Employers May Be on the Right Track with Wellness Programs

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  Virgin Pulse, a provider of consumer-focused strategies and tools that promote employee engagement, recently released results of its survey, The Business of Healthy Employees 2014: A Survey of Workplace Health Priorities. While a significant number of employers have bought into the value proposition of wellness programs – 72.2 percent plan to expand wellness programs […]

Medicare Physician Data Release Represents a New Era of Transparency

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Last month the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) publicly released Medicare physician payment data for the first time since 1979. The data shows how the program paid out $77 billion to more than 880,000 health care providers under Medicare Part B. About $12 billion was paid for around 214 million office and outpatient […]

HSAs Becoming a Fixture of U.S. Financial & Benefit Culture

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Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are gaining a real foothold as part of the financial and benefit landscape of the country. The 2013 HSA Market Survey by independent investment advisor and consultant in the health savings account industry, Devenir, reveals that the number of HSA accounts in the U.S. rose to 10.7 million in 2013. HSA […]

Focus on Wellbeing Instead of Costs Pays off for Minnesota Employer

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As recently reported in the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, a Plymouth, Minnesota-based manufacturer’s move to create a work culture that supports employee wellbeing has resulted in a flat trend for its health care claims since 2008 – amounting to a total cost avoidance of $4,680,000. When TURCK CEO Dave Lagerstrom found that offering robust […]

First Minutes of Care Can Drive Health Care Costs

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  According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, up to half of all medical costs are set in motion in the first 15 minutes of a medical encounter. Those first 15 minutes are when presenting symptoms will define a patient’s condition (e.g., “heart patient or a “stroke patient,” etc.) and determine further tests, evaluation […]

Employers Invest in Health Management as a Major Strategy

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Mercer recently reported its 2013 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans indicates more than half of large employers surveyed offer employees financial incentives to participate in health  programs (i.e., disease management, health assessment, lifestyle management) – a clear sign that employers believe these programs are helping to slow medical cost trend. Other key observations in […]

National Health Expenditures Continued Slow Growth Rate in 2012

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  According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid’s (CMS) Office of the Actuary, overall national health care expenditures grew at an annual rate of 3.7 percent in 2012 reaching $2.8 trillion, or $8,915 per person. This marks the fourth year in a row of relatively slow growth. As a percentage of the gross domestic […]

2013 Survey of U. S. Employers Reveals Frustration

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Late in 2013 the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions released the results of its 2013 survey of 500 U. S. Employers conducted in May and June of 2013. Employers were queried on their opinions about the health care system, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and their strategies to manage health care costs. The survey found […]

U.S. health care spending 1960-2011: who pays?

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From 1960 to 2011, the country’s health care bill has swelled from $23 billion to $2.3 trillion. Besides the enormous increase in costs over these years, who pays for health care has radically changed during this timeframe as well. For a fascinating look at who pays for the nation’s health care and how much it costs, […]

Employers pay almost $6,000 extra per year for each employee that smokes

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A study published online in June 2013 in the journal Tobacco Control, determined that every employee that smokes costs their employer, on average, almost $6,000 more on an annual basis compared with an employee that never smoked. The researchers claim the study is the first to take a comprehensive look at all the costs associated […]