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03/20/12

  02:56:09 pm, by MedBen5   , 331 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Health Care Reform Enters The "Terrible Two's"

The Affordable Care Act turns two years old on March 23, and to mark the occasion, Politico has compiled a list of five things to watch for in year three. Below we offer a “teaser” – you can find the complete answers at Politico website.

1) How many states won’t set up their own exchanges? So far[…] a lot of states are not moving ahead. The federal exchange could end up covering as many as 15 to 25 states[.]

2) What’s next on essential benefits? So far, [Health and Human Services] has put out a “bulletin” – less formal than an actual rule – that said states will be able to choose from a selection of benchmark plans. But who in the states, exactly, gets to make that call? And how can states fill in the gaps for benefits not typically offered by their insurers?

3) Who’s forming accountable care organizations? [July 1 is] the deadline for providers to apply to become accountable care organizations – the new networks of hospitals and physicians that will work together to deliver medical care more efficiently under new payment rules, incentives and quality measures. It’ll be too soon to tell whether these ACOs can actually save money without skimping on patients’ care, which is the point of the program. But the sign-up deadline will give everyone a better read on whether providers believe the model is viable in the long run.

4) Will there be more scares about the costs? Each study of how employers may react to the health care law invites potentially damaging answers that speak to people’s worst fears about employers dropping coverage. The studies get widely quoted, and new ones could make the public sour on the law even more.

5) Will there be a replacement plan? Congressional Republicans insist the Affordable Care Act is not the only way to fix the health care system — but they haven’t yet delivered the promised plan to “replace” the law with a more market-driven, state-centered alternative.

  10:41:49 am, by MedBen5   , 179 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Just 1% Of People Meet Recommended Heart Health Goals

Only about 1 in 100 Americans meets seven heart-healthy targets recommended by the American Heart Association. according to WebMD.

The seven behaviors include:

  • Not smoking
  • Being physically active
  • Having normal blood pressure (under 120/80)
  • Healthy fasting blood-glucose levels (below 100)
  • Total cholesterol levels below 200
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthy diet

A study conducted in 2005-2010 found that just 1.2% of Americans followed all the heart health habits, a drop from 2% in 1988-1994. Researchers noted that the number of people eating a healthy diet has declined, while the prevalence of obesity and abnormal fasting blood-glucose levels has risen.

There is some positive news, though. Smoking is down from from 28% to 23%, and more people met the ideal heart-healthy level of physical activity (45%, up from 41%). But the percentage of people classified as inactive doubled from 16% to 32%.

The study also demonstrated that heart disease and death risk decreases as more heart-healthy goals are met. People who met six of the seven goals had a 76% lower risk of heart-related death and a 51% lower risk of death from any cause, compared with those who met one or fewer.

03/19/12

  05:00:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 187 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Eye Checkups Can Detect Potential Memory Loss

More proof that we can learn a lot just by looking in someone’s eyes – especially if you look really close. WebMD reports people who have eye damage involving the blood vessels of the retina have a higher risk for memory decline, according to a new study.

Researchers say that retinopathy – damage to blood vessels in the eyes, caused by vascular disease – may indicate that blood vessels in the brain are likewise not operating properly. Retinopathy is also a common complication of diabetes and uncontrolled high blood pressure, which have also been linked to a higher risk for memory and thinking declines.

If the study is correct, it demonstrates how regular eye exams can identify problems that go well beyond impaired vision – in this case, potentially helping identify people at risk for dementia.

MedBen VisionPlus is a perfect match to your health care plan. Detecting eye disease and other potential ailments early reduces the risk of major medical costs down the road. To learn more about the benefits of group vision coverage, contact MedBen Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at (888) 627-8683.

  04:03:18 pm, by MedBen5   , 282 words,  
Categories: News

The Truth Behind Popular Health Care Myths

From John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog: In his new book American Health Economy Illustrated, Christopher Conover of the American Enterprise Institute debunks some widely-held health care myths.

Myth: Relative to other countries, the U.S. spends “too much” on health care.
Differences in income explain 85% of variations in health spending. The U.S. is spending what it should in GDP per capita, while France spends 1/5 too much, and Canada and the U.K. spend too little. Blue states are spending too much due to overregulation (Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey). After RomneyCare, Massachusetts has the highest level of health care spending.

Myth: The U.S. has an abysmal infant mortality rate.
It does rate 43rd, but there is no standard for reporting infant mortality. The U.S. is one of eight countries that count extremely premature infants as live births despite low chances of survival. If we categorize births by length of gestations the U.S. ranks 2nd, 3rd, or 4th (depending on type of rank) to European countries.

Myth: The U.S. lags behind its competitors in life expectancy.
The U.S. ranks 39th, but this is misleading. This distortion is due to a high rate of deaths resulting from violence. When adjusted for deaths related to violence and suicide the U.S. ranks first in OECD countries.

Myth: The U.S. has worse health outcomes than its peers.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., but cancer patients live longer in the U.S.; cancer survival rates are better. The U.S. has far higher screening rates.

Conclusion: The U.S. health system has many problems, but other countries do not offer a magic bullet.

  11:20:16 am, by MedBen5   , 207 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness, Health Plan Management

TPAs, Pharmaceutical Companies Can Cover Contraceptives, Obama Administration Suggests

In an effort to address the ongoing contraceptive coverage controversy, the Obama administration has announced how religious organizations than insure themselves can remain exempt from paying for birth control, yet still provide free coverage for female employees and students.

According to The New York Times, the administration said that in such cases, contraceptive coverage will be provided by “third party administrators” or by “some other independent entity.”

As to whom will provide the money to pay the claims for contraceptive drugs and devices, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius suggested that pharmaceutical companies could provide drug rebates to help cover the cost. Alternatively, the federal government could encourage or require one or more private insurers to provide contraceptive coverage for people in a religious organization’s health plan.

Sebelius said these proposals would guarantee women access to contraceptives “while accommodating religious liberty interests.” Republican in Congress had a different take on it.

“It’s a Washington accounting gimmick,” Representative Jeff Fortenberry, Republican of Nebraska, said Friday in an interview. “The administration is twisting itself in all directions to expand the ‘accommodation’ for faith-based institutions. Why is it the government’s role to decide who gets an accommodation? The White House is creating an unnecessary political firestorm.”

  10:39:03 am, by MedBen5   , 224 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Early Spring Calls For Fast Action Against Allergies

The early onset of Spring weather has certainly been a pleasant surprise. But for allergy sufferers, dealing with sneezing and sniffling sooner than usual means the warm temperatures are a mixed blessing.

However, allergy sufferers need not just accept their plight, advises Dr. Myron Zitt, former president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “People with spring allergies often don’t realize how many things can aggravate their allergy symptoms, so they just muddle along and hope for an early end to the season. But there’s no reason to suffer. A few simple adjustments in habits and treatment can make springtime much more enjoyable,” says Zitt in a college news release.

According to HealthDay, allergists recommend allergy-sufferers keep their house and car windows closed so pollen can’t drift in from outdoors. Using the proper air filter is also essential.

People with seasonal allergies to grass, birch trees or alder trees may also have cross-reactions to closely related fruits, vegetables and nuts. As a result, grass allergy sufferers may experience tingling, itching and swelling around the mouth when they eat tomatoes, potatoes or peaches. Likewise, those with tree allergies sometimes find celery, cherries or apples risky as well.

Allergists also encourage people to take their medicine even before their symptoms flare, and to see an allergist who can suggest the best course of treatment.

03/16/12

  04:50:23 pm, by MedBen5   , 240 words,  
Categories: Prescription, Wellness, Discounts, Health Plan Management

MedBen Helps Employers Overcome Cost Challenges

A recent Towers Watson survey of over 500 businesses reveals the wide range of difficulties employers face when trying to keep health care costs in check. As listed on the MedCity News website, the top ten challenges include:

  1. Employees’ poor health habits
  2. High-cost catastrophic cases
  3. Underuse of preventive services
  4. Escalating cost of specialty drugs
  5. Poor employee understanding of how to use the plan
  6. Poor or lack of information on provider costs
  7. Overuse of care through employees seeking inappropriate care
  8. Higher costs due to new medical technologies
  9. Cost of compliance and administrative complexity under health reform
  10. Changes in workforce dynamics

At MedBen, we have the people and the technology to help employers face these challenges – and any other obstacles that may arise along the way. From innovative wellness programs that promote better health habits, to prescription plans that offer superior discount rates on brand name and generic drugs alike, we help businesses of all sizes save money.

Among the many resources we employ to control employer health care expenses is an advanced claims surveillance system. Going beyond traditional cost control measures, the system – working in conjunction with highly trained health care professionals – screens every claim, searching for that “small” claim that may very well have large claim potential. On average, this physician-driven process saves 45.1% per selected claim.

To learn more about MedBen’s array of cost containment tools, please contact Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at (888) 627-8683.

  03:24:20 pm, by MedBen5   , 198 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

CBO: Workplace Coverage Losses Likely Between 3-5 MIllion

Could 20 million people lose their employer-sponsored insurance in 2019? Highly unlikely, says a new report from new report from the Congressional Budget Office – but not totally out of the question, either.

The 20 million number is a worst-case scenario based on a CBO analysis of the Affordable Care Act. More probable, the agency says, 3 million to 5 million fewer people between 2019 and 2022 will have health care coverage from their employer due to the health reform law. It’s even possible – and here we’re talking best-case outcome – that an increase of 3 million workers with employer insurance could happen.

According to Politico, whether the loss of employer coverage be 2 million people or 20 million, the federal government would subsidize coverage for many of these workers through the new health insurance exchanges or cover them through Medicaid. And CBO estimates that because their coverage would be more than offset by employer penalties and higher income taxes, it would actually reduce the law’s cost.

Regardless, CBO still thinks that “most employers will continue to have an economic incentive to offer health insurance to their employees.” The agency expects changes will stick close to its earliest estimate that 3 million people could lose their workplace coverage.

  11:48:25 am, by MedBen5   , 192 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Revised Guidelines Recommend Less Frequent Pap Smears

Cancer experts are advising that women get screened for cervical cancer less frequently than doctors currently recommend, NPR reports.

Guidelines released by the American Cancer Society and two other medical groups now recommend that women wait until they turn 21 to get their first Pap smear, and then only get tested every three years thereafter if everything looks okay. This goes against the long-standing recommendation that screening should begin either at age 21 or three years after the onset of sexual activity.

Debbie Saslow of the ACS says that cervical cancer is rare in young women, so there’s no reason to start earlier than age 21. And the cancer grows very slowly, so there’s no danger in waiting longer between tests. “If you compare the benefit of annual screening to screening every three years with the Pap test it’s almost nothing,” she said.

Also factoring into the recommendation is that Pap tests often produce false alarms, so more frequent testing can result in unnecessary procedures to ensure there’s no cancer, Saslow added.

The new guidelines also advise women to cease Pap smears at age 65, provided there’s no evidence of cervical cancer risk in earlier screenings.

03/15/12

  09:22:16 pm, by MedBen5   , 292 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

The Individual Mandate Goes On Trial: An Overview

Kaiser Health News offers a handy overview of the legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act, which the Supreme Court will hear over a three-day span later this month. All told, the justices have scheduled six hours of arguments – the most time given to any case since 1966.

At the core of the case is the constitutionality of the individual mandate – the provision of health care reform that would require most Americans to purchase health coverage or pay penalties. The Obama administration will defend the law, while 26 states (along with a business group and four individuals) will challenge it.

The proceedings will begin on March 26, when the justices will hear arguments as to whether the penalty provision of the individual mandate is a “tax", and thus subject to the Anti-Injunction Act. If so, the case could potentially be deferred until 2015, as tax laws can’t be ruled before payments are due.

On March 27, the parties will argue whether or not Congress has the authority to require that people buy insurance under its interstate commerce powers. Defenders say that the individual mandate will end “discriminatory insurance practices that have excluded millions of people from coverage based on medical history,” while critics counter that “the power to compel individuals to engage in commerce in order more effectively to regulate commerce” doesn’t exist.

Finally, March 28 will tackle “severability” – namely, if the individual mandate is struck down, what happens to the rest of the health reform law? Should that happen, the government argues that the ACA could stand, save for “guaranteed-issue” and “community-rating” provisions. The 26 states counter that the mandate was deemed by Congress to be “necessary to make the other provisions work as intended,” and that the court should strike down the whole law.

  09:52:25 am, by MedBen5   , 250 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Studies Emphasize Dangers Of Red Meat, Sugary Drinks

Studies that confirm the potential hazards of red meat and sugary drinks hardly qualify as front page news nowadays – but the occasional reminder about their risks doesn’t hurt, either. So with that in mind:

  • Even a small amount of red meat in your diet can significantly increase the chances of premature death, according to a long-range Harvard study. The Los Angeles Times reports that research conducted over 20 years found that that a single daily 3-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat – say, a steak the size of a deck of cards – was associated with a 13% greater chance of dying. And a daily serving of unprocessed red meat, such as a hot dog, increased the risk to 20%.

    On the other hand, substituting a serving of nuts for beef or pork was linked to a 19% reduction in the reisk of dearth during the study. Choosing poultry or whole grains also proved beneficial, lowering mortality risk by 14%, while low-fat dairy or legumes decreased risk by 10%, and fish by 7%.

  • According to Harvard research published by the American Heart Association, men who drank a 12-ounce sugar-sweetened beverage a day had a 20% higher risk of heart disease compared to men who didn’t drink any sugar-sweetened drinks.

    Medical News Today reports that the study of over 42,000 men determined that the increase persisted even after controlling for other risk factors, including smoking, physical inactivity, alcohol use and family history of heart disease. However, less frequent consumption – twice weekly and twice monthly – didn’t increase risk.

03/13/12

  04:59:14 pm, by MedBen5   , 306 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

New FSA Maximum Has Consequences For "Plan Year" Groups

Beginning in 2013, the Affordable Care Act will change the maximum amount an employee may contribute to a Health FSA plan on a calendar year basis. But if your Health FSA plan happens to run on a plan year basis, it’s critical to be aware of this change and take appropriate measures this year, not next.

Effective January 1, 2013, Health FSA plans may not permit employee salary contributions to exceed $2,500 in a calendar year. For “plan year” groups, this affects your FSA elections in 2012, as the payroll deductions that occur in January 2013 can affect the 2013 Health FSA payroll deductions. Because the maximum deduction for calendar year 2013 cannot exceed $2,500, if a participant elects a greater amount in the 2012-2013 plan year, the amount withdrawn from their 2013 pay could potentially be greater than $2,500.

Example: ABC Company’s plan year runs July to June. Their Health FSA has a maximum contribution of $4,000.

John elects $4,000 in his Health FSA for the July 2012 to June 2013 plan year. He has 24 pay cycles per year (2 per month) and has a total of $333.32 per month deducted from his salary. In July 2013 he elects $2,500 in his Health FSA plan for the July 2013 to June 2014 plan year and has $208.33 per month deducted.

From January 2013 to June 2013, $1,999.92 was deducted on a pre-tax basis ($333.32 x 6 months), and from July 2013 to Dec 2013, $1,249.98 was deducted on a pre-tax basis ($208.33 x 6 months). The total of the two plan year deductions equals $3,249.90, which is greater than the $2,500 permitted by the IRS for the calendar year 2013. This could cause tax consequences for the participants as well the plan for permitted the deductions.

MedBen strongly recommends that groups change their 2012 Health FSA maximum to $2,500 to avoid potential tax issues for plan participants in 2013. Our Health FSA clients with questions regarding this change are welcome to call Sharon A. Mills, Director of Administrative Services, at (800) 423-3151, Ext. 438.

  11:03:40 am, by MedBen5   , 191 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

U.K. Study: All-Metal Hip Replacements Fail More Than Alternatives

More evidence that newer metal-on-metal (MOM) hip replacements may not be as effective as traditional implants: A British study found that all-metal implants require maintenance at a much higher rate than other types, the Associated Press reports.

Experts analyzed data for more than 400,000 hip replacements – 31,000 of them MOM devices – from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales between 2003 and 2011. After five years, MOMs failed in about 6% of the people studied, requiring repair or replacement. In contrast. the failure rate for people who had ceramic or plastic joints ranged from 1.7% to 2.3%.

Ashley Blom, head of orthopedic research at the University of Bristol and one of the study authors, noted that while over 9 out of 10 MOM implants work fine, the fact that safer alternatives are available means that people need not take the risk. “If I were a patient, I would not choose a metal-on-metal hip,” he said.

Last November, the Food and Drug Administration sponsored a report that uncovered similar failure problems with all-metal hip replacements, and requested that makers conduct safety studies on them.

According to AP, doctors usually expect hip joints to last at least a decade.

03/12/12

  05:31:34 pm, by MedBen5   , 184 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Don't Put Off A Colon Cancer Screening

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month – and as such, a perfect time to remind adults between the ages of 50 and 75 about the benefits of getting a colonoscopy.

According to HealthDay, about 1 in 3 U.S. adults who should get screened for colorectal cancer have not yet done so.

“Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers because the majority of colorectal cancers arise from precancerous growths in the colon called polyps, which can be found during a colonoscopy screening exam and removed before they turn into cancer,” Dr. Gregory Ginsberg, president of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), said in a society news release.

Ginsberg also stressed the importance of following pre-colonoscopy instructions carefully to ensure the colon is thoroughly cleaned so no polyps or cancers are missed during the procedure.

MedBen encourages its clients to follow standard guidelines for colonoscopies, mammograms, PSAs and other screenings, as well as an annual wellness exam. MedBen Worksite Wellness members can check their compliance with critical wellness examinations by visiting the MedBen Access website and clicking on the Wellness Plan link under “My Plan”.

  05:02:52 pm, by MedBen5   , 208 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

340B Drug Program Raises Concerns On Capitol Hill

A program designed to help people who can’t afford prescription medications has recently come under government scrutiny, Pharmalot reports.

Created in 1992, the 340B Drug Pricing Program offers discounts to public and non-profit health care facilities that provide outpatient drugs. Through the program, participating hospitals and clinics can realize savings of 20-50% off the cost of drugs – and potentially generate additional revenue if government reimbusements exceed prices paid.

But a 2011 report by the US Government Accountability Office found that oversight of the program is inadequate to ensure that participating facilities administer the discounted drugs only to eligible patients, and that drugs are sold to those facilities at or below agreed upon prices. And last week, four Republican members of Congress wrote to several pharmaceutical organizations, including Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the Biotechnology Organization (BIO), to request detailed information about 340B pricing and audits, and address possible incidents of hoarding.

“With the reliance on self-policing among participating manufacturers and covered entities and the increase in the number of new settings in which the program is offered, the risk of improper purchases or diversion of 340B drugs has significantly increased,” wrote US Senators Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley and Mike Enzi, as well as Congressman Joe Pitts.

  12:29:32 pm, by MedBen5   , 206 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

State Insurance Exchange Rules Released

The Department of Health and Human Services has released a final rule for the implement of state health insurance exchanges, a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act. The 644-page document outlines details of the insurance marketplaces that will enable uninsured individuals and small businesses to purchase coverage beginning in 2014.

According to a Modern Healthcare article on the release:

“The final rule outlined the minimum standards states must meet in establishing and operating their exchanges, such as individual and employer eligibility for enrollment. The rule also outlines minimum standards that health insurers must meet to participate in an exchange and the standards employers must meet to participate in the exchange.

“The regulation aims to offer states ’substantial discretion’ in both the design and operation of their exchanges, according to the rule.”

The rule will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. However, HHS will accept comment on some sections of the regulation, such as “provisions related to the ability of a state to allow agents and brokers to assist qualified individuals in applying for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions for qualified health plans, Medicaid and CHIP regulations, options for conducting eligibility determinations and verification for applicants,” as Modern Healthcare notes.

03/09/12

  04:54:30 pm, by MedBen5   , 409 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Contraceptive Coverage Q&A

No doubt you’re aware there’s been a lot of talk about birth control lately. Under the Affordable Care Act, contraceptive coverage must be provided to women at no cost beginning August 1. But while the religious and moral implications of this rule have grabbed the headlines, of equal importance is just how far-reaching coverage is expected to go.

There are still a number of unanswered questions about what types of birth control must be covered and how insurers should structure their policies. So Kaiser Health News recently dove headfirst into the regulatory morass and attempted to clear things up a bit. You can read the complete answers at their website, but we’ll provide a preview here:

Are male-based contraceptive methods, such as vasectomies or condoms, covered by the rule? According to a Health and Human Services official, the preventive services guidelines apply to women only.

Are over-the-counter products like female condoms, spermicides, sponges covered by the rules and, if so, will they require a prescription and how will insurers reimburse policyholders for purchases at retail stores? Products that must be covered without cost-sharing include over-the- counter contraceptives when they are prescribed by doctors, the HHS official said. But what specific OTC products are to be included is unclear.

If a hospital stay is required for surgical procedures, such as when a women gets her tubes tied, would the procedure be covered without cost sharing? HHS has not weighed in on this question, but is expected to issue additional guidance in the coming months.

Will insurers be required to cover all products in a class, such as all IUDs, or all birth control pills? Can insurers require a co-pay for a brand-name drug if a generic is available? Insurers say HHS guidance allows them to use “reasonable medical management” to help control costs, which would include allowing them to charge patients for brand name drugs. The HHS official concurred, but stressed the plan must “accommodate any individuals for whom it would be medically inappropriate by having a mechanism for waiving the otherwise applicable cost-sharing for the branded version.”

Who will be covered for contraceptives without co-payments? The package of women’s preventive care benefits must be offered in all new insurance policies sold to individuals and employers starting Aug. 1, as well as in most policies that renew afterwards on the date that they renew. There is an exception for insurance provided by certain nonprofit religious employers who object to birth control.

  10:02:59 am, by MedBen5   , 179 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Health Plan Management

FDA Considering Greater OTC Drug Availability

The Food and Drug Administration may allow popular prescription drugs for high cholesterol, diabetes and other chronic conditions to be sold over the counter. Reuters reports that the agency has sought public comment this week on a plan to make these medications more readily accessible, and will hold a meeting about the proposal later this month.

Previously, the FDA had denied requests to sell cholesterol-lowering drugs without a prescription because of concerns that patients wouldn’t know how to take the drug safely. Proper use requires a knowledge of fat elevations in the blood, known as lipids, which consumers cannot easily determine.

Even considering such a change marks a major turnaround for the agency. Typically, over-the-counter drugs treat such short-term conditions as headache or runny nose, and require only a factbox or pamphlet to take safely. But as Reuters notes, such new technologies as self-serve kiosks, touchscreen pads or interactive videos may help to educate pharmacy customers about drug risks.

By increasing availability, the FDA is hoping that people with chronic conditions would be more vigilant about taking their medications.

03/07/12

  05:26:15 pm, by MedBen5   , 214 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Slow & Steady Wins The Wellness Race

A new study demonstrates that stick-to-it-tiveness pays big dividends when it comes to employee health. According to Medical Xpress, researchers found that employees who participated in a wellness program spent less on health care, while employers realized a return on investment (ROI) of almost $3 to $1 over three years.

To determine ROI, the study’s authors tracked the wellness program of a large financial services corporation. Analyzing participation and medical claims data for close to 50,000 employees, and factoring in the program’s implementation costs, they revealed a loss in year one with net savings in years two and three – a 2.45:1 overall ROI.

At MedBen, our clients have realized similar positive outcomes through our worksite wellness program. Our original idea was simple – detect and treat health risks and potentially chronic conditions as early as possible. And provide clear reports that show employers how the program is working.

We chose to offer a wellness program that involves your physicians and uses claims data to track progress. And employers who have put this program in place several years ago have seen measureable results – in a healthier workplace and a healthier bottom line.

To learn more about how wellness can benefit your business, we invite you to call MedBen Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at (888) 627-8683.

  04:37:27 pm, by MedBen5   , 202 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Cancer-Causing Chemical Level In Colas Insignificant, FDA Says

A consumer watchdog group’s claim that some popular soft drinks contains a cancerous chemical has brought a rebuttal from the Food and Drug Administation, Reuters reports.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola and Dr. Pepper contain unsafe levels of 4-methylimidazole (4-MI) in their caramel coloring agents. “Coke and Pepsi, with the acquiescence of the FDA, are needlessly exposing millions of Americans to a chemical that causes cancer,” said CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson.

In response, the FDA said it would consider the group’s petition but consider the drinks safe. “A consumer would have to consume well over a thousand cans of soda a day to reach the doses administered in the studies that have shown links to cancer in rodents,” noted Doug Karas, an FDA spokesman, in a statement.

The FDA’s limit for 4-MI in caramel coloring is 250 parts per million (ppm) prior to its dilution in soda. The highest levels of 4-MI found by CSPI were about 0.4 ppm, according to Reuters calculations.

The American Beverage Association also issued a statement: “This is nothing more than CSPI scare tactics. In fact, findings of regulatory agencies worldwide… consider caramel coloring safe for use in foods and beverages.”

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