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Archives for: April 2012

04/30/12

  05:09:50 pm, by MedBen5   , 135 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

IRS Releases HSA Inflation Adjustments For 2013

On Friday, the IRS released the cost-of-living adjustments affecting health savings accounts (HSAs) for calendar year 2013. The HSA contribution limits and high-deductible health plan (HDHP) out-of-pocket maximums will both increase. The HDHP minimum… more »
  04:55:11 pm, by MedBen5   , 185 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

The "Other" Costs Of Obesity

As we noted here a few weeks ago, the nationwide obesity epidemic adds almost $190 billion a year to U.S. medical costs – acounting for over 20% of total U.S. health spending. But as Sharon Begley of Reuters details, medical expenses tell only one… more »

04/27/12

  06:11:07 pm, by MedBen5   , 413 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News

MedBen Hospital & Wellness Conference Covers Variety Of Subjects

On Thursday, April 26, MedBen clients and other guests filled the new MedBen Conference Center for the 10th Annual Hospital Roundtable. For the first time, MedBen also held its yearly Wellness Conference on the same day, for the convenience of clients… more »
  04:00:12 pm, by MedBen5   , 183 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Appendicitis Study Reveals Wide Price Disparity

A few weeks back, we posted a piece here about the differences in preventive care costs from one provider to another. Recent research also demonstrates a similarly wide disparity in hospital charges. According to HealthDay, a California study of the… more »
  11:08:29 am, by MedBen5   , 240 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Change To OTC Rules Debated By House Subcommittee

On April 25, politicians and health industry representatives argued the impact of limitations on the use of consumer-driven health plans for the purchase of over-the-counter drugs on consumers, physicians and employers. As noted on the Tax-News… more »

04/26/12

  10:28:36 am, by MedBen5   , 266 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Cancer Screenings: When To Test, And When Not

Getting a cancer screening is vital to better health. Also vital: Not getting a cancer screening. Confusing? Well, let’s elaborate on those seemingly contradictory statements. A benchmark of smart preventive care is getting appropropriate cancer… more »
  09:10:55 am, by MedBen5   , 173 words,  
Categories: News

Many People Ignore Prescription Drug Instructions, Study Finds

New research reveals that only about one out of three Americans correctly follow doctor’s orders when taking prescription drugs, according to The Wall Street Journal Health Blog. Demonstrating true fortitude in the name of medical progress, Quest… more »

04/25/12

  05:10:13 pm, by MedBen5   , 428 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

SBC Requirements for Health FSAs

As we’ve noted in earlier blog posts, the Affordable Care Act has imposed a significant new disclosure requirement: the Uniform Summary of Coverage document. Known as a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), the document must contain a… more »

04/23/12

  04:43:21 pm, by MedBen5   , 183 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

HHS Updates Listing of Counties for “Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services”

Earlier this month, Health and Human Services (HHS) released its 2012 listing of United States counties in which non-grandfathered self-funded health plans and fully-insured policies must provide certain plan notices, including appeals and external… more »
  02:44:30 pm, by MedBen5   , 182 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

FDA Responds To Criticisms Of Drug Tracking Efforts

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has responded to criticisms that it fails to track the safety of drugs after they are approved. According to Reuters, the agency said this weekend that it spends an equal amount of effort and resources on… more »
  12:17:46 pm, by MedBen5   , 142 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Romney's Reform Proposal Would Emphasize Individual Coverage

“Repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act has been a mantra for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. But the presumptive GOP candidate has his own ideas for health care reform on a nationwide scale. The Los Angeles Times reports… more »

04/20/12

  05:00:34 pm, by MedBen5   , 333 words,  
Categories: Announcements

MedBen Adds Davis to Sales and Marketing Team

MedBen is pleased to announce the addition of a new associate to its Sales and Marketing team. Pamela Davis will serve as Regional Sales Manager in Southeastern Ohio and West Virginia, assisting her region’s broker network with the sales of all MedBen… more »
  04:57:03 pm, by MedBen5   , 210 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Does Provider Emphasis On Well-Being Reduce Health Care Costs?

An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal that ties (tangentally, anyway) into yesterday’s Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute post: Instead of focusing only on blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other indicators of… more »
  04:17:30 pm, by MedBen5   , 147 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Daily Exercise May Help Smokers Kick The Habit

Nicotine gum and patches may or may not aid cigarette smokers in kicking the habit, but a major study suggests that exercise may be an effective route to quitting once and for all. According to NPR, researchers in Taiwan tracked the health and habits… more »

04/19/12

  05:07:13 pm, by MedBen5   , 458 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

New Employer Tax to Fund Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service released its pre-Federal Register draft of proposed rules on how self-funded plan sponsors and insurance carriers will pay the federal government to support the Patient-Centered Research Outcomes Institute. The… more »

04/18/12

  05:31:55 pm, by MedBen5   , 195 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Eye Screening May Reveal Onset of Parkinson's

Considering that vision exams can detect diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and even potential memory loss, it would not be hyperbole to say that our eyes can serve as a treasure trove of medical information.… more »
  04:11:44 pm, by MedBen5   , 189 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Labor Department Updates Online Employer Health Benefit Advisor

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released an updated version of its Health Benefits Advisor for Employers. This online resource outlines the federal laws that can affect health benefit coverage provided by group health plans. The Advisor explains… more »

04/17/12

  04:47:27 pm, by MedBen5   , 144 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study: Obesity Accounts For One-Fifth Of U.S. Health Spending

Carrying around excess weight is a financial burden in addition to a physical one, a new study says. According to HealthDay News, researchers from Cornell University found that an obese person’s medical costs are $2,741 a year higher (in 2005… more »

04/13/12

  04:54:40 pm, by MedBen5   , 205 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Working The Late Shift May Raise Diabetes Risk

More evidence that irregular sleep habits can adversely affect one’s health: A new study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found the fighting the body’s natural sleep patterns can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. According to… more »

04/11/12

  04:42:13 pm, by MedBen5   , 176 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Support For Health Care Reform Law Continues To Fall

Public support of the health care reform law has reached a new low, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. ABC News reports that 53% now disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, while only 39% support it – the smallest vote of… more »
  10:43:07 am, by MedBen5   , 212 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Cancer Headlines: Higher Costs, Higher Survival Rates

Lots of cancer-related news this week… here’s a sampling: According to Kaiser Health News, a new study suggests that higher American costs for cancer care compared to Europe is offset by better U.S. survival rates – almost two… more »
  09:54:42 am, by MedBen5   , 177 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Tried-and-True Weight Loss Methods Work Best, Study Finds

Every now and then, the scientific community takes a few moments out of their busy schedule to confirm something that we all already know… but hey, a gentle reminder never hurts. In this case, a new study determined that time-tested ways of losing… more »

04/10/12

  05:38:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 213 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

New Medical Codes Delayed Until 2014

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that an upgrade to the medical-coding standard will be postponed for a year, The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports. Originally set for implementation in 2013, the coding set known as… more »
  01:02:59 pm, by MedBen5   , 295 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Doctors Differ In Opinion Of "Choosing Wisely" Campaign

Last week, nine medical societies jointly announced “Choosing Wisely” – a doctor-focused campaign to promote more selective use of medical tests. The groups compled a list of 45 tests and procedures they considered to be overused. On… more »
  11:22:15 am, by MedBen5   , 219 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Health Plan Management

Report: Health Care Reform Law Would Raise Deficit

The Affordable Care Act will add more that $340 billion to the deficit, according to a new study of the health care reform law by a Republican member of the board that oversees Medicare financing. The Washington Post reports that conservative policy… more »

04/09/12

  12:16:07 pm, by MedBen5   , 209 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study Suggests False-Positives Can Predict Breast Cancer Risk

An oft-cited concern by those in support of reduced mammogramy screening is the greater potential of a “false-positive” – a result that indicates that a cancer is present when it is not. And indeed, 61% of women in the U.S. who do… more »
  11:23:55 am, by MedBen5   , 277 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Health Care Woes In 1933 Sound Very Familiar

The more health care changes, the more it stays the same… at least, that’s the conclusion one might reach when reviewing a list of U.S. health care problems from 1933. C.E.A. Winslow, a Professor of Public Health at Yale University, wrote… more »

04/06/12

  05:16:15 pm, by MedBen5   , 313 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

While Health Law's Fate Is Weighed, MedBen Stays Proactive

In the leadup to, and aftermath from, Supreme Court hearings over the Affordable Care Act, the Internet has been rife with speculation as to what would happen if the individual mandate, or even the entire health care reform law, was struck down. The New… more »
  04:02:53 pm, by MedBen5   , 178 words,  
Categories: Announcements

Preventive Care Costs Can Differ Greatly

As more preventive services are covered in full by health insurance, the range of treatment costs from one provider to another has received increased scrunity. USA Today reports that a new study demonstrates just how great the difference can be.… more »
  12:18:10 pm, by MedBen5   , 262 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Don't Ignore The Signs Of Sleep Deprivation

Many of us are so conditioned to getting by with less than seven hours of sleep a night that we ignore the warning signs our body sends when it wants more rest. But failure to take notice can lead to a myriad of health problems, including high blood… more »
  11:12:17 am, by MedBen5   , 163 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

FDA Warns About Fake Cancer Drugs

Avastin users may want to take extra precautions to ensure that their physicians and pharmacists are giving them the proper version. For the second time this year, the Food and Drug Administration has uncovered counterfeits of the injectable cancer… more »

04/04/12

  05:13:08 pm, by MedBen5   , 212 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

"Choosing Wisely" Campaign Promotes Smarter Medical Testing

In an effort to reduce wasteful spending without harming patients, nine medical societies have compiled a list of tests and treatments their members should no longer automatically order. MSNBC reports that the groups, which include the American Academy… more »
  01:40:49 pm, by MedBen5   , 354 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

President's Confident Comments Ruffle Feathers

In spite of rumblings that the Supreme Court could strike down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama is confident that the health care reform law will stand, the New York Times reports. On Monday, he said that it would be an… more »
  01:28:56 pm, by MedBen5   , 183 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

All-Metal Hip Replacements In The News

All-metal hip replacements have gotten a lot of bad press lately. Studies calling into question their effectiveness, plus a major recall following recipient reports of pain and joint dislocation, have cast doubts on whether metal-on-metal (MOM) is… more »

04/02/12

  10:29:47 am, by MedBen5   , 242 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

A "Fix-It" For Health Care

On his blog, Dr. Wes offers a common-sense approach for how we proceed with health care reform should the Supreme Court strike down the Affordable Care Act: “Fix what’s broken first. “Rather than creating a new, larger government… more »
  10:00:33 am, by MedBen5   , 181 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

More Young Adults Developing Skin Cancer, Study Finds

Despite repeated warnings about prolonged exposure to the sun and the dangers of tanning beds, skin cancer has risen among young adults over the past four decades. AFP (via Yahoo! Health) reports that between 1970 and 2009, the rate of melanoma among… more »