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Archives for: November 2011

11/30/11

  04:54:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 166 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Medicare Will Pay For Obesity Screenings, Counseling

In an effort to curb obesity and its related ailments, Medicare has announced that it will provide financial assistance to overweight recipients, including free screening and preventive services. USA Today reports that patients who screen positive for… more »
  12:29:57 pm, by MedBen5   , 177 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

All-Metal Hip Implants Carry Greater Risk, Report Finds

From the “newer isn’t always better” file: A report sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration says that modern, all-metal hip implants may be no more effective that traditional implants – and less safe to boot. According to… more »

11/29/11

  04:31:11 pm, by MedBen5   , 180 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Health Plan Management

IRS W-2 Guidelines Summary Available To MedBen Clients

Effective for 2012 IRS Form W-2s, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will require affected employers to report the cost of the employer-sponsored health care coverage provided to their employees. Since 2012 Form W-2s are not required to be… more »
  04:12:57 pm, by MedBen5   , 258 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

As Lipitor Goes Generic, Patients Have Questions

Starting tomorrow, Lipitor will face some low-cost competition, as the patent expires on the blockbuster cholesterol drug and generic versions enter the marketplace – including one by Pfizer, Lipitor’s manufacturer. Some Lipitor patients… more »
  03:20:36 pm, by MedBen5   , 221 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study Supports Annual Mammograms For Women Ages 40-49

A new study suggests that genetics alone may not play as great a role in predicting invasive breast cancer as previously thought. HealthDay reports that the preliminary findings support the recommendation that all women ages 40 to 49 get annual… more »
  12:14:50 pm, by MedBen5   , 180 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

HHS Rejects States' Medical Loss Ratio Waiver Requests

The Hill reports that the Department of Health and Human Services has rejected two states’ waiver requests from a key provision of the Affordable Care Act. Indiana and Louisiana had requested a reduction of the health care reform law’s… more »
  11:26:59 am, by MedBen5   , 200 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Skipping The Mid-Morning Snack May Help Dieters, Study Finds

When it comes to losing weight, timing matters – not the time of the year, but the time of day. That’s the consensus of researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who found that adult females who are dieting show better… more »

11/28/11

  11:10:23 pm, by MedBen5   , 316 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Health Plan Management

Partners Self-funded Plan Now Available

Since its debut a year ago, Partners Community Health Plan has demonstrated its value to employers across Southeast Ohio. By partnering with local hospitals, MedBen is helping businesses control health care costs today, as well as down the road. And… more »
  10:51:41 pm, by MedBen5   , 192 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

CDC Launches Antibiotic Tracking Tool In Hospitals

In an effort to prevent overuse of antibiotics, the Centers for Disease Control has introduced an electronic tool to monitor the drugs’ use in hospitals. MedPage Today reports that while the CDC has followed antibiotic use in doctors’… more »
  09:44:24 pm, by MedBen5   , 260 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Everyday Activities Can Help Keep You Fit

As we’re officially knee-deep in the holiday season, we’re gonna toss out a novel suggestion: Get a head start now on your New Year’s Day resolution to get in shape. Great idea, right? And here’s the best part: You don’t… more »

11/21/11

  03:51:48 pm, by MedBen5   , 183 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

FDA Rescinds Use Of Avastin For Breast Cancer

The Food and Drug Administration has revoked its approval of the drug Avastin as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer. According to NPR, the agency’s action follows more more than a year of deliberations and an unprecedented public hearing in… more »
  03:18:05 pm, by MedBen5   , 248 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Find Your Focus At Work

When it comes to workplace diversions, the water cooler has given way to e-mail, the Internet and smart phones. We’re surrounded by so many convenient distractions these days that it can be difficult to focus on the job at hand, especially if the… more »

11/18/11

  01:17:55 pm, by MedBen5   , 248 words,  
Categories: Announcements

MedBen Closed On Thanksgiving, But Online Services Open 24/7

Believe it or not, we are less than one week from Thanksgiving. (We’ll pause here to let that unsettling reality sink in.) And as with most of you, MedBen employees will spend the day with their families… and the next day shopping for… more »
  12:13:25 pm, by MedBen5   , 136 words,  
Categories: Prescription

Traveling By Air With Prescription Drugs? Take Safety Steps

If you plan to travel by air this holiday season, you know that some pre-planning is a must, if just so you can get through security with minimal pat-downs. And that goes double if you have to bring prescription drugs with you. The Centers for Disease… more »
  11:46:01 am, by MedBen5   , 158 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Most People Still Not Fans Of Government-Run Health Care

A new survey suggests that most Americans continue to oppose the idea of government-mandated health care, Medical News Today reports. The survey, conducted by Gallup, found that 47% of respondents favor repealing the Affordable Care Act – a… more »
  10:27:52 am, by MedBen5   , 224 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Clearing Up Some Flu Shot Misconceptions

Haven’t got a flu shot yet because you believe the old saw that the vaccine actually gives you the flu? Medical Xpress dispels that fallacy and a few more in “Separate the facts from flu fiction“. We highlight their mythbusting below:… more »

11/17/11

  04:54:17 pm, by MedBen5   , 244 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Health Plan Management

Department of Labor Postpones Benefits Summary Requirements

Today, MedBen received notification from the Department of Labor that compliance with the Affordable Care Act’s 6-page Summary of Benefits and Coverage (or SBC) requirements have been postponed until final regulations are promulgated. This good… more »
  04:24:23 pm, by MedBen5   , 196 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

FDA Approves Bone Marrow Disease Drug; Panel Supports Expanded Pneumonia Vaccine Use

Doin’s at the Food and Drug Administration making the newswires today… The FDA has approved the use of the first drug to treat myelofibrosis, a rare bone marrow disorder, the Associated Press reports. Created by Incyte Corp, the… more »
  03:34:27 pm, by MedBen5   , 233 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Penalties, Incentives Both Used To Promote Employer Wellness

More and more employers are penalizing employers for their bad habits, the New York Times reports. Employers who smoke, are obese or have high cholesterol face higher insurance costs than those with healthier lifestyles. A Towers Watson survey of 248… more »

11/16/11

  05:19:44 pm, by MedBen5   , 164 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

AMA Supports Government Efforts To Curtail Drug Shortages

The American Medical Association voted earlier this week to support government legislation created to anticipate pending drug shortages, Reuters reports. An AMA resolution backed government efforts to ensure sufficient supplies of cancer drugs and… more »
  12:37:37 pm, by MedBen5   , 231 words,  
Categories: Wellness

When It's Time To Change Doctors

Making the decision to change your doctor – particularly one who has overseen your care for an extended period – is never easy. But sometimes circumstances leave you with no other option. Neuropsychologist Dominic A. Carone offers ten… more »

11/15/11

  04:52:50 pm, by MedBen5   , 338 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

President, Democrats React To Supreme Court Decision

Upon hearing that the Supreme Court will review a challenge against the Affordable Care Act, the architect of the plan is confident of the eventual outcome. His party, on the other hand, isn’t so sure. According to ABC News, the Obama… more »
  12:31:15 pm, by MedBen5   , 192 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

E-prescribing Increases Likelihood Of Patient Adherence

Greater use of e-prescribing could encourage more people to fill their prescriptions, a recent study suggests. Pharmalot reports that while such factors as cost and side effect concerns still influence adherence to prescribed medicines, the study… more »
  11:07:12 am, by MedBen5   , 174 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

One-fifth Of Americans Suffer From Hearing Loss

Medical News Today reports that one in five Americans over age 12 suffer from hearing loss so severe that it may hinder communication. A new Johns Hopkins study suggests that many more people than previously thought are affected by the condition. From… more »

11/14/11

  04:53:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 242 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Health Care Reform Arguments

It’s official: The Supreme Court will weigh in on health care reform before the 2012 elections. The big question the court will grapple with is whether or not Congress overstepped its bounds by including an “individual mandate” in the… more »

11/10/11

  05:31:20 pm, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Self-funding, Wellness Among Public Employer Saving Strategies

Reuters reports on public employers’ efforts to find health care plan savings while still providing high-quality benefits. Pressure to cut spending on employees, coupled with rising health care costs, have made it harder to offer the generous… more »
  04:19:36 pm, by MedBen5   , 178 words,  
Categories: News

CBO Finds Rx Pay-to-Delay Bill Would Save Billions

From Ed Silverman of the Pharmalot blog: “A bipartisan bill that would limit pay-to-delay settlements, which are designed to keep lower-cost generic drugs off the market for extended periods, would save taxpayers an estimated $4.8 billion over the… more »
  01:09:09 pm, by MedBen5   , 255 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Get A Head Start On Holiday Excess By Exercising Now

Whether you like it or not, we are about to run smack-dab into the holiday season, and all the feasting opportunities that accompany it. One the one hand, it’s a time of parties and good spirits, so it would be difficult not to indulge a bit. On… more »

11/09/11

  11:58:24 am, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Ohio Voters Reject Individual Mandate

Ohio voters have approved a state constitutional amendment that says residents cannot be required to purchase health insurance. The Columbus Dispatch reports that voters throughout the state passed the health-care amendment by a 2-to-1 vote. The… more »
  11:02:07 am, by MedBen5   , 190 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Reduce Cancer Risk Simply By Standing Up

We’ve posted here before about the benefits of taking regular breaks from sitting at work. Standing up regularly, even for short periods, has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. Now, a new study finds that getting up from your office… more »

11/08/11

  05:18:44 pm, by MedBen5   , 238 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Another Appeals Court Upholds Individual Mandate's Constitutionality

President Obama is starting to pile up the wins, at least as they pertain to health care reform. The Associated Press (via MSNBC) reports that a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the constitutionality of the… more »
  12:14:05 pm, by MedBen5   , 187 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

Studies Warn Against Overuse Of Acid Reflux Drugs

A new series of studies suggest that people are too quick to reach for acid reflux drugs at the onset of heartburn. WebMD reports. Moreover, doctors tend to overprescribe the drugs, known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), for patients in and out of the… more »
  10:00:47 am, by MedBen5   , 201 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Wellness

Judge Halts Graphic Warnings On Cigarette Packs

It looks like cigarette labels won’t be getting a makeover, after all – at least not anytime soon. The Associated Press (via USA Today) reports U.S. District Judge Richard Leon has stopped the Food and Drug Administration requirement that… more »

11/07/11

  03:37:10 pm, by MedBen5   , 233 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

WSJ: Price Controls Responsible For Drug Shortages

The Wall Street Journal has voiced its opinion about the ongoing drug shortages, which (as we posted recently) have delayed surgeries and cancer treatments. The paper says that President Obama’s executive order last week, which instructed the Food… more »
  12:24:39 pm, by MedBen5   , 246 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Caffeine Addiction Warning Signs

If you’re one of those people who need an extra cup of coffee or can of soda to kick-start your workday, there’s a good chance that you’re addicted to caffeine. And while caffeine in moderation can be beneficial (i.e., improving mental… more »

11/04/11

  06:20:17 pm, by MedBen5   , 224 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Health Plan Management

Partners Community Health Plan Introduces Self-Funded Option

This morning, Partners Community Health Plan – a partnership between MedBen and regional hospitals designed to encourage patient use of local providers – formally unveiled its self-funded option. Genesis-Bethesda Hospital hosted an… more »
  04:56:47 pm, by MedBen5   , 204 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Rx Studies Find ADHD Drugs Safe, Painkillers Overprescribed

Several prescription drug studies made headlines this week: WebMD reports that drugs used to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) don’t increase the risk of sudden cardiac death or stroke compared with the youth population as… more »
  12:46:09 pm, by MedBen5   , 224 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Employers Will Offer Post-Reform Coverage, Analysis Suggests

Another party has chimed in on the “will they – won’t they” debate regarding employer health care coverage in the face of government reform. An analysis from the Urban Institute for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation suggests… more »
  11:29:55 am, by MedBen5   , 242 words,  
Categories: Wellness

End Of Daylight Savings Benefits Our Bodies

On the Harvard Health Blog, Lloyd Resnick confirms what we’ve long suspected – “falling back” from daylight savings time (that is, gaining an extra hour) is beneficial to our well-being, while “springing forward”… more »

11/01/11

  05:47:45 pm, by MedBen5   , 228 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

More Employers Offering HDHP, HSA Benefits

NPR reports that during this year’s open-enrollment period for health care coverage, a growing number of employers are asking their employees to take more responsibility for their own costs and health. Among the changes being made: adding… more »
  03:42:44 pm, by MedBen5   , 201 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

President Take Measures To Reduce Drug Shortages

Several weeks back, we posted about this year’s record drug shortages, as reported by the Food and Drug Administration. In response, President Obama has taken action to halt what he called a “slow-rolling” problem. According to MSNBC,… more »
  12:46:14 pm, by MedBen5   , 160 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

ER Visits Hit All-Time High, CDC Finds

Modern Healthcare reports that visits to hospital emergency departments rose 10% from 2008 to 2009, to a record high of 136 million. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, patients between ages 25 and 44 accounted for 28%… more »