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06/16/19

  08:52:00 am, by MedBen5   , 157 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Reporting

MedBen Offers New Reporting Dashboard

MedBen has now made accessing your plan performance easier than ever. The moment you log in, our easy-to-navigate executive dashboard puts practical information front and center.

  • The dashboard offers a dollar-and-cents snapshot of your recent medical and pharmacy claims activity, and interactive charts and graphs break down paid amounts (member vs. plan), inpatient admissions and other important data.
  • Benchmarking capabilities allow you to compare your plan performance against MedBen's blocks of business as well as companies nationwide. Your benchmarking choice is immediately reflected on the dashboard content.
  • Dozens of standard reports that provide added detail are readily accessible with the click of a button. Customized reports can be requested from MedBen at no extra cost.

Best of all, the dashboard complements our other reporting resources, including quarterly reviews that highlight plan trends and opportunities to make your plan even better. If you have questions about using the reporting platform, contact MedBen Marketing Analyst Morgan Hardy at 888-423-3151, ext. 424.

06/15/19

  06:44:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 172 words,  
Categories: Security, Privacy

At MedBen, Data Security is a Round-the-Clock Duty

Wendell Crain

Two high-profile health care companies recently reported data breaches that put the security of personal medical information at risk. Such incidents are all too common these days... and demonstrate why MedBen maintains a multi-tiered approach to protecting client data.

From the earliest days of electronic recordkeeping, MedBen put in place tape backups and other measures to keep your information safe. Today, we enlist a wide variety of external, internal, and physical safeguards to protect your data. We also regularly consult with security professionals to ensure that we are taking every possible action to stay ahead of potential dangers.

MedBen strives to be proactive in all areas of your data protection. But should new opportunities to improve security present themselves, MedBen will immediately take the appropriate measures to implement them.

When you place your trust in MedBen, we pledge to never take that trust for granted. Clients with questions regarding our cybersecurity measures are welcome to contact our Vice President of Information Systems and Chief Privacy Officer Wendell Crain at 800-423-3151, ext. 505 or wcrain@medben.com.

06/14/19

  08:01:00 am, by MedBen5   , 158 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Reporting, Diabetes, Preventive care

New Diabetes Cases on the Decline

glucose meter

Timely preventive care may have contributed to a decrease in diabetes diagnoses, says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The number of new cases of diabetes among U.S. adults fell from 1.7 million in 2009 to 1.3 million in 2017, a 35% drop.

Lead report author Dr. Stephen Benoit suggests that recent efforts to encourage lifestyle changes prior to developing diabetes is partially responsible for the trend, though the CDC cautions that obesity, a common cause of diabetes, remains a problem.

MedBen WellLiving helps employers reduce diabetes risk by promoting prevention through regular wellness exams and screenings. We also provide detailed reporting that enables you to track the prevalence of diabetes and other high-risk conditions in your population, so you can properly direct education and incentives for program participation.

Reducing diabetes risk benefits from a targeted approach to better health, and MedBen WellLiving can help. Get more information by contacting the MedBen Marketing Department at 888-927-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

06/13/19

  09:14:00 am, by MedBen5   , 167 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Cost savings, Pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), MedBen Rx, MedBen Rx Advocate

PBMs' Egregious Pricing Methodology Remains Untamed, but MedBen Rx Advocate Has the Solution

pills and prescription pad

A recent article in the Columbus Dispatch highlights how pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) are making big profits on the backs of the taxpayers and threatening the existence of the independent pharmacy. The article focuses on the Ohio Medicaid program, but this issue is also hitting employer health plans in the same manner. Lack of pricing transparency remains, and PBMs aren’t willing to budge. This is where MedBen Rx Advocate steps in.

MedBen Rx Advocate exists for one purpose: To serve as an advocate for its customers and ensure that no party profits off the price of any given drug. Our solution ensures that the employer health plan can see exactly who is making what as it pertains to the administration of their pharmacy benefit plan.

MedBen Rx Advocate eliminates the ability to make margin on drugs and is strictly fee-based. That in turn saves the employer money and is also fair to the dispensing pharmacy.

To learn more about MedBen Rx Advocate, contact our Marketing Department at 888-627-8683.

  08:49:00 am, by MedBen5   , 210 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Third party administration, Self-funding, MedBen Employees, SPBA, Caroline Fraker

Fraker Named SPBA Chair

Caroline Fraker, MedBen Senior Vice President

MedBen Senior Vice President & Chief Privacy Officer Caroline Fraker was recently named Chair of the Society of Professional Benefit Administrators (SPBA) effective June 1, 2019. SPBA is the national association of third party administration (TPA) firms that manage client employee benefit plans.

“We’re happy that Caroline has agreed to serve as Chair,” said Anne Lennan, SPBA president. "Her industry experience has been a great asset to our organization as we work to support our Member administrators of self-funded plans with information and advocacy.”

Fraker said she was honored to be named Chair. "The SPBA offers education and support to TPAs, and by extension the clients they serve. I'm pleased to play a part in ensuring that every self-funded employer receives knowledgeable service," she said. Fraker joined the SPBA Board in 2015.

In addition to TPA awareness, Board members regularly visit Washington DC to educate lawmakers on the finer points of health benefits. "We're not there as lobbyists, but rather as a resource to offer the TPA perspective on legislative matters," Fraker said.

A 30-plus year veteran of employee benefits, Fraker assists MedBen clients with regulatory compliance, contractual and risk management issues. In addition to her SPBA responsibilities, she also serves on the Government Affairs Committee of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce.

06/11/19

  06:09:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 345 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Preventive care, Primary care, MedBen WellLiving

Managing Migraines

volleyball

Over 39 million Americans and one billion people worldwide suffer from migraines. The third most prevalent illness in the world, migraines affect 12% of the population, primarily individuals between the ages of 25 and 55.

Migraines can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours and are more common in women. As most people can’t function normally with a migraine, Americans lose 113 million work days at a cost to employers of $13 billion annually.

Though the cause of migraines is unknown, it is thought to be related to family genes and changes in the brain. Other associated factors include anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, caffeine overuse and snoring.

Migraine symptoms include severe throbbing and recurring pain (usually on one side of the head), nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and extreme sensitivity to light, touch, and smell. These symptoms make migraines different from other headaches, which tend to be more chronic and steady.

Over-the-counter and prescription medications, massage therapy, patient education and simple lifestyle changes (see below) can all be helpful in treating migraines and headaches. Also, be sure to get plenty of rest.

If you feel that you may be suffering from migraines or if you often have a headache two or more days per week, visit your family doctor. And if the onset of your headache is sudden and severe, seek immediate medical care.

Full story »

06/04/19

IRS Announces 2020 HSA Inflation Adjustments

IRS building

The IRS has announced its annual cost-of-living adjustments affecting health savings accounts (HSAs) for calendar year 2020. The annual limit on deductible contributions to an HSA will go up by $50 for individual coverage and $100 for families next year.

  • HSA Contribution Limits – The 2020 annual HSA contribution limit for individuals with self-only HDHP coverage rises to $3,550, while the limit for individuals with family HDHP coverage increases to $7,100.
  • HDHP Minimum Required Deductibles – The 2020 minimum annual deductible for self-only HDHP coverage goes up $50 to $1,400. Family HDHP coverage increases $100 to $2,800.
  • HDHP Out-of-Pocket Maximum – The maximum limit on out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles and copays (but not premiums), for individual HDHP coverage jumps $150 to $6,900. The limit for family HDHP coverage climbs $300 to $13,800.

MedBen clients with questions regarding these adjustments are welcome to contact Director of Administration Sharon A. Mills at (800) 423-3151, Ext. 438 or smills@medben.com.

06/02/19

  08:44:00 am, by MedBen5   , 128 words,  
Categories: Cost savings, Dental, Preventive care, MedBen PreceDent

Small Dental Claims Now Reduce Risk of Bigger Problems Later

dentist

Adding MedBen PreceDent to your benefits plan is a small investment that can deliver big dividends. A dental plan that promotes regular preventive care lowers your risk of disease and costly claims down the road.

At a dental checkup, your dentist can detect not only potential tooth and gum issues, but such non-dental conditions as heart disease and diabetes. Twice-yearly cleanings also help to decrease the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

Additionally, being proactive rather than reactive about dental care benefits your bottom line. Maintaining good oral health through regular checkups costs substantially less than getting a crown or dental implant.

With MedBen PreceDent, you can address minor matters before they develop into more painful problems. To learn more, contact our Marketing Department at (888) 627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

06/01/19

  11:14:00 am, by MedBen5   , 158 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Heart, Preventive care, Primary care, MedBen WellLiving

Family History of Heart Disease Benefits from Preventive Care

EKG and stethoscope

Coronary artery disease kills over 370,000 Americans every year, so it’s not surprising that many individuals have a family history of the disease… and it’s one reason why MedBen WellLiving promotes the importance of preventive care.

“You are at increased risk if you have a parent or sibling with a history of heart disease before age 55 for males or 65 for females,” says cardiologist Sapna Legha, MD of the Cleveland Clinic. She adds that proper diet, exercise and regular blood pressure and cholesterol tests can help protect the heart.

MedBen WellLiving encourages all plan members to get wellness exams and screenings from their family doctor, to increase health awareness and prevent future complications from unmanaged conditions. Those without a family history of disease will also benefit greatly from building a doctor-patient relationship.

Visiting your family doctor regularly is a simple and effective way to reduce disease risk. For more information about MedBen WellLiving, contact our Marketing Department at 888-627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

05/31/19

  10:56:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 144 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, MedBen Employees

MedBen Employees Raise Over $15,000 for Local Food Pantry

Rick Snoor and Chuck Moore

MedBen recently presented donations totaling $15,434.70 – the culmination of multiple fundraising efforts – to the Food Pantry Network of Licking County. The Food Pantry will use the contributions to acquire, store, and distribute nutritious food to financially deprived members of the community.

The MedBen staff raised the funds through weekly dress-down payments as well as by participating in the annual Operation Feed fundraising campaign. MedBen has been a decades-long supporter of the Food Pantry… in fact, in the past ten years we have donated over $60,000 to the cause.

in addition to the Food Pantry, MedBen regularly contributes to United Way, Families Helping Families, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and other worthy charities. We’ve called Licking Country home since 1938, and we've pleased to be able to assist the people of our community.

The Food Pantry Network welcomes online donations... please visit their website to learn how you can help!

05/30/19

  08:17:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 120 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Cost savings, Transparency, Pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), MedBen Rx, Rebates

With MedBen Rx, Employers Pay Only What’s Necessary

pills

The MedBen Rx approach to drug pricing is straightforward. We keep client costs low by reimbursing pharmacies what they pay for prescription drugs, plus a reasonable dispensing fee. By doing so, we ensure that self-funded employers get the maximum value from their prescription plan.

We tell you exactly what the drug’s starting cost is rather than giving you an inflated price minus a discount, allowing you the transparency you deserve.

Controlling your drug costs means having a plan design, formulary, rebate and reimbursement strategies that work in your favor – not the pharmacy benefit manager’s. MedBen Rx embodies this “client first” strategy.

Learn about how the MedBen Rx difference benefits your business by contacting the MedBen Marketing Department at 888-627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

05/29/19

  04:51:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 308 words,  
Categories: Health Care Reform, Taxes, Compliance, PCORI, Affordable Care Act

Reminder: PCORI Filing and Fee Due Deadline Approaching

IRS Building

It’s that time of year again! As in years past, no later than July 31, 2019, all self-funded employer health plan sponsors are required to file and pay their Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee. But there’s good news this year!

The PCORI Fee payment requirement is nearing sunset. If your health plan has a plan year start date of November 1st, December 1st or January 1st, the July 2019 PCORI filing and payment will be your last at $2.45 per covered life.

If your plan year starts on February 1st through October 1st, you will owe $2.39 per covered life this year and your last PCORI payment and filing will be next year in July 2020.

All self-funded plan sponsors are required to pay a fee based on the average number of covered lives under their eligible plans – that includes employees, retirees, spouses and dependents. Self-funded plans subject to the requirements include self-funded medical benefit plans, including most non-ERISA self-funded plans and retiree-only plans. Other self-funded plans subject to the fee include self-funded HRAs and FSAs which are not integrated with a plan sponsor’s self-funded major-medical plan. Dental-only, vision-only, EAP, disease management, and wellness plans are exempt.

All plan sponsors must use the IRS Form 720 dated April 2019 to record and remit the amount due. The IRS Form 720 has been modified to include the payment amounts due this year. Make sure to complete the correct section of Part II for “Applicable self-insured health plans” and select the correct payment amount based on your plan’s plan year end date.

IRS Form 720


This year’s payment schedule can be found on the MedBen website along with more information about calculating and remitting the fee to the IRS. As always, if you need more information about how to count covered lives under your plan or how to prepare and remit your payment, don’t hesitate to contact your Group Service Representative.

05/19/19

MedBen Shatters Industry Norms

MedBen building

MedBen medical and pharmacy claim costs rose only 0.4% per employee for clients in 2018, shattering national data norms that reported an average of 6% cost increases. Our pharmacy claim costs alone dropped 2.7% last year, due to the introduction our new program MedBen Rx Advocate.

Those low numbers are in keeping with recent MedBen activity. From 2015 to 2018, MedBen clients saw a medical/pharmacy claim cost trend of 4.5%, compared to a four-year national claim cost trend of 6.55% (based on a recent survey).

What does that difference in four-year trend mean for employers? For a 300-life group, it can add up to about three-quarters of a million dollars in savings.

To learn more about MedBen strategies for reducing your claim costs, contact our Marketing Department at 888-627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

Memorial Day Reminder

American Flag

The staff of MedBen hope you and your family have a safe Memorial Day weekend, and thank all those who have served and sacrificed for our nation's freedom.

Our home office and client services will be closed on Monday, May 27 in observance of the holiday. We will reopen at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28. But should you need claims and benefits information during the holiday weekend (or any other time), MedBen Access is available to help you 365 days a year. Simply go to MedBen.com and select "MedBen Access."

Pharmacy plan members can check on prescription claims and find lower cost drug options through MedBen Access by clicking on the "Rx" button located in the "My Claims" section of the site. And FSA or HRA participants can see their balances, claims submissions and payments by selecting the "FSA/HRA Online Inquiry" option under "My Plan."

Thanks for your continued relationship with MedBen!

05/18/19

  10:23:00 am, by MedBen5   , 166 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Cost savings, Transparency, MedBen Rx

Price Disclosure in Rx Ads Doesn’t Tell Full Story

pills and mortar

The Trump administration recently announced that drug makers will now have to include prices in their TV advertising beginning this summer.

Prescription drug cost transparency is a good thing… and MedBen makes transparency a keystone of its pharmacy plans, so clients know their actual drug costs. But while Rx ad disclosures are useful, further context is needed.

Today, too many pharmacy benefits managers are making excessive profits by manipulating the margin on drugs, then charging it to their customers. And employers still don’t know what the actual cost of the drug is.

MedBen Rx is different.
We start low by using the average price pharmacists pay for a drug and add a fair dispensing fee. That way, what a plan pays for a drug reflects its real cost – that’s true transparency. On average, the MedBen Rx difference saves clients 11% on prescription drug purchases.

With MedBen Rx, pricing is simple: You pay less, period. Find out more by visiting MedBenRx.com or contacting our Marketing Department at bfargus@medben.com.

05/17/19

  08:44:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 187 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, MedBen Employees

Kelly Completes Chamber Leadership Program

right

MedBen Director of Compliance and Medical Management Erin Kelly recently completed the Community Leadership program offered through the Licking County (OH) Chamber of Commerce. The nine-month program fosters the intellectual growth of local leaders by strengthening their management skills and expanding their community knowledge.

Kelly found the program to be a valuable resource. "Much of it focused on identifying individual strengths and learning to develop and apply these in our professional and personal lives. These are skills that will benefit me now and into the future," she said.

Kelly added that the program also provides the chance to learn more about what Licking County has to offer. "I hadn’t previously realized how many opportunities there are to get involved and make a difference. This provided me inspiration to take a more active role in my community,” she said.

Joining MedBen in 2007, Kelly served as a Customer Service Representative and Group Service Rep before joining the Compliance Department in 2011. She was named a Director in 2018.

A graduate of George Mason University, Kelly is an active supporter of the American Red Cross and Licking County Humane Society.

Congratulations, Erin!

05/16/19

  11:14:00 am, by MedBen5   , 148 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Cancer, Heart, Diabetes, Hypertension, Preventive care, Cholesterol, Primary care, MedBen WellLiving

Adding Fiber to Your Diet Reduces Disease Risk

family making salad

According to a recent study, people who eat between 25 and 29 grams of fiber per day reduce their risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer by 15-30%.

“Americans are getting, on average, about 12 and a half grams of fiber each day, which isn’t enough,” said wellness expert Michael Roizen, MD, who did not participate in the study. “This study showed a sizeable reduction in health risks from getting at least 25 grams of fiber.”

Found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, fiber also helps to lower blood pressure, bad cholesterol and body weight.

Eating fiber-rich foods is a great complement to other preventive measures, such as getting an annual wellness exam from your family doctor. MedBen WellLiving can help your organization put together a focused program that promotes better health through physician care and healthier lifestyles.

To learn more about MedBen WellLiving, contact our Marketing Department at 888-627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

05/15/19

  07:37:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 129 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Heart, Preventive care, MedBen Employees, MedBen WellLiving

MedBen Teams Up to Battle Heart Disease

HeartChase Team MedBen

For the fourth consecutive year, MedBen was well-represented at the Licking County (OH) HeartChase, sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA). On May 4, area organizations met in the Newark town square to promote healthy hearts, raise funds to combat heart disease, and get a little exercise by performing team activities.

Event participants have so far raised nearly $120,000 to help reduce heart disease-related deaths and improve the cardiovascular health of Americans.

Heart disease prevention is an important aspect of the MedBen WellLiving program, which promotes healthy habits through preventive care and disease management... so we're pleased to do our part for better health!

Learn more about how your organization can have a good time for a good cause in your community by visiting the HeartChase page at the AHA website.

05/14/19

  03:04:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 341 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Hypertension, Preventive care, Specialty Care

Blood Pressure, By the Numbers

walking

If you have high blood pressure (also called hypertension), you’re hardly alone out there. About 1 in 3 U.S. adults share your condition.

And just because you don’t “feel” like you have high blood pressure doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. The condition is called the “silent killer” for a reason – many people who have it don’t even know it. The only way to be sure is to check your blood pressure regularly.

When you see your family doctor for your annual wellness exam, the visit typically begins with a blood pressure reading. Ideal blood pressure is below 120/80, while high blood pressure is above 140/90. The two respective numbers represent pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats (systolic) and when your heart rests (diastolic).

Why is controlling your blood pressure a big deal? By doing so, you reduce your risk of health disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death in the United States. Reducing pressure on your arteries also lowers your odds of aneurysms, dementia and cognitive impairment. So merely hoping for the best is not a wise strategy.

If you are at risk for high blood pressure, MedBen WellLiving can help. We provide personalized guidance from RN Health Consultants to assist you in bringing your blood pressure numbers back down to normal.

Full story »

05/06/19

Case Study: Direct Contracting Further Lowers Client Costs

stethoscope and 100 dollar bills

MedBen facilitates direct-to-employer contracting, bringing together employers and providers in plans that promote regional care. Recently, a client looking for cost reduction opportunities saw the benefits first-hand.

A manufacturer with a traditional PPO plan already had cost controls in place through MedBen and lower-than-average medical costs... but asked us to suggest ways to reduce their costs even further without cutting care.

Working with MedBen, the client signed direct contracts with two hospitals in areas with a high employee presence. Also, we helped the client set up a wrap network with incentives to use local care.

In the first year following direct hospital contracting, the client saw an 18% reduction in their medical spending. Incentives and access to lower-cost care increased area hospital utilization. For the employees, it translated to reduced out-of-pocket costs.

MedBen clients who have alternative coverages in place are seeing healthier workplaces and cost savings. If you'd like to hear additional success stories, contact Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

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