High Deductible Plans Shown to Generate Savings and Lower Utilization

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A recent three-year study of 183,000 continuously enrolled consumer-directed (CDHP) members reveals an annual savings of almost 10 percent per member per year. Some of these savings are attributed to lower utilization rates across all service settings – good news on a number of fronts. However, this includes, somewhat disturbingly, utilization of preventive screenings and […]

Signposts Point to Health Spending Increases

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Recently published estimates of health spending by the U.S. Census Bureau indicate physician and outpatient services – as well as inpatient hospital days – are on the rise. The estimates, based on the Bureau’s Quarterly Services Survey, show that health spending was 7.3 percent higher in the first quarter of 2015 than in the first […]

Rising Specialty Pharmacy Costs May Lead to Legislation, Trade Agreements

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Overall, prescription drug costs have been rising steadily since the 1990s when drug coverage became a widely offered benefit. However, over the past decade, increased drug costs have been driven largely by specialty pharmacy spending. For example, new oral drugs on the market to treat hepatitis C cost from $84,000 (Sovaldi) to $95,500 (Harvoni) for […]

Employers Find Value in Onsite/Near-Site Clinics

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A recent survey by the National Association of Worksite Health Centers (NAWHC) reveals that employers found onsite and near-site clinics helped them increase employee productivity and engagement, improve access to care and employee health, and reduce their medical costs. In addition to traditional clinic services, many of the respondents offer wellness, prevention and fitness services […]

Changing the Primary Care Model

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America’s primary care business model is broken, according to Sandeep Acharya, vice president of strategy and new business at One Medical Group. Acharya places the blame on a health care system that rewards procedures – which primary care physicians typically don’t conduct. As a result, primary care physicians must rely on seeing a high volume […]

Obesity’s Disease Designation – What Could It Mean for Employers?

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The rate of obesity in America (more than 36 percent of U.S. adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has been a frequent subject in the news lately. Another recent obesity-related story will most likely have implications for employer-sponsored health plans. Earlier this summer the American Medical Association (AMA) designated obesity as […]

Survey Finds Large Employers Making Benefit Plan Changes to Stem Rising Costs

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The annual large employer survey released this month by the National Business Group on Health has revealed that employers expect health care benefits costs to increase by an average of 6.5 percent in 2015. However, employers have implemented a number of changes to their plan design to help stem these increases as well as comply […]

How Quickly Will Health Care Spending Grow? The Answer Is Challenging

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How much the country spends on health care is influenced by a variety of factors, explained health economist Paul Ginsburg at the third Altarum Institute’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded sustainable health spending symposium held last month. Certain “unknowns” make it particularly challenging to predict health care spending over the next decade. 

Mental Health Issues Overlooked Despite Being Leading Cause for Lost Productivity

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According to Dublin, Ohio-based employer coalition, Employers Health, mental illness is responsible for more missed days of work and lost productivity on the job than any other chronic health condition – including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, back pain, arthritis and asthma. The group estimates mental illness is costing employers $80 billion to $100 billion in […]