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03/31/17

  10:54:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 442 words,  
Categories: News, Health Care Reform

Revised SBC Template Required for Employer Plans

Sierra See

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that issuers and health plans provide a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), including a description of what the health plan covers and the cost sharing responsibility of the consumer, in order to help individuals make more informed choices among health plan options and to better understand their coverage. Self-funded health plans and health insurance companies are also required to provide a comprehensive uniform glossary of commonly used health coverage and medical terms.

The federal agencies overseeing the ACA have recently finalized changes to the existing SBC template in order to improve the readability for consumers, and also to expand the amount of information that the consumer receives from this one document. The new templates include more information about cost sharing, such as enhanced language to explain deductibles and a requirement that plans address individual and overall out-of-pocket limits.

All SBC’s include coverage examples that demonstrate the cost sharing amounts an individual might be responsible for in three common medical situations. Currently, the SBC contains two coverage examples, which address diabetes care and childbirth. The new template offers a third coverage example which addresses coverage for a foot fracture so that a consumer understands the services and expenses that a plan will cover in an emergency scenario.

Use of the new template will be required for plans and insurance policies with plan years beginning on or after April 1, 2017. This also means that the new template should be used for SBC’s that will be distributed for any open enrollment period preceding the April 1, 2017 plan year.

There are no changes to the existing SBC distribution requirements. SBC’s are required to be distributed, as follows:

  • Thirty (30) days prior to the plan year; or
  • On the first day of the plan’s open enrollment period, whichever is earlier; and
  • Sixty (60) days prior to an “off” plan year change that effects the information listed in the SBC;
  • Within ninety (90) days of a special enrollment event for individuals enrolling in such event. If the individual requested the SBC earlier than that date, it should be provided as soon as reasonably possible, but no later than seven (7) days following the request;
  • To newly hired employees; and
  • Within seven (7) days of an eligible individual’s request.

If you are a MedBen client, please make sure to provide us with enough time to update your SBC and send it to you for timely distribution. It is important that you inform us in advance if you will be making changes to your plan documents which require changes to your SBC.

Should you have any questions about SBCs, please contact Sierra See, J.D., in MedBen’s Compliance Department at ssee@medben.com.

03/30/17

  08:58:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 222 words,  
Categories: News, MedBen Analytics, Bundled Payments

Bundled Payment Rollouts Delayed Again

MedBen Analytics

On March 21, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services delayed the expansion of the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) as well as the implementation of cardiac bundled payment initiatives. This marks the second such postponement of these mandatory programs in as many months.

According to a statement by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), the reason for the delay is "to allow time for additional review" and modifications if necessary, and to ensure participants understand the rules.

At MedBen Analytics, we believe that a program works best when all participants are fully engaged in its success. And while we work with hospitals who participate in voluntary programs like the Medicare Bundled Payments Care Initiative (BPCI) as well as in mandatory models like CJR - and have in both instances received positive feedback about our reporting portal and the resultant savings - we think that the decision to implement a value-based payment program is best left to providers, not to the government.

MedBen Analytics was created to give providers the insights they need to improve performance - and our goal is win clients by proving that the bundled payment model saves clients time and money over traditional fee-for-service. If you ever have questions about how our services can benefit your business, please call MedBen President & COO Kurt Harden at 888-633-2364 or email medbenanalytics@medben.com.

03/29/17

  10:52:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 360 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Snooze You Can Use

yawning

Sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Adults who do not receive the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) recommended seven to nine hours of sleep make themselves susceptible to many negative health impacts. These include increased risk of heart disease and type II diabetes, weight gain, depressed mood and even fatigue.

If you’re struggling to fall asleep at night, try changing your before-bed diet. Items that release tryptophan into your body (like turkey, causing the infamous Thanksgiving nap) help to aid your sleep, and eating foods with carbohydrates allows the tryptophan to become more accessible to the brain. Also, contrary to common belief, alcohol is a poor sleeping aid. While it does make you drowsy, it can also interrupt the sleep pattern throughout the night.

But just as what you eat before bed affects your sleep, your sleep patterns affect your eating habits. Studies have shown that those who are sleep deprived are not only more likely to more fat-rich foods, but also consume more simple carbohydrates and fewer vegetables. This is possibly because sleep loss alters chemical signals connected to metabolism and hunger. In fact, some researchers believe sleep deprivation to be a factor in the rising rates of obesity.

Nonetheless, sleep deprivation should not be left untreated. If you are struggling in the area of sleep, MedBen WellLiving suggests seeing your family physician as soon as possible.

Full story »

03/26/17

Hospital Roundtable Features Expanded Benchmarking, Population Health Insights

Brooke Hupp

The 15th Annual MedBen Hospital Roundtable, held at the C. Arthur Morrow Conference Center in Newark, Ohio on March 23, gave attendees the chance to review hospital health plan usage trends and compare their plan costs to those of other hospital groups. Plus, the event provided new insights regarding key elements of self-funded plan administration.

This year, our review of performance measures in MedBen's hospital block included a new feature: Expanded regional hospital benchmarking, including both metropolitan and non-metro facilities, that offered a fresh perspective into claim cost, plan design and contribution strategies.

Brian Fargus, MedBen Vice President of Sales & Marketing, took a closer look at the various types of plans commonly offered by metro hospitals, noting the difference in employee contributions to more benefit-rich plans: "Traditional plan premiums run, on average, about 10% higher for participating employees than those with consumer-driven, high-deductible health plans."

Fargus also pointed out that while both community and metro facilities had comparable benefits for domestic (own facility) care, community hospitals had higher average deductibles and employee coinsurance for non-domestic care than their metro counterparts. "And that's good, because better domestic benefits steer more members toward in-house care, which results in lower costs," he observed.

This year's roundtable also examined the importance of a focused approach on population health management. "Uncovering gaps in care and filling those gaps is essential to improving outcomes and optimizing efficiency," said Brooke Hupp, MedBen Regional Sales Manager.

Hupp noted that promoting preventive care, rather than having to take reactionary measures, makes a significant difference in an employer's health care spending. "Detecting a cancer at the earliest stage possible not only improves the patient's chances of survival, but also decreases potential plan costs" she said.

MedBen will conduct its 11th Annual Municipality Roundtable on March 30. Those interested in attending this free event are encouraged to contact MedBen Sales Analyst Sally Wood at (800) 423-3151, ext. 502 or emailing swood@medben.com.

  10:27:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 440 words,  
Categories: News, Health Care Reform, Compliance

AHCA Withdrawal Leave Lingering Questions about Health Care Reform's Future

Capitol Building

On March 24, House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the American Health Care Act (AHCA) ‒ the vaunted replacement to Obamacare ‒ from the floor, lacking the votes to pass the bill. So what happens next? And what can employers do to let their voices be heard?

At the moment, it's difficult to say whether Ryan and the House GOP will regroup and attempt to come up with a more acceptable plan down the road, or just concede defeat and let the Affordable Care Act (ACA) run through its paces and see what happens. Of course, Republicans and Democrats could somehow work through their differences and come up with a solution that's mutually acceptable... though at this point that sounds more like a fairy tale than a realistic scenario.

What is safe to expect is that for the time being, the ACA will remain the law of the land. Even if Congressional Republicans and President Trump could pass a bill in record time, nothing would change until 2018 at the earliest. So for now, it's business as usual.

As we watch developments unfold in the coming weeks, it's important to keep in mind that while the AHCA focused primarily on changes to individual health coverage, it also addressed employer-sponsored plans, albeit to a lesser degree. As noted in a recent article, we were surprised that the AHCA did not eliminate or cap the tax deductibility of group health coverage, instead merely postponing the Cadillac tax until 2026 (or more likely, never). But now that the AHCA is no more, the possibility still exists that a provision to eliminate this benefit could resurface in future legislation.

The employer exclusion tax benefit (Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 106) makes employer-sponsored health coverage a valuable benefit for workers and a valuable tool for employers to attract, hire and retain top talent. Eliminating this employer tax exclusion would, in turn, eliminate most of the advantages of employer-sponsored group health coverage, while capping it would degrade the benefit of plan coverage for employees.

Even though the future of "repeal and replace" is cloudy at the moment, MedBen believes in remaining proactive. For that reason, we are urging our Senators and Representatives to maintain the system that has worked for Americans for decades, and to preserve the tax incentives for employer-sponsored group health coverage by leaving IRC Section 106 in place, without modification. And we urge you to do the same.

One thing that we can say with certainty: Whatever the outcome of health care reform, MedBen is here to answer client questions and assist in any way we can. You are welcome to contact Vice President of Compliance Caroline Fraker at 800-851-0907 or cfraker@medben.com.

  10:07:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 200 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Cost savings

Claim Surveillance Software Continues to Deliver Savings for Clients

MedBen building

MedBen takes no small measure of pride in its advanced claims surveillance system, and for good reason. In 2016, claims flagged by this system and reviewed by a team of medical specialists experienced an average cost reduction of 25%, after deductibles, coinsurance and PPO discounts. Overall, our clients saved an average of $9.75 per employee per month (PEPM), all thanks to this process.

Furthermore, looking at the PEPM amounts from 2012 to 2016, we found a five-year average client savings of $11.46 PEPM.

It's important to note a few things about our claims surveillance system. First, the savings it generates are in addition to what MedBen produces through plan design, network discounts, medical management, and other cost controls. Second, these savings are produced after network discounts are applied, but before claims are paid.

Finally, the surveillance review is preceded by our own in-house claims processing system. MedBen uses more than 400 auto-checks to detect billing errors and properly apply network discounts. In short, when it comes to your claims, we leave no stone unturned to ensure that clients pay only what is fair and necessary.

Learn more about claims surveillance and other MedBen saving solutions by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

03/24/17

  07:41:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 241 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Research, Vision

Eye Exam Can Be a Window to Disease Detection

eyeglasses

Poets and singers like to expound upon things we can see in other people's eyes... love, hurt, the world, and so on. To that list we may soon add "poor leg circulation."

According to HealthDay News, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said changes in the eye's retina may help spot people at risk for a narrowing of the large blood vessels in the legs – a condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD). While PAD can be difficult to diagnose, the research suggests that someday it could be spotted through a routine vision examination.

Already, doctors can detect early signs of such chronic conditions as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes simply by checking their patients' eyes. When you put that on top of such basic considerations as vision correction, you get a pretty good idea of just how valuable a vision benefits program like MedBen VisionPlus can be.

With VisionPlus, businesses can offer vision coverage that promotes the importance of annual eye exams and early detection and treatment of visual impairments. Employers have the freedom to determine copayment levels and the frequency of covered exams and materials. You can put together the plan that best meets your employees’ needs, while adding an attractive incentive to prospective employees.

Good vision coverage goes beyond what you can see with your own eyes. Learn more about the MedBen VisionPlus advantage by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

03/12/17

Final Reminders for MedBen University Roundtables

MedBen University logo

Two MedBen University industry-specific roundtables are just days away... so if you've been thinking of attending, now is the time to register!

On Thursday, March 23, MedBen will host the 15th Annual Hospital Roundtable, sponsored by ISU Stop-Loss. Then on Thursday, March 30, we'll focus on government groups at our 11th Annual Municipality Roundtable, sponsored by HCC Stop-Loss. Both events will spotlight cost and utilization trends for medical and pharmacy health plans, and allow attendees to benchmark their health plans against other plans in their respective industries.

In addition, our team of benefits management professionals will discuss current topics of interest to self-funded employers, including what the future may hold for health care reform.

These free roundtables will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST at the Morrow Conference Center, 1821 W. Main Street, Newark, Ohio (next door to the MedBen home office). Registration begins at 8:00 a.m., and continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Register today by calling MedBen Sales Analyst Sally Wood at (800) 423-3151, ext. 502 or emailing swood@medben.com. We look forward to seeing you!

03/10/17

March 31st an Important Date for Many FSA/HRA Plan Members

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, 2017 is the final day of the run-out period in which plan members can turn in reimbursement requests for qualified 2016 purchases. Alternately, your FSA plan may allow a "grace period" for members to spend remaining 2016 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. If you need clarification about your plan's deadline, just 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 2016 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.

03/08/17

  10:43:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 347 words,  
Categories: News, Health Care Reform, Taxes

ACA Replacement Bill Omits Employer Health Plan Tax

IRS building

One of the major surprises of the Republican replacement plan to the Affordable Care Act ‒ tentatively called the "American Health Care Act (AHCA)" ‒ is not what's in it, but what House members left out: A provision eliminating or capping the tax deductibility of employer-sponsored group health coverage.

The provision was noteworthy in its absence because several GOP replacement bills had offered taxing employer-sponsored plans as a possible funding mechanism ‒ and indeed, an earlier leaked draft of the AHCA included such a provision. Why the provision was ultimately omitted is anyone's guess, but it's probable that many House Republicans feared a backlash from employers, many of whom would simply discontinue offering health coverage rather than paying prohibitively expensive taxes on it.

So what does the AHCA propose as a possible way to finance the law? None other than the oft-maligned "Cadillac" tax, once all but dead and buried, now miraculously resurrected. But rather than deal with the inevitable blowback by rolling out the tax immediately (or in 2020, when it's currently scheduled for implementation), the bill pushes the start date all the way back to 2025. The greater likelihood, however, is that the tax will never see the light of day ‒ its real purpose may be to have some funding mechanism in place when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores the bill for potential costs.

Of course, the final version of the AHCA could be very different than the present one ‒ in fact, the brickbats currently being thrown by fellow GOP members at the bill all but ensures that significant revisions are forthcoming. So while employer tax breaks are unaffected at the moment, don't be shocked if talk of elimination or caps arises again.

Finally, while health plan taxes are particularly germane to MedBen clients, they're hardly the only aspect of the AHCA that may affect employers. As the bill evolves, we'll continue to keep you informed on the latest developments and what they mean for your business. In the meantime, clients with questions about the AHCA are welcome to contact Vice President of Compliance Caroline Fraker at 800-851-0907 or cfraker@medben.com.

03/07/17

  10:42:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: News, MedBen Analytics, Bundled Payments, Value-based care

CJR Claim Data Feeds Go Monthly

MedBen Analytics

CMS recently announced that, beginning this month, they will switch from quarterly data feeds to monthly data feeds for Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR). For MedBen Analytics clients, this means the reporting in our portal will be even more current, allowing them to follow a patient's care path within about one month of the provided service.

Once the switch to monthly data has been implemented, it will be immediately integrated into your MedBen Analytics reports, with no additional action needed on your end. Naturally, the thoroughness of information available will be based upon the timely filing of claims by the provider... if the filing process is delayed, the reports may not reflect all claims activity for the period selected.

Additionally, CMS and Mathematica are in the process of revising the methodology to impute standardized payments. This calculation correction, and the related specification document, is scheduled to be delivered in the March 2017 data feed.

As MedBen Analytics is designed to help providers make decisions based on the most complete and up-to-date information available, we're pleased that CMS has made this change. If you have any questions about the switch to monthly production or our reporting portal, please call MedBen President & COO Kurt Harden at 888-633-2364 or email medbenanalytics@medben.com.

02/26/17

  09:32:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 313 words,  
Categories: News, Health Care Reform, Taxes, Compliance

Capping Tax-Deductible Employer Health Coverage a Bad Idea, Says Fraker

Caroline Fraker

Earlier this month, House Republican leaders released an outline of their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The outline doesn't indicate how the plan would be paid for, but one frequently cited GOP funding suggestion ‒ capping the tax deductibility of employer-sponsored group health coverage ‒ could have serious ramifications for employer-funded health plans, says MedBen Vice President of Compliance Caroline Fraker.

Employers provide non-taxable health care coverage through insurance and self-funded plans to the nearly 60% of non-retired Americans who receive coverage through their workplace. Because the benefits provided by employer-sponsored group health coverage is not considered income to employees – and neither employees nor employers pay payroll tax on those benefits – some Republicans see it as an unfair advantage over those who have to purchase health coverage on an individual basis, which is bought with after-tax dollars. "GOP members of Congress think a cap has to be put in place to balance the playing field for those getting health coverage outside of the employment arena," Fraker said.

The logic behind the cap is similar to the ACA's much-reviled (and never implemented) Cadillac tax ‒ to collect funds for other health care reform initiatives. Fraker believes a better solution would be to focus on making corrections to the individual insurance market, such as applying universal health care tax credits to people who purchase their own coverage. "If the GOP believes there's inequity, it's smarter to balance it on the non-employer, individual market side," she said.

Fraker added that that the cap goes beyond simple tax implications to the issue of job retention: "If you take away the tools employers use to attract and retain good employees, all you ultimately do is undermine the economy."

MedBen clients who have questions about the proposed cap or health care reform in general are welcome to contact Fraker at 800-851-0907 or cfraker@medben.com.

Get additional perspective on this topic at BenefitsPRO.

  09:31:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 172 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness

New Physician Guidelines Advise Drug-Free Remedies for Back Pain

drinking water

A leading physician group advises that people with back pain postpone a doctor's visit until they've tried non-medicinal remedies, Forbes reports.

The new guidelines by the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommend avoiding pills and using other therapies such as massage, heat, acupuncture, exercise, yoga or physical therapy as the primary approach to patients with low back pain lasting less than 12 weeks’ duration. If medication for temporary pain relief must be used, the group suggested over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen and aspirin.

These guidelines represent something of a shift in thinking, as doctors have for many decades prescribed opiates for immediate relief of pain. But with opioid addiction becoming a national epidemic, physicians increasingly advocate alternative forms of treatment.

The ACP emphasized that in most instances, low back pain will improve on its own, particularly if the individual engages in proper exercise or stays active. However, if the pain radiates down one or both legs, or is associated with weakness, tingling or any associated fever, that person should consult their family doctor immediately.

02/24/17

  08:15:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 182 words,  
Categories: Reporting, MedBen Analytics, Value-based care

MedBen Analytics Set for New Model Launches

MedBen Analytics

An executive order by the Trump administration has briefly delayed the rollout of the bundled payment model for hip and femur fractures, but will not alter cardiac and orthopedic model launches later this year. Regardless, MedBen Analytics is fully prepared to provide hospitals with actionable data reporting for all new models.

The 60-day freeze on federal rulemaking pushed back the effective date of the Surgical Hip and Femur Fracture Treatment (SHFFT) model from February 18 to March 31. However, the July 1 implementation of the Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) and Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) models fall outside the executive order and will not be affected, an HHS spokesman has confirmed.

But whatever the circumstances, MedBen Analytics is ready to move forward. We've taken the advanced reporting portal we created for our Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) clients and expanded it so users of all these bundled payment models can benefit from our useful insights.

If you'd like to see a demonstration of our system or want additional information about MedBen Analytics, please call MedBen President & COO Kurt Harden at 888-633-2364 or email medbenanalytics@medben.com.

02/23/17

  03:00:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 230 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Heart, Research, Ancillary benefits

Heart Disease Costs Expected to Double by 2035

heart EKG

Heart disease continues to amass physical and financial costs nationwide... a difficult situation that could be greatly alleviated through a collective focus on wellness.

A new American Heart Association report estimates that heart disease-related costs are expected to double from $555 billion in 2016 to $1.1 trillion in 2035. By then, nearly half the U.S. population will have at least one health problem related to heart disease, the report projects.

The difficulty with getting a handle on heart disease is that it's so closely linked to many of our worst habits, such as smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise. Concerted efforts to address these lifestyle issues could go a long toward reversing the upward trend ‒ and workplace wellness is an obvious place to start.

MedBen WellLiving takes a multi-level approach to heart disease and other chronic conditions. First, our program promotes to your health plan members the importance of preventive care, and building and maintaining a doctor-patient relationship. Second, those members identified at high risk are offered ongoing, individualized counseling from a registered nurse.

The WellLiving approach aids in earlier detection of heart disease that allows for less costly treatment and decreased risk of medical conditions that contribute to the disease. For employers, it translates to lower medical costs and reduced absenteeism.

Get additional information about the benefits of MedBen WellLiving by contacting Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

02/22/17

  04:18:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 353 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Heart

Stay Heart Strong

heart hands

Responsible for pumping more than 2,000 gallons of blood a day throughout the 60,000 miles of blood vessels within your body, the heart requires itself to be in tip-top shape. However, some may not realize the negative impact that every day activities have on our heart... or that they could even lead to heart disease.

Do you watch hours of TV every evening? Snore when you sleep? Skip flossing? Eat a lot of red meats or season food with extra salt? Most of us will answer “yes” to more than one of these.

Watching TV frequently, even if you exercise regularly, can still impair your heart. Snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which, just like eating salty foods, causes a spike in blood pressure. Skipping the floss and eating a lot of red meat have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease.

Though this list may be a short summary of things that can affect the heart, perhaps the most dangerous thing we do is assume that we are not at risk. One in three U.S. adults are diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease that can be considered among the “silent killers.” Seeking guidance from your family physician is one of the only ways to detect early onset and to effectively manage heart conditions.

Full story »

02/12/17

  11:33:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 256 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management, Cost savings, Research

Health Care Costs Top Consumer Concerns... and MedBen's, Too

dollar sign

Even with issues like national security and immigration grabbing the headlines these days, health care costs still rank high on the list of American concerns, a new survey suggests. Likewise, finding ways to control client health care costs continually informs the way the MedBen does business.

The Monmouth University Poll of families nationwide found that about 25% of respondents said the cost of health care was their biggest concern ‒ a 10% jump from a similar poll in 2015. National security and other topical matters ranked comparatively low in the survey.

But the fact that health care costs affect consumers comes as no surprise to MedBen, because we know from first-hand experience how important saving money is to employers who self-fund their health care coverage. Toward that goal, MedBen offers a variety of cost management solutions, including:

  • Claims management, through a leading-edge surveillance system that incorporates board-certified medical specialists to review selected claims and, if necessary, work with the provider to reach a proper resolution;
  • Plan management, through client-specific benefits design that encourages plan members to make smart choices about the care they receive; and
  • Population health management, from a prevention-centered wellness program and disease management to prescription plans that can identify the most effective medications for plan members.

Through these and other containment strategies, MedBen works ceaselessly to ensure that clients' coverage costs are kept as low as possible, without sacrificing necessary care. To get a better idea of all the ways we can benefit your business, contact our Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

  11:32:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 273 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Cancer, Research, Preventive care

Cancer Mortality Falls as Prevention Efforts Step Up

cancer definition

A new report from the American Cancer Society (ACS) shows encouraging trends on cancer survival ‒ a decline in death rates that coincides with a greater emphasis on preventive care through programs like MedBen WellLiving.

Since the early 1990's, the U.S. death rate from cancer has dropped 25%. This trend can be attributed primarily to large declines in the four major causes of cancer death ‒ lung, colorectal, breast and prostate ‒ which account for almost half of such deaths, noted ACS Director Rebecca Siegel.

"This progress is driven by declines in smoking prevalence beginning in the 1960s, and improvements in the early detection of cancer and cancer treatment," Siegel said.

Still, while mortality rates have fallen overall, some U.S. regions still show much higher numbers ‒ a problem researchers blame, in part, on people not getting regular cancer screenings.

"People show up with a cancer that should have been addressed a long time ago," said Dr. Ethan Basch, Director of the Cancer Outcomes Research Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "If they had a good primary care doctor or good health education they would have noticed it."

MedBen WellLiving stresses the importance of plan members getting regular cancer screenings under the direction of their family doctor. Not only does detecting cancer in its earliest stages greatly improve chances for survival, it significantly reduces the cost of treatment ‒ in some cases, by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

By encouraging preventive care, employers can go a long way toward improving the health of their workforce. Learn how you can make a real difference by contacting MedBen Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brian Fargus at bfargus@medben.com.

02/10/17

  10:27:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 115 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Flexible spending accounts (FSAs), Debit cards

FSA Debit Card Funding Request Notification E-mail Address Has Changed

Benny card

An important notice for flexible spending account (FSA) members who use MedBen's "Benny" debit card: The e-mail "From" address for Change to Funding Request notifications has changed.

Effective January 30, 2017, daily and weekly funding request e-mail notifications now have the e-mail "from" address "reports@evolution1.com." Prior to this change, the "from" address on these notifications was "no-reply@smtp1.bennycentral.com."

Recipients should make sure this new "from" e-mail address is not blocked or marked as spam. For those recipients who have already "white listed" the evolution1.com domain, this change will not impact you.

MedBen FSA debit card users who have any questions about this change are welcome to contact Director of Administrative Services Sharon A. Mills at (800) 423-3151, Ext. 438 or smills@medben.com.

02/09/17

  08:28:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 288 words,  
Categories: News, Health Care Reform

MedBen President Harden Shares Thoughts on Obamacare's Future

MedBen President and COO Kurt Harden was one of several local business representatives recently interviewed by Licking County (OH) Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer McDonald for the Chamber's 2017 Economic Forecast video. During the discussion, he shared his thoughts on the future of Obamacare under President Trump as well as doing business in Licking County.

Below are several excerpts from Harden's interview. You can hear his complete comments on YouTube (the MedBen portion begins around the 5:00 mark).

On the survival of Obamacare: "We don't know if everything's going to be repealed or if [Congress] will just repeal the insurance portions of Obamacare and leave other portions in place [...] They will probably repeal large portions of Obamacare and some of the taxes with it, and replace those."

On improving insurance access under Obamacare: "The way I would improve access is, if the goal was to improve access to those most needy, then simply move up the coverage under Medicaid to a higher percentage of the poverty level [...] That way, what you don't do is you don't disrupt an insurance and a health benefits market that was largely working for the vast majority of people who were covered under it."

On the appeal of doing business in Licking County: "First of all, a great quality workforce. We have a great supply of high work ethic employees. Secondly, we like that Licking County is just far enough away from Columbus that we have our own identity [...] but close enough that we can go to Columbus and hire employees there as well. The final thing is really the governments, at both the county, city, village level. They're all very responsive, very pro-business, so when we need something, they're generally there to help out."

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