBen5   , 200 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Smartphones May Overwork Your Eyes, Study Finds

Smartphones may be here to stay, but our visual abilities haven’t evolved accordingly. New research shows that reading text messages or browsing the Internet on a Smartphone forces our eyes to work harder, according to USA Today. As the type on… more »

07/22/11

  02:40:34 pm, by MedBen5   , 200 words,  
Categories: Announcements

REMINDER: MedBen Access Offline During New Computer Installation

Just a quick reminder that the MedBen Access online customer service center will be unavailable this weekend, beginning at Noon on July 23. The website will be available to answer your claims and benefits questions again no later than 7 a.m. on Monday,… more »
  12:49:10 pm, by MedBen5   , 158 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Health Panel Recommends Free Birth Control Coverage

An Institute of Medicine panel has recommended that all health insurance plans be required to cover female contraceptives in full under the Affordable Care Act, The New York Times reports. The Department of Health and Human Services, which will… more »
  10:42:19 am, by MedBen5   , 226 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Stay Safe This Summer!

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy… except, of course, for the numerous ways you can do serious damage to yourself. While you’re enjoying the warm weather, keep safety in mind as well. In that spirit, WebMD lists the top seven summer… more »

07/20/11

  06:10:07 pm, by MedBen5   , 251 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Dental Exam Can Detect Onset Of Diabetes, Study Finds

A new study spotlighted in Medical News Today clearly demonstrates that the benefits of the dental exam go beyond healthier teeth and gums. Researchers at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine found that regular checkups can help dentists… more »
  05:36:14 pm, by MedBen5   , 161 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Menu Calories Vs. Actual Calories Reveals Huge Disparity

Don’t take the restuarant calorie counts at face value, an article in the Los Angeles Times warns. A scientific comparision of stated calories compared to actual amounts found about 20% of meals contain at least 100 calories more than what is… more »

07/19/11

  04:32:55 pm, by MedBen5   , 180 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Over $600 Billion Spent On Pain Management Annually

America spends upwards of $635 billion every year on the treatment of chronic pain, according to MedPage Today. A recent Institute of Medicine report, mandated by the Affordable Care Act, found that pain afflicts at least 116 million U.S. adults… more »
  10:51:31 am, by MedBen5   , 179 words,  
Categories: News

Medicare Overly Generous With Scooter Purchases

Have you seen those scooter ads which mention that Medicare may pick up the entire cost, so customer don’t pay one dime? Turns out that’s true more often than not – even if you don’t really need one. An InsureBlog posting says… more »
  09:45:51 am, by MedBen5   , 178 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Updated Family Cancer History Key For Screening Schedule

Updating your family cancer history every five to 10 years helps your primary care doctor create a proper cancer screening schedule, WebMD reports. A decade-long study of adults between the ages of 30 and 50 revealed that family risk profiles change… more »

07/18/11

  01:58:04 pm, by MedBen5   , 210 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Bipartisan Bill Would Repeal Unpopular OTC Provision

The Affordable Care Act provision that requires a prescription to buy over-the-counter drugs with medical savings account funds has proven unpopular with consumers and physicians alike. So unpopular, in fact, that bipartisan legislation has been… more »
  12:57:28 pm, by MedBen5   , 215 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Restaurant Chains Pledge To Offer Healthier Kids' Meals

In an effort to fight childhood obesity, a group of major restaurant companies have promised to offer healthier menu options for younger customers, the Los Angeles Times reports. Fast-food giant Burger King, the most prominent participant, says that it… more »

07/15/11

  05:12:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 237 words,  
Categories: Announcements

MedBen Access To Be Offline For New Computer Installation

The MedBen Access online customer service will be unavailable from Saturday, July 23 through early morning Monday, July 25, while MedBen installs new computers. MedBen Access will go offline at approximately Noon on July 23. While most services will be… more »
  03:42:52 pm, by MedBen5   , 274 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Employers, Government Debate The "Full-Time" Definition

Some larger employers are pushing the Internal Revenue Service to redefine “full-time worker” as it pertains to health care coverage, The Wall Street Journal reports. (The article is available only to WSJ subscribers.) The Affordable Care… more »
  10:37:44 am, by MedBen5   , 211 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Are Toning Shoes Worth The Extra Money?

The New York Times tackles a question on the minds of millions of Americans: Can Kim Kardashian be trusted? Okay, it’s not actually Kim herself that’s the issue, but a product that she, as well as such respected sports figures as Joe… more »

07/14/11

  12:22:10 pm, by MedBen5   , 234 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Men At Greater Risk Of Cancer Death

Health.com reports that men have about a 1 in 2 chance of developing cancer during their lifetimes, while women have a 1 in 3 chance, according to American Cancer Society estimates. An analysis of 36 different types of tumors and blood cancers that… more »
  11:10:18 am, by MedBen5   , 219 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Exchange Rules Give States Some Elbow Room

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration has released regulations that give states greater flexibility in the design of health insurance exchanges – marketplaces that will enable uninsured individuals and small businesses to… more »

07/13/11

  04:56:21 pm, by MedBen5   , 207 words,  
Categories: Prescription

The Pros & Cons Of Generic Drugs Copying The Brand Name "Look"

The Pharmalot blog asks the question, “Should generic pills look like brand-name pills?” The article notes that brand-name pills were once deliberately different from their generic equivalents for several reasons – patent protection… more »
  04:17:16 pm, by MedBen5   , 222 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Family Meals Help To Set Children On A Healthy Course

Between eating supper in front of the TV set and grabbing a quick bite on the way to an after-school sporting event, the traditional “dinner-around-an-actual-dinner-table” concept has fallen a bit by the wayside. But a Medical News Today… more »

07/12/11

  04:31:03 pm, by MedBen5   , 271 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

FSA Debit Cards To Require PINs

A new Federal Reserve rule will require users of employee benefit cards, including MedBen’s “Benny” debit card, to have a personal identification number (PIN) in order to perform some transactions. The “Benny” card, which allows MedBen… more »
  12:46:17 pm, by MedBen5   , 176 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Deconstructing Medicare's Administrative Cost Myth

Writing for Forbes, health care analyst Avik Roy breaks down the myth of Medicare’s “low administrative costs”. Noting that supporters of federal health care reform argue that Medicare’s administrative expenses are just 3% of its… more »
  11:21:18 am, by MedBen5   , 210 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study Examines The Salt-Potassium Balancing Act

For such an innocuous-looking substance, salt sure gets a lot of attention. (Check out our archives for proof.) The Los Angeles Times reports on yet another sodium study – this one examining the relationship between salt and potassium. During the… more »

07/11/11

  05:22:08 pm, by MedBen5   , 192 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Nearsightedness, Glaucoma May Be Linked, Study Suggests

Reuters recently reported that people who suffer from nearsightedness may be about 90% more likely to also develop glaucoma. Reviewing the findings of 11 previous vision studies, researchers recommended that nearsighted people – a third of the… more »
  12:40:06 pm, by MedBen5   , 165 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

E-prescriptions Continue To Rise, But Not Without Errors

Electronic prescriptions continue to make inroads, but it appears some of the bugs still need to be worked out. As we noted a couple months ago, 36% of office-based physicians transmit their prescriptions electronically. In 2010, providers sent more… more »
  11:53:57 am, by MedBen5   , 292 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

The "1 Weird Old Tip" Link Offers Bad Advice

If you’ve spent even a short time perusing online news sites, you’ve likely seen the ad: A poorly animated drawing of a woman’s stomach with accompanying text, “Cut down a bit of your belly everyday by following this 1 weird old tip.”… more »

07/08/11

  05:52:54 pm, by MedBen5   , 223 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Mouthwash No Substitute For Dental Care

Chances are you know that gargling with mouthwash is no substitute for brushing and flossing. But apparently mouthwash manufacturers would like you to think otherwise – which is why the Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly been breathing… more »
  01:28:23 pm, by MedBen5   , 292 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Health And Attitude Go Hand In Hand

On the subject of rising health care costs, John Kaegi, Chief Strategist of Healthstat Inc., hits the nail on the head (on the KevinMD.com blog): “As in most things, health has interconnected, but contrary forces – its “yin and yang.”… more »
  10:29:46 am, by MedBen5   , 283 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Smart Grilling Reduces Cancer Risk

When you fire up the backyard grill, the last thing you want to think about is what that big juicy steak is doing to your health. But for experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research, the topic looms large – so much so, they issue yearly… more »

07/07/11

  06:15:01 pm, by MedBen5   , 225 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Many Angioplasty Procedures Are Inappropriate, Study Finds

For most patients with coronary artery disease, an angioplasty is considered a proper method of treatment. But The Wall Street Journal reports that some doctors are too quick to use the $20,000 procedure in cases where disease symptoms are mild or even… more »
  04:32:57 pm, by MedBen5   , 209 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Report Gives Americans A Big Fat "F"

Okay, nobody would expect that a report on obesity in American would offer much in the way of good news. But maybe, just maybe, we’d find some little positive scrap amidst the gloom. No such luck. “F As In Fat: How Obesity Threatens… more »

07/06/11

  04:15:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 155 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Federal Government Reduces High-Risk Insurance Premiums

NPR reports that the Obama administration has reduced premiums for high-risk insurance plans by as much as 40%. The action, effective July 1, was taken in response to initial enrollment numbers that have lagged well behind original projections.… more »
  01:29:37 pm, by MedBen5   , 215 words,  
Categories: News

Screenings Reduce Colon Cancer Prevalence, Deaths

Last week we noted that nearly one-third of Americans over age 50 have never undergone a colon cancer screening. Perhaps sensing a need to spur that group into action, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that the prevalance of… more »

07/05/11

  05:02:33 pm, by MedBen5   , 203 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

New Directory Uses Quantitative Data To Compare Local Providers

The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports on a new online directory that can help patients find superior local health care. In “Comparing Health Care Quality: A National Directory“, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has gathered 224… more »
  04:25:49 pm, by MedBen5   , 206 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Can't Quit Smoking? Get Into The Text Habit

Just can’t kick that cigarette habit? You may want to tear off the nicotine patch and reach for your cell phone. USA Today reports that smokers double their chances of quitting if they receive supportive text messages. In a British study of… more »

07/01/11

  03:59:42 pm, by MedBen5   , 231 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Prescription

Investigation Finds Safety Guides Missing From Rx Information

While the Food and Drug Adminstration is making an effort to streamline the amount of information provided with prescription medications, some pharmacies have apparently taken the initiative – or, more likely, are just being forgetful – and… more »
  02:46:10 pm, by MedBen5   , 232 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Flawed Reform Law Language Benefits Early Retirees

The Associated Press has spotted some “fuzzy math” in the Affordable Care Act that could cost older people some extra money… potentially as much as $1,200 a year for single adults, and substantially more for married couples. A… more »
  01:50:53 pm, by MedBen5   , 307 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Shoot The "Works" Safely This Weekend

Setting off any store-bought fireworks this holiday weekend? Because if you are… well, confidentally, just between us… you really shouldn’t. What with all the risk of bodily injury, property damage, setting stuff on fire, irritating… more »