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Archives for: July 2012

07/31/12

  05:07:01 pm, by MedBen5   , 161 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Are Wi-Fi Pills In Our Future?

Pharmaceutical techology in the news that’s two parts “remarkable” and one part “odd"… a pill that electronically records when it’s been taken. MedCity News reports that the Food and Drug Administration has approved… more »
  11:47:58 am, by MedBen5   , 267 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Toothless Tax Won't Push People To Buy Health Insurance

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that the penalty for not buying health insurance constitutes a tax – a decision that had Capitol Hill Democrats and Republicans scrambling to, respectively, do damage control or make political hay. But as Joseph… more »
  11:10:27 am, by MedBen5   , 193 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Government Panel Recommends Changing EKG Guidelines

The United States Preventive Services Task Force has advised against the use of treadmill testing with electrocardiograms (EKG) for people who have no known risk factors or symptoms of heart disease, The New York Times reports. Once a regular part of… more »

07/30/12

  05:23:14 pm, by MedBen5   , 165 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Government Enlists Insurers For Fraud Crackdown

The Department of Health and Human Services is working with health insurers to fight against health care fraud, the Associated Press reports. Several larger insurers have pledged to share raw data and industrial expertise in order to reduce incidents… more »
  01:12:41 pm, by MedBen5   , 125 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Ohio Providers Battle Painkiller Abuse With Military Technology

The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports on high-tech efforts by southern Ohio health care providers to combat painkiller abuse: “Starting this week, patients must submit to a fingerprint scan to see a doctor at one hospital system. At several… more »
  12:41:59 pm, by MedBen5   , 193 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

CBO: Court Ruling Will Cut Costs But Add To Uninsured

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently reported that the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act will save about $84 billion, but also means that 3 million more people will lack health insurance. According… more »
  11:54:21 am, by MedBen5   , 242 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Prostate Cancer Studies Offer Support For And Against Testing

The debate regarding the usefulness of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests rages on, with separate research offering evidence for both the “pro” and “con” camps: According to WebMD, a study suggests that routine PSA tests… more »

07/25/12

  01:07:38 pm, by MedBen5   , 210 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Reform Rules Spur Employers To Explore Self-Funding

The Affordable Care Act will spur more small business to self-fund their health care coverage, says a new paper by the Center for Studying Health System Change. According to Modern Healthcare, the report concluded that employers with fewer than 100… more »

07/24/12

  05:13:58 pm, by MedBen5   , 212 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Waiting For Medical Results Can Be A Test Of Patience

Anyone who has had to wait for important medical test results knows how stressful the experience can be, as thoughts alternative between hoping for the best and fearing for the worst. Increased online availability of test results speeds up the process,… more »
  04:37:13 pm, by MedBen5   , 189 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

Rise In Diabetes Spurs New Treatment Strategies

The rise in U.S. obesity over the past several decades has been accompanied by a increase in Type 2 diabetes. The best strategy for reducing the risk of the disease is a sensible weight loss program. But for those already afflicted, the solution is less… more »

07/23/12

  04:27:04 pm, by MedBen5   , 253 words,  
Categories: Prescription

All Pharmacies Are Not Created Equal

On the KevinMD.com blog, Medical student Arvin Akhavan argues for a more transparent pharmaceutical pricing system: “I consider myself well educated. I’m a college graduate and in the throes of professional school – in healthcare… more »
  01:08:47 pm, by MedBen5   , 125 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Senate Republican Efforts To Repeal ACA Thwarted

In an ongoing political tennis match, Senate Republicans have once again served up an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and Democrats have once again lobbed it right back at them. According to The Hill’s Floor Action Blog, Senate… more »
  12:25:31 pm, by MedBen5   , 163 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Do E-cigarettes Benefit Smokers? The Jury's Still Out

Electronic cigarettes are gaining in popularity among smokers, as both a tobacco substitute and a tool to hopefully wean them from the habit. According to WebMD, the devices resemble regular cigarettes but work by means of a vaporizer filled with a… more »

07/20/12

  12:12:08 pm, by MedBen5   , 318 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

New Weight Loss Drugs Generate Questions, Opinions

With two new weight loss drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration within three weeks of each other, questions about their comparative effectiveness are inevitable. In response, WebMD has developed a Belviq/Qsymia FAQ. Here, we highlight their… more »
  11:38:30 am, by MedBen5   , 206 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

House Subcommittee Passes Bill To Defund ACA

Republicans in the House of Representatives are certainly not letting any moss grow beneath their feet these days. Just one week after the full legislature passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a House Appropriations subcommittee voted 8-6 to… more »
  10:37:32 am, by MedBen5   , 164 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Whooping Cough On Pace For Most Cases In 50+ Years

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that 2012 will probably experience the highest number of whooping cough cases since 1959, USA Today reports. Known formally as pertussis, whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial disease that… more »

07/19/12

  03:25:49 pm, by MedBen5   , 207 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Health Plan Management

Some Physicians Doubling As Pharmacists

The New York Times recently reported on doctors who double as pharmacists, dispensing drugs to patients themselves – often at greatly inflated costs. The way it works: Physician dispensing companies serve as middlemen, helping doctors set up… more »
  12:12:50 pm, by MedBen5   , 222 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Think Tank Calls Tax Credits For Federally-Run Exchanges "Illegal"

Have challengers of the Affordable Care Act found a way to get it back into a courtroom? According to NPR, it depends on who you ask. The think tank Cato Institute, which opposes the health care reform law, says a oversight regarding health insurance… more »
  10:28:55 am, by MedBen5   , 206 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Prostate Surgery Doesn't Help Most Cancer Patients, Study Says

The best way to detect and treat prostate cancer – and whether either course of action is even necessary – has come under a fair amount of debate lately. Earlier this week, an expert panel refuted U.S. Preventive Services Task Force… more »

07/18/12

  05:15:45 pm, by MedBen5   , 129 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Majority Of Doctors Now Use Electronic Health Records

According to HealthDay News, a new national survey found that 55% of U.S. doctors now use some type of electronic health record system. And among those don’t, nearly half said they plan to implement a system in the coming year. Other findings in… more »
  03:47:51 pm, by MedBen5   , 168 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

FDA Approves Second Weight Loss Drug In Two Months

For over a decade, the pharmaceutical industry offered only one option for severely overweight people desiring a weight-loss drug – Xenical, which was rarely prescribed and only somewhat effective. But within the last three weeks, two competitors… more »
  12:59:10 pm, by MedBen5   , 230 words,  
Categories: Announcements

A Few Lesser-Known Health Care Reform Provisions

When you put together a health care reform law that’s 2,700 pages long, chances are they’ll be plenty of content that receives little notice. While the individual mandate and state health exchanges get all the headlines, many of the details… more »
  10:12:33 am, by MedBen5   , 152 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Lack Of Physical Activity Linked To 10% Of Premature Deaths

Smoking and obesity frequently get linked to reduced mortality. Now, a new study suggests that physical inactivity also factors into premature deaths – and is the primary contributor in about 10% of cases. USA Today reports that a Harvard Medical… more »

07/17/12

  05:13:44 pm, by MedBen5   , 218 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Cancer Panel Disputes Federal Recommendations For PSA Screenings

Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that physicians no longer offer prostate cancer screenings to male patients. The panel’s rationale was that far more men would receive false positives than would actually benefit from… more »
  12:06:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 266 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Repeal Reform On Day One? Not Likely

If elected president, Mitt Romney vows that he will repeal the Affordable Care Act on day one of his administration. Which means that once the swearing-in is taken care of and the token appearances at all of the inaugural balls have been made, the… more »
  11:05:21 am, by MedBen5   , 199 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

FDA Approves Drug To Prevent Spread Of HIV

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the drug Truvada for individuals who have tested negative for HIV, the Los Angeles Times reports. Clinical studies have shown that if taken once a day, Truvada could reduce transmission of HIV,… more »
  10:37:44 am, by MedBen5   , 160 words,  
Categories: Wellness

When Buying Sunscreen, Check The Label

If you’re in the market for sunscreen, there’s a lot of options available. And just grabbing for whatever’s on sale usually isn’t the best solution. According to HealthDay News, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends… more »

07/16/12

  02:57:48 pm, by MedBen5   , 204 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Scammers Using ACA To Get Personal Info, FTC Warns

Con artists have proven time and again that they will leave no stone unturned in their quest to bilk unsuspecting individuals, so it should come as no surprise that they have latched onto the Affordable Care Act as a money-making scheme. The Federal… more »
  01:10:11 pm, by MedBen5   , 249 words,  
Categories: News

Food Journals Help Dieters, But Skipping Meals Doesn't

When you spend the better part of your workday sitting in front of a computer, it’s easy to get into the habit of eating without thinking – you know, just grazing from the bag of whatever snack is on your desk. It’s also not uncommon… more »

07/13/12

  04:32:48 pm, by MedBen5   , 182 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Study Shows Usefulness Of Online Compliance Checks

Reuters reports that online access to medical records may spur patients to stay up to date on recommended preventive care, according to a new study. A clinical trial at eight primary care practices found that 25% of patients who could personally check… more »
  01:12:46 pm, by MedBen5   , 194 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Affordable Care Act A Tax, Voters Say

The Supreme Court ruled last month that a financial charge for Americans who don’t purchase health insurance constitutes a tax. But how do Americans feel about? Based on a new Quinnipiac poll, most people think the court got it right. National… more »
  12:20:20 pm, by MedBen5   , 240 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

In Extreme Heat, Electric Fans Won't Help

When the weather gets as hot as it’s been lately, most of us crank up the air conditioner – or, lacking that, an electric fan. But the latter option may do more harm than good, according to a new review published in the Cochrane Library:… more »

07/12/12

  03:41:46 pm, by MedBen5   , 205 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Health Plan Management

U.S. Will See Slow Rx Spending Growth, Data Firm Predicts

The Associated Press reports that the United States and other developed countries will experience slow growth in prescription drug spending over the next four years, according to a new forecast from IMS Health. The pharmaceutical data firm attributed… more »
  01:23:14 pm, by MedBen5   , 237 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Moderate Drinking May Strengthen Women's Bones, Study Finds

As we grow, we’re frequently reminded that milk builds strong bones. But as we age, bones become weaker and need some reinforcement, in which case we should turn to… booze. Really? Well, if the findings of a new Oregon State University… more »
  12:30:30 pm, by MedBen5   , 251 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

House Votes (Again) To Repeal Health Care Reform Law

As we noted would happen earlier this week, the House of Representatives voted yesterday on a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act – just two weeks after the Supreme Court upheld it. And has been the case in previous instances where… more »

07/11/12

  11:56:35 am, by MedBen5   , 203 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Extended Care Carries High Costs, Difficult Choices

“The Crushing Cost of Care” is a sobering look at the financial realities of extended major care by The Wall Street Journal. The article follows the final months of Scott Crawford, a 41-year-old man who endured a heart transplant, various… more »
  10:34:25 am, by MedBen5   , 194 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Sugar Substitutes May Benefit Obese People, Diabetics

A joint statement by American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association says that sugar substitutes may help people lose weight and help people with diabetes control blood sugar. provided they’re used wisely. Non-nutritive… more »

07/10/12

  01:12:18 pm, by MedBen5   , 222 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Health Plan Management

Customers Like Online Services, And MedBen Delivers

Most people still prefer face-to-face communication with their doctors when discussing medical matters. But regarding other aspects of health care, online interaction is increasingly the way to go. As the results of a Accenture survey (via MedCity… more »
  12:14:37 pm, by MedBen5   , 170 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

FDA Mandates Painkiller Makers To Fund Doctor Training

In an effort to counter the growing prescription painkiller abuse crisis in the United States, The Food and Drug will require opioid medicine makers to fund safety training programs for doctors, Reuters reports. Companies that make long-acting or… more »
  11:53:53 am, by MedBen5   , 221 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

House Republicans Ready Latest ACA Repeal Attempt

It’s deja vu all over again in Congress, as the House of Representatives is considering a proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act – which will mark the 31st time since 2011 that the Republican-controlled House has voted to defund,… more »
  10:30:39 am, by MedBen5   , 196 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

To Live Longer, Take A Stand

We’ve seen our share of “stop smoking” and “eat healthy” campaigns in the past couple decades. Is a “stand up” movement poised to join their ranks? Based on recent evidence, we wouldn’t be too surprised.… more »

07/09/12

  11:50:53 am, by MedBen5   , 254 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Massachusetts' Mandate Model May Not Work Nationwide

It’s well-known that the Massachusetts health care insurance reform law served as a blueprint of sorts for the Affordable Care Act. Enacted by then-governor Mitt Romney, it contains many of the same provisions that would later be adapted by the… more »
  11:11:02 am, by MedBen5   , 181 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Summer Footwear Can Cause Aches & Pains

Warm weather and comfortable footwear go together like peanut butter and jelly (or peanut butter and bananas, if you happen to be Elvis) – so it’s likely that when it’s sunny outside, your flip-flops get a good workout. But wearing… more »

07/06/12

  01:01:17 pm, by MedBen5   , 243 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Numbers Show Need For Smart Health Benefits Planning

Reuters (via MedScape News) reports some sobering health and wellness numbers from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Compared to the OECD’s 33 other member countries, the United States ranks: 1st in… more »
  12:31:23 pm, by MedBen5   , 240 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Affordable Care Act Still Faces Challenges

“The law I passed is here to stay,” President Obama told supporters at a campaign stop in Ohio yesterday. Last week’s Supreme Court action, in which the justices upheld most of the Affordable Care Act, was indeed a definite… more »
  11:33:16 am, by MedBen5   , 127 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

FDA Approves First At-Home HIV Test

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first in-home test for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. An advisory panel to the government agency recommended its approval in May. Sold over-the-counter, the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test allows people to… more »
  10:46:13 am, by MedBen5   , 168 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Don't Get "Bristled" While Grilling This Summer

Grilling season is in high gear. And with all the basting, marinating and seasoning activity going on, it’s easy to overlook the little things… like those stray wire bristles on your grill. Incidents of individuals accidentally digesting… more »

07/05/12

  05:32:36 pm, by MedBen5   , 230 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Senior Eyesight Improved, But Vision Diseases Rising Overall

A bit of “good vision news – bad vision news": Older Americans have less serious eyesight problems compared to a generation ago, but eye diseases across all age groups have risen at a dramatic rate. A new study published in the journal… more »
  04:11:06 pm, by MedBen5   , 203 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

Long-term Painkiller Users More Likely To Overdose

Long-term use of prescription pain killers greatly increases the risk of death by overdose, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. WebMD reports that the study found the number of people who abused opioid pain relievers… more »
  10:58:30 am, by MedBen5   , 185 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Poll Says Americans Want Health Reform Opponents To Move On

Even though Americans are still mixed in their opinions about the Affordable Care Act, most would prefer that the federal goverment take no further measures to halt its progress. According to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 56% of the… more »
  10:08:55 am, by MedBen5   , 217 words,  
Categories: Wellness

When Temperatures Go Up, Slow Workouts Down

With temperatures nearing – and even reaching – triple digits, outdoor exercisers need to be extra cautious. According to HealthDay News, the American Council on Exercise strongly suggests forgoing outdoor workouts when the thermometer… more »

07/03/12

  04:43:13 pm, by MedBen5   , 226 words,  
Categories: Announcements

Happy Independence Day From MedBen!

The staff of MedBen would like to wish you and your family a fun, relaxing and safe Independence Day! MedBen will be closed on Wednesday, July 4 in observance of the holiday. We’ll reopen at 8:00 a.m. on July 5. Hopefully, you won’t have a… more »
  04:17:31 pm, by MedBen5   , 168 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

Government Panel Recommends Weight Loss Without Drugs

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first prescription weight loss pill in over a decade. But prior to that, another government panel essentially said it was a bad idea. The Boston Globe reports that the US Preventive Services Task… more »
  12:54:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 230 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Chief Justice Initially Sided With Dissenters, Sources Say

Common wisdom expected that the conservative-leaning Supreme Court would most assuredly strike down the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act. But as we learned last week, common wisdom whiffed it big-time. Or did it? In the sense that the… more »
  12:23:41 pm, by MedBen5   , 275 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Do Those Energy Drinks At The Counter Really Work?

If you’ve been in the vicinity of a convenience store counter lately, you’ve likely noticed a selection of flavored energy drinks – including the best-known brand, 5-hour Energy. It’s marketed as a “pick-me-up” for… more »

07/02/12

  12:27:38 pm, by MedBen5   , 220 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Rx Pilot Program Hopes To Lower Accidental Overdoses

Indiana and Ohio will be the first two states to test a program designed to make it easier for doctors, pharmacists and emergency departments to access patients’ prescription drug records. Reuters reports that the Obama administration is… more »
  11:45:27 am, by MedBen5   , 452 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Some Midwest States Not Far Along With Insurance Exchanges

While the Supreme Court deliberated on the fate of the Affordable Care Act, some state governments opted to hold back on developing health insurance exchanges. So now that we know the justices’ decision, it’s “game on” again… more »
  10:48:40 am, by MedBen5   , 187 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Coffee Drinking Linked To Reduced Heart Failure, Skin Cancer Risks

If you’re easing into this holiday work week with a cup of coffee, the benefits you get from it may go beyond the customary wake-up jolt. Two new studies suggest that a morning cup o’ joe helps to ward off heart failure and skin cancer.… more »