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08/23/19

  10:44:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 174 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Cancer, Research, Preventive care, Primary care

Lifestyle Impacts Colorectal Cancer Risk

surgeon

A recent American Cancer Society study revealed that there are more colorectal cancers being found in young adults. As stated in an Advisory Board article, “[R]esearchers have yet to determine the cause of the uptick in colorectal cancer cases among younger adults, but it could be partly due to lifestyle choices. For instance, obesity, sedentary lifestyles, and diets low in fiber all are linked to colorectal cancer, as well as conditions such as chronic inflammation and Type 2 diabetes.”

One of the five recommended screenings that MedBen WellLiving puts emphasis on is a colonoscopy. Although MedBen will continue to recommend the screening for adults age 50 or older, with a consistency of every 10 years, does not mean that they younger generation should sit idle.

Having conversations with your primary care physician regarding any concerns you may be having or about your family history is a good place to start, but you may also find it beneficial to open the dialog to healthy lifestyle choices, adequate exercise, and what a healthy diet would look like for you.

  10:42:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 144 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Cost savings, MedBen Rx Alliance

Low Drug Prices & Qualified Employers Unite with MedBen Rx Alliance

pills

It makes sense that qualified hospitals can purchase drugs at prices lower than even the largest retail chain. But what if we told you that you may be eligible to reap the benefits of this as well?

If you’re a hospital, local school system, university or other qualified organization, you may be able to access the lowest possible prescription prices available. With the MedBen Rx Alliance program, you save both your pharmacy plan and your members money!

MedBen Rx Alliance is different than other pharmacy programs, but we take care of all the details. This way you can stay focused on what truly matters to you: your business.

If you’re interested in giving MedBen Rx Alliance the opportunity to show you how 80+ years of experience in prescription and medical benefits management could help you, call Vice President of Sales & Marketing at 888-627-8683 or bfargus@medben.com.

  10:32:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 111 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, MedBen Employees, MedBen Access

We're Closed Labor Day, But Help is Always Available Online

flag in hand

Labor Day means that schools are starting and summer is coming to an end. As in past years, MedBen will be closed on Monday, September 2 in observance of the holiday. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t have access to useful resources!

We invite you to take advantage of the variety of online customer services available online at MedBen Access. Through this portal, you can view your plan document, EOBs and pending claims, research drug costs, and check the balances of your FSA/HRA accounts. Just visit MedBen.com and press “MedBen Access.”

MedBen will reopen for business on Tuesday, September 3, at 8:00AM EST.

Happy Labor Day from all of us here at MedBen!

  09:59:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 181 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Mosquitoes: Small Bug, Big Problems

mosquito

Mosquitoes have buzzed their way onto national news headlines recently as mosquito-borne illnesses present themselves in human occupants. The pesky insects carry a multitude of diseases, including La Crosse Encephalitis, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Zika virus, and the most common, West Nile virus.

The best way to protect yourself this season is to prevent bites in the first place. For most species of mosquito in the United States, their activity peaks during the dusk hours beginning in the summer and lasting well into the fall. Therefore, the correct use of insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin during this time is recommended. Other means of protection include wearing long sleeves and pants, planting mosquito-repelling plants (lavender and basil, to name a few) around your home, and getting rid of any standing water.

If bitten, most people infected with a virus do not have symptoms, or have only mild signs like fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting. However, some viruses can be much more serious. Always seek guidance from your family physician or other medical professional if you suspect symptoms are from a bug bite.

08/11/19

  10:12:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 142 words,  
Categories: Compliance, Coordination of benefits

Demystifying Coordination of Benefits

gears

MedBen Customer Service Representatives are frequently asked questions about coordination of benefits from employees who have multiple health plans. To provide some clarity to this somewhat tricky topic, we’ve put together Demystifying Coordination of Benefits for your employees to use as a quick resource.

This document is broken into two parts. Part One explains coordination of benefits as it relates to employer-based coverage and what information may be needed in order to determine primary and secondary plans. Part Two explains coordination of benefits as it relates to non-employer-based coverage such as Medicaid, Medicare and other government programs.

Please feel free to distribute this document and keep a copy for your own reference. As always, MedBen Customer Service and Account Representatives are available to answer any additional questions you or your employees may have. Just have employees call our Customer Service Department at 800-686-8425.

08/10/19

  12:20:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 165 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Dental, Third party administration, Self-funding

Staying Competitive in A Tight Labor Market

construction worker

With the unemployment rate at historic lows, it’s understandable that employers are searching for a competitive edge when recruiting new employees – and a comprehensive health benefits package may be the answer.

Unlike fully insured plans that dictate coverage, self-funding offers employers the freedom to create a benefits package that keeps them within their budget, but also tailor the plan to appeal to prospective and current employees alike. Adding a wellness program like MedBen WellLiving and ancillary dental benefits like MedBen PreceDent can also help to attract the best job candidates.

But good benefits are only half the battle… you also need the right third party administrator (TPA) to serve as your benefits advocate. With over 80 years of benefits management experience, MedBen’s expertise helped clients realize an average claim cost trend of just 0.4% per employee in 2018.

With a variety of product offerings and a dedication to client service, MedBen just could be the competitive edge you’re looking for. For more information, contact our Marketing Department at 888-623-2365.

08/09/19

  03:51:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 300 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Compliance, Affordable Care Act

Employers Subject to ACA Non-Discrimination Provisions Should Update Information

Health and Human Services logo

In 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final regulations on the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) non-discrimination provisions, also referred to as Section 1557. At that time, MedBen brought these new provisions to your attention and asked you to determine whether or not your organization was subject to them.

One of the requirements of Section 1557 was to appoint a Civil Rights Coordinator and define the steps an employee should take if they felt they had been discriminated against. When advised, MedBen readily assisted in preparation of a Non-Discrimination Notice to hand out to employees. Additionally, non-discrimination language was added into your Plan and Summary Plan Description (SPD), and an Addendum was created to distribute with your Summary of Benefits Clarification (SBC).

Now that a few years have passed, MedBen would like to make sure the information you originally provided us is still up to date. If any of the information in your current documents is outdated (i.e. phone numbers, emails, names, addresses), please inform your Account Management Team to ensure that any such updates are made to the applicable documents.

If you’re a client who is new to MedBen, or a client who is not sure if you’re subject to the ACA’s Non-Discrimination provisions, please be advised that a major determining factor is whether or not you receive money from HHS, including Medicare or Medicaid payments. If you do, you are most likely subject to the provisions.

Additional information on the criteria to determine if you are subject to these provisions and how to comply with them can be found at the HHS website. If you are still unsure if you are subject to Section 1557, we suggest you consult with your employment attorney or Accountant.

Please contact your Account Management team with any questions or concerns regarding Section 1557.

08/08/19

  12:11:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 184 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Cost savings, MedBen Rx Advocate, Rebates

MedBen Rx Advocate: No Inflation, No Discounts, No Gimmicks

pills

If you’re tired of trying to figure out all of the confusing lingo and mathematics of the pharmaceutical world, MedBen Rx Advocate is for you. Our straightforward approach to pharmacy solutions has been proven to save clients money and the best part is, you only need to understand one term: Acquisition Cost Index (ACI).

ACI is the true average cost the pharmacy pays to acquire a specific drug on a particular day. MedBen Rx Advocate starts with this cost, adds in a set dispensing and vendor fee which is determined at the start of your contract year… and that’s all that you pay for a prescription. There are no confusing discounts, or disproportionate inflations, and we definitely do not retain any portion of your rebates – 100% goes back to your plan.

Through ACI, our clients were able to realize an average savings of 11.3% in 2018, compared to their previous pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) contracts.

For more information on how MedBen Rx Advocate can help your pharmacy plan or work in conjunction with your health plan, visit us online at www.medbenrx.com or give us a call at 888-627-8683.

08/07/19

  05:05:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 152 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Preventive care

Down to the (Apple) Core

apples

Apples are packed with antioxidants, dietary fiber and phytochemicals which help to promote good gut health, reduce inflammation, and even lessen the risk of some chronic conditions. But if you’re like most Americans, you are throwing away the best part.

A recent study revealed that the standard apple contains 100 million bacteria, but only roughly 10 percent lives within the flesh of the apple. The majority of the gut-healthy bacterial cells are found within the core of the apple, especially the seeds. In other words, when you get to the core, keep on eating!

Going a step further, the study also noted that “organic apples have an edge over the conventional ones, because they harbor a more diverse and balanced bacterial community — which could make them healthier and tastier than conventional apples.”

So the next time you’re at the market, grab an organic apple and enjoy the entire thing. Your gut will thank you.

07/28/19

2019 Client Report: Building Better Benefits Management

MedBen Client Report

“2019 marks the 30-year anniversary of Medical Benefits Administrators (MBA). The third party administrator began as a subsidiary… but has grown into our signature enterprise” states Kurt Harden, President and CEO of MedBen, in the 2019 Client Report.

Over those 30 years, MBA has learned the hidden obstacles self-funded employers face when trying to obtain good, competitive self-funded coverage. We followed the voice of the customer and built a different model designed for transparency and continual improvement.

In the 2019 Client Report, we showcase our claims management, pharmacy solutions, wellness programs and other self-funding services, all of which play a part in helping our clients stay below national cost trends. You will also find a “StatSummary” page that highlights in numbers how 2018 went. (Spoiler alert: It went well, with some significant client savings.)

We recently sent Client Reports to our self-funded client contacts and brokers. If you have not yet received one or would like to request additional reports – or if you're not a current customer and would like a copy – please contact Executive Assistant Sally Wood at swood@medben.com. And if you're interested in knowing more about the ways that MedBen can benefit your business, you're welcome to contact our Marketing Department at 888-627-8683.

07/27/19

  09:05:00 am, by MedBen5   , 224 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Specialty Care, MedBen WellLiving, Asthma

Good Health Habits Lower Risk of Asthma Attacks

asthma

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs, leading to coughing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. While the heat of summer creates humid air that can pose issues for many who suffer from asthma, fall and winter can be even more problematic as the return to indoor activities increases exposure to respiratory viruses.

If you suffer from asthma or are at risk for developing it, MedBen WellLiving can help. Our Specialty Care program connects a nurse with members that have asthma, coronary artery disease, diabetes, as well as other chronic conditions, and helps to coach them through any areas of concern or questions they may have. Of course, it is always recommended that members visit their family doctor as they can offer additional advice and prescribe medications.

Simple hygiene techniques will also aid those with asthma in reducing germ exposure and keeping attacks on the sidelines (and they’re good common sense for everyone else). Washing your hands with soap and water vigorously for at least 20 seconds, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or if unavailable, your upper sleeve (not your hands), and avoid large populations that would otherwise increase your risk of infection.

Learn more about how MedBen WellLiving can help reduce the risk of asthma and other chronic conditions by contacting our Marketing Department at 888-627-8683.

07/26/19

  07:32:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 192 words,  
Categories: Announcements, MedBen Employees

Looking for a Career Opportunity? Grow with MedBen!

MedBen building

If you’re in the market for a reputable employer with competitive benefits and pay and have a desire to work in the health benefits industry, MedBen would love to hear from you! Over the last several years, our block of business has grown. Due to this and recent internal promotions and position changes, we have multiple employment opportunities available within the company.

Founded on the belief of internal growth and development, MedBen offers employees educational assistance, retirement plans, and even health club membership reimbursements. This is all in addition to a company wellness program where participating employees can earn additional paid time off, all while enhancing their physical and mental health.

Current job openings include multiple positions in our Client Services area. If one of these positions is not currently of interest to you, please fill out an application and tell us about what you would be interested in doing here at MedBen. As the company continues to evolve, we will keep your resume on file a year and will contact you if something becomes available in your area of interest. You can email your resume or address employment questions to hr@medben.com.

  10:45:00 am, by MedBen5   , 171 words,  
Categories: Reporting, Cost savings, MedBen Analytics

MedBen Analytics Offers Clients Actionable Reporting

MedBen has always been known to provide the best measurable and actionable plan data available. Our plan analysis reviews cost and usage trends and highlights opportunities to increase population health and reduce overall costs. In addition, we offer clients reporting at their fingertips via our MedBen Analytics online portal.

MedBen Analytics reporting platform

Launched earlier this year, MedBen Analytics improves on our previous reporting platform with greater accessibility and more user-friendly elements. We’ve kept what worked from before and added valuable new features, including:

  • A secure online executive dashboard that provides immediate access to plan data.
  • Benchmarking capabilities that allow you to instantly compare your plan performance against regional and national norms.
  • Customizable reports that can be auto generated on a scheduled basis.

We are confident that this new reporting package will enhance your reporting experience.

The MedBen Analytics reporting platform is offered at no additional cost to employers. If you’re a MedBen client, our Marketing Analyst Morgan Hardy is available to schedule a training session at your convenience. She can be reached at 800-423-3151 ext. 424.

07/25/19

  10:29:00 am, by MedBen5   , 178 words,  
Categories: Heart, Preventive care, Primary care, MedBen WellLiving, Aspirin

Aspirin’s Risks Can Outweigh its Rewards

aspirin

“An aspirin a day keeps the doctor away” is not one-size-fits-all advice. In fact, a new Harvard study reveals that only people with history of heart disease, prior history of heart attack, or certain groups of healthy people between the ages of 40 to 70 should take a daily aspirin to ward off cardiovascular disease.

Regular aspirin use carries multiple risks, including bleeding in the stomach, small intestine and brain. There are better ways to combat cardiovascular disease risk: A healthy diet, adequate exercise, and probably the most important mechanism for combatting cardiovascular health, regular screenings through your family physician – a key element of the MedBen WellLiving Primary Prevention program.

According to the Mayo Clinic, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels, but without testing for them, you probably won't know you have these conditions. Regular, consistent screenings with a family physician can help you monitor your numbers, notice changes and take action when necessary.

Find out more about how MedBen WellLiving can help your employees stay healthy by contacting our Marketing Department at 888-627-8683.

07/19/19

New Rule Expands HDHP Options

IRS building

In response to President Trump’s Executive Order 13877, “Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare to Put Patients First,” the Treasury Department and the IRS were directed to consider ways to expand the use and flexibility of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) consistent with the current HSA rules. Treasury Department Notice 2019-45, effective July 17, 2019, expands the list of preventive care benefits permitted to be provided by a HDHP without a deductible.

To expand the availability of services and treatments, the Notice explains that certain medical care services, including treatment and prescription drugs for certain chronic conditions, can be classified as preventive care for someone with that chronic condition. This allows HDHPs to cover these additional services and prescriptions at 100% under a HDHP, since they are now re-classified under the Notice as “preventive care.” The Notice specifically lists those chronic conditions which will now be classifiable as preventive care with respect to an individual with the relevant chronic condition.

However, for the HDHP to be compliant with these new rules, two separate conditions must be met for the chronic condition medical care or prescription to be considered preventive.

  1. Criteria. Each medical service or item, when prescribed or performed for an individual with the related chronic condition, must meet all the following criteria:
  • The service or item must be low-cost. This means that no high cost brand or generic drugs or treatment is eligible to qualify a treatment or prescription drug as preventive.
  • There must be medical evidence supporting high cost efficiency (a large expected impact) of preventing exacerbation of the chronic condition or the development of a secondary condition when using the low-cost treatment or prescription.
  • There must be a strong likelihood, documented by clinical evidence, that with respect to the class of individuals prescribed the item or service, the specific service or use of the item will prevent the exacerbation of the chronic condition or the development of a secondary condition that requires significantly higher cost treatments.
  1. The List. Only those conditions listed below qualify as preventive care under a HDHP:
Preventive Care for Specified Conditions For Individuals Diagnosed with
Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors Congestive heart failure, diabetes, and/or coronary artery disease
Anti-resorptive therapy Osteoporosis and/or osteopenia
Beta-blockers Congestive heart failure and/or coronary artery disease
Blood pressure monitor Hypertension
Inhaled corticosteroids Asthma
Insulin and other glucose lowering agents Diabetes
Retinopathy screening Diabetes
Peak flow meter Asthma
Glucometer Diabetes
Hemoglobin A1c testing Diabetes
International Normalized Ratio (INR) testing Liver disease and/or bleeding disorders
Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) testing Heart disease
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) Depression
Statins Heart disease and/or diabetes

Important Note: The Notice is very clear that the criteria does not expand the scope of preventive care beyond the above list. That means that medical care services or prescriptions that meet (or may meet) the criteria but are not on the list are not treated as preventive care as a result of this Notice or on any other basis.

If you are interested in updating your plan language to allow medical care and prescription treatments identified on the list above to pay at without deductible (or at a less deductible) under your HDHP, please contact MedBen Compliance Department or your Account Representative. If you have questions regarding this summary, please contact Senior Vice President Caroline Fraker at 800-851-0907 or cfraker@medben.com.

07/14/19

  11:55:00 am, by MedBen5   , 172 words,  
Categories: Cost savings, MedBen Rx, MedBen Rx Advocate, Rebates, Account Management

Pharmacy Rebates that Cost You Money

pill bottle

Many employers get caught up in the promised savings offered by rebate guarantees… but little do they know these guarantees could be costing them money, for several reasons.

The first issue with rebate guarantees is that the most significant rebates are associated with the most significant price tags. So, while you’re receiving a sometimes-sizeable rebate for a drug, your plan may be still paying more for a medication compared to a much less expensive alternative, that doesn’t provide a rebate.

The second issue is that set rebate guarantees generally mean that employers are not receiving the full rebate amount. Their pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) retains a portion for themselves.

MedBen Rx Advocate clients never have to worry about these tactics. Our clients know that the only guarantees offered from us is the lowest net-cost medication is always promoted to their population and any paid rebate is passed back to them at 100%.

If you would like for MedBen Rx Advocate to investigate your pharmacy plan for potential savings, give us a call at 888-627-8683.

07/13/19

  08:49:00 am, by MedBen5   , 178 words,  
Categories: Cancer, Preventive care, MedBen WellLiving

A $1.3 Million Late-Stage Cancer Diagnosis

cancer definition

Only 20% of employer-driven wellness programs offer colorectal screenings, leading to poor prognoses and national spending in excess of $7.4 billion for cancer treatment.

A recent Employee Benefit News piece tells how a man found himself stuck with $1.3 million in billed charges, borne by the employer, health plan, patient and his family, and attributed to a “consequence of a later-stage diagnosis” for his colorectal cancer. Sadly, he’s not alone – nearly 60% of diagnosed colorectal cases are discovered in a later stage due to under-screening.

From its start, MedBen WellLiving was built around plan members getting regular preventative screenings, including a colonoscopy every 10 years beginning at age 50. We’ve seen how early detection is key to obtaining a better prognosis for the patient while lowering health plan costs for employers.

With preventive care compliance as its foundation, MedBen WellLiving has driven positive results. Clients have seen only a 4.4% trend (versus a 6.4% for non-WellLiving clients) over the last five years and reduced health risks for their populations.

To learn more about what MedBen WellLiving has to offer you, contact our Marketing Department today at 888-627-8683.

07/12/19

  07:45:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: Dental, Heart, Preventive care, MedBen PreceDent

Good Dental Care Benefits Overall Health… and Teeth, Too

dental patient

Nearly 20 percent of adults aged 65 or older have lost all their teeth. And even though the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that they believe the number of those with tooth loss will decrease over the years (thanks to fluoride infused public water systems and fluoride toothpaste), threats to oral hygiene and health continue throughout life.

In addition to common predators of oral health – sugary chewing gum, limited brushing and flossing – chronic conditions including emphysema, heart disease, and hepatitis C have been linked to heightened risk of tooth loss. But as chronic conditions can impact oral health, the opposite is also true. Studies have shown that things like excess plaque along the gums is linked to heart disease and obesity.

MedBen PreceDent provides employers with a dental benefits package that covers twice-yearly exams and other preventive services at 100%, helping to reduce the need for major restorative care. By visiting their dentist regularly and receiving the necessary maintenance care, your plan members can maintain good oral health as well as improving their overall wellness.

MedBen PreceDent is available as a standalone dental product or better still, in conjunction with a comprehensive benefits plan. For more information regarding the advantages of providing dental coverage, contact the MedBen Marketing Department at 888-627-8683.

07/10/19

  10:50:00 am, by MedBen5   , 214 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Cancer, Preventive care

CDC May Change Male “Catch Up” Age for HPV Vaccine

HPV vaccine

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recently voted to modify the recommended age for men to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. If approved by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the recommendation would increase the age of male recipients for a “catch up” of the HPV vaccination to 26 versus the previous age of 21. For women, the recommended age of 26 is already in place.

The HPV vaccination helps to prevent cancer-causing infections and precancers that are mostly sexually transmitted. The CDC states that vaccination is very safe and that “HPV infections and cervical precancers have dropped significantly since the vaccine has been in use.”

Currently, the CDC recommends two doses of the HPV vaccine for all boys and girls ages 11-12 but can be administered in children as young as nine. Under the Affordable Care Act, the CDC’s immunization recommendations are to be covered without cost sharing to the plan member as Recommended Wellness Services, if received through a preferred (in-network or Tier 1) provider. These services are intended to prevent potential future health problems, rather than to treat existing medical conditions.

If you have questions about Recommended Wellness Services covered under your plan, please contact your Account Representative. For more information about the HPV vaccination for yourself or your child, consult your family doctor.

06/30/19

  10:58:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 255 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Client Services, MedBen Employees, Account Management

Client Service Enhancements Strengthen Account Management

To enhance our client services, MedBen has made two important changes. Our Group Service Representatives (GSRs) will now be called Account Representatives, and we’ve created a new position called Account Manager.

We’d like to recognize five former GSRs who have been promoted to Account Managers, effective July 1, 2019: Janeen Andrews, Edith Grassette, Megan Miller, Bethany Peters, and Doug Ross.

MedBen Account Managers

"This new position is part of the evolution of our service model," said Lori Kane, Vice President of Administrative Operations for MedBen. "The hallmark of our service model for clients has been the two-person team. Those teams coordinate to provide account management for our clients and serve as their primary point of contact with MedBen. This builds on that model and provides greater accessibility to and accountability from MedBen’s Account Management team," Kane said. "We believe clients will see a difference as we continue to develop this model."

Andrews has been a GSR for MedBen since 2001. Her account management partner will be Megan Miller, who started with MedBen’s Customer Service Department in 2009. In 2010 Miller was promoted to Group Service Representative and then was promoted to Supervisor of Client Services in 2015. Miller is a graduate of The Ohio State University.

Grassette has been with MedBen since 2004, previously working for Cigna and Medco Rx. Her partner, Peters, started with MedBen’s Customer Service Department in 2015, becoming a Group Service Representative in 2016. Peters is a graduate of Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

Ross started as a Group Service Representative for MedBen in 2017 and is a graduate of Kent State University.

Congratulations everyone!

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