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Archives for: January 2012

01/31/12

  11:54:03 am, by MedBen5   , 269 words,  
Categories: Prescription

The Fine Art Of Pharmaceutical "Disease Mongering"

Since the Food and Drug Adminstration approved direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising in 1997, drug manufacturers have worked overtime to promote name recognition to potential customers. One proven strategy used in this pursuit: the checklist.… more »
  10:48:22 am, by MedBen5   , 219 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

People Divided On Reform Legislation, But Like Key Elements

A new Harris Interactive/HealthDay survey reveals that key provisions of the Affordable Care Act are increasingly finding favor with most Americans. HealthDay News (via MedicineNet.com) reports that people remain sharply divided over the overall… more »
  10:04:00 am, by MedBen5   , 186 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Calories Trump Fat, Carbs And Protein, Diet Study Suggests

Dieting need not come down to how much fat, carbs or protein you consume – calories are what counts, says a new scientific study. According to Reuters, researchers randomly assigned several hundred overweight or obese people to one of four diets:… more »

01/30/12

  05:39:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 190 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

U.S. Cancer Screenings Remain Below Target Levels

If you’ve put off a cancer screening, you’re not only doing yourself a disservice – you’re also disappointing your friends in the federal government. According to WebMD, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report… more »
  04:45:42 pm, by MedBen5   , 257 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

President -- And A Candidate -- Weigh In On Individual Mandate

Two health care reform news notes to begin the week: Reuters reports that the Obama administration has presented a written brief to the Supreme Court, which argues that even if the individual mandate is found unconstitutional, almost all the rest of… more »
  12:19:17 pm, by MedBen5   , 134 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

FDA Approves First Once-Weekly Diabetes Drug

The third time’s the charm for the diabetes drug Bydureon. MedPage Today reports that the Food and Drug Administation has approved the once-weekly injection for type 2 diabetes – the first such treatment to get the green light. Drugmakers… more »
  11:14:31 am, by MedBen5   , 159 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Referrals To Specialists Almost Doubled In Last Decade

Specialists lately have experienced a boom in referral business. The New York Times reports that doctors decided to send their patients to specialists and other doctors 9.3% of the time, compared with 4.8% a decade earlier, according to a new Harvard… more »

01/27/12

  05:41:01 pm, by MedBen5   , 278 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Cost, Complexity Among Reasons For Cancer Care Need

MedBen recently introduced comprehensive care management through Accountable Care Solutions (ACS). These programs were designed by medical professionals to control expenses for three costly and pervasive chronic conditions: Cardiovascular, Kidney Care… more »
  05:06:46 pm, by MedBen5   , 234 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Most Poll Respondents Against Individual Mandate

The latest opinion poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 54% of respondents feel that the Supreme Court should rule unconstitutional the individual mandate, The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports. Only 17% say that the provision… more »
  04:34:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 235 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Wellness

Doctor Argues For Tougher Supplement Rules

The Food and Drug Administration needs to enact more stringent safeguards to protect the users of dietary supplements, according to a physician writing in the New England Journal of Medicine. Pieter A. Cohen, MD, of Harvard Medical School writes that… more »

01/26/12

  05:00:42 pm, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Too Much Overtime Increases Depression Risk, Study Says

Putting in overtime at work may impress the boss but does no favors to your mental disposition, a new study suggests. Health.com reports that researchers followed over 2,000 British employees for six years, and found that workers who stayed at the… more »
  03:48:53 pm, by MedBen5   , 199 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Federal Government Rejects Church Exemption For Contraceptive Coverage

One of the more controversial provisions of the Affordable Care Act is the requirement that health insurance plans cover contraceptive for women at no cost. Last week, the Obama administration rejected an exemption request by the Roman Catholic Church… more »

01/25/12

  01:15:55 pm, by MedBen5   , 187 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Better Diabetic Treatment Linked To Fewer Amputations

Better treatment for diabetics are likely responsible for a dramatic decrease in foot and leg amputations, new government research finds. The Associated Press reports that the rate has fallen by more than half since the mid-1990s. According to… more »
  11:54:48 am, by MedBen5   , 157 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Little Mention Of Health Reform In State Of The Union Address

Health care reform got short shrift at last night’s State of the Union address by President Barack Obama. Medscape reports. In his 70-minute speech, he mentioned either “health care” or “health insurance” just 3 times,… more »

01/24/12

  05:28:18 pm, by MedBen5   , 291 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

There's Gold In Them Thar Snores

NPR recently examined the growing use of overnight tests to diagnose apnea. The number of accredited sleep labs in the U.S. has quadrupled over the past decade, and critics are worried that testing for the condition may be over-prescribed. Apnea… more »

01/20/12

  04:55:41 pm, by MedBen5   , 216 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Defining "Health" Is Key To Cost Savings, Family Doctor Says

On the KevinMD.com blog, author Kohar Jones, MD poses two fundamental questions: What should be the stated aim of health care in America? And where would we need to put our money to reach that aim? Jones finds curious the aims of health care as defined… more »
  04:26:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 244 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Take Extra Precautions When Exercising In Cold Weather

Let’s get this out the way: People who exercise outdoors in cold weather aren’t crazy. They much prefer the term “eccentric". But seriously, outdoor exercise during the winter is great for those who want to escape the confines of a… more »

01/19/12

  06:30:19 pm, by MedBen5   , 200 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study: About Half Of Patients Receive Recommended Preventive Services

Only about 1 in 5 American adults have an yearly checkup, according to a study appearing in the upcoming issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine. And of those who do, just over half receive or are advised of recommended preventive health… more »
  04:22:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 169 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Wellness

Follow Rx Instructions To Avoid Negative Food Interactions

Some medications tolerate food with no problem. Others… well, let’s say if they don’t get along, there’s a good chance you’ll know in no uncertain terms. Not that the combination of food and certain drugs will necessarily… more »
  01:40:05 pm, by MedBen5   , 229 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Over Half Of U.S. States Moving Forward On Exchanges, While Others Hold

Over half of U.S. states have taken at least preliminary action in establishing a health insurance exchange as mandated by the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report by the Department of Health and Human Services. Reuters reports that 14 states… more »
  12:52:07 pm, by MedBen5   , 205 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Obesity Rates Slow, But One-Third Of U.S. Adults Still Overweight

Good news… Americans aren’t getting any bigger! Bad news… we aren’t getting any smaller, either. The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports that adult male waistlines have held steady since 2003, according to a new study based… more »

01/18/12

  11:59:50 am, by MedBen5   , 167 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

FDA Agreement May Accelerate Generic Drug Approval Process

New federal government initiatives could speed the process of getting generic drugs to consumers, Business Insider reports. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration submitted recommendations to Congress, including a Generic Drug User Fee Agreement.… more »
  11:09:10 am, by MedBen5   , 194 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Headphone Users At Higher Risk Of Accidents, Study Suggests

Those little earbuds we pop in to enjoy music not only may be damaging our hearing, they’re putting many people at risk for bodily injury as well. According to NPR, a new study suggests that wearing headphones while walking outside increases the… more »

01/17/12

  12:37:46 pm, by MedBen5   , 200 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Don't Share Insulin Pens, CDC Warns

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reminding users of insulin pens not to share them with others. According to HealthDay News (via Yahoo! Health), the agency advises that use of the devices by more than one person raises the risk of… more »

01/16/12

  05:18:54 pm, by MedBen5   , 288 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

MedBen Helps Employers Avoid Health Care Plan Mistakes

Entrepreneur has compiled a list of mistakes companies should avoid when choosing health care coverage. The entire list is available at the magazine’s website; we summarize several of their suggestions below. Don’t go it alone. Whether… more »
  12:27:58 pm, by MedBen5   , 210 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

More Health Care Companies Not Hiring Smokers

If you didn’t have enough reasons to kick the cigarette habit, you may soon have another – particularly if you find yourself on the medical job market. HealthDay News (via Yahoo! Health) reports that an increasing number of hospitals and… more »
  11:19:28 am, by MedBen5   , 170 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Analysis: Elimination of Individual Mandate Will Drive Up Costs

Without the individual mandate to finance health care reform, expect to see a major spike in individual insurance costs, according to a new analysis from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Healthwatch blog reports that premiums could rise as much… more »

01/13/12

  03:23:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 206 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Health Plan Management

Hefty Brand-name Drug Price Increases Coming in 2012?

Expect to see significant price increases on brand name drugs in 2012, according to Sector & Sovereign Research. The Pharmalot blog reports that the Wall Street firm believes that after a 11% jump in 2010, we’ll see an even more substantial… more »
  12:43:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 307 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study Questions Effectiveness Of Prostate Cancer Screenings

Will we soon see a revision in recommendations for the early detection of prostate cancer? Hard to say at this point, but those pushing for a rewrite have certainly built up a stack of supporting evidence lately. On the heels of an advisory by the U.S.… more »
  11:36:27 am, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Be Heart Smart When Shoveling Snow

The Midwest has finally been hit with its first blast of winter weather, and many of us will mark the occasion by breaking out the snow shovel. And with the fluffy white stuff comes the inevitable warnings about shoveling – especially for those… more »

01/12/12

  11:40:31 am, by MedBen5   , 178 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Only 1% Of Americans Account For 22% of Health Care Spending

Just 1% of Americans accounted for 22% of health care costs in 2009 – about $90,000 per person – according to a new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. A USA Today story on the report says that U.S. residents spent a… more »
  10:58:32 am, by MedBen5   , 214 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Soda Tax Would Reduce Diabetes, Obesity, Researchers Say

Supporters of a soda tax as a way to discourage the consumption of sugary drinks now have some added ammunition from the scientific community. Medical News Today reports that a new study concluded that a penny-per-ounce tax would result in an… more »

01/11/12

  12:19:27 pm, by MedBen5   , 213 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

Aspirin For Heart Disease Does More Harm Than Good, Researchers Say

Sometimes, it seems that not a week goes by that common wisdom doesn’t get turned on its head. Repeatedly, we’ve been told that taking aspirin regularly can help healthy people to prevent heart disease. But a new report says such advice is… more »
  11:31:15 am, by MedBen5   , 205 words,  
Categories: Wellness

When Dining Out, Mind Your Meals

Not overeating at a restaurant can be a tricky business. Portions are usually larger than you’d have at home, and the fact that you’re paying for it provides extra incentive to clean your plate. But researchers from University of Texas at… more »

01/10/12

  04:41:35 pm, by MedBen5   , 213 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Health Care Spending Report Spurs Conflicting Analyses

National health care spending continued its slow growth in 2010, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services. The 3.9% increase was lower than the rise in gross domestic product of 4.2%, and a far cry from previous… more »
  01:04:16 pm, by MedBen5   , 271 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Tough Times For Reform CO-OPs, Consumer Assistance Programs

Two items regarding a couple lesser-known Affordable Care Act provisions: John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog reviews the status of Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OPs), alternatives to existing health insurance options. Scheduled to… more »
  10:56:16 am, by MedBen5   , 249 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Studies: Nicotine Patches Good For Memory, But Not For Kicking The Habit

It’s a good news/bad news day for the makers and users of nicotine patches, which are designed to help people stop smoking: WebMD reports that nicotine patches may actually improve the brain performance of people with mild memory loss, often… more »

01/09/12

  05:10:40 pm, by MedBen5   , 242 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Effects of Gum Disease Don't Stop At The Mouth

Teeth get all the glory, but it’s time to pay the gums a bit of respect as well. After all, they do all the heavy lifting that allow you to bite, nibble and when you’re upset, grind. And when your gums get infected, they may be sending… more »
  12:07:18 pm, by MedBen5   , 192 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Obama Administration Files Defense of Individual Mandate

On Friday, the Obama administration submitted a 62-page filing with the Supreme Court defending the constitutionality of the individual mandate, ABC News reports. In the filing, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli contends that the Affordable Care Act… more »
  11:05:56 am, by MedBen5   , 227 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Win The Wars Against Germs When The Thermometer Drops

Getting a flu shot is a good thing – we’ve said as much on this blog. But immunization is only half the battle in preventing a bout with the bug. Speaking to Medical Xpress, primary care physician Sri Murthy, MD says avoiding illness begins… more »

01/06/12

  03:29:21 pm, by MedBen5   , 257 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Screenings Contribute To Decline In Cancer Death Rate

We’ll get the bad news out of the way first. Cancer is still the second-leading cause of death behind heart disease. And the incidents of some forms of cancer, including skin, liver and kidney, are actually on the rise. But the American Cancer… more »
  01:13:07 pm, by MedBen5   , 277 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Individual Mandate Hinges On Question Of Congressional Power

The Obama adminstration appears to have the momentum going into the Supreme Court case over the individual mandate, seeing how they’ve got a winning record in federal appeals courts. But throughout the legal process, the administration… more »
  12:15:21 pm, by MedBen5   , 285 words,  
Categories: Wellness

When Joining A Gym, Take Baby Steps (So To Speak)

It should come as no surprise that health club memberships go way up in January: some gyms see enrollments spike as much as 50%. And competing clubs are happy to offer incentives to draw in New Year’s resolutioners, such as free initiations and… more »

01/05/12

  05:13:55 pm, by MedBen5   , 219 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Bad Habits Make For Costly Health Care

Recent research by eHealth demonstrates how unhealthy habits can hurt the pocketbook as well as the body. As the results from this Smoking Status and BMI study show, average monthly premiums paid for individual health insurance are negatively impacted… more »
  04:28:03 pm, by MedBen5   , 224 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

FDA Cuts Several Generic Drugmakers Down To Size

The Pharmalot blog reports that when it comes to generic drugs, bigger is definitely not better. The FDA has put several drugmakers on notice that their drug applications will not be approved until the tablet size is more in line with the brand-name… more »

01/04/12

  03:56:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 307 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Doctor Advises Patients Be Proactive About Diagnostic Tests

HealthDay recently posed the question, “Is American medicine too test happy?” According to the article, doctors are wondering the same thing, based on a growing body of evidence that overuse of diagnostic testing – say, a blood test… more »
  10:18:55 am, by MedBen5   , 136 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Nearly Half Of U.S. States Qualify For Children's Health Care Bonuses

Ohio, Michigan and Illinois are among 23 states that have been awarded nearly $300 million for providing health coverage for children, Reuters reports (via Yahoo! Health). States qualified for the bonuses by adapting procedures that make it easier to… more »
  09:48:40 am, by MedBen5   , 278 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

MP3 Users Need To Exercise Volume Control, Studies Suggest

Two new studies offer a cautionary note for those of us who are seldom found without an MP3 player and a pair of earbuds: HealthDay reports that about 90% of New York City residents may be at risk of hearing loss due to noise exposure. And while the… more »

01/03/12

  02:52:20 pm, by MedBen5   , 230 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

State's Freedom To Create Exchanges Come With Conditions

Last month, the Obama administration announced that states will have greater flexibility to determine benefits available through their health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. But just how much latitude will the federal government… more »
  02:32:48 pm, by MedBen5   , 298 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Don't Let Setbacks Sidetrack Your Weight Loss Resolution

So, we’re three days into the new year… have you stuck with that resolution to lose weight? No? Well, now is not the time to get discouraged… rather, accept the reality that setbacks are inevitable when changing long-held dietary… more »