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01/05/16

  09:18:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 252 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Cost savings

While U.S. Drug Spending Jumps, MedBen Rx Controls Costs

pills

Government numbers indicate that prescription drug spending in the U.S. will likely continue to spike in the coming years... but MedBen is helping its clients to buck the trend.

According to a recent analysis by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Americans spent $297.7 billion on prescription drugs in 2014. That marks a 12% jump from the prior year, the largest annual increase in more than a decade. Moreover, federal officials estimate that yearly spending on medications will grow 6.3% on average through 2024.

The growing popularity of expensive specialty drugs, and rising medication costs in general, have contributed to the spurt in spending. But there is a silver lining: An analysis by the prescription drug price comparison site GoodRx revealed that in 2015, many of the most popular generic drugs went down in price, continuing a decade-long trend.

In 2014, MedBen clients saw their pharmacy plan spending rise just an average of 0.5%. A large part of the savings comes from simply returning to groups what is rightfully theirs – 100% of pharmacy rebates go back to the client.

Further, MedBen has for many years encouraged the use of generic drugs to save pharmacy plans money – on average, clients receive a 77.4% discount on retail generics. And we help to keep specialty drug costs manageable by working with groups to balance plan member needs with bottom line considerations.

Even in a climate of soaring prescription drug costs, the MedBen Rx Advantage works. To learn how we can benefit your business, contact Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

12/31/15

  03:49:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 287 words,  
Categories: Announcements

A Note from Our Chairman

To our customers, consultants and brokers:

Hard though it may be to believe, yet another year has seemingly flown by. And before we close the book on 2015, we wanted to take a moment to wish you a Happy Holiday season on behalf of the entire MedBen staff!

Much like every year since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, 2015 has brought with it its own set of unique challenges, which will impact all of us in the months and years to come. But as often happens, these challenges have spurred MedBen into finding better ways of serving you – with improved technologies, more detailed reporting, and most importantly, new (or improved) ways of helping clients to save money.

Additionally, while we focus most of our energies on serving our self-funded employer block, MedBen continues to expand its service offerings. This year we formally introduced MedBen Analytics, LLC, which provides bundled payment solutions to health care systems. While this new service is designed specifically for hospitals and physician groups, some of the innovations we've developed in its conception will likely find applications in other areas of our business as well.

Once again, MedBen extends its warmest wishes for the holidays and sincere hopes for a prosperous new year. And remember, if you ever have anything on your mind – be it a question, comment or suggestion – we encourage you to call either of us anytime. We'll be happy to talk with you.

Sincerely,

Doug Freeman

Chairman & CEO

Kurt Harden
President & COO

A quick reminder: MedBen will be closed on Friday, January 1 and reopen on Monday, January 4. Should you have a claims or benefits question, please visit MedBen Access. Our online customer service center is available 24/7 for your convenience!

12/30/15

  04:21:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 300 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Wellness, Cancer

Wellness, Not Drugs, Best Strategy for Cancer Prevention

cancer definition

Not that you really need another reason to preach the importance of timely cancer screenings and preventive care in general, but here's one anyway, via The New York Times:

"Most people would agree that it would be better to prevent cancer, if we could, than to treat it once it developed. Yet economic incentives encourage researchers to focus on treatment rather than prevention.

"The way the patent system interacts with the Food and Drug Administration’s drug approval process skews what kinds of cancer clinical trials are run. There’s more money to be made investing in drugs that will extend cancer patients’ lives by a few months than in drugs that would prevent cancer in the first place."

The article goes on to note that the "commercialization lag" – the length of time between receipt of a patent and FDA approval – discourages the development of drugs that require longer clinical trials to see results. So it's not surprising to learn that in the past four decades, there have been over 17,000 trials of patients with the lowest chance of survival, but only 500 for cancer preventions.

For patients, this suggests that it's better to be proactive about cancer prevention than hold out hope for a miracle drug. And prevention begins with healthy lifestyle choices backed by regular physician visits and appropriate testing.

MedBen Worksite Wellness encourages plan members to take advantage of free cancer screenings. Based on age and gender, we recommend getting a colonoscopy, mammography and Pap smear, as well as an annual wellness exam and cholesterol test.

Plan members can also check their compliance with critical wellness examinations by visiting the MedBen Access website and clicking on the "MedBen WellLiving" link under “My Plan”. To learn more about MedBen Worksite Wellness, contact Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

12/29/15

  07:14:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 430 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Health Care Reform, Reporting, IRS

IRS Extends Employer Health Coverage Reporting Deadline

IRS building

On December 28, the IRS announced they have extended the deadlines for employers to file their 1094 and 1095 reporting forms for the 2015 tax year. This marks the second delay for these reports, which were originally to have been filed in early 2015.

The forms serve as verification to the IRS that employers are providing minimum essential coverage to their employees, in accordance with Affordable Care Act rules. Applicable Large Employers (those with 50 or more employees) must report using the IRS’ C-series forms and small employers offering coverage (those with fewer than 50 employees) must report using the IRS’ B-series forms.

The revised deadlines are as follows:

Filing Requirement Previous Deadline Extended Deadline
Sending 1095C forms to their Employees (if a large employer with 50 or more employees) or 1094B (if a self-funded small employer with fewer than 50 employees) February 1, 2016 March 31, 2016
Submitting 1094C transmittal with copies of 1095C (if a large employer with 50 or more employees) or 1094B transmittal with copies of 1095B (if a self-funded small employer with fewer than 50 employees) to IRS if not filing electronically February 29, 2016 May 31, 2016
Submitting 1094C transmittal with copies of 1095C (if a large employer with 50 or more employees) or 1094B transmittal with copies of 1095B (if a self-funded small employer with fewer than 50 employees) to IRS if filing electronically March 31, 2016 June 30, 2016

Additionally, the IRS will provide transitional relief to specific employees whose eligibility for tax credits under exchange coverage may be affected by their failure to receive their 1095B or 1095C forms prior to filing their individual returns for the 2015 tax year due to this extension.

The IRS still encourages employers to complete form distribution and filing as soon as possible, and will be prepared to accept these returns starting in January. Because of these extensions, other tax extension provisions that apply to other returns will not apply to these returns.

Please note that if your group is getting health coverage data reporting services through MedBen, this delay will not affect your ability to prepare the 1095 forms under your current timetable. If you haven't purchased these services through MedBen but would like to do so or want more information, please contact Vice President of Compliance Fraker at 800-851-0907 or cfraker@medben.com at your earliest convenience.

One more reminder: If you're interested in learning more about the particulars of Form 1094-C and 1095-C reporting, we encourage you to visit the MedBen TPA YouTube page and view the videos from our recent ACA Reporting Workshop.

The formal information reporting extension notice is available to review on the IRS website. You can also read more about the deadline extension at the Health Affairs Blog.

12/28/15

  08:17:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 211 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

Study Recommends Revising Threshold for Prescribing Blood Pressure Meds

blood pressure

If you've been putting off getting your blood pressure under control because it's "not too high," new research suggests that you talk to your family doctor about medication options... particularly if you're at high risk for a heart attack or stroke.

According to HealthDay News, based on a review of 123 studies conducted between 1966 and 2015, researchers concluded that every 10 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) achieved through medication reduces heart disease risk by as much as one-fifth.

Current guidelines recommend starting medication when readings reach a threshold of 140/90 mm Hg for non-elderly individuals, and 150/90 for the elderly. "Our findings clearly show that treating blood pressure to a lower level than currently recommended could greatly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and potentially save millions of lives if the treatment was widely implemented," lead author Kazem Rahimi said in a Lancet news release.

"The results provide strong support for reducing systolic blood pressure to less than 130 mm Hg, and blood pressure-lowering drugs should be offered to all patients at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke, whatever their reason for being at risk," Rahimi, the deputy director of The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford in England, said.

12/23/15

  09:02:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 254 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Prescription, Wellness, Consumer-driven Health Plans, Online Services, Client Services

Holiday Hours... and a Few Reminders

wreath

The staff of MedBen wishes you all the best for the holiday season and the new year!

MedBen will close at Noon on Thursday, December 24, remain closed on Christmas Day, and reopen at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, December 28. For the New Year’s holiday, we will be open regular hours on Thursday, December 31, closed on Friday, January 1, and reopen at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, January 4.

Remember that if you need assistance with your health plan when MedBen is closed, the MedBen Access website is your one-stop customer service center. Be it a question about the status of a claim, benefit coverage specifics, or the cost of a prescription drug, MedBen Access has the information you need any time of the day or night – even on major holidays!

If you don’t already have MedBen Access bookmarked in your browser, the easiest route there is through the MedBen.com home page. Just click on “MedBen Access” (located on the top right corner of the page), type in your user name and password, and you’re in!

Another reminder, specifically for those groups with flexible spending accounts (FSAs): Depending on your plan design, you may need to use any remaining funds by December 31. Fortunately, there are multiple ways in which you can sensibly spend your FSA dollars – to view a list of eligible expenses, visit MedBen.com, click on either the “Plan Sponsors (Employers)” or “Plan Members (Insureds)” button, and select “IRS-Eligible Expenses” from the “Additional Resources” drop-down menu.

Finally... if you haven't gotten your wellness exam this year, please schedule one today!

12/21/15

  10:55:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 328 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Health Care Reform, Taxes, Cost savings, IRS

Cadillac Tax Delayed Until 2020

White House

As was widely expected, on December 18, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 -- an omnibus spending and tax package that included in its amendments a two-year delay of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA's) "Cadillac" tax. The measure was fast-tracked, making it though both houses of Congress and onto the President's desk in less than a week.

The Associated Press reports that employer groups applauded the excise tax's delay and expressed hope for its eventual repeal. “A delay is great, repeal is even better,” said Steve Wojcik, vice president of public policy for the National Business Group on Health. “It’s a pretty onerous tax.”

As MedBen has advised clients since ACA's passage in 2010, every aspect of the health care reform law is subject to change, delay or repeal. And we believe the best self-funded plan strategy is taking sensible measures to keep health care costs as low as possible while working with our compliance team to ensure that the rules as they currently stand are being followed.

Even though the Cadillac tax will no longer take effect until at least 2020, MedBen still advises its clients continue to make whatever adjustments to their benefits necessary to manage health care plan cost increases. While it may be impossible to reduce costs to below the minimum dollar threshold at which the tax would kick in, any and all efforts will affect the plan’s liability.

The Cadillac tax is calculated using a health plan’s applicable COBRA rates, which, in turn, are based upon a health care plan's claim experience. Reducing this rate slows down your cost trend, better enabling you to remain under the minimum threshold.

MedBen can help clients determine their probability of being subject to the Cadillac tax. We will run your current COBRA rates through our modeling software so you can see your potential tax liability and provide an estimate of the penalty.

For additional information, please contact MedBen Vice President of Compliance Caroline Fraker at cfraker@medben.com.

12/17/15

  10:01:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 248 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Cost savings

Holiday Reminder: Wellness Compliance Knows No Season

wellness compliance

As the year winds down, thoughts of personal wellness sometimes take a back seat to holiday parties and other seasonal indulgences. But wellness is important regardless of what the calendar says, and not only for health considerations... depending on your health care plan, it may save you money as well.

Many employers that offer worksite wellness programs use financial incentives to encourage plan members to practice healthy lifestyles -- among the most popular being reduced premiums for getting an annual wellness exam. So if your program offers this incentive and you haven't gotten checked out yet or scheduled your 2016 exam, don't delay any longer!

Not exactly sure when you last got a wellness exam? If you're a member of the MedBen WellLiving program, you've got an easy way of staying on top of it -- wellness compliance updates through our MedBen Access site. This exclusive, personalized service allows individuals to see the date of their last exam and the suggested date for their next one, as well as other tests they may need based on age and gender.

To see your current wellness compliance status, just go to MedBen.com and click on "MedBen Access." Once you've logged in, select "MedBen WellLiving" from the side menu.

And remember, wellness compliance information is one of the many convenient features found on MedBen Access. Users can also check claims status, review their coverage benefits, download explanations of benefits, and more.

This concludes our wellness reminder... we now return you to your holiday frivolity.

12/15/15

  10:57:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 229 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Cost savings

Employers Take Measures to Reduce Specialty Drug Spending

pills and mortar

Employers are increasingly looking to control pharmacy plan costs by limiting their responsibility for specialty drugs, a new Towers Watson survey reveals.

“Although pharmacy represents approximately 20% of employer-sponsored medical benefits costs, it is increasing at a rate that accounts for roughly half of medical cost inflation and should be a top priority for employers,” stated Eric Michael, U.S. central division pharmacy leader for Towers Watson. “The price, utilization and delivery of specialty prescription drugs, many of which require special handling or delivery, are a top pain point for employers. Frustrated by their lack of success in controlling these growing costs, employers are beginning to consider new aggressive approaches.”

Drug Store News reports that, according to the survey, 53% of employers have added new coverage and utilization restrictions for specialty pharmacy, such as requiring prior authorization or limiting quantities based on clinical evidence.

MedBen has seen first-hand how specialty drugs can spike pharmacy plan costs, which is why it has advised clients to consider "discretionary drug exclusions" in cases where generic alternatives for high-cost brand medications are available. Should the patient or doctor still prefer to use an excluded drug, they can often obtain copayment discount cards to reduce the cost of the claim charge.

For additional information about how MedBen can help your business control costs on specialty pharmacy, contact Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

12/11/15

  10:45:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 241 words,  
Categories: News, Health Care Reform

Two-Year Reprieve for Employers on the Cadillac Tax?

Capitol Building

If the growing chorus in Congress gets its way, the Cadillac tax on high-end insurance plans, currently scheduled for take effect in 2018, could be pushed back to at least 2020. Earlier this week, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tx.) released a two-year "tax extenders" bill as a back-up plan in case Congress and the White House are unable to reach an agreement that makes some tax breaks permanent.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the Cadillac tax -- so named because it penalizes (purportedly) "rich" benefit packages -- will impose a 40% excise tax on individual health plans worth more than $10,200 and family plans worth more than $27,500. But opposition to the measure has seen a steady increase in Congress, and not just among Republicans opposed to the ACA. Democratic leaders in both houses have favored its repeal, as well as presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Backers of the tax counter that the projected $91 billion in revenue created by the tax over the next decade is essential to funding health care reform. “A two-year delay, I’m concerned, turns into a permanent delay,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). And the Obama administration has repeatedly said that the president would veto any legislation favoring a repeal.

The medical device tax, also an ACA provision, could see a similar two-year delay.

Read more about the “tax extenders” bill and the current state of the Cadillac tax at Modern Healthcare and The Hill (here and here).

12/10/15

  05:07:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 200 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Health Care Reform, Reporting, IRS

ACA Reporting Workshop Videos Available On MedBen TPA YouTube Page

A collection of videos from MedBen's recent Affordable Care Act Reporting Workshop is now available on the MedBen TPA YouTube page. The videos offer in-depth information about how Applicable Large Employers (ALE) can comply with IRS reporting requirements as well as line-by-line advice on completed Forms 1094-C and 1095-C.

Videos can be accessed either through the main MedBen TPA page, or individually using the links below (listed in order of presentation):

A reminder: Form 1095-C must be provided to employees by February 1, 2016, and Form 1094-C to the IRS no later than February 29. But don't panic... it's not too late to get data reporting services through MedBen! If you would like more information, please contact Vice President of Compliance Fraker at 800-851-0907 or cfraker@medben.com.

12/08/15

  10:52:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 405 words,  
Categories: News, MedBen Analytics, Bundled Payments

MedBen Analytics Co-hosts Bundled Payment Webinar

Kurt Harden, President and COO of MedBen Analytics, and Kimberly Hartsfield, Vice President of GE Healthcare Camden Group, shared presenting duties during a bundled payment webinar on Thursday, December 3. A video of the presentation can be viewed below, and is also available at the new MedBen Analytics YouTube page.

Entitled "Understanding the Final Rules: Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement," the webinar was offered to hospital administrators whose facilities will soon take part in a mandatory Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) program that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will start in April 2016.

The CJR initiative was launched on the heels of the voluntary Bundled Payment for Care Initiative (BCPI). In her comments, Hartsfield noted that the BCPI has "reduced readmissions over 1% in the last four years, which has led to many saved lives and many saved dollars."

Hartsfield added that the CJR initiative, which would make hospitals financially accountable for most post-acute care delivered 90 days following hospital discharge, probably won't end with joint replacement care: "CMS is intent to do this with other procedures as well," most likely cardiac treatments.

Harden observed that the greater responsibility gives rise to a need for better analysis and reporting that allows hospitals to address readmissions, lengths of stay and other cost-oriented variables. "When you think about reporting for CJR, we always say 'begin with the end in mind' and what would success look like," Harden said. "Analytics should measure that which you wish to improve."

During his presentation, Harden demonstrated aspects of MedBen Analytics' proprietary analysis and reporting program, which turns Medicare claims data into actionable insights necessary to improve services. One feature he noted as particularly useful is the ability to "drill down" to claim level detail.

"It's important that you are able to quickly ascertain... the reason for the cost, so you might want to drill down even further and look at other things," Harden said.

MedBen Analytics and GE Healthcare Camden Group are offering additional webinars on Tuesday, December 15 and Thursday, December 17, both scheduled from 1 to 2 p.m. Hospital administrators interested in participating in either of the events may contact MedBen Analytics Sales Analyst Sally Wood at 800-423-3151, Ext. 502 or swood@medben.com.

Hospital administrators that are interested in an analysis based on the lower joint replacement services using the Medicare Limited Data Sets for 2014 are welcome to contact Harden at 888-633-2364 or kharden@medben.com. We also invite you to visit the MedBen Analytics website for additional information.

12/04/15

  10:37:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 336 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Protect Yourself This Flu Season

flu check-in

With the cold and bitter air driving people indoors comes the cold and bitter flu season. Characterized by a high fever, runny nose, and total body aches that could last for weeks, the flu is a dangerous illness that affects up to 20% of the U.S. population each year. Seeing that we are already well into the flu season, which started in October and could last until May, isn’t it time you made sure you were protected?

MedBen WellLiving supports the advice that individuals 6 months and older should receive a flu vaccination. With the influenza virus constantly mutating, the vaccinations are continuously updating. Due to this, a new vaccination should be received each year.

Scared of needles? That’s okay – vaccinations come in an array of administration options, including a nasal spray for those ages 2-49. Another method includes an injection to the skin rather than the muscle, utilizing a smaller needle.

MedBen WellLiving recommends a visit with your family physician to discover which options are best for you. You may even be able to get the vaccination at your annual wellness visit, if you still haven’t made it to that appointment yet. Keep in mind that the vaccination takes about two weeks to become effective, so the sooner you make an appointment, the sooner you’re protected from the harsh symptoms of the flu.

Full story »

12/02/15

  10:11:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 176 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Prescription, Health Plan Management

2016 Formularies Now Available on MedBen.com

pills

Formulary updates for prescription plans administered by Pharmacy Data Management, Inc. (PDMI) are now available at MedBen.com – simply click on “Plan Sponsors” (for employers) or “Plan Members” (for insureds) and select “Prescription Formularies” from the “Form” drop-down menu.

The new formularies become effective January 1, 2016. As always, plan administrators with questions can contact their Group Service Representative, while plan members can call MedBen Customer Service at (800) 686-8425.

Self-funded groups use either the Focus formulary or the Outcomes formulary. Focus offers the most cost-effective drug options, while Outcomes offers broader choice while still delivering significant cost savings. All fully-insured groups use the Focus formulary.

Should you still need a 2015 formulary, they will remain available on the MedBen website until the end of the year.

To determine if your group is fully insured or self-funded, check your MedBen ID card. If your account # is less than 10,000, your plan is fully insured; if it is more than 10,000, your plan is self-funded.

11/30/15

  03:49:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 279 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Quality

Ten Years After ISO Certification, MedBen Continues To Show Quality Commitment

ISO 9001 Certified

“The recommendation from this audit is that your certification continues.”

On September 16, 2015, a representative from SAI Global conducted a surveillance audit of MedBen to determine its management system’s compliance with ISO 9001 standards, and its effectiveness in achieving continual improvement. And based on the audit results, the company continues to demonstrate a commitment to quality service – a commitment that began when we first achieved ISO Certification in September of 2005.

In its written summary of the audit, SAI Global reported no findings or opportunities for improvement. Specific areas audited included:

  • Management Responsibilities, Commitment and Performance Monitoring: Management continues to provide proper input and support to ensure that processes for intended controls, customer satisfaction and improvement opportunities are followed.
  • Management Review: Management review meeting records were verified and found to meet standard requirements.
  • Internal Audits: Product planning, customer-related processes and data analysis were among the internal audits verified to ensure conformance to established procedures.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Customer feedback is properly used to drive management system improvement.

The auditor also verified MedBen’s Quality Objectives and commitment to Continual Improvement, and reviewed its Quality Manual and other related documents.

Since achieving ISO 9001 Certification in 2005, MedBen has undergone voluntary semiannual audits to ensure that it has met and built upon established quality standards. The company has also been recertified every third year, most recently in 2014.

“For over a decade, MedBen has been an ISO Certified benefits manager,” said Chairman & CEO Doug Freeman. “To maintain that level of consistency and quality requires a companywide effort, so it’s a testament to the hard work of everyone here that these audits go so well.”

SAI Global is an internationally-recognized provider of standards compliance and risk management services.

11/25/15

MedBen’s Closed On Thanksgiving, But Online Help Is Available 24/7

horn of plenty

We’re quickly approaching the holiday season and opportunities to celebrate with family and friends. As we observe Thanksgiving Day, our offices will be closed on Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27. MedBen will reopen on Monday, November 30.

Remember, however, that just because we’re closed doesn’t mean we’re not available to help you! Through our online services, you can get needed materials and answers to questions any time of the day or night.

  • MedBen.com: From the “Plan Sponsors” and “Plan Members” areas, you can view and download a variety of materials, including applications, prescription formularies, FSA/HRA reimbursement forms and provider network directories.
  • MedBen Access: Get detailed information about your health care coverage, such as specific plan benefits and claims status and history.
  • Rx Information: Available through MedBen Access (select the appropriate patient name under “My Rx Claims”), this useful site enables prescription plan members to check their Rx history, get detailed drug information and compare costs between brand-name medications and their generic equivalents.
  • FSA/HRA Online System: Available either through MedBen Access (select “FSA/HRA Online Inquiry”) or separately, this site enables FSA and HRA members to check account balances, recent claims and payments.
  • Wellness Compliance: Available through MedBen Access (select “MedBen WellLiving”), this page allows MedBen WellLiving program members to check their compliance with recommended exams and screenings, and see when to schedule upcoming visits.

And speaking of wellness, as many plan years end on December 31 – and incentives are often tied to completing these tests before year’s end – this is an opportune time for you to remind your employees that if they haven’t got their annual wellness exam, now’s the time to make an appointment!

Best wishes from everyone at MedBen for a safe and relaxing holiday!

11/23/15

  09:52:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 372 words,  
Categories: Announcements

Corn, McCune Among MedBen Employees Honored at Recognition Ceremony

Andrea Corn

At an employee appreciation event on Friday, October 23, MedBen honored employees who have reached anniversary benchmarks in 2015. The recognition presentation was co-hosted by MedBen Chairman & CEO Doug Freeman and President & COO Kurt Harden.

Receiving special congratulations were Andrea Corn, Director of Data Services and Special Investigation Unit (SIU) and Becky McCune, Senior Technical Software Specialist, both of whom are celebrating their 25th year with MedBen in 2015.

Corn started at MedBen in 1990 as a claims examiner trainee, eventually working her way up the ranks to management positions in the claims and information systems departments. She received her promotion to Director earlier this year.

Asked after the event what she enjoyed most about working at MedBen, Corn replied, “Besides the people that I work with which is a lot of the reason I like it here, I like working for a company that has a sense of humor and values the employees’ home life as much as work life.”

Corn added that the last 25 years “have flown by” and that she looks forward to MedBen continuing to lead in benefits management services during the coming years.

Becky McCune

McCune first joined MedBen as a Computer Programmer Trainee, and her growth in the company has coincided with the computer revolution that has taken place in the past quarter-century. And as MedBen has expanded its technological presence, she has played a key role in many major projects, such as developing and maintaining the VisionPlus system, upgrading and enhancing the proposal quoting system from individual PCs to network-based, and creating an online customer service documentation system, to name just a few.

As for what she’s liked most about her quarter-century at MedBen, McCune cited the pleasant working environment and “opportunities to work on a variety of projects.” She also noted that one of her favorite memories is the expansion of the company to a two-story building (MedBen’s current home office) in 1991.

Other MedBen employees honored at the event include:

  • 15 Years of Service: Diane Bennett, Dominga Celestino, Brian Fargus, Debi Felumlee, Mandy Hays, Tracie Lesko, Sheree Reynard, Laura Smart and Roxie Thomas
  • 10 Years of Service: Sharon Britton, Teresa Cass and Chris Montgomery
  • 5 Years of Service: Veda Adkins, Tammy Cowles, Stacie McFarland, Ed Nydegger, Tabby Perone and Ashley Smith

11/20/15

  09:25:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 260 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Granville Turkey Trot Reminder

Just a reminder that there's still time to register for the 10th Annual Granville Turkey Trot (GTT)!

For the third consecutive year, MedBen serves as a premier sponsor for this 5K fun run/walk, which will be held on Thanksgiving morning, November 26 in Granville, Ohio starting at 9:30am. Kids as young as 6 years old can participate... and you can even sign up your dog as a workout buddy!

The event benefits the Food Pantry Network of Licking County, whose mission is to acquire, store, and distribute nutritious food to the financially deprived and otherwise needy in Licking County. In 2014, the GTT raised $100,000 for this worthy cause -- and we hope to do even better this year!

Online registration has ended, but you can still sign up at the pre-race "Wing Ding," taking place at the Farmer's Market in Granville on Saturday, November 21 from 8:30am-12:30pm. (You can also pick up your race packet at this event.) If you can't make it then, just download a form from the GTT website and drop it off on Wednesday, November 25th, 9:00am–6:00pm at St. Luke's Church Parish House on 118 South Main Street in Granville.

Registration costs are $35 for adults ($40 on race day), $12 for ages 6-13 ($15 on race day), and $5 for dogs. This is a non-timed event.

If you can't make it but would still like to donate, or even participate as a "virtual runner," visit the GTT website for additional details. You can also find information there if you're interesting in volunteering to help on race day.

We hope to see you bright and early on November 26!

11/19/15

  11:28:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 290 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Employer Involvement Key To Long-term Success Of Wellness Program

checkup

Etta Short, MS, writing in Employee Benefit News:

"Unhealthy behaviors can prevent employers from meeting business objectives and employees from performing optimally in the workplace.”

Through effective workplace wellness programs, Short says, employers help to "meet employee benefit and health objectives, reduce health care claims and increase employee job satisfaction, recruitment and retention." She also highlights three "best practices" that fuel participation in these programs:

  • Motivate employees. "Organizations can boost motivation with incentive programs and competitions, but supportive policies and creating a health-promoting environment are necessary to cultivate sustained change."
  • Create incremental goals. "When incremental goals are set, it is easier to get started and success and rewards are experienced sooner."
  • Establish a personal bond. "Health coaches can offer a unique type of support. Behavioral health coaches can offer expert advice, facilitate change and engender accountability."

Workplace wellness works best when employer and employee alike are invested in its long-term success. That's why MedBen WellLiving works with employers to put a program in place that promotes healthy lifestyle changes for plan participants, backed by ongoing support from management.

From day one, MedBen WellLiving has essential components in place to encourage better health, such as individualized coaching for participants at risk for chronic disease. And as the program progresses, we'll provide you with charts, reports and other materials to show participants how the focus on wellness has affected the overall health of the company as well as the corresponding costs from reduced illness.

Focusing on the long-term objectives of a wellness program -- and having the tools to achieve those objectives -- increases its chance of success. Learn more about how MedBen WellLiving can help you achieve your company's health goals by contact Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

11/18/15

  11:04:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 404 words,  
Categories: News, Health Care Reform, Taxes, Cost savings

MedBen Offers In-depth ACA Reporting Guidance At Workshops

MedBen helped current and prospective clients gain a better understanding of how to comply with a critical health care reform mandate at two workshops on November 16 and 17.

Mike Ankrum, Sr. Healthcare Reform Consultant for Five Points ICT, and Caroline Fraker, Vice President of Compliance for MedBen, headed the workshop, which provided employers with in-depth, line-by-line advice on completing forms required under the Affordable Care Act.

ACA Reporting Workshop

In order to properly complete the reports in 2016, Applicable Large Employers (those with 50 or more employees) must have an accurate employment and coverage tracking system going back to the beginning of 2015. Hoping for further delays is not a wise option, Ankrum cautioned: "It's game on... penalties have begun as of January 1."

Two forms must be completed and sent by early 2016: 1095-C to employees by February 1, and 1094-C to the IRS no later than February 29. Failure to complete these forms in a timely and accurate manner will result in fines of $250 per return -- and that's on top of what Ankrum called the "sledgehammer" penalty if you're not offering adequate coverage to full-time employees, or offering unaffordable coverage.

A large portion of the workshop focused on the 1095-C forms and how employers should enter the applicable codes for the offer of coverage for each calendar month. "Employers must enter the correct code, either one for all 12 months, or separate codes for each individual month," Fraker said, adding that the offer of coverage codes "get to the heart of affordability."

And that's not all: In addition to offer of coverage codes, employers must also provide Safe Harbor codes, which identify employee status for a given month as it relates to coverage offered or applied. "These codes show the IRS why you shouldn't have to pay a penalty," Fraker noted.

Suffice it to say, completing these forms can be a complicated and time-consuming process. So to assist, MedBen has partnered with Five Points to offer several service options to help ALEs create and distribute Form 1095-C to employees and prepare and file Form 1094-C with the IRS. But whether you use these services or go a different route, it is imperative to start now -- after all, 2016 is just around the corner!

We will post portions of the workshop on our YouTube page soon -- we'll let you know here when they're available. In the meantime, if you would like more information about data reporting services available through MedBen, please contact Fraker at 800-851-0907 or cfraker@medben.com.

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