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Archives for: March 2013


  04:01:45 pm, by MedBen5   , 223 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

MedBen Takes Security Of Your PHI Seriously

With the majority of doctor’s offices using some type of electronic health record system, questions invariably arise about the security of protected health information (PHI). Increased availability of patient data requires a heightened reliance on… more »
  03:14:31 pm, by MedBen5   , 261 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

One Doc's Take On Health Care Reform

Some thoughts on three years of health care reform from a medical insider: “[W]e should admit that our health care system has flaws when it comes to the uninsured. To prove the health care reform’s benefits, the easy-to-sell low-risk coverage for… more »
  11:05:32 am, by MedBen5   , 282 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Cancer Survival Rates On The Rise

While cancer remains an all-too-real fact of life for many people, there is at least a bit of positive news about the disease. According to HealthDay (via WebMD), a new report found that there are currently 13.7 million cancer survivors in the U.S.… more »


  11:57:53 am, by MedBen5   , 229 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Costs For Some Will Rise Under Health Care Reform, Says HHS Secretary

Coinciding with the Society of Actuaries analysis we reported yesterday comes an acknowledgment by the Obama administration that health care costs will rise for some people under the Affordable Care Act… but exactly who will be affected and by how… more »
  09:34:33 am, by MedBen5   , 209 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Comparison Shopping Can Pay Off For Prescription Drug Patients

You can save some serious cash on prescription drugs if you shop around a bit, concluded a new secret shopping study by Consumer Reports. Katie Moisse of ABC News reports: “The magazine called more than 200 pharmacies across the country to request… more »


  11:01:29 am, by MedBen5   , 246 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Actuaries: Most States Will See Double-Digit Jumps In Individual Claim Costs

Ohio is one of many states that could see a huge spike in claim costs for individual health policies – as much as 80%, says a new report by the Society of Actuaries. According to the Associated Press, financial risk analysts concluded that while… more »
  10:28:36 am, by MedBen5   , 179 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Most MRIs For Lower Back Pain Unnecessary, Doctor Group Says

Nearly one-third of MRI referrals are inappropriate, an expert physician panel says – and MRIs for low back problems are particularly overused. MedPage Today reports that 29% of MRI referrals to two large teaching hospitals were deemed… more »
  09:27:37 am, by MedBen5   , 180 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Health Plan Management

Former Generic Drug Manager Offers Peek Behind The Scenes

A former drug purchasing manager for Kaiser Permanente provides “An Insider’s View of Generic-drug Pricing“, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times: “Bob Toomajian worked for 16 years as Kaiser Permanente’s drug purchasing… more »


  10:13:12 am, by MedBen5   , 234 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

More Big Companies Turning To High-Deductible Option

Larger companies are increasingly offering only a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) tied a savings account to pay for health expenses, according to the annual health benefits survey by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health. Kaiser… more »
  09:45:49 am, by MedBen5   , 200 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Congressional Bill Wants Greater Restrictions On Painkillers

Prescription painkillers could be more difficult to obtain if new legislation successfully wotks its way through Congress. Called the Safe Prescribing Act, the bill would move medications that contain hydrocodone, such as Vicodin, from a Schedule III… more »
  09:24:46 am, by MedBen5   , 151 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Health Plan Management

Sequestration Will Reduce Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

Barring congressional action, the recent budget sequestration will require reductions in the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for some small tax-exempt employers, the Internal Revenue Service has announced. Accounting Today reports that the… more »


  05:16:27 pm, by MedBen5   , 222 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Supreme Court Hears Rx "Pay-for-Delay" Arguments

Today, the Supreme Court heard arguments on what’s been dubbed “pay for delay” drug contracts, in which brand name drug manufacturers settle litigation by making deals wirth generics rival to temporarily keep cheaper versions off the… more »
  01:01:18 pm, by MedBen5   , 174 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Doctors Overdo Blood Pressure Checks, Study Suggests

Getting more than one blood pressure check a year may hurt rather than help, a new study suggests. According to Reuters Health, researchers reviewing five years of patient data concluded that the practice of receiving screened at every doctor’s… more »
  10:52:45 am, by MedBen5   , 264 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

"Plan B" For Health Insurance Exchanges In Development

CQ HealthBeat (via The Commowealth Fund) reports that Health and Human Services is making contingency plans in the event that health care exchanges are not ready in time for launch. Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and… more »


  11:43:08 am, by MedBen5   , 276 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Health Plan Management

Guard Against PBM Tactics, Warns Rx Expert

Presenters at MedBen Universities in 2013 will include members of the MedBen team speaking on a variety of benefits management topics. But we also invite outside health care professionals to share their knowledge. One such featured speaker at many MBUs… more »
  10:18:14 am, by MedBen5   , 274 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

On Its 3rd Birthday, Affordable Care Act Not All That Was Promised

On the occasion of the Affordable Care Act turning the big “0-3″, John Merline of Investor’s Business Daily has compiled “10 Disturbing Facts Americans Have Learned” about the health care reform law. We highlight five here… more »
  09:39:46 am, by MedBen5   , 181 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Minus Funding, Alzheimer’s Deaths Expected To Double

Advocates for increased Alzheimer’s research say that deaths linked to the memory-robbing disease have gone up in the last decade, while those for stroke, breast cancer and HIV have dropped, Bloomberg (via Employee Benefits News) reports. Researchers… more »


  02:07:36 pm, by MedBen5   , 182 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

MedBen Government Client Costs Trending Downward

MedBen conducted its annual Government Roundtable for current and prospective municipality clients omn March 21. And just like at its hospital-focused seminar a week earlier, Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus had some good news to… more »
  11:30:49 am, by MedBen5   , 177 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Two-thirds Of Americans Don't Understand Health Reform Law

The majority of Americans are still in the dark about how health care reform will affect them, finds a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll. On the eve of the third anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, two-thirds of the uninsured under… more »
  10:41:19 am, by MedBen5   , 201 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Therapy Can Work As Well As Surgery For Knee Injury

Physical therapy can prove just as effective for repairing the knee as surgery, a new study concludes. The Associated Press reports that a torn meniscus – one of the crescent-shaped cartilage discs that cushion the knee – can improve… more »


  05:08:58 pm, by MedBen5   , 263 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Health Care Reform Changes Mean Greater Employer Responsibilities

A featured presenter at many MedBen Universities this year will be Caroline Fraker, MedBen Vice President of Compliance. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, Fraker has spoken at numerous seminars about how changes to health care… more »
  05:01:10 pm, by MedBen5   , 262 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study: Biennial Mammograms Don't Raise Cancer Risk For Women Over 50

A new study suggests that women age 50 and over can safely get a mammogram every two years without increasing their risk of developing advanced breast cancer. Biennial screenings was also associated with a lower risk of heaving a false-positive result… more »


  12:25:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 189 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Important Deadline Approaching For Many FSA/HRA Plan Members

A reminder for many MedBen FSA or HRA plan members: If you have a balance in your 2012 account that you still need to submit claims for, please do so right away! Most employers allow a “grace period” to submit reimbursement requests for… more »
  12:04:14 pm, by MedBen5   , 81 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Health Care Reform Tax Increases Are Double Earlier Estimates

Estimates of original tax increases stemming from the implementation of health care reform rules were well off the mark, according to the TaxProf Blog: “The Joint Committee on Taxation recently released a 96 page report on the tax provisions… more »
  11:37:22 am, by MedBen5   , 251 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Hospital Ratings Websites Offer Differing Opinions

Only about 1 out of 10 Internet users consult online rankings of hospitals, says a Pew Research Center Survey – and those who do may come away confused. According to Kaiser Health News, multiple nonprofit groups now offer online evaluations of… more »


  10:42:51 am, by MedBen5   , 148 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Some See Self-Funding By Small Businesses As "Threat" To ACA

“NorthBay Adventure is the kind of small business that could be expected to buy medical insurance for workers under sweeping health-act rules taking effect in 2014. But executive director George Comfort says that’s not likely to happen. “Instead,… more »
  10:26:00 am, by MedBen5   , 216 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Can Generic Drugmakers Be Held Liable For Flawed Medications?

The question of whether generic drugmakers can be held liable in the designs of their medications, even when the brand drugmaker’s design is followed, is about to be debated in the nation’s highest court. Reuters reports that the Supreme… more »
  10:04:50 am, by MedBen5   , 226 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Most States Fail At Guaranteeing Price Transparency, Report Says

Most states come up short regarding laws that guarantee patient access to information on hospital and clinic prices, finds a new report from the employer group Catalyst for Payment Reform and the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute. According… more »


  10:15:30 am, by MedBen5   , 199 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Health Plan Management

Health Care Price Inflation Slowest In 15 Years

Health care price inflation from January 2012 to January 2013 was only 1.5% – the lowest rate since December 1997, according to MedPage Today. “The Health Care Price Index was driven lower by declines in hospital, home health, nursing home,… more »
  09:56:16 am, by MedBen5   , 179 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Diabetes Costs Up 41% Over Past Five Years

As the number of Americans with diabetes has grown, so, naturally, has its cost – 41% over the past five years, USA Today reports. A recent study commissioned by the American Diabetes Association found that diabetes cost the U.S. $245 billion in… more »


  04:39:01 pm, by MedBen5   , 227 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Health Plan Management

MedBen Hospital Groups See Savings In 2012

Hospital groups administered by MedBen saw cost declines in 2012, Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus announced today at the company’s 11th Annual Hospital Roundtable. Fargus said that the average cost per employee per year for… more »
  02:08:30 pm, by MedBen5   , 279 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Insurance Exchanges Will Offer More Benefits, And More Complexity

Coming on the heels of news about the complex application for federal health insurance comes this headline from NBC News: “Health insurance exchanges: Be ready to be overwhelmed“. The article lists four things people can expect from the new… more »
  01:43:20 pm, by MedBen5   , 201 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

Taking Aspirin Linked To Lower Skin Cancer Risk In Older Women

Aspirin is sometimes referred to as a “miracle drug” – and exaggeration though that may be, there’s no denying that research repeatedly suggests it contains multiple benefits. The latest example is a study linking the drug to a… more »


  09:57:34 am, by MedBen5   , 210 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Federal Health Insurance Application Anything But Simple

Wasn’t health care reform supposed to making getting coverage easier? A 21-page draft of the federal Application for Health Insurance suggests just the opposite. According to the Associated Press, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department… more »
  09:30:52 am, by MedBen5   , 214 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

Heart Patients Taking Too Many Drugs, Cardiologists Say

There’s a growing concern among cardiologists that heart patients are being overmedicated, and some think that certain drugs could be eliminated without risking patient health, Reuters reports. At recent scientific sessions of the American… more »


  04:50:42 pm, by MedBen5   , 197 words,  
Categories: Announcements

MedBen Passes ISO Surveillance Audit

MedBen has once again successfully completed an ISO 9001:2008 Surveillance Audit. On Thursday, March 7, auditors from SAI Global reviewed the company’s management system to ensure that it continued to comply with established ISO standards, and… more »
  11:57:18 am, by MedBen5   , 230 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Most Health Plans Don't Meet ACA "Essential Health Benefits" Criteria

Apparently, the Obama administration has set a pretty high bar for what constitutes “Essential Health Benefits". Technology company HealthPocket examined 11,000 individual health plans across the U.S. to determine how many of them met the… more »
  11:13:18 am, by MedBen5   , 220 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Health Plan Management

Drugmakers Go On Defense Against "Pay-To-Delay" Charge

The federal government and drug manufacturers don’t see eye-to-eye on so-called “pay-to-delay” deals – paid arrangements between brand-name and generic drugmakers to wait until a certain date before introducing lower-cost… more »


  12:00:13 pm, by MedBen5   , 253 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Patients Objecting To Hospital "Facility Fees"

Liz Kowalczyk of the Boston Globe reports on the growing trend of hospital patients who are mad as heck and aren’t gonna take it anymore: “Patients, angered by surprise surcharges that hospitals tack on bills for doctor visits, are… more »
  10:28:44 am, by MedBen5   , 206 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

From The "Gee, Really?" Files...

“Higher-than-expected costs for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) preexisting condition risk pool are a sign that the law will cost more than first expected, according to some lawmakers and analysts. “The Centers for Medicare and… more »


  05:30:37 pm, by MedBen5   , 366 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Health Plan Management

Drug Pricing Disparity Demonstrate Importance Of Planning, Rx Resources

David Lazarus of The Los Angeles Times exposes the arbitrary nature of prescription drug costs from one manufacturer to another, from one pharmacy to another – and occasionally, from within the pharmacy itself: “Diane Shattuck filled a… more »
  03:37:32 pm, by MedBen5   , 153 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Better-Informed Patients Cost Less For Medical Care

Looking to save yourself and your company money on health care spending? A new study says it pays to be informed. According to Modern Healthcare, patients who scored high on a self-reported survey of “knowledge, skill and confidence” to… more »
  03:21:03 pm, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Large Companies Expect To Continue Employee Coverage, Survey Finds

The question of whether large employers will discontinue health care coverage once insurance exchanges open next year has been bandied about since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. But seeing that the exchanges are soon to become reality,… more »


  05:38:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 565 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management User FAQ

As we recently announced on this blog, our website has received a full makeover. If you’re used to steering around the old website, it may take a few moments to get used to the updated site’s layout. Hopefully, you’ll quickly pick… more »
  12:28:23 pm, by MedBen5   , 202 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Colonoscopies Effective In Lowering Late-Stage Cancer Risk

A new study finds that getting a colonoscopy may reduce the risk of developing advanced colon cancer by 70%, including hard-to-detect forms of the disease. HealthDay News (via WebMD) reports that the research team set out to answer a simple question:… more »
  12:11:33 pm, by MedBen5   , 165 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Spending On Private Rx Plans Fell In 2012

Total pharmacy spending by those with private health insurance decreased for the first time in two decades, a new report finds. And not surprisingly, generic drugs played a large role in that decline. According to Pharmalot, data complied by pharmacy… more »


  05:38:09 pm, by MedBen5   , 247 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Incentives

More Companies Using Wellness Incentives -- And Bigger Ones At That

Corporate employers expect to spend $521 per employee on worksite wellness incentives in 2013, according to a new survey by Fidelity Investments. That is 13% more than the employee average of $460 reported in 2011, and double the $260 average reported… more »
  03:54:10 pm, by MedBen5   , 186 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

New Generator Provides Client Service Stability

MedBen’s ongoing commitment to client peace of mind is exemplified in a variety of ways, from customer-centered benefit solutions and advanced cost containment methods to intelligent reporting tools. And recently, we bolstered this commitment even… more »
  03:37:09 pm, by MedBen5   , 509 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Health Plan Management

MedBen Unveils Revamped Website

MedBen is pleased to announce the completion of a total update to the website! We’ve reworked the site from top to bottom with the express goal of making it as easy to use as possible. We invite you to take the new site for a test… more »