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04/06/18

  07:42:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 218 words,  
Categories: News, Preventive care, Health savings accounts (HSAs)

IRS Ruling Affects Male Sterilization Coverage in HDHP/HSA Plans

IRS Building

A recent IRS notice will no longer allow first-dollar coverage of male sterilization and other forms of male contraception under high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) paired with health savings accounts (HSAs)... a decision that effectively overrules current laws in several states.

According to IRS Notice 2018-12, vasectomies and male contraception do not meet the definition of preventive care, and therefore individuals in a qualified HDHP paired with an HSA will not receive coverage until the annual deductible is met. With the introduction of this rule, a participant who receives male contraception benefits before meeting the HDHP deductible will not be eligible for HSA contributions. (The ruling does not affect female contraceptive coverage, which is still considered preventive care.)

Prior to this IRS guidance, multiple states, including Illinois, Vermont, and Maryland, required that health insurance policies issued in those states must cover vasectomies or male contraceptives without a deductible or with a deductible below the minimum deductible for an HSA-qualifying HDHP. The IRS is allowing these states until 2020 to transition to the federal rule, so individuals covered by HDHPs that paid for male contraception expenses below the deductible will still be able to make contributions to their HSA.

MedBen clients with questions regarding the IRS Notice are welcome to contact Director of Administrative Services Sharon A. Mills at (800) 423-3151, Ext. 438 or smills@medben.com.

03/29/18

  10:48:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 337 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Cancer

Cervical Screenings for Women

doctor consultation

The American Cancer Society projects that in 2018, about 13,240 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed. The good news is that death rates from cervical cancer have dropped significantly with the increased use of the Pap test.

Pap tests don’t diagnose cancer, but they detect 95% of cervical cancers at a stage when they cannot be seen with the naked eye. And we know that the earlier a chronic condition is detected, the better the prognosis and the lower the incurred costs. So, it’s easy to see why women ages 21 and older are recommended to receive a pap test every three years.

This pelvic exam performed by either a gynecologist or family doctor, will collect tissues from a woman’s cervix. The tissues will then be sent to a lab to be evaluated to determine if there is a presence of abnormal cells. Your physician may also recommend that tissues be tested for HPV (human papillomavirus), a virus that can cause cell change in the cervix.

Though one in ten tests come back with abnormalities, most of those abnormalities are not serious. Your physician will discuss with you in detail your results. In the case that you do receive a positive test (meaning abnormal cells are present) your physician may ask to conduct additional tests.

Full story »

03/25/18

  11:37:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 371 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Cost savings

Zaenger Outlines Benefits of “Cost Plus” Difference, Offers Rx Plan Suggestions

Allan Zaenger

A featured speaker at several of this year's MedBen University sessions is pharmaceutical consultant Allan Zaenger, President of Pharmaceutical Horizons. At recent roundtables, Zaenger outlined plan design options employers should consider to reduce prescription costs – among them, the "Cost Plus" pricing approach now available through MedBen Rx Advocate.

Unlike traditional prescription plans that take an inflated average wholesale price (AWP) and take discounts from there to get to the allowed prescription drug price, MedBen Rx Advocate pays the pharmacy based on the acquisition cost index (ACI) plus a set dispensing fee that fairly compensates the pharmacy's services for filling a prescription.

"The ACI takes the prices network pharmacies pay to acquire a medicine and collects these drug prices into an index that is refreshed every 24 hours," Zaenger said. "On average, the 'cost plus' difference will save the employer 4-6% across all plan prescriptions."

Zaenger also cautioned employers against the practice allowing plan members to buy 90-day supplies of high-cost specialty medicines. To demonstrate his point, he passed around an actual unused portion of a 90-day supply of the multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera, which cost the employer $30,000... but because the prescription changed and the patient no longer used this drug, the unopened bottles of this medicine cannot be reused under state law, so "this $30,000 drug will get put in a paint can and destroyed," Zaenger noted. "That's an expensive lesson in why specialty drugs should only be bought in 30-day supplies."

Many expensive brand prescription medicines can also be defined as discretionary or elective drugs. Because of the high costs of the brand name medicines in certain drug classes and the general availability of lower-cost alternatives, Zaenger recommended that the plan member be responsible for 100% of the claim charge after the discount is applied.

"Additionally, brand name medicines in the discretionary classes would not count toward the accumulation of the out-of-pocket maximum," Zaenger said. MedBen can provide discretionary drug class lists to clients interested in promoting more cost-effective drug usage.

Zaenger will be among the featured speakers at the MedBen Annual Employer Benefits Roundtable to be held in April. For additional information about MedBen Rx Advocate and the "cost plus" difference, contact MedBen Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com

  09:34:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 320 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Reporting, Cost savings, MedBen University, Self-funding, Trend

MedBen Hospital, Municipality Roundtables Spotlight Client Cost Trends

Brian Fargus

At two recent industry-specific MedBen University (MBU) roundtables, MedBen Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus highlighted how the company's claims management solutions are keeping plan costs in check.

From 2013 through 2017, the 5-year net cost trend for MedBen's block of hospital clients was just 3.1%. Municipality clients also fared well during the same period, seeing average net cost trend of only 2.7%.

Hospitals are unique among the industries that MedBen serves in that they can help themselves keep health care spending down by incentivizing plan members to use their own facilities for medical care and prescription drugs. Through these and other cost containment tools, MedBen's hospital clients have managed to keep average cost increases below national trends.

Conversely, municipalities traditionally have higher costs per employee than private sector health plans, due to contractual obligations that usually produce more benefit-rich health plans that than those offered by other businesses. But through strategic use of cost controls, the 17% plan cost difference in 2013 between MedBen's municipality block and its overall block shrunk to just 7% in 2017.

Like other industries, hospital and municipality employers alike have experienced an increasing prevalence of higher medical and pharmacy claims in the past several years. Since health plans were required to drop lifetime maximums under Affordable Care Act rules in 2014, medical claims over $100,000 and pharmacy claims over $25,000 have become more commonplace.

"The challenge in controlling costs has only become more difficult since the ACA," Fargus said. "But through our clinical review and reporting systems, plus strategic use of plan language to reduce the financial risk of specific conditions, we can still manage large claims to keep overall cost increases in line with our current trend."

MedBen will be conducting additional MBU sessions in 2018 that examine claims and utilization trends, including our Annual Employer Benefits Roundtable in Newark, Ohio. Invitations for this event, which focuses on self-funded private sector businesses, have been mailed out, so keep an eye out for yours!

  07:18:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 285 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Research, Diabetes, Preventive care

Reversing Diabetes Growth Takes Focused Wellness Effort

diabetes

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other sources paint a grim picture of the growing prevalence of diabetes, as well as its attendant physical effects:

But the physical toll of diabetes tells only half the story. A recent Gallup report found that diabetes in the workplace results in an extra 5.5 days of missed work per person per year, costing employers more than $20 billion annually. A company with 1,000 full-time employees would incur $1.5 million in wage replacement and lost productivity costs every year... and that doesn't even factor in the expense of treatment for medical conditions linked to the disease.

The best way to bring these numbers down? Stop diabetes from developing in the first place... and the MedBen WellLiving program assists employers in achieving this critical goal.

By putting the family doctor first and stressing the importance of regular exams and screenings, WellLiving promotes prevention of diabetes and similarly costly chronic conditions. And should an employee be identified as at high risk for diabetes, a member of our specialty care team will connect with them for one-on-one nurse coaching and customized education on a scheduled basis.

A focus on prevention and early detection helps to lowering the risk of developing diabetes and other critical conditions, while also reducing absenteeism and employer health care costs. Find out more about the benefits of MedBen WellLiving by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

03/23/18

  02:17:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 247 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Quality, ISO, MedBen Employees

MedBen Employees Show Adherence to Quality Standards in Latest ISO Audit

ISO Certified

For MedBen, maintaining companywide quality is an ongoing process. To ensure that we are meeting established ISO 9001 quality standards, we undergo twice-yearly audits of our work procedures... and once again, MedBen has passed its latest audit with no findings.

"Based on the evidence verified and findings of this audit, the management system is being managed and utilized by all employees interviewed," reads the report summary by independent auditor SAI Global. The report also notes that MedBen provides "appropriate input and support from top management."

During the audit, which was conducted on March 15, the auditor visited various departments at MedBen, including the internal claims auditing area, parts of accounting, the COBRA administration unit, and our group service units. Special attention was paid to the interactions between these processes and how they affected external and internal customers.

In addition to speaking with department heads, the auditor often conducts impromptu interviews with MedBen employees to observe first-hand how their work processes are followed... so to successfully pass an audit, it's critical that our team can show adherence to ISO standards as well as a knowledge of our corporate objectives. And as has been the case in every audit since our initial ISO certification in 2005, we once again demonstrated that our commitment to quality continues unabated.

"The recommendation from this audit is that your [ISO 9001] certification continues," the auditor concluded.

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

03/11/18

  10:53:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 336 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management, Health Care Reform, Third party administration

While Federal Government Wavers, MedBen Helps You Control Costs

/capitol-caduceus-bills

In a recent Modern Healthcare editorial, writer Merrill Goozner poses the question, "Is the era of healthcare cost control ending?" With the individual mandate dead, the Independent Payment Advisory Board shuttered, and Congress in no apparent hurry to address rising drug prices, Goosner wonders whether the federal government has abandoned efforts to control health care costs.

One of the primary advantages of self-funding your health care plan is that you're not beholden on the whims of federal bureaucracy to help you control costs. Rather, the power is in your hands... and MedBen has proven strategies to assist you in your cost reduction goals.

Right from the start, the self-funded employer can put in place a plan design that best addresses the specific needs of their employee population (as opposed to government marketplace plans that are at once too broad and too restrictive). Along the same lines, we can review a group's claims activity and provide suggestions for shaping plan language in ways that promote more cost-effective care.

A self-funded plan also has the latitude to manage claim costs by customizing the review of particular types of claims. Through a combination of plan benefits, experienced processors, and sophisticated software, we can conduct a detailed analysis to find claims that may not meet medical necessity or billing standards. When a claim gets flagged for further review, we recommend certified medical specialists to look for possible solutions.

Another key to self-funded cost control is the ability to promote better health in the workplace. The MedBen WellLiving program aids employer in encouraging physician-driven preventive care that can prevent the onset of chronic conditions or detect them before they reach to potential to cause physical and financial strain.

And the cost control strategies don’t stop there. With 80 years of benefits management expertise, MedBen can work with you one-on-one to build and maintain a health care plan that reduce costs while still providing high levels of coverage. Find out more by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

  10:45:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 249 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Research

Study Reveals Opioids No More Effective Than Safer Alternatives

pill bottles

Opioid painkillers usually make the headlines because of their addictive dangers, rather than their therapeutic advantages. But now, new research has raised questions as to whether such benefits have been overstated.

A year-long study of individuals suffering from chronic pain revealed that regular use of ibuprofen and other nonopioids proved equally as effective for relieving pain – and in some cases, even more so – than opioids. The 240 participants, all patients who had pain in their backs, hips or knees for at least six months, were randomly assigned to either the opioid or nonopioid group.

"Overall, opioids did not demonstrate any advantage over nonopioid medications that could potentially outweigh their greater risk of harms," wrote the team led by Dr. Erin Krebs of the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System's Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research.

Krebs observed that based on the study results, there's no reason to use opioids given "their really nasty side effects — death and addiction." He added that other studies show that physical therapy, exercise or rehabilitation therapy work best for chronic pain.

"This is a very important study," said Dr. David Reuben, geriatrics chief at UCLA's medical school. "It will likely change the approach to managing long-term back, hip and knee pain."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that opioids should be prescribed only after other therapies have failed, and if prescribed, should be used for no more than seven days.

Read more about the study at the Los Angeles Times and ABC News.

  10:24:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 318 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Colorful Food, Colorful Life

healthy eating

Birthdays… we love them when we’re younger, then slowly start to dread them as the numbers get higher and higher. As we age, so does our body and our organs – so it’s important to keep them in great condition as the years pass.

To do that, people are always searching for the latest and greatest miracle pill or cosmetic procedure to help prevent signs of aging. But rather than hoping for an artificial “fix,” MedBen recommends going back to the basics and looking at diet.

Diet plays a key role in how our body and organs age, and what you put in it is what you get out of it. If you want to live a colorful life, with radiant skin and good organs, you should eat colorful foods such as leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, and fish. If you want a dull life, eat bland foods such as chocolates, lots of red meats, and dark pop.

For example: Lutein, found in dark leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and collards, as well as in peas and corn, is an important natural antioxidant that helps maintain healthy eyes and supports brain health as we age. It’s also shown that people who at least three servings of vegetables a day reduce yearly their brain deterioration by nearly 40%.

Antioxidant-rich foods seem to have a protective effect for the skin. These foods include items such as carrots, tomatoes, berries, and salmon. And for the heart, in addition to the foods listed above, oatmeal or a handful of nuts every day are good at preventing heart disease over the years. Oh, and if you’ve got a sweet tooth, a small amount of dark chocolate (at long as it is at least 70% cocoa) is also considered “heart-healthy”.

Bottom line… to keep young and healthy, add some color to your life!

Read more about healthy foods at the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic.

03/09/18

2018 Family HSA Contribution Maximum Reduced

IRS building

Due to a change in cost-of-living increases as calculated under last year's tax reform bill, the IRS has released new recalculated maximums for family health savings account (HSA) contributions for 2018. This year's previously announced family HSA limit of $6,900 has been reduced to $6,850.

For plans that offer an HSA option in conjunction with a high-deductible health plan, this announcement means that family HSAs with a stated $6,900 limit will need to be lowered to the new $6,850 maximum -- and by extension, that member election changes may be required. Additionally, excess contributions may need to be returned to those members who have already contributed the full family amount.

Please note that the 2018 individual HSA maximum contribution remains unchanged at $3,450. Also, benefit maximums for flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) were not affected by the IRS recalculations.

MedBen clients with questions regarding this change may contact Director of Administrative Services Sharon A. Mills at (800) 423-3151, Ext. 438 or smills@medben.com.

03/05/18

  08:57:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 205 words,  
Categories: News, Compliance, ERISA

MedBen ERISA Disability Claims Document Available for Download

Department of Labor logo

The MedBen Compliance team has created a document outlining the final regulations relating to disability claims under the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA), which will become effective on April 1, 2018. You can download this document from the MedBen.com website.

ERISA employers sponsoring disability plans should familiarize themselves with the provisions of these new rules, which are intended to protect workers and disability plan participants who make claims under their employer-sponsored disability plans. Much like the Department of Labor's revision of health care claims procedures prior to and through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), these Final Rules ensure that disability claimants receive a full and fair review of their disability claims as required under ERISA Section 503, by requiring that plan sponsors comply with additional procedural requirements.

Employers should note that the Final Rules may affect more than just disability insurance and self-funded health plans; any ERISA-governed plans which include disability benefits, including certain defined benefit plans, 401(k)s, ERISA-covered 403(b)s, and top hat plans, are subject to the Final Rules. Only non-ERISA plans or arrangements are exempt from the new rules.

MedBen clients with questions regarding the final disability claims rules are welcome to contact Vice President of Compliance Caroline Compliance Caroline Fraker at 800-851-0907 or cfraker@medben.com.

02/25/18

  06:14:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 264 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Flu Shot Still Worth It? Absolutely

flu shot

The current flu season has been one of the worst in recent memory, and this year's flu vaccine has offered less help than usual. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the vaccine is only about 25% effective against H3N2, the influenza strain behind more cases. Such a low success rate invariably raises the question: Is getting a flu shot really worth it?

Absolutely, says both the CDC and numerous family physicians. Because while the flu vaccine has been ineffective against H3H2, it has worked against other types of flu. People who do get the vaccine cut their risk of getting the flu by one-third -- certainly nothing to, uh, sneeze at.

Since the flu season doesn't look to be winding down anytime soon, the agency recommends that everyone aged 6 months and older get a flu shot. If you haven't already got one, chances are your family doctor can assist you. And if you're overdue for your annual wellness exam, it's a perfect excuse to take care of that as well!

If you do develop a fever, headache, cough, or other flu-like symptoms, don't just wait it out with the expectation it will go away... instead, fight back. Your best defense is to see your doctor, who can prescribe an antiviral medication to help ease the effects of the virus.

Finally, should you get the flu, as much as your coworkers will no doubt admire your dedication by coming into work, you're better off staying home. In addition to recovering faster, staying home will ensure your very contagious symptoms do not spread.

2017 FSA/HRA Reimbursement Request Deadline Is March 31

debit card cashier

A few reminders for MedBen clients who offer flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and/or health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to their plan members:

  • For most FSA and HRA plans that have a January effective date, March 31, 2018 is the final day of the run-out period in which plan members can turn in reimbursement requests for qualified 2017 purchases. Alternately, your FSA plan may allow a "grace period" for members to spend remaining 2017 funds by March 15, but still adhere to the March 31 deadline for reimbursement requests.

    Some FSA and HRA plans may have a different run-out period. Plan members who have questions about their plan's deadline may call MedBen Customer Service at 800-297-1829.

  • Most plans that offer HRAs allow remaining funds from the prior year to be rolled over for future use, while some allow up to $500 of FSA funds to be carried over from year to year. But in either case, after March 31 plan members will no longer be able to use those funds for outstanding 2017 expenses. (Note that plans offering the FSA grace period option cannot also offer carryovers, and vice versa.)
  • Plan members who need FSA/HRA reimbursement forms can download them from the MedBen.com website, by clicking on the “Plan Members” button and selecting "FSA and HRA" from the "Forms" drop-down box. FSA members can also confirm whether or not a medical expense qualifies for reimbursement by selecting "IRS-Eligible Expenses" from the "Additional Resources" drop-down box.
  • Additionally, our online service site MedBen Access enables FSA/HRA plan members to keep track of their account balances, claims submissions and payments. Simply visit MedBen.com, select "MedBen Access" and, once logged in, click on “FSA/HRA Online Inquiry” under the “My Plan” section.

MedBen clients with additional questions regarding their FSAs or HRAs may call MedBen Customer Service at 800-297-1829.

02/23/18

  06:01:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 257 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Prescription, Health Plan Management, Claims management

MedBen Leads Columbus Business First Survey

A new Columbus Business First survey (in the February 16 issue) ranks MedBen as Central Ohio's top employee benefits company, based on the number of Central Ohio benefits workers we employ.

With 143 TPA employees residing in Licking, Franklin and surrounding counties, MedBen employs nearly 100 more local workers than its closest competition.

"MedBen's success is based on the simple fact that we have a great group of professionals working here and they are always focused on helping our clients." said Kurt Harden, MedBen President & COO. "We think long term. Many of our employees have been with us for decades, which I think says something about the quality of people we hire and the culture we promote. Similarly, many of our clients have been long term clients. In a short-term world, we think it helps to think long term."

As benefits management has gotten more diverse with the rise of self-funding and worksite wellness, MedBen has met the call with a variety of flexible service offerings, including a new “Cost Plus” pharmacy program that we're currently rolling out. At the same time, we've built up our team to ensure that clients have the resources they need to design and maintain their health care program.

"Not only are our employees dedicated to our clients' success, they're some of the most innovative people you'd want to meet," Harden added.

One more thing: MedBen is also among the oldest companies on the list, as we were founded in 1938... and we're proud to have called Central Ohio our home for our entire 80 years!

02/22/18

  07:31:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 259 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management, Reporting, Third party administration, MedBen University, Self-funding

In Health Care Planning, One Size Does Not Fit All

businesspeople

A new Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) report highlights the wide disparity of health care costs in U.S. states, with average costs ranging from 17% above comparable populations in Colorado to 16% below in Maryland. The report notes that "there is no one-size-fits-all solution" for health care affordability... and at MedBen, it's a truism that extends well beyond geography.

Nearly 80 years of experience in benefits management has taught MedBen the importance of customizing a health plan to meet the needs of the client. Proper health plan design considers such factors as the particular industry, employee demographics and health care utilization. By treating a business as the unique enterprise that it is, we can create a health plan that addresses specific population health concerns while ensuring that the employer's financial investment is well-managed.

At our upcoming MedBen University roundtables, we'll explore how employer health plans address potential challenges inherent in their industry as well as capitalize on their possible advantages. In addition to industry-specific roundtables for hospitals and municipalities, we're offering a session for private sector employers that breaks down various plan cost factors and offers proven strategies to improve plan effectiveness. Invitations to these events are in the mail (or soon will be), so be sure to look for yours!

Finally, while every business is indeed different, for MedBen one thing always stays consistent -- the level of attention and respect we give to each one of our clients. Learn more about how we can serve your unique needs by contact Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

02/21/18

  06:41:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 334 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Preventive care, Cholesterol

The Good and Bad of Cholesterol

heart hands

Cholesterol itself isn’t bad. Actually, cholesterol plays an important role in building cells, digestion, and hormone manufacturing. However, since cholesterol is a waxy substance much like a can of Crisco you purchase at the grocery store, the problem occurs when there is excess cholesterol in the body and thus, it begins to build up in the arteries, straining the heart.

Cholesterol comes from two places: your liver and the foods you eat. Interestingly enough, cholesterol is only made by animals, so you only get cholesterol from eating meats and not plant-based foods.

There are two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). American Heart Association explained their roles best: LDL cholesterol is like someone who carries stuff all through the house and drops it along the way while HDL cholesterol is like someone who picks up the dropped stuff and puts it away to keep the house from becoming impassable. Without HDL cholesterol, LDL would eventually lead to completely blocked arteries.

Since high cholesterol levels usually show no symptoms, it’s important to have your levels checked by your family physician. MedBen WellLiving recommends a screening every five years (unless your physician recommends otherwise) based on risk factors such as age, sex, family history, smoking history, diabetes and blood pressure. Screenings are simple and require just a small sample of blood.

Full story »

02/11/18

For MedBen, Beating Trend Is All in the Details

MedBen building

In recent years, U.S. health care spending has slowed significantly compared to the double-digit cost spikes we saw a decade ago. But there’s still room for improvement, so MedBen uses containment strategies to keep client claim costs under national trends.

Recently released numbers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicate that from the years 2014-2016, U.S. health care spending trend averaged 5.07% annually. MedBen's overall client block for the same period came in at 4.03% trend.

Moreover, as more of our clients have integrated the MedBen WellLiving program into their health plan, their costs have reflected the emphasis on preventive care and early detection of chronic conditions. From the years 2015-2016, our WellLiving block has realized a 1.60% trend compared to 5.05% nationally.

Keeping client health care costs as low as possible starts with focusing on the primary cause of higher spending – claims. MedBen eschews the "claim is a claim" mindset, instead processing every claim with an eye on accuracy and medical necessity. Should our surveillance system detect a claim that merits additional scrutiny, medical specialists review it to ensure the most favorable outcome.

MedBen is committed to finding ways to save your health plan money by beating the trend. See up close how we do it by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

  09:36:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 271 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Giving Up Sleep May Come at a Risky Price

yawning

In today’s busy culture, sleep can sometimes be low on our priority lists. After all, if we sleep for a full eight hours, that only leaves us 16 hours (at least half of which are spent working), to exercise, cook and eat dinner, do housework, socialize, etc. The daily “to-do” list can sometimes be overwhelming, and research shows that more and more often, people are getting less sleep to do more. According to Eve Van Cauter, Ph. D., Director of Sleep, Metabolism and Health Center at the University of Chicago, over the last four decades, sleep has decreased 1.5-2 hours per night.

But at what cost are you willing to give up sleep? Dr. Van Cauter states that research increasingly points to links between insufficient sleep and diseases such as obesity and diabetes, as those who are sleep deprived tend to eat more foods that they would generally avoid. Additionally, lack of sleep can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity, which increases the risk of type II diabetes.

Van Cauter also notes that sleep deprivation has been connected to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, individuals who get less than six hours of sleep are at an increased risk of hypertension – and those who get less than five hours double their risk.

Some suggestions that Van Cauter makes to get more sleep include avoiding mid-day naps, keeping the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet, and establishing a regular and relaxing bedtime routine. Talking to your family physician may be necessary as well. MedBen WellLiving has written a WellCare article about the importance of sleep, which contains additional tips to get your senses ready for bed.

  09:27:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 214 words,  
Categories: Reporting, Cost savings, Third party administration

MedBen Reporting Highlights “Care Gap” Connection

GSRs reviewing report

Among the distinctive features of the MedBen reporting package is a series of reports that examine a group's "care gap."

The simple idea behind a care gap measurement: Individuals who follow wellness recommendations (such as annual exams and cancer screenings) and condition management (i.e., diabetics taking prescribed insulin) have lower care gaps than those who do not. Every MedBen Client Review compares yearly claim costs between plan members with higher and lower care gaps. Typically, we find that plan members with higher care gaps cost the group, on average, three to four times as much as those with lower care gaps.

MedBen reporting also places the care gap in the larger context of care received (or not received) and how it affects your current and future health plan costs. Depending on the report, you can compare care gaps against such factors as disease burdens and specific chronic conditions – and more often than not, these comparisons demonstrate how care gaps are good indicators of the health, and the financial risk, of your employee population.

The care gap is closely linked to current costs and future risk, and MedBen reporting reflects this fact. To see how our reporting approach can reduce your health care spending, contact Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

01/31/18

  02:24:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 214 words,  
Categories: Announcements, MedBen Employees, Social media

MedBen Gets “Social”… on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

social media

For years, MedBen has posted regularly on Twitter, providing updates and information about our services, as well as links to articles of interest to our clients and self-funded employers in general. And now, we are expanding our social media presence with new pages on Facebook and LinkedIn.

All three sites will share the latest MedBen news, as well as two new weekly features: Motivational Mondays, featuring inspiration thoughts to get your work week off on the right note, and Health Tip Tuesdays – bite-size nuggets of wellness advice that serve as an extra bit of encouragement to live a healthy life!

as MedBen celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, we’ll be periodically spotlighting the people so integral to our growth and success… our employees. We’ll focus on activities around the office as well as the many charitable endeavors in which our team members participate.

Of course, MedBen continues to add new content to the MedBen Blog every week. Or if you prefer to have us deliver updates direct to your mailbox, MedBen e-briefs rounds up the latest happenings in a convenient bi-weekly newsletter. If you’re not currently on our mailing list, we invite you to sign up today… and while you’re at it, connect to any or all of MedBen’s social media platforms!

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