BHCG Monitor: Focus on Health Care Benefits - April 2012

In this issue:



We welcome you to this inaugural issue of the BHCG Monitor. The Monitor was born out of our membership's request for more information and education in relevant areas. Our goal is to publish in-depth, yet readable, topical pieces highlighting the health care and benefit issues facing employers, consumers, providers and our strategic partners. We hope you will find the articles informative as well as useful.

Articles appearing here will either be ones we've written or those we have come across or requested. This is your publication – so please let us know what you think! If there are future topics you'd like to see covered in these pages or if you've read something that you'd like to share with other readers, please email Jennifer LaMere at with your suggestions.

For future reference, all issues of the Monitor can be found on the BHCG web site at: News > Industry News.


BHCG Monitor: Focus on Health Care Benefits - April 2012


Health Care Reform Update
– Uncertainties Abound

Despite employers and insurers' need to map out a strategy regarding their plans to meet the statutory deadlines of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), uncertainties about the law abound. Looming on the immediate horizon are the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the PPACA's constitutionality and the November general election – each with the potential to significantly impact the fate of the law and employers' best laid plans.

Since the law was passed two years ago, employers have been amending their plans to include the provisions of the law that went into effect last year such as the elimination of lifetime dollar coverage limits and extending coverage to employees' children up to age 26. At the same time, employers have been forced to consider their options regarding changes that take effect later such as the "pay or play" mandate as well as the excise tax for costly plans. How the Supreme Court rules will certainly influence the issues facing both employers and legislators.


BHCG Monitor: Focus on Health Care Benefits - April 2012


Engage Worksite Health Services

Bruce Sherman, MD, Medical Director, Employers Health Coalition, Canton, Ohio

Until recently, employers have been focused on managing health care costs largely by addressing the demand side of the health care supply/demand equation. Cost containment strategies, including cost-shifting and benefits restrictions, have been most common.

Some employers have adopted more progressive approaches, including high-deductible health plans, value-based benefit design, and reference-based pricing to promote individual accountability for health care costs. Despite these interventions, health care cost trend has continued to significantly exceed the general inflation rate, eroding company profits, and causing employers to evaluate other approaches to health benefits.


BHCG Monitor: Focus on Health Care Benefits - April 2012


Strategic Partners – Partners in Progress

From its inception, the BHCG has clearly understood that neither a single employer nor one organization was large enough to have the positive impact on the cost and quality of health care that we desire. Just as the BHCG has brought together the interests of a significant number of employers, so too have we worked with other multi-stakeholder organizations in the state to effect change in our health care delivery system. The work of these organizations, recognized both regionally and nationally, is on the forefront of this change.

We view these organizations as strategic partners and lend our support for their work through participation on their boards and communicating their essential work to our members and interested stakeholders. The BHCG's executive director, Dianne Kiehl is a board member of each of these organizations.

BHCG Monitor: Focus on Health Care Benefits - April 2012