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Archives for: October 2011

10/31/11

  12:50:46 pm, by MedBen5   , 286 words,  
Categories: Wellness

The Truth About Common Breast Cancer Myths

Seeing that today is the final day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we thought we’d sneak in one more informative piece about the disease. Health.com debunks 25 breast cancer myths, ranging from underwire bras to antiperspirants. We don’t… more »

10/28/11

  03:51:26 pm, by MedBen5   , 191 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Fewer Americans Finding Favor With Health Care Reform

Public support for the Affordable Care Act hit an all-time low in October, Kaiser Health News reports. A new poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that many Democratic voters have lost confidence, joining most Republicans who never had it… more »
  09:50:50 am, by MedBen5   , 310 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Don't Let Treats Trick You Up This Halloween

Keeping kids out of the Halloween candy stash can pose a formidable challenge. And what’s more, it can be equally difficult for us grown-ups – especially if we’ve overestimated how much we needed for trick-or-treating and are left with… more »

10/27/11

  05:12:42 pm, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Supreme Court Will Soon Decide To Hear Reform Case; Insurers File Brief

Medical Xpress reports that the Supreme Court will decide on November 10 if it wants to enter the health care reform fracas. Because the Obama administration personally requested them to rule on the constitutionality of the individual mandate,… more »
  04:42:41 pm, by MedBen5   , 257 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Dentists Can Learn A Lot From A Checkup

WebMD reminds readers that dentists do more for you than fill cavities and numb the lower half of your face – they also can detect health problems that go well beyond your teeth and gums. To cite a few examples: Diabetes: Because they may have a… more »
  01:17:25 pm, by MedBen5   , 311 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Doctors Say New PSA Recommendation Goes Too Far

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s recent suggestion that men not get screened for prostate cancer has received just a fraction of the media coverage it received for its earlier mammogram recommendations. Nevertheless, various medical… more »

10/25/11

  06:36:57 pm, by MedBen5   , 172 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Rx "Patent Cliff" Bad For Drug Makers, Boon For Patients

Lipitor and other popular brand-name medications will soon come off-patent and make the transition to lower-cost generics. NPR examines how the so-called “patent cliff” affects drug makers as well as patients. Dozens of high-end… more »
  02:35:28 pm, by MedBen5   , 293 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Finding Real Long-Term Care Solutions

On his Health Policy Blog, John Goodman sheds no tears for the failure of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program. He likens the long-term care provision of the Affordable Care Act to a Ponzi scheme “designed to… more »
  12:18:26 pm, by MedBen5   , 213 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

FDA Recommends Against Use Of Jet Injectors For Flu Shots

For health-conscious Americans who shun influenza vaccines because of pain concerns, the introduction of needle-free flu shots is long overdue. But The Columbus Dispatch reports that the federal government is about to rain on their parade. The Food and… more »

10/24/11

  04:51:30 pm, by MedBen5   , 377 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Speculation Mounts On Fate Of Individual Mandate

As the question of the indvidual mandate’s constitutionality finally nears its day in court – the Supreme Court, specifically – various political and medical websites are pondering the whats and wherefores: Jennifer Haberkorn,… more »
  01:21:48 pm, by MedBen5   , 189 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Cell Phones Not Linked To Brain Tumors, Study Finds

Does a Danish study offer the final word on the question of cell phone safety? Unlikely, but we can dream. According to Medical News Today, the study found no link between long-term mobile phone usage and brain and central nervous system tumors.… more »

10/21/11

  11:45:42 am, by MedBen5   , 243 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Health Care Scorecard Gives U.S. A Passing Grade -- Barely

A new Commonwealth Fund report says that gives the U.S. health care system has bettered itself here and there, but still needs to make major improvements. MedPage Today reports that the U.S. scored a 64 out of 100 overall for key measures of health care… more »
  10:55:22 am, by MedBen5   , 412 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Tort Reform A Necessity For Real Reform, Doctors Argue

Does the looming threat of a lawsuit pressure physicians to practice defensive medicine? In a recent survey, doctors overwhelmingly agreed that malpractice fears affect their care decisions. So it’s hardly surprising that many also support tort… more »

10/20/11

  04:13:33 pm, by MedBen5   , 258 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Opinions Differ On Cervical Cancer Screenings

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which recently recommended that most men shouldn’t be tested for prostate cancer, has turned its attention to cervical cancer screening. The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports that the busy group says… more »
  12:47:17 pm, by MedBen5   , 179 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Over 10% in U.S. Take Antidepressants, CDC Survey Finds

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about 11% of Americans aged 12 and older take antidepressants. And less than a third of them have seen a mental health professional in the last year, according to Reuters (via… more »
  10:02:40 am, by MedBen5   , 226 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Federal Government Proposes Changes To Outdated Hospital Rules

In an effort to cut through bureaucratic red tape, the Obama administration has proposed changes intended to eliminate obsolete or overly burdensome rules that apply to hospitals and other health care providers. The New York Times reports that by… more »

10/19/11

  05:14:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 238 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study Explores Mammogram Frequency, False Positives

The question of whether women should receive breast cancer tests less frequently continues to come under scrutiny. WebMD reports that a new study suggests that getting mammograms every two years instead of annually reduces the chance of a false alarm.… more »

10/18/11

  04:57:32 pm, by MedBen5   , 249 words,  
Categories: Announcements

MedBen Closing Early On October 21; Online Services Available

On Friday, October 21, MedBen will be closing at 12:00 p.m. EST for a companywide recognition banquet. We will reopen on Monday, October 24 at 8:00 a.m. EST. Although our customer service department will be closed early that day, you can still get… more »
  04:22:42 pm, by MedBen5   , 204 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Adults Confuse Candy And Pills, Too

You’re heard the warning: Store medications out of children’s reach because they’re hard to distinguish from candy. But as a small study conducted by two Cincinnati schoolgirls(!) suggests, grown-ups’ powers of perception… more »
  03:08:19 pm, by MedBen5   , 225 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Get Your Flu Shot Early, CDC Advises

Have you gotten a flu shot yet? If not, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says now’s the time. No, the vaccine is not running out… in fact, the U.S. supply is projected to be at an all-time high, reports HealthDay (via… more »

10/17/11

  05:43:15 pm, by MedBen5   , 230 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Medicare Website Compares Hospital Safety Data

Medicare has introduced a new website that allows patients to compare safety ratings for thousands of hospitals – but the data used isn’t sitting well with members of the medical community. MSNBC.com reports that the information on Hospital… more »
  03:55:53 pm, by MedBen5   , 229 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Heart Disease Rates Declining In U.S.

Some positive developments on the nation’s ongoing battle against heart disease: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that incidents of coronary heart disease fell from 6.7% in 2006 to 6% in 2010. As The Wall Street Journal… more »
  03:02:38 pm, by MedBen5   , 192 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Long-term Care Dropped From Health Care Reform

As we reported here several weeks ago, long-term care will officially not be available through the Affordable Care Act. According to The Washington Post, the Obama administration announced on October 14 that the Community Living Assistance Services… more »

10/14/11

  05:05:51 pm, by MedBen5   , 203 words,  
Categories: Announcements

Many Air Ambulance Transports Unnecessary, Researchers Say

Transporting patients by air ambulance seems like it would be more effective than the ground alternative, but new research suggest that may not always be the case. MedPage Today reports that a Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School study… more »
  04:29:47 pm, by MedBen5   , 256 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Reduce Your Breast Cancer Odds

Some factors associated with getting breast cancer, such as genetics, age and race, are beyond a woman’s control. But fortunately, there are other things women can do to lower the odds of developing the disease. On the KevinMD.com blog, Therese… more »
  12:21:05 pm, by MedBen5   , 243 words,  
Categories: News

A Doctor Isn't A "Provider", Authors Say

On this blog, we’re pretty good about referring to a patient as a “patient", rather than a “customer” or “consumer". But we, like many other writers, do sometimes refer to physicians as “providers” – and… more »
  11:41:57 am, by MedBen5   , 157 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Tanning Tax Receipts Fall Well Short Of Projections

The intial returns from a federal tax on tanning beds haven’t burned quite as brightly as the number-crunchers has anticipated. USA Today reports that tax receipts totaled $54.4 million in its first three quarters, through March 31 – only a… more »

10/13/11

  05:20:53 pm, by MedBen5   , 242 words,  
Categories: Wellness

With Healthy Foods, Location Makes A Difference

You’ve probably heard the old ad-man adage, “Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.” Well, here’s a new one that marketers will no doubt include in their motivational PowerPoint presentations: “Put the fruit up… more »
  11:29:33 am, by MedBen5   , 247 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Doctor Survey: Too Many Tests, And Why?

A recent mail survey to primary care physicians (pediatrics, internal medicine, and family medicine) posited the question of how much of US health care is unnecessary. Of the 600+ who responded, 42% believe that their patients receive too much care,… more »
  10:34:29 am, by MedBen5   , 230 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Dietary Supplements Take Another Hit

This has not been a good week for the makers of dietary supplements. On Tuesday, we learned that multivitamins and other popular supplements may raise the death risk for postmenopausal women. And now researchers have given guys something to worry about… more »

10/11/11

  05:46:03 pm, by MedBen5   , 211 words,  
Categories: Prescription

Better Drug Adherence Through Technology

The Wall Street Journal examines the difficulty physicians have in encouraging patients to adhere to a prescribed medication regimen. As many as half of Americans disobey doctor’s orders, either failing to fill or refill medications or not taking… more »
  04:42:37 pm, by MedBen5   , 195 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Florida Prepares To Launch Exchange

Kaiser Health News reports that Florida has put together a health insurance exchange that bears little resemblance to the federal model – and early feedback from health plans and health insurers is less than enthusiastic. Florida’s exchange… more »
  01:33:19 pm, by MedBen5   , 252 words,  
Categories: News

New Health Studies Offer Good News, Bad News

Researchers giveth, and researchers taketh away… A Swedish study says that women who eat two chocolate bars a week reduce their risk of stoke by upwards of 20%. According to WebMD, researchers believe that the benefits of chocolate are due to… more »

10/10/11

  05:45:54 pm, by MedBen5   , 222 words,  
Categories: Announcements

AWAC Is Now inVentiv Medical Management

MedBen’s partner in cost containment, AWAC, has undergone a name change. Effective today, AWAC will henceforth be known as inVentiv Medical Management. In a letter announcing the change, the company said “AWAC was and always will be a technology… more »
  05:29:01 pm, by MedBen5   , 246 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Essential Health Benefits Report Released

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies has taken the first step to creating a required list of essential health benefits as required under Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. A new report entitled “Essential Health Benefits:… more »
  01:07:45 pm, by MedBen5   , 198 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Task Force Expected To Recommend Against PSAs

Two years after stirring up controversy for suggesting that mammograms can wait until most women reach their 50s, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is now risking further backlash for a different test. CNN reports that the group will advise that… more »

10/07/11

  05:06:25 pm, by MedBen5   , 181 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

FDA Approves Combo Diabetes-Cholesterol Drug

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a combination drug that treats both diabetes and cholesterol. Juvisync, from Merck & Co, mixes sitagliptin, a medicine that helps lower high blood sugar levels, with simvastatin, a statin that aids in… more »
  04:38:28 pm, by MedBen5   , 220 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Jobs' Passing Puts Spotlight On Pancreatic Cancer

The death of Apple CEO Steve Jobs this week demonstrates the destructive nature of pancreatic cancer. All cancers are deadly to varying degrees, but pancreatic is particularly lethal, claiming the majority of its victims. This year alone, about 44,000… more »

10/06/11

  09:56:25 pm, by MedBen5   , 228 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Health Plan Management

Plan Sponsors Must Provide Medicare D Notices By October 15

If you’re an employer whose group health benefits include prescription drug coverage, you are required to provide an annual notice to Medicare-eligible participants describing whether your plan’s prescription drug coverage is considered… more »
  05:54:10 pm, by MedBen5   , 204 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Medical Panel Determines Most Wasteful Medical Activities

A medical panel called The Good Stewardship Working Group has chosen what it finds to be the most overused clinical activities by primary care providers (pediatrics, internal medicine, and family medicine). Their selections have been posted on-line by… more »
  04:39:46 pm, by MedBen5   , 183 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Green Tea May Slow Weight Gain

Green tea already gets some pretty good buzz for its healthful benefits. Now, a new study may also peak interest in people looking for some extra help in battling the bulge. Medical Xpress reports that Penn State food scientists observed that green tea… more »

10/05/11

  01:02:09 pm, by MedBen5   , 246 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Small Employer Cost-Saving Strategies

Offering employees a full benefits package while maintaining the bottom line, all in the face of rising health care costs, is an ongoing project for employers. And it’s a battle that MedBen dedicates itself to waging on behalf of clients of all… more »
  10:28:00 am, by MedBen5   , 196 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

GAO Report Finds Medicare D Is Subsidizing Drug Abuse

A Government Accountability Office investigation revealed that Medicare is footing the bill for drug abuse by about 170,000 beneficiaries. The New York Times reports that Medicare officials have been slow to recognize and act on evidence of abuse. The… more »
  09:51:26 am, by MedBen5   , 236 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Busting Some Common Sleep Myths

Sleep is vital to our continued health and productivity, and yet there’s a lot of misinformation floating around out there. Prevention (via MSNBC.com) offers a reality check about common sleeping myths, which we summarize below. MYTH: Napping… more »

10/04/11

  05:13:19 pm, by MedBen5   , 227 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Breast Cancer Survival Rates Continue To Improve

In conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the American Cancer Society has some good news. Fewer women overall are dying from breast cancer, largely due to advances in screening and treatment. According to WebMD, The Breast Cancer… more »
  11:17:39 am, by MedBen5   , 258 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Get SMART When Establishing Health Goals

The Harvard Health Publications website says that simply setting a goal to get healthy isn’t enough – rather, it has to be the right goal. It’s a smarter strategy to establish the goal you’re most likely to accomplish, rather… more »

10/03/11

  09:24:33 pm, by MedBen5   , 200 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

FDA Reports Record Drug Shortages In 2011

WebMD reports that the FDA has already seen about 200 drug shortages in 2011 – a number that already exceeds last year’s previous record of 178. Most of the shortages have been of older sterile injectibles – inexpensive generics which… more »
  05:44:12 pm, by MedBen5   , 174 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

House Committee Proposes To Halt ACA Funding

A probable Supreme Court date for the Affordable Care Act hasn’t stopped House Republicans from devising ways to halt health care reform’s progress. ModernHealthcare.com reports that the House Appropriations Committee has drafted a 2012… more »
  04:46:29 pm, by MedBen5   , 223 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Website Takes Patients Step-By-Step Through Medical Procedures

The Wall Street Journal Health Blog brings to our attention a new online tool designed to reduce the stress of an upcoming surgery. Health Dialog’s HD Care Compass, available in both web and mobile versions, offers extensive patient guides on what… more »