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Archives for: May 2012

05/31/12

  11:28:34 am, by MedBen5   , 192 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Skipping Eye Exams No Bargain

When it comes to vision care, don’t trust your eyes. Put another way: Just because you see fine, that doesn’t mean there may not be trouble lurking underneath the surface. A WebMD article about eye care bargains notes that to save money,… more »
  10:47:51 am, by MedBen5   , 179 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Exercise May Not Help Every Heart, Study Suggests

If you’ve been looking for a reason to justify your couch-potato lifestyle, science has delivered a bit of good news for you. A group of researchers have determined that exercise could actually increase your risk of heart disease, The New York… more »
  10:16:02 am, by MedBen5   , 238 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Wellness

NYC Mayor Proposes Ban On Jumbo Sugary Drinks

In the ongoing battle against obesity, the Big Apple wants to take away your Big Gulp. The Wall Street Journal reports that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed an amendment to the city health code that would prohibit the sales of sugary… more »

05/30/12

  05:30:39 pm, by MedBen5   , 252 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Health Plan Management

House Committee To Consider Repeal Of OTC Provision

Remember back in 2010, when you could use your flexible spending account funds to buy over-the-counter medicines without a prescription? Good times, they were. Of course, thanks to the health care reform law, that’s all in the past. But then… more »
  12:11:53 pm, by MedBen5   , 84 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Counterfeit ADHD Drug Showing Up Online

A warning to those of you who buy medications through pharmaceutical websites: A counterfeit version of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug Adderall is showing up online, the Food and Drug Administration reports. According to… more »
  11:46:44 am, by MedBen5   , 177 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Prescription, Wellness

Aspirin, Other Painkillers May Reduce Skin Cancer Risk

Is there anything aspirin can’t do… assuming, of course, that you take all the studies extolling its virtues at face value? HealthDay News reports that taking aspirin – or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as… more »

05/29/12

  04:06:43 pm, by MedBen5   , 212 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Claims Database Offers Glimpse Of National Health Care Trends

The non-profit, non-partisan Health Care Cost Institute has compiled a database culled from over 3 billion medical claims, The Washington Post recently reported. The deidentified information from several large insurance companies provides a useful means… more »
  02:47:25 pm, by MedBen5   , 251 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Trying A Group Approach To Better Health

As MedBen clients Park National Corporation and Fisher-Titus Medical Center noted at a recent Wellness Conference, incentives – in the form of lower premiums, HRA contributions, or even sharing success stories – can spur member participation… more »
  01:01:23 pm, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Senate Approves Greater FDA Authority Over Drugmakers

In a rare display of near-unanimous bipartisanship, the Senate last week voted to approve a bill that will give the federal government greater oversight of drug companies. According to The New York Times, the bill, which passed by a vote of 96-1, would… more »

05/28/12

  09:27:10 am, by MedBen5   , 258 words,  
Categories: Announcements

MedBen Closed On Memorial Day, But Online Services Available

The staff of MedBen want to wish you and your family a happy and safe Memorial Day! Our home office will be closed on Monday, May 28 in observance of the holiday. We will reopen at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 29, 2012. During this time, please remember… more »

05/25/12

  02:33:47 pm, by MedBen5   , 238 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

Supplement Studies Warn Of Heart, Liver Risks

Judging by some of our earlier blog posts, there must be weeks that supplement makers just dread reading the headlines. well, here’s another double-dose of bad news that will have ‘em reaching for the antacids… According to USA… more »
  08:44:33 am, by MedBen5   , 181 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

CDC: Life Expectancy For People With Diabetes Improving

Some positive news for diabetes patients: A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people with the disease are living longer. According to My Health News Daily, the report states that “between 1997 and 2004, the… more »

05/24/12

  03:29:34 pm, by MedBen5   , 164 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Birth Control Pills Less Effective Than Longer-Term Methods

Reuters reports that long-acting birth control methods are much more effective at preventing pregnancies than pills and other short-acting alternatives, a new study suggests. “We found that participants using oral contraceptive pills, a… more »
  09:39:55 am, by MedBen5   , 234 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Government Task Force Recommends Abandoning PSA Tests

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recently dropped some non-too-subtle hints that the screening guidelines for prostate cancer screening should be changed. Earlier this week, the government advisory panel finally announced that the PSA should… more »

05/23/12

  06:05:15 pm, by MedBen5   , 237 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

New HHS Website Offers Easy Tracking Of Health Care Trends

The Department of Health and Human Services recently launched a web-based tool that gives consumers access to a large collection of health care data. According to an HHS news release, the Health System Measurement Project allows “policymakers,… more »
  05:18:28 pm, by MedBen5   , 211 words,  
Categories: Prescription

Rx Sales Reps Don't Just Provide Freebies, Study Suggests

Accusations that pharmacy sales reps have unduly influenced physicians to prescribe their products has led many doctors to say “no” to pitch meetings – and the free meals, trips and other gifts that often accompany them. But a new… more »

05/22/12

  05:30:52 pm, by MedBen5   , 362 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness, Health Plan Management

CDC Report: Life Expectancy And Health Improve, But Obesity A Growing Problem

The Centers for Disease Control recently released its annual state of the union’s health. The federally mandated report serves as a benchmark for the current physical condition of the nation compared to past decades, as well as spending habits and… more »

05/21/12

  05:15:09 pm, by MedBen5   , 217 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

CHDPs Save Money Now -- And Later

A recent study by RAND Corp determined that a rise in the use of consumer-driven health plans could signficantly reduce U.S. health care costs, The Hill reports. CDHPs currently account for about 13% of all health care coverage provided by employers,… more »
  12:16:34 pm, by MedBen5   , 226 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

"Take-back" Drug Programs May Be Unnecessary, Study Says

Many communities offer prescription drug “take-back” programs to safely dispose of unused medicines. But a new study suggests that properly tossing the old drugs in the trash is just as effective. According to WebMD, researchers used a… more »
  10:20:06 am, by MedBen5   , 164 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

CDC Proposes Baby Boomers Get Tested For Hepatitis C

The Centers for Disease Control has proposed that all baby boomers get tested for hepatitis C, the Associated Press reports. In draft recommendations issued on May 18, the government agency stated that anyone born from 1945 to 1965 should get a… more »

05/18/12

  04:10:01 pm, by MedBen5   , 423 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News

MedBen Names Freeman Chairman, Harden President

Doug Freeman, previously President and Chief Executive Officer of Medical Benefits Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MedBen), was elected Chairman of the Board and CEO of the health benefits management company at a meeting of its Board of Directors on May 17.… more »
  01:01:44 pm, by MedBen5   , 140 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Generic Versions Of Plavix Approved By FDA

The Food and Drug Administration has approved generic versions of the popular blood thinner Plavix. The Associated Press reports that seven generic dugmakers have been given permission to sell the drug in the standard 75-milligram dose, while four… more »
  12:21:53 pm, by MedBen5   , 223 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

HHS Sets Deadline For States To File Exchange Proposals

Despite the uncertainly surrounding the future of health care reform, the Obama administration is moving forward. Reuters reports that the Department for Health and Human Services has announced a November 16 deadline for state governments to submit plan… more »
  10:44:53 am, by MedBen5   , 211 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study Questions Effectiveness Of "Good" Cholesterol

A long-held medical belief – that the more HDL, or “good cholesterol", you have in your blood, the lower your risk of heart disease – has been challenged. According to The New York Times, new research has found that raising HDL levels… more »

05/17/12

  05:23:33 pm, by MedBen5   , 285 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News

MedBen Opens, Dedicates Conference Center

MedBen formally opened the C. Arthur Morrow Conference Center on Thursday, May 17, 2012. The company’s President and CEO Doug Freeman hosted the event. “As MedBen has continued to grow, the need for an expanded meeting area has become essential,”… more »
  10:54:43 am, by MedBen5   , 333 words,  
Categories: Prescription

Test Your OTC IQ

There are more over-the-counter health products available than ever, and trying to figure out which one is best for your ailment can be a real head-scratcher. To raise your OTC intellect a few points, The Wall Street Journal Health Blog offers… more »
  10:38:53 am, by MedBen5   , 244 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Coffee Drinkers May Live Longer, Study Suggests

If you’re enjoying a piping hot cup o’ joe while you read this, give yourself a pat on the back. You’re adding years to your life. Maybe. WebMD reports that a 13-year study of coffee drinkers revealed that people who downed three or… more »

05/16/12

  05:07:31 pm, by MedBen5   , 139 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

First In-home HIV Test Passes FDA Panel

Reuters reports that the first over-the-counter, in-home HIV test is one step closer to reality. A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has unanimously recommended that the agency approve the product, known as the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test.… more »
  04:16:12 pm, by MedBen5   , 189 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Over 53 Million Americans Could Have Diabetes By 2025, Report Warns

If the diabetes epidemic continues to progress at its current pace, 53 million Americans may have the disease by 2025, a new report states. According to RedOrbit.com, researchers based their projections for specific states and population subgroups… more »

05/15/12

  02:57:41 pm, by MedBen5   , 311 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Researchers Test Laxative-free "Virtual" Colonoscopy

While colon cancer can generally be prevented through timely screenings, the unpleasant aspects of pre-test preparations scares many people away. But a new method for performing a “virtual” colonoscopy may persuade those who have so far… more »
  12:13:25 pm, by MedBen5   , 185 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

U.S. Consumes Majority Of Painkillers Worldwide

According to the U.K. paper Mail, Americans currently consume 80% of the world’s supply of pain pills – enough drugs to give every single American 64 Percocets or Vicodin. The article notes that opioid prescriptions have spiked 600% in the… more »
  11:25:34 am, by MedBen5   , 226 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Washington State Health Care Reform Offers Cautionary Tale

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) recently released the first of four case studies that demonstrate the consequences of mandating health care reforms in the absence of a personal coverage requirement. It’s a scenario that has already played… more »
  10:54:07 am, by MedBen5   , 190 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

"Social Jet Lag" Triples Odds Of Excess Weight

Many people have two sets of sleep times – “weekend” and “weekdays". And typically, the former is a few hours longer than the latter. But while the extra hours of shut-eye on Saturday and Sunday may provide some short-term… more »

05/11/12

  05:29:44 pm, by MedBen5   , 286 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Rise In Disease Prevalence Drives Need For Wellness

Poor lifestyle choices have led to an increased prevalence of expensive chronic diseases, according to Rayvelle Stallings, MD, Chief Medical Officer of inVentiv Medical Management. At MedBen’s recent Wellness Conference, Dr. Stallings highlighted… more »
  12:57:53 pm, by MedBen5   , 167 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Middle-Age Fitness Reduces Health Costs In Later Life

It comes as no surprise that most people incur higher medical costs in their senior years. But new research suggests a potential way to bring those expenses down by over one-third. According to HealthDay News, a Dallas, Texas-based study of more than… more »
  12:12:35 pm, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Will Health Insurance Exchanges Get Rebranded?

As we note the latest health care reform news on this blog, we often use the phrase “health insurance exchange” to describe a government-run place where individuals and small businesses can compare and purchase health care plans. Little did… more »
  10:58:12 am, by MedBen5   , 225 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

FDA Panels Recommend HIV, Weight Loss Drugs; Agency Offers MS Treatment Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is all over the news today: An FDA advisory panel has recommended approval of the drug Truvada to prevent the spread of HIV infection in high-risk, healthy people, WebMD reports. The Antiviral Drugs Advisory… more »

05/09/12

  05:42:18 pm, by MedBen5   , 398 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Strong Teeth Requires Healthy Habits

Taking care of your teeth is one of the best investments you can make for better health… and you get a dazzling smile to boot. In WebMD the Magazine, David Leader, DMD offers eight ways to keep your mouth in great shape. We summarize his… more »
  11:37:00 am, by MedBen5   , 186 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Lengthy Drives May Harm Commuter's Health

Lengthy commutes can do more than drive up your gas budget – it may raise your weight as well, according to a new study. ABC News reports that people who drive long distances to work tend to be more overweight than non-commuters. In reviewing the… more »
  09:44:22 am, by MedBen5   , 219 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Health Plan Management

Big Companies Testing Value-Based Rx Copays

Some larger employers are experimenting with a different take on pharmaceutical benefits – one that pays for drugs based on their potential to prevent higher medical costs in the future. An NPR story says that the approach, known as value-based… more »

05/08/12

  09:46:57 am, by MedBen5   , 230 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Over 40% Of U.S. Will Be Obese By 2030, Study Estimates

Some dire predictions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Not only will the number of overweight Americans continue to grow, the proportion considered “severely obese” will be more than double the current rate by 2030. The… more »

05/07/12

  05:30:38 pm, by MedBen5   , 230 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Private Sector Health Care Reform Predictions

A recent Associated Press article says that if the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act, employers and insurance companies will drive future health care reform law. And should that scenario come to pass, experts expect that:… more »
  04:53:42 pm, by MedBen5   , 240 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Some Hospitals Encourage Induced Deliveries, Watchdog Group Claims

A rising number of early induced deliveries is affecting employer health care costs, Employee Benefit News reports. While there is a definite need for some babies to be induced before full term (40 weeks gestation) because of medical reasons, a recent… more »

05/04/12

  01:05:57 pm, by MedBen5   , 233 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Popularity Of Consumer-Driven Health Plans Continues To Grow

Reuters recently reported on the surge in popularity for consumer-driven health plans, which offer lower premiums and greater participant control of medical care funds in exchange for higher deductibles. Currently, 59% of companies with 1,000 or more… more »
  11:10:32 am, by MedBen5   , 162 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Drug Shortages Still High, But Numbers Are Improving

The number of scarce drugs is still higher than anyone would like, but the situation has definitely improved since last year. According to the Food and Drug Administration, 42 new shortages have been reported so far this year, compared to 90 in the same… more »
  10:48:26 am, by MedBen5   , 218 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

If ObamaCare Falls, Ball's In GOP's Court

The Supreme Court may have already decided the fate of the Affordable Care Act – and to the surprise of many, there’s a halfway decent chance that the entire law could be thrown out. Which would suit many Republicans in Congress just fine.… more »
  10:06:33 am, by MedBen5   , 171 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Want To Live Longer? Start Jogging, Study Says

Jogging regularly can improve your life expectancy, a new long-term study suggests. According to HealthDay, Danish researchers compared the mortality of joggers and non-joggers who took part in the population study of 20,000 people aged 20 to 93 that… more »

05/03/12

  04:49:51 pm, by MedBen5   , 296 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Incentives, Communication Vital To MedBen Clients' Wellness Successes

In 2007, MedBen launched a Worksite Wellness with a simple idea – detect and treat health risks as early as possible. Five years later, employers who have put the plan in place are seeing real results. At last week’s Wellness Conference,… more »
  12:43:41 pm, by MedBen5   , 207 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Medicare Fraud Sweep Results In 107 Arrests

One positive outcome of the health care reform law that’s hard to dispute: a heightened effort to crack down on Medicare fraud. Last year, the federal government recovered a record $4.1 billion in fraudulent health care payments. And yesterday,… more »
  11:50:19 am, by MedBen5   , 233 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

High Acidity In Energy Drinks Can Permanently Damage Teeth

The high acidity levels in sports and energy drinks can erode tooth enamel, according to a recent study published in the journal General Dentistry. Teenagers, many of who consume such drinks on a daily basis, are in particular danger of doing… more »

05/02/12

  05:17:24 pm, by MedBen5   , 285 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

MedBen Clients Achieve Healthier Workplace With Wellness Focus

In 2007, MedBen launched a Worksite Wellness with a simple idea – detect and treat health risks as early as possible. Five years later, employers who have put the plan in place are seeing real results. At last week’s Wellness Conference,… more »
  05:05:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 215 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Sleep Habits Can Genetically Influence Weight, Study Says

It’s universally accepted that proper diet and exercise can help people stay in shape. Also benefical in keeping off the pounds – an extra hour or two sleep each day. And a new study suggests that slumber habits can actually modify genetic… more »
  04:22:21 pm, by MedBen5   , 244 words,  
Categories: Prescription

Providers Slowly Adapting To E-Prescriptions

While much medical information is now communicated electronically, many doctors still write prescriptions the old-fashioned way – with pen in hand. The New York Times recently examined the advantages of e-prescribing, and the progress (and lack… more »

05/01/12

  01:33:33 pm, by MedBen5   , 185 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Health Care Spending Reveals A Positive Trend

As this chart from The New York Times shows, health care spending has slowed dramatically over the past ten years. So what’s responsible for this trend? Certainly, the recession has played a major role, as many people have reduced the frequency… more »
  12:44:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 218 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Court Decision Could Give Health Exchanges Headaches

One of the weightier questions that would arise if the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate: What becomes of state health exchanges? Should the justices find the requirement that most Americans buy insurance to be unconstitutional, the… more »