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Archives for: August 2011

08/31/11

  06:05:45 pm, by MedBen5   , 230 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Employer COBRA Subsidies End Today... For Good?

Employer subsidies to former employees who qualify for COBRA coverage formally comes to an end today, Kaiser Health News reports. Congress first approved the 65% subsidy in February 2009 as part of the federal stimulus package, and extended it several… more »
  04:36:03 pm, by MedBen5   , 256 words,  
Categories: Prescription

The Lipitor OTC Debate Rages On

The New York Times checks in on the current debate as to whether or not the FDA should allow drugmaker Pfizer to release an over-the-counter of its cholesterol drug Lipitor. Earlier this month, we posted reactions from members of the medical blogging… more »
  01:15:30 pm, by MedBen5   , 191 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Most Doctors Recommend Pap Tests More Often Than Needed

A recent study by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that many doctors advise annual screenings for cervical cancer, despite current guidelines that say most women require tests less frequently, according to MedicineNet.com. An… more »

08/30/11

  05:52:34 pm, by MedBen5   , 217 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Employees Willing To Pay More To Keep Health Care Benefits

A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll reveals that while employees with employer-sponsored health insurance may not like rising health care costs, they would rather retain the coverage they have than lose certain benefits to pay lower premiums.… more »
  03:53:25 pm, by MedBen5   , 250 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Lower Your Risk Of A Misdiagnosis

See First Blog’s Evan Falchuk reminds potential patients that regardless of the level of doctor expertise, technology and testing, misdiagnoses do regularly occur – as much as 44% of the time, depending on the illness. He offers five… more »
  01:20:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 226 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

A Little Chocolate Helps The Heart, Study Suggests

A team of researchers at the University of Cambridge have probably made themselves a whole bunch of new friends in the wake of their announcement that chocolate may benefit the heart and brain. The New York Times reports that an analysis of seven… more »

08/29/11

  01:27:27 pm, by MedBen5   , 243 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

NBC Medical News Story Doesn't Tell Both Sides

Gary Schwitzer’s HealthNewsReview Blog offers some strong evidence that when it comes to medical news, getting a second opinion is probably a good idea. A recent NBC Nightly News story essentially endorsed the C-reactive protein, or CRP, test as… more »
  12:28:57 pm, by MedBen5   , 229 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study: Cardio Activity Better At Battling Beer Belly Than Weights

You’ve read a thousand times, probably a couple dozen on this blog alone – the best way to get in shape is through a regimen of cardiovascular activities and resistance training. And while we stand by that advice, it is true that cardio… more »

08/26/11

  05:18:04 pm, by MedBen5   , 219 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Report Finds Vaccines Generally Safe, No Link To Autism

In recent years, vaccines have been under the microscope – and in more that just the scientific sense. Accusations that the vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) causes autism – in particular, a since-discredited 1998 study… more »
  04:01:42 pm, by MedBen5   , 142 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Don't Stress Out At Work

As we spent a fairly good chunk of our time in the workplace, it’s hardly surprising that job-related stress can carry over into our personal lives. Knowing how to cope with stress at work helps us to maintain job productivity and make our… more »

08/25/11

  05:54:03 pm, by MedBen5   , 225 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Most Large Employers Making Health Plan Changes In 2012

A recent employer survey offers an overview of what employers are doing to keep health care benefit costs down while preparing for upcoming reform regulations. The National Business Group on Health, a non-profit association of mostly large employers,… more »
  12:02:32 pm, by MedBen5   , 248 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Wellness

Avoid Common Pain Pill Mistakes

Even people who follow drug labels to the letter can easily abuse pain pills. When you’re hurting, painkillers promise fast relief – and what’s the big deal in taking a couple extra to speed things along? But improper use of… more »
  10:56:13 am, by MedBen5   , 232 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Do Your Homework When Choosing A Doctor

In the market for a new doctor? US News and World Report says that finding the physician that’s right for you isn’t simply a matter of weeding out the bad ones from the good ones – it’s a partnership that requires mutual respect… more »

08/24/11

  05:52:06 pm, by MedBen5   , 238 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Obama Administration Proposes Shared Exchanges

As we’ve noted on this blog, most states haven’t been particularly proactive in developing insurance exchanges, which would enable uninsured individuals and small businesses to purchase coverage. Acknowledging the tepid response – and… more »
  04:33:49 pm, by MedBen5   , 242 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Positive Developments In Heart Attack Care, ALS Research

Because it’s always refreshing to read some good news, here are a couple of positive developments from the medical community: Hospitals giving faster heart attack care. In just five years, hospitals nationwide have vastly improved their intial… more »

08/23/11

  05:12:46 pm, by MedBen5   , 231 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Heed The Warning Signs Of Low Vision

A segment of eyeglass and contact lens wearers know from experience that corrective lenses are no guarantee of perfect vision. Some individuals suffer from what the National Eye Institute calls “low vision". The condition can be genetic or develop… more »
  12:11:15 pm, by MedBen5   , 206 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Flu Shots A Must For Most This Season

Gee, didn’t we just get over the last flu season? Sure seems like it, but a new one is already looming – and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want to put a, uh, bug in your ear about it. MedPage Today reports that the CDC… more »
  11:00:46 am, by MedBen5   , 179 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Subjective FDA Guidelines Lead To Misleading Rx Ads, Study Says

“Let the buyer beware.” It’s a mantra any smart consumer shopper follows when making a purchase – and one that goes double when deciding on a medication. To help consumers, as well as health care professionals, sort through the… more »

08/19/11

  05:12:31 pm, by MedBen5   , 256 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Government "Tweak" May Encourage Employers To Drop Coverage

The “will they/won’t they” question of employers offering health coverage once government-run exchanges are in place has been bandied back and force since the Affordable Care Act was passed last year. Study findings have run the gamut… more »
  03:34:51 pm, by MedBen5   , 249 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Road Trip Survival Tips

Going to take the family on one more weekend getaway before summer vacation ends? If you plan to be in the car for an extended period of time, WebMD offers some ideas to reduce stress while countering the common tendency to overeat. Fight mental stress… more »

08/18/11

  04:07:19 pm, by MedBen5   , 250 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Health Plan Management

MedBen Cost Containment Partner Becomes Official Licensee Of Cancer Network

AWAC, a MedBen partner in the administration of iHealth Worksite Wellness and cost containment services, has become an official licensee of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) for use of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology… more »
  11:43:51 am, by MedBen5   , 185 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Facebook Opens Drugmaker Pages To Comments

Not in “like” with a medication? Well, you can now take your gripes to the most popular social media site. The Washington Post reports that Facebook users can now openly comment on drugmakers’ pages. Prior to this week, the public… more »
  10:30:45 am, by MedBen5   , 182 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Too Much TV Takes Years Off Your Life, Research Suggests

Man, some studies really hit you where you live. Medical News Today reports that new research suggests watching television for six hours or more daily could shorten your life expectancy by nearly five years. The Australia-based study used a previously… more »

08/16/11

  05:13:25 pm, by MedBen5   , 138 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Make The Most Of Your Doctor Visits

As more people are added to health insurance pools in the coming few years, your family doctor’s time will be at an even greater premium – and given how crowded most primary care physicians’ schedules are these days, that’s… more »

08/15/11

  04:31:42 pm, by MedBen5   , 173 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Petition To Block Individual Mandate

An Ohio Supreme Court ruling will allow residents to voice their opinion about the individual mandate at the ballot box this November. The Columbus Dispatch reports that judges voted 7-0 to reject a challenge to signatures gathered for a proposed… more »
  03:11:07 pm, by MedBen5   , 185 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Replacing A Single Serving Of Red Meat Reduces Diabetes Risk

Red meat is no friend to a healthy lifestyle – that, we know. But a comprehensive Harvard study reveals that by replacing even one serving of red meat a day with healthier fare, you can significantly lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes. The New… more »

08/12/11

  04:52:46 pm, by MedBen5   , 129 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Appeals Court Strikes Down Individual Mandate

The Affordable Care Act is now batting .500. The Washington Post reports that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the requirement that most Americans must have health insurance or face penalties. This follows a Cincinnati federal court ruling… more »
  04:05:08 pm, by MedBen5   , 154 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Lifestyle Changes Can Help Ward Off Migraines

A migraine can be a real, uh, headache to remedy: what may be effective for one person may not help at all for another. One this is for certain – when your head begins throbbing, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to concentrate on anything… more »

08/11/11

  05:25:13 pm, by MedBen5   , 228 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Use Of CT Scans In Emergency Rooms Takes A Huge Leap

The use of computed tomography, or CT, scans used to diagnose illnesses in emergency departments rose 330% from 1996 to 2007, according to a University of Michigan Health System study. Medical Xpress reports that the rate of CT use grew 11 times faster… more »
  10:16:35 am, by MedBen5   , 182 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Moderate Physical Activity Reduces Some Cancer Risks

Is there nothing a little exercise can’t accomplish? A new report from Macmillan Cancer Support claims that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of side effects and recurrence in cancer patients. According to WebMD Health News, the… more »

08/10/11

  05:37:54 pm, by MedBen5   , 170 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Texas City Among Lowest In Health Care Spending (And Highest, Too)

An Thomson Reuters analysis of the health care spending habits of American cities reveals an interesting disparity, The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports. Patients in McAllen, Texas covered by private insurance spend 28% below the national average… more »
  12:37:58 pm, by MedBen5   , 177 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Some Hospitals Overuse Heart Procedure, Study Finds

Hospitals vary widely in the proper usage of cardiac catheterization to diagnose heart disease, a new study finds. HealthDay reports that some hospitals found major blockages in all patients undergoing the procedure, while others found blockages in as… more »
  11:43:54 am, by MedBen5   , 186 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Kids' Sack Lunches May Be Susceptible To Bacteria

A University of Texas study serves as a heads-up to parents who brown-bag their kids’ meals. MSNBC reports that the sack lunches of most preschoolers reach potentially unsafe temperatures by the time children eat them. Scientists tested 705… more »

08/09/11

  03:22:56 pm, by MedBen5   , 190 words,  
Categories: Prescription

Do Your Homework When Taking OTC Medications

USA Today looks at over-the-counter drugs, and the fine line they often walk between therapeutic and toxic. Johnson & Johnson announced last month that it would lower the recommended maximum dose for Extra Strength Tylenol, from 4,000 milligrams a… more »
  12:53:44 pm, by MedBen5   , 237 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

A Matter Of Life Or Death

A recent KevinMD.com blog posting presents two sides of a highly charged topic: end-of-life health care. Family physician Stewart Segal, MD takes strong exception to an opinion piece by New York Times columnist David Brooks. Referring to the debt… more »
  12:03:38 pm, by MedBen5   , 246 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Avoid "Healthy" Diet Mistakes

The idea behind dieting seems pretty cut-and-dry – eat healthy foods, lose weight. But as is often the case, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Because even when you eat right, you may not be eating “right". Got it? No? Well. not to… more »

08/08/11

  04:50:37 pm, by MedBen5   , 181 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

CDHP Members More Likely To Be Better Educated, Study Says

On John Goodmean’s Health Policy Blog, author Greg Scandlen takes note of a recent report that ties consumer-driven health plan usage to educational level. A survey by the Employee Benefits Research Institute – an organization Scandlen says… more »
  03:58:23 pm, by MedBen5   , 206 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Happy & Healthy Workplace Go Together

Haven’t had any success with those weekly office lottery pools? Then consider this free alternative that can pay real dividends: Be nice to your co-workers! The New York Times reports that a Tel Aviv University study has linked a friendly… more »

08/05/11

  08:52:20 pm, by MedBen5   , 267 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Should FDA Okay Cholesterol OTC? Opinions Vary

The news that drugmaker Pfizer may ask the Food and Drug Administration to approve an over-the-counter version of its popular cholesterol pill Lipitor has medical blogs abuzz. The Wall Street Journal reports that the drug manufacturer hopes to offset… more »
  06:50:26 pm, by MedBen5   , 240 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Have A Healthier Hotel Stay With These Tips

Will a hotel stay be part of your summer vacation getaway? Health.com suggests “10 ways to make any hotel room healthier“: Ask for a nonsmoking floor when making your reservation. If that’s not an option, request a nonsmoking… more »
  06:17:31 pm, by MedBen5   , 195 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Children's Reform Provisions Affect Enrollments, Costs

The Affordable Care Act provision that allows young adults up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health plans has, not unexpectedly, resulted in employers expanding their benefits coverage. The Los Angeles Times reports employers have seen an… more »

08/03/11

  10:37:25 am, by MedBen5   , 206 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Wellness

Healthy Lifestyle Can Significantly Increase Longevity, Study Finds

You say you need a really good reason to live a healthy lifestyle? Well, here you are… Medical News Today reports that women who eat a proper diet, exercise regular, maintain a healthy weight and don’t smoke are likely to live 15 more years… more »
  10:03:58 am, by MedBen5   , 128 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Wellness

Got Expired Pills? Don't Flush 'Em

If you get rid of your old medications by dumping them in the sink or toilet, the U.S. Home Safety Council kindly asks that you please refrain in the future. While it may be an effective way to keep unused pills out of curoius children’s hands,… more »

08/02/11

  02:21:44 pm, by MedBen5   , 278 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Self-funding More Beneficial Than Ever

Employee Benefit News spotlights the benefits of self-funded plans – something that we here at MedBen also like to do from time to time (okay, a bit more frequently than that). Author Michelle M. Stimson says the passage of federal health care… more »
  01:22:51 pm, by MedBen5   , 219 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Birth Control, Other Women's Preventive Services To Be Covered At 100%

Beginning August 2012, health care plans will be required to cover in full the cost of contraception and other women’s preventive health services. Medscape Today reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will expand the… more »
  12:34:55 pm, by MedBen5   , 211 words,  
Categories: News

Even A Little Physical Activity Can Reduce Heart Disease Risk

It should come as no surprise that regular workouts reduce the risk of heart disease. But the Harvard School of Public Health goes it one better: Even a little exercise can make a significant difference to your well-being. Medical News Today reports… more »

08/01/11

  05:43:26 pm, by MedBen5   , 242 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Health Plan Management

Bill Would Allow FSA Members To Keep Excess Funds

There’s plenty of positive news – well, potentially positive, anyway – these days for flexible spending account (FSA) participants. Last month, legislation was introduced in Congress that would overturn the requirement to have a… more »
  02:12:17 pm, by MedBen5   , 238 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Wellness

Exploring Rx Options For Pain Management

A recent WebMD feature examines the medicinal options available when suffering from chronic pain – will an over-the-counter medication suffice, or do you need the relief that only a presciption drug can provide? For occasional discomfort, OTC… more »
  11:36:32 am, by MedBen5   , 207 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Building Muscle Mass May Lower Odds Of Developing Diabetes

Building a bit of extra muscle not only improves your appearance, it can reduce your odds of developing diabetes, a new study suggests. USA Today reports that UCLA scientists found that as muscle mass goes up, the risk of type 2 diabetes appears to… more »