Internal Revenue Service Finalizes Penalty for Individual Mandate

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has now finalized the penalties for those who do not purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The penalty in 2014 is a nominal amount, but increases rather significantly in subsequent years. To read more details about the penalties for not obtaining health insurance, Click Here.

More Employers Consider Adopting “Reference Pricing” Approach

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Scenario #1 Let’s imagine you decide to buy your newly-minted graduate a new car for their accomplishment. You tell them all they have to do is pay the first $1,000. No matter what car they purchase, they’ll only pay $1,000 and you will pick up the remainder of the cost. What type of car might […]

Questioning the “Dartmouth Research” on why Medicare spending varies geographically

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For three decades the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice has advanced the theory that geographic variations in Medicare spending are due to wasteful treatment practices and overtreatment. Health policy analysts, accepting the conclusions of this research, have suggested that significant savings can be realized by making the health care system more efficient […]

Do physicians know the costs for the services they prescribe?

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For years it has been a commonly held tenet of health care cost control that until consumers know the true costs of the health care they are being provided and pay a portion of those costs (i.e., “having skin in the game”), we will be unable to slow the sharp annual increases in health care […]

Emergency Department visits – how many may be avoidable?

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Last week the Business Journal of Milwaukee published a list of the 25 busiest emergency departments in southeast Wisconsin in 2012. Of the 25, 17 had an increase in visits in 2012 over 2011, while eight showed decreases. The busiest emergency department, Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph’s, saw a 12 percent increase over 2011 to […]

U.S. Health Care Prices Are the Elephant in the Room

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Renown Princeton health care economist, Uwe Reinhardt, shares his thoughts on what is driving health cost increases in the United States, in a recent column in the New York Times.  Please note, the views expressed by Professor Reinhardt are not necessarily endorsed by the BHCG or its member employers. Click here to read the article […]

Consumer-Driven Health Plan Survey – Still a Cost-Cutting Solution?

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The 2012 United Benefit Advisors (UBA) Health Plan Survey, billed as the largest independent benchmarking survey in the industry, last year surveyed 11,711 employers in the United States. Highlights related to CDHPs from the survey include: •For the first time since 2007, CDHPs in the U.S. experienced a decline in the percentage of plans offered. […]

Health Care Spending Growth Forecast Places Emphasis on Our Efforts

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Although health care spending grew at a historically low rate over the last three years (according to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services [CMS]), now is not the time to become complacent. In fact, analysts are forecasting the rate of increase in spending will double in 2014 and CMS predicts that health care spending […]

A Must-Read for Employers: MBGH Launches Specialty Pharmacy Online Toolkit

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As we reported last summer in our newsletter, The Catalyst (August 2012), the significant increase and growing trend in the utilization of specialty drugs threatens to rapidly increase pharmacy benefit costs, far outpacing general medical inflation. As a result, the BHCG plans to make managing pharmacy benefits and their costs an educational priority for our […]