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12/02/18

  09:29:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 230 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Cholesterol

Cholesterol Guidelines Put Doctor-Patient Relationship First

checkup

New updated cholesterol guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association stress the importance of the doctor-patient relationship to effectively treat high cholesterol. Similarly, MedBen WellLiving promotes a "physician first" approach in the prevention and detection of the condition, which is known to raise the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The updated guidelines recommend that in addition to monitoring cholesterol levels, doctors consider such factors as family history and higher-risk ethnicity when making treatment recommendations. They also advise patients to discuss certain health conditions that could affect their risk or treatment with their doctor, such as metabolic syndrome and chronic kidney disease.

MedBen WellLiving recommends cholesterol screenings every five years. Through our primary prevention program, we help employer health plans encourage employees to develop and maintain a relationship with their family doctor... a crucial step toward the early detection of high cholesterol and other chronic conditions.

WellLiving also provides annual wellness guidelines for all employees and their dependents, customized for age and gender. Plan members can easily check their compliance with recommended wellness exams and screenings through our MedBen Access online service center.

The "physician first" approach to keeping cholesterol levels in check is just one way MedBen WellLiving helps you to promote a healthier workplace and reduce health care costs. Learn more by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

  09:23:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 213 words,  
Categories: News, Hospitals, Cost savings, Reference-based pricing, Medicare, Alternative plan design

New Medicare Pricing Tool Useful to RBP Plans

Medicare Price Lookup

To improve medical cost transparency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a new medical pricing tool for surgical procedures that will also benefit certain reference-based pricing (RBP) plans.

The Procedure Price Lookup tool allows consumers to compare national average prices for outpatient procedures performed in hospital outpatient departments as well as ambulatory surgical centers. Users can search by procedure name or code.

While created as a reference for Medicare patients, this online tool also serves a practical purpose for Medicare RBP plans. By using Medicare pricing as the primary source of claim repricing, employers can establish fair reimbursements for any providers their plan members choose to visit... and members will have a much better idea of potential care costs.

Medicare RBP is just one of the alternative cost-saving strategies now available through MedBen. Our offerings include direct-to-employer contracting, which promotes the use of quality, lower-cost local care by bringing together area businesses and hospitals, and commercial bundled payment services, in which a provider is paid for a complete episode of care.

The best part of Medicare RBP and other MedBen alterative benefit services: reducing costs while maintaining a high standard of care. Learn more about them by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

  04:48:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 243 words,  
Categories: Prescription, MedBen Rx, MedBen Rx Advocate, MedBen Rx Alliance, Generic Drugs, Brand-Name Drugs

MedBen Rx Tackles Brand-Name Increases

pills and bill bottle

Modern Healthcare recently highlighted the growing disparity between brand-names and generics in relation to prescription drug spending. A new study finds that while total spending on generic drugs has declined, branded prescription drug spending continues to rise. In 2017, brand-name prescription drugs represented only 17% of total prescriptions filled but made up 79% of total pharmaceutical spending.

While controlling generic drug costs is certainly important - indeed, MedBen generic discount rates continually beat what the big national pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) pass on to employers - for a pharmacy plan to see substantial savings, it is equally essential to rein in brand-name spending. MedBen Rx pharmacy solutions were created with that very goal in mind.

MedBen offers two pharmacy programs, Rx Advocate and Rx Alliance, that while distinctive in many respects, share a common goal: To help employers realize the lowest prices possible on prescription drugs. How do they achieve that goal? Again, both programs follow unique paths... but they start by focusing on a drug's true cost, rather than artificial markups.

Nor do the saving strategies end there. MedBen works with pharmacy benefit professionals dedicated to finding sensible ways to reduce prescription spending. Through formularies, claims analysis, and other cost containment tools, we continually help clients get the biggest benefit for their Rx dollar.

You can get additional details on how the MedBen Rx programs work by visiting our website. You're also welcome to contact our Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

11/26/18

  03:57:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 214 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Consumer-driven Health Plans, Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)

FSA Contribution Maximum Gets Small Raise in 2019

IRS building

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the annual inflation adjustment for flexible spending accounts (FSAs) for the 2019 tax year. As has been the case in previous years, contribution limits will see only modest increases or remain unchanged.

The 2019 dollar limitation on voluntary employee salary reductions for contributions to health FSAs is $2,700, up slightly from the current $2,650 maximum. Funds from these accounts can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses, including (but not limited to): deductibles, copays, and coinsurance; insulin, bandages, and other pharmacy items; eye exams and vision expenses; and dental and orthodontic expenses. Health FSA funds can also be used to pay for common over-the counter medications (i.e., aspirin, ibuprofen, and cough syrup), but only if accompanied by a doctor's prescription.

The dependent care FSA maximum annual contribution will hold steady at $5,000 in 2019. These accounts reimburse the employee for employment-related dependent care while the plan participant and spouse work (or look for work), such as payments to a day care center or baby-sitter, or expenses to care for a disabled spouse or other tax dependent.

MedBen clients who would like to increase their Health FSA employee maximum to $2,700, or who have any questions regarding FSA contributions, are welcome to contact Director of Administrative Services Sharon A. Mills at (800) 423-3151, Ext. 438 or smills@medben.com.

11/20/18

  07:54:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 393 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Putting the “Me” in Merry During the Holidays

carrying presents

Between shopping and get-togethers, the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day can feel like a whirlwind – especially if you fail to make the time to take care of yourself. But just because your calendar is packed is no excuse to fall into bad habits or deny yourself personal time.

First, there’s the matter of holiday eating. In the final weeks of the year, we tend to cut our diets some slack, because a New Year’s resolution will surely turn things around, right? But a better strategy is to enjoy high-fat or sugary foods in moderation. Before heading out to the next holiday party, have a serving of vegetables or other healthy fare so you’re less hungry later.

Maintaining your fitness regimen is equally important. When you’re busier than usual, it’s easy to let your workouts slide a bit. But taking 30 minutes a day for exercise helps to keep off the extra holiday pounds and reduces stress to boot.

Also, pencil in some “me” time to treat yourself in healthy ways. Get a massage, read a book, take a bubble bath, listen to music... whatever works to soothe your mind and body and give you a welcome reprieve from the seasonal merry-go-round. And be sure to get seven or more hours of sleep every night!

One more thing: If you haven’t already got your annual wellness exam yet, please schedule it ASAP. A checkup is not only useful for early detection and prevention of serious conditions, it’s a great opportunity to talk to your doctor about how you’re holding up over the holidays.

Full story »

11/18/18

  10:18:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 244 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), Specialty Drugs, MedBen Rx

The Clear Solution to Rx Spending Trends

pills

A New York Times article examines the dramatic rise in U.S. prescription drug costs over the past two decades. American drug spending was once on par with other wealthy countries, but between 1997 and 2007 our drug spending tripled... and took off again in 2013. How come?

There are multiple reasons why drug costs and utilization are skyrocketing, such as the flood of new high-cost specialty drugs and targeted advertising. But as for why other nations spend less than us, the explanation is more straightforward: government price limits.

“Other countries decline to pay for a drug when the price is too high,” said Rachel Sachs, associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis. “The United States has been unwilling to do this.”

Whether Congress follows a similar path to control drug spending remains to be seen... but rather than wait for government answers, MedBen is finding its own solutions to help clients reduce their pharmacy spend.

Rather than follow the traditional pricing models that the national pharmacy benefits managers profit from, MedBen Rx goes the opposite direction. By taking away the ability to manipulate margin on the ingredient costs, what MedBen Rx pays reflects the drug’s real cost… no artificial markups.

Add in the fact that MedBen returns 100% of manufacturer rebates back to the client, and the answer is clear: MedBen Rx has the right solutions. Get more information by visiting MedBenRx.com or contacting Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

Happy Thanksgiving from MedBen!

cornucopia

Happy Thanksgiving from the staff of MedBen! We hope that you and your family have a fun, safe, and relaxing holiday.

To observe the holiday, MedBen will be closed on Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23. We will reopen at 8:00 a.m. EST on Monday, November 26.

Our hope is that health care concerns are the furthest thing from your mind this holiday, but should you be in need of information about your plan, our online service is always open and ready to help. Just go to the MedBen.com home page, click on the “MedBen Access” link, and log in.

MedBen Access offers claims and benefit information, and more. Plan members can see their accumulated deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, read up on medications and compare drug costs, and send questions to MedBen Customer Service (which will be answered by the next business day). Additionally, FSA and HRA plan members can review their account payments and balances, and WellLiving members can check their compliance with wellness exams and screenings.

Plan administrators can also take advantage of MedBen Access' various features, such as enrolling new members, adding or changing dependents, requesting ID cards, and notifying MedBen of COBRA events. The site offer drop-down convenience that makes navigation easy.

Again, our best wishes to you and yours for a great Thanksgiving holiday!

  08:22:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 235 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Research, Diabetes, Hypertension

Get Moving, America!

walking

The Department of Health and Human Services recently released updated physical activity guidelines to encourage a healthier country while reducing care costs and mortality rates.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans state that adults need 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity each week, with muscle strengthening activities on two days during the week to stay healthy. Youth ages 6 through 17 need 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day. Only 26% of men, 19% of women, and 20% of adolescents currently meet these recommendations.

According to the HHS, physical inactivity costs Americans nearly $117 billion dollars in annual health care spending, and is responsible for 10% of all premature mortality. "When we move more, we have better cardiovascular health, we are stronger and less susceptible to disease, and we feel better," said Adm. Brett P. Giroir, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health.

As part of a wellness program like MedBen WellLiving, physical activity incentives complement wellness exams to aid in the prevention of hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. At MedBen, employees who take breaks to exercise at their desks or work out regularly earn credits toward extra time off... and we can similarly help your business incentivize plan members to get moving.

Encouraging physical activity is just one more way to promote a healthier workplace, and MedBen has seen its benefits first hand. Learn how we can help you too by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

11/08/18

  09:26:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: Taxes, Compliance

By the Numbers: Your 2019 Health Plan Budget

budget

Working on your 2019 health plan budget? If so, you’ll want to keep the following limitations and penalties in mind. The following apply as of the first day of your plan’s 2019 plan year:

Out-of-Pocket Maximums

  • $7,900 for self-only (employee-only) coverage.
  • $15,800 for other than self-only coverage.
  • Over these thresholds, employers must pay 100% of the benefits covered by the plan.

Employer-Shared Responsibility Penalties

  • $2,500 per employee (for all employees combined) if qualifying coverage is not offered to 95% of the employer’s employees working 30 or more hours per week.
  • $3,750 per each employee for whom the employer-offered coverage is deemed unaffordable.

Affordability Safe Harbors

  • 9.86% – Employee cost-share for employer-offered coverage must be less than 9.86% of one of the ACA safe harbor amounts (federal poverty level, W-2 salary or hourly rate of pay) for cost-share to be deemed affordable. Note: this is a reduction from the 2018 percentage.
  • $12,140 – Federal Poverty Level (FPL) Safe Harbor Amount for 2019.

PCORI Fee (Due July 31, 2019)

  • $2.45 per covered life for plan years ending on October 31, 2018, November 30, 2018 or December 31, 2018.
  • $2.39 per covered life for all other plan years.
  • A “covered life” means each and every individual covered under an applicable plan (i.e., employee, retiree, spouse, and dependent).

MedBen clients who have questions regarding these numbers are welcome to contact Senior Vice President Caroline Fraker at 800-851-0907 or cfraker@medben.com.

11/05/18

  11:09:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 358 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Security, Privacy, Compliance, MedBen Employees, Information Systems

MedBen Announces Promotions of Fraker, Crain

MedBen is pleased to announce the promotions of Caroline Fraker to Senior Vice President and Wendell Crain to Vice President of Information Systems and Chief Security Officer (CSO).

Caroline Fraker

A 30-plus year veteran of employee benefits, Fraker has assisted MedBen clients with regulatory compliance, contractual and risk management issues since 1992. She was named Vice President of Compliance and Chief Privacy Officer in 2001.

Elevating Fraker to the Senior VP position reflects the crucial role she plays at MedBen, says the company’s President and CEO, Kurt Harden. “Benefits compliance has only taken on greater significance since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and Caroline has been critical to guiding MedBen and its clients through the regulatory maze. As Senior VP, we can draw on her experience as we expand our services,” Harden said.

Fraker is a member of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee and the Vice Chair of the Board of the Society of Professional Benefits Administrators (SPBA), and speaks regularly on health care plan and employee benefit concepts and regulations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs from Miami University, with a minor in Economics.

Wendell Crain

Crain joined MedBen in 2003 as a Technical Specialist and was subsequently promoted to Technical Services Lead and Manager of Technical Services and Web Development. Most recently, he served as Director of Security, Infrastructure and Web Development.

As a director, Crain managed MedBen’s comprehensive security measures, including electronic data privacy, disaster recovery and business resumption planning, and loss and fraud prevention. “Protecting personal health information has always been important to us, but in the past several years Wendell has introduced safeguards that bring an unprecedented level of security to our clients’ data,” Harden said. “We’re pleased that he has agreed to direct our IS team.”

In addition to his CSO responsibilities, Crain will oversee MedBen’s IS operations involving its claim systems, websites, network and computer resources, as well as overseeing the company’s data services unit.

Crain holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and an Associate in Data Processing from Zane State.

Crain replaces Rose McEntire, who retired at the end of October.

  11:09:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 243 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Cost savings, MedBen Rx

Generic Drugs: Effective and Cost-Efficient

pills

As the prescribing of generic drugs has become more commonplace, most consumers have come to see that these medications work just as well as their pricier band-name equivalents. Indeed, when a generic alternative is available, MedBen clients see a 98% average substitution rate.

Yet there are still some who question if generics are truly as effective as their brand-name counterparts... to which we can respond with an unqualified "yes."

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has stringent rules about generic drugs. As HealthDay notes, a generic must show "bioequivalence" for FDA approval – there can't be a significant difference from the brand in the rate and amount of absorption of the drug.

In addition to containing the same active ingredients, a generic must be identical in strength and dosage and be manufactured under the same strict standards as a brand-name drug. Suffice it to say when given the choice, there's no logical reason not to opt for the lower-cost generic.

Moreover, with MedBen Rx pharmacy solutions, clients save even more money on generic medications. Because we use the average cost index (ACI) rather than wholesale prices, what you pay for a generic accurately reflects what the pharmacist pays. And our formularies promote generic alternatives to your plan members.

Generics are a safe and effective alternative to brand-name drugs, and MedBen Rx can help your pharmacy plan benefit from their affordability. Learn more by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

  11:09:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 203 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Dental, Research, Hypertension

Hypertension Study Highlights Usefulness of Good Dental Coverage

dental chair

Lowering hypertension risk isn't simply a matter of exercise and diet... it also helps to practice good dental habits, a new study suggests.

According to HealthDay, researchers reviewed medical and dental records of more than 3,600 people diagnosed with high blood pressure, and found that those with gum disease were less likely to achieve healthy blood pressure targets and respond to hypertension medications, compared to people with good oral health.

Studies like this demonstrate why, in addition to being one of the most affordable benefits, dental coverage is also one of the most practical. A dental checkup can detect a range of health problems, from diabetes to the onset of dementia. And people who get their teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis actually lower their risk of heart attack and stroke.

Earlier this year, MedBen introduced an enhanced version of its dental plan. MedBen PreceDent offers reduced costs through network care, as well as such value-added services as dental implants and periodontal scaling. And of course, preventive care (which includes twice-yearly exams) is covered in full.

MedBen PreceDent offers valuable care at a reasonable price. Learn more about its advantages by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

10/30/18

Proposed Regulations Would Again Allow Stand-Alone HRAs

Department of Labor logo

On October 23, the Department of Labor (DOL), Treasury Department and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released proposed regulations which will expand the use of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) by employers. If approved as written, the regulations would take effect for plan years beginning on and after January 1, 2020.

Under current Affordable Care Act regulations, an HRA not directly linked to a group health plan -- that is, one to be used for the purchase of individual insurance coverage -- violates the rule that prohibits plans and issuers from imposing lifetime or annual limits on the dollar value of essential health benefits. These "stand-alone" HRAs were no longer allowed beginning in 2014.

The proposed regulations would allow employers to once again use HRAs to reimburse employees for the cost of individual health insurance coverage. Certain conditions would apply to "mitigate the risk that health-based discrimination could increase adverse selection in the individual market," according to a DOL news release.

Additionally, the proposal would enable employers to offer an excepted benefit HRA of up to $1,800 per year (indexed annually for inflation) for certain qualified medical expenses, provided that employees are offered coverage under another group health plan sponsored by the employer.

The Departments are requesting comments on the proposed regulations to be submitted by December 28, 2018. MedBen clients with questions regarding current or proposed HRA compliance rules are welcome to contact Director of Administrative Services Sharon A. Mills at smills@medben.com.

10/23/18

  05:19:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 366 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Cancer, Preventive care, Women's Health

Mammography 101

cancer run

As October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, it’s a timely opportunity to remind women about the importance of getting a mammogram... and for those who have never been tested for breast cancer, to offer a brief explanation of what a mammogram is and why it’s important.

A screening mammogram is the most common type of test, used to look for breast tissue changes in women who don’t have any symptoms or problems. During the test, low-dose X-ray pictures of each breast are taken from two different angles by a breast imaging specialist, with the goal of detecting a possible cancer at its earliest stages.

Should you personally detect unusual signs or symptoms in one or both breasts, or a screening mammogram reveals breast changes, a diagnostic mammogram is recommended. This procedure may require X-rays from additional angles, with a radiologist overseeing the test and reviewing the images. In 90% of diagnostic mammograms, women are cleared and can return to normal screenings.

While there are multiple schools of thought on when to begin tests, MedBen WellLiving recommends that women start getting screening mammograms at age 40 every two years. Women with a family history of breast cancer should speak to their doctor about earlier or more frequent tests.

Between screenings, keep in mind that research estimates that about one-third of breast cancers can be prevented through proper lifestyle choices. To reduce your risk, talk to your doctor about your health habits during your annual wellness exam.

Full story »

10/21/18

  10:18:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 264 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Online Services, Security, Privacy, MedBen Employees

MedBen Information Systems VP McEntire Retiring

MedBen VP of Information Systems Rose McEntire

It is with sincere gratitude for her service, and more than a little sadness, that MedBen announces the retirement of Vice President of Information Systems Rose McEntire on October 31, 2018. (That day also happens to be her birthday, so... nicely timed, Rose!)

McEntire joined MedBen in 2004 as the company was transitioning from paper- to electronic-based work processes. "We brought Rose in to lead our data security and electronic claims processing efforts," said MedBen Executive Chairman Doug Freeman. "Suffice it to say that she has succeeded in those goals as well as many others, and we appreciate everything she’s done."

When Rose started here, cyber security breaches had not risen to the level that regularly makes headlines today. But she was proactive in the implementation of external, internal, and physical safeguards to maximize the security and privacy of client data.

As for processing, Rose directed initiatives that today enable MedBen to manage 87% of client claims electronically – always with an eye on efficiency, but never at the expense of security. Additionally, she oversaw the creation of MedBen Access, our online service center, and MedBen Analytics, a bundled payment software platform, among numerous other projects.

Even with everything she's accomplished, Rose says her proudest achievement is the development of the MIS and Data Services staff. "I recognize talent and let them stretch and grow," she said. "I have very smart people on my team, and I'll miss working with them."

Regarding her retirement plans, Rose says she'll be "biking, boating, and enjoying the sunrises." Everyone at MedBen wishes her all the best in her next chapter of life!

  08:47:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 221 words,  
Categories: Discounts, Online Services, Cost savings, Transparency, Legislation, MedBen Rx, Rebates

MedBen Rx Solutions Put Transparency Up Front

pill bottles

In an effort to improve drug pricing transparency, the Department of Health and Human Services recently released a proposal requiring drug companies to include their list prices in consumer ads. But MedBen already provides far more transparent Rx solutions.

Drug companies are reluctant to reveal list costs, claiming that they don't indicate what consumers actually pay for them… and that’s correct. List prices don't factor in negotiated discounts and rebates, and even if they did, may still not reveal the actual cost. So is that real transparency to begin with?

MedBen has long supported total pricing transparency, which includes returning 100% of all paid rebates back to the employer. And with our recent introduction of two new pharmacy plans, we've taken transparency to another level.

With MedBen Rx, clients don't have to concern themselves with inflated list prices or hidden costs. Our pharmacy solutions ensure that you pay the average price pharmacies pay for a drug, plus an appropriate dispensing fee.

MedBen Rx also offers clients transparency through our online service center, MedBen Access. Plan members can see exactly what their copay is for prescribed drugs and compare lower-cost alternatives.

Don’t wait for government solutions to drug pricing transparency… MedBen has them now! Find out more by visiting MedBenRx.com or contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

10/18/18

  08:12:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 374 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Health Care Reform, IRS

MedBen Ready to Assist Clients with IRS ACA Reporting

IRS Building

It is hard to believe, but we've already entered the final quarter of 2018. If you're a self-funded employer, that means it is time to start thinking about and planning for a critical health care reform mandate: Providing the IRS with an accurate accounting of health coverage for full-time employees. As in year’s past, MedBen offers helpful services to assist plan sponsors with this task.

Per the Affordable Care Act, health coverage data collected during 2018 must be aggregated and reported to employees no later than January 31, 2019 on IRS Form 1095 and reported to the IRS no later than February 28, 2019 (if filing by mail) and April 1, 2019 if filing electronically on IRS Form 1094. Applicable Large Employers (those with 50 or more employees), or ALEs, must report using the IRS’ C-series forms, and small employers (those with fewer than 50 employees) offering coverage must report using the IRS’ B-series forms.

MedBen has again partnered with MyBenefitsChannel – also known as Sanorbix – to provide reporting assistance for ALE clients. MyBenefitsChannel has several service options available to help ALEs create and distribute Form 1095-C to employees and prepare and file Form 1094-C with the IRS. MedBen will also be available to assist clients who are small employers by offering related IRS Forms (1095-B – employee notice and 1094-B – IRS transmittal) services for a nominal fee.

Even though the January deadline is over three months away, we strongly recommend that our clients purchase these services as soon as possible.

  • If you purchased these services from MyBenefitsChannel last year, you will get renewal information from MyBenefitsChannel directly if you have not already done so. Please note that MyBenefitsChannel is not increasing their fees, so the price remains the same as last year.
  • If you wish to purchase these services from MyBenefitsChannel for the first time, please let MedBen know immediately.
  • If you are planning to create these forms yourself, or you’re working with another vendor, we would appreciate knowing that too.

Regardless of your preferred approach, it is important that you start planning now. If you need more information on these requirements, you can download MedBen’s Summary of the ACA Reporting Requirements from MedBen.com.

MedBen clients with questions regarding this information may contact their Group Service Representative or Vice President of Compliance Caroline Fraker at 800-851-0907 or cfraker@medben.com.

10/17/18

  08:12:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 286 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Quality, ISO, MedBen Employees

MedBen Successfully Completes Latest ISO 9001 Audit

ISO Certified logo

"The recommendation from this audit is that your certification continues," reads the results of MedBen's most recent ISO 9001 audit by SAI Global on October 4.

MedBen has successfully completed twice-yearly audits since it first achieved ISO 9001 Certification in 2005. Auditors regularly analyze such areas as performance monitoring, management review and internal audits... and in all these instances and others, MedBen continues to meet the criteria necessary to maintain certification.

In addition to reviewing common areas from one ISO audit to another, auditors will also focus on specific functions and processes. This time, the auditor’s assessments included MedBen's response to employee satisfaction and new group implementation surveys and its progress in meeting yearly quality objectives. Where appropriate, suggestions were made for ways to further improve our processes.

Ensuring that we maintain quality work processes through ISO Certification is hardly a one-and-done thing... it's a continual endeavor that requires commitment from the entire MedBen team. We appreciate all the effort our employees put in to providing clients with excellent service at every level and hope the results are evident to you. But if there's ever an issue with any aspect of your MedBen experience, please let us know and we'll do our best to address it!

ISO 9001 is a general quality management system standard that consists of principles that help ensure standardized levels of quality are applied throughout an organization. With the implementation of a quality management system using ISO 9001, a company can implement a process for continual improvement, as well as reduce inefficiencies and waste, thereby experiencing a significant cost savings, while maintaining a focus on client satisfaction.

SAI Global provides organizations around the world with information services and solutions for managing risk, achieving compliance and driving business improvement.

10/16/18

  10:03:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 235 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Research, Diabetes, Preventive care

Best Diabetes Treatment? Prevention

glucose meter

New research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that 14% of U.S. adults have diabetes… and of that percentage, 4% don't know they have the disease. An aging population factors into the number, but the rise in obesity and less active lifestyles also contribute, reports HealthDay News.

"Diabetes remains a chronic health problem in this country, affecting some 30 million people," said lead researcher Mark Eberhardt, an epidemiologist at CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. He advises people to get tested for diabetes even if they think they don't have it.

MedBen WellLiving promotes diabetes testing as a standard element of wellness exams. As the disease is linked to higher risks of heart disease and stroke, early detection can be vital to the overall well-being of the individual. Better still, yearly checkups can help prevent your plan members from developing diabetes in the first place.

For those plan members determined to be at high risk for developing diabetes, MedBen WellLiving offers individualized specialty care. Registered nurses work one-on-one with the individual to help reduce their diabetes risk through confidential counseling.

As Eberhardt notes, "Sometimes prevention is the best treatment"... and MedBen WellLiving is a valuable tool to encourage your plan members to take the proper steps toward preventing diabetes. Learn more about how we can help you achieve a healthier workplace by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com or 888-627-8683.

10/07/18

  09:25:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 348 words,  
Categories: Cost savings, Pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), MedBen Rx, MedBen Rx Advocate, MedBen Rx Alliance

MedBen Fights Back Against PBM Spread Pricing

drugs

Spread pricing is a little-discussed aspect of prescription drug pricing, but its impact on pharmacy plan costs can be huge… and it’s why MedBen has responded with new pharmacy programs designed to remove spread pricing from the cost equation altogether.

Simply stated, spread pricing represents the difference in the amount a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) reimburses pharmacies for a drug and the amount they charge their clients, such as employer health plans. In some cases, that difference can be substantial.

A recent Bloomberg.com article provides a revealing glimpse into the effect that spread pricing has on pharmacy plan costs – particularly generic drugs, which represent almost 90 percent of all prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. "Among the generic drugs examined, pharmacies and [PBMs] on average added to the bill almost 32 percent in 2017," the article notes.

In a review of 90 of the best-selling generic drugs used by Medicaid managed-care plans, Bloomberg found the biggest markups tend to come on new generics, such as a leukemia pill in which they found spread exceeding $3,000 per prescription (see chart).

drug spread pricing sample

PBMs counter that higher spread pricing on some drugs offset money lost on others… but for clients dealing with ever-rising prescription prices, such explanations ring hollow.

When MedBen revamped its pharmacy plan design last year, we concluded that the best way to control spread pricing was to eliminate the temptation altogether. To that end, we introduced MedBen Rx Advocate, a program that avoids spread pricing by paying the average cost pharmacies pay for a drug, plus an appropriate dispensing fee. For the client, it means a fair price and no artificial mark-ups.

Alternately, qualified employers can take advantage of our new MedBen Rx Alliance program, which uses the purchasing power of hospitals to offer reduced drug prices in conjunction with local pharmacies. Again, spread pricing is taken out of the cost calculation.

MedBen helps you keep your Rx plan costs as low as possible, and removing spread pricing is just one way we do it. Learn about how our pharmacy solutions work by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com or (888) 627-8683.

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