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Category: Benefit Design

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State Governments Requiring More from Employees in New Health Benefits

Maybe it's time for the private sector to look at how state governments are ratcheting up the requirements for employees to get health benefits and follow suit. Whether it is called the Health Enhancement Plan, like it is in Connecticut, or the ParTNers for Health Plan, as it is in Tennessee, state governments are offering new plans that offer lower employee costs (through payroll deductions, deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance) in exchange for employee engagement in health risk... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Thursday, September 22, 2011

John Moses Debunks Old Approaches to Employee Engagement at MBGH Annual Conference

Every employer MBGH talks to says they want to increase the “health engagement” of their employees, but the strategies they have used so far just have not been successful. Does this sound like you? If so, plan to attend MBGH’s Annual Conference “Got the Health Reform Blues?” on September 8, 2011 and hear John Moses, Principal at AON Hewitt, talk about the new “marketing” principles that employers should adopt to lead employees to short-term action and long-term behavior change. ... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Wednesday, July 6, 2011

McKinsey Projects 30% of Employers Will Drop Health Benefits

Major findings from McKinsey's early 2011 survey of 1,300 employers include: Overall, 30 percent of employers will definitely or probably stop offering employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) in the years after 2014. Among employers with a high awareness of reform, this proportion increases to more than 50 percent, and upward of 60 percent will pursue some alternative to traditional ESI. At least 30 percent of employers would gain economically from dropping coverage even if... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Monday, June 6, 2011

What work place policy change would you support to improve health?

51% of those responding to MBGH's informal Facebook poll on what work place policy change they would support to improve health voted for "no tobacco use on property". This is exciting news as decreasing the number of tobacco users is a high priority to improve the overall health of Tennesseans and the nation! Recent legislation that banned or restricted smoking in the work place has gone a long way in improving the health of your workforce by eliminating second hand smoke and encouraging... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Tuesday, May 31, 2011

IRS Releases 2012 Indexed Amounts for HSAs, HDHPs

On May 24, 2011, the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Revenue Procedure 2011-32, which lists the 2012 indexed amounts, adjusted for inflation, for health savings accounts and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). (In some cases, this resulted in no change from the prior year.) The following table lists the 2011 amounts and the new 2012 amounts: The Revenue Procedure is effective for calendar year 2012.  (Source: CQ HealthBeat) ... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dow Chemical Maps Connection of Employee Health to Company Success

In the first of a two-part interview with Dr. Cathy Baase, Global Director of Health Services for Dow Chemical, The Benfield Group's article outlines the key philosophy and approaches Dow has taken over the past 20 years to increase value to Dow by improving employee health. Central to Dow's approach is their map which focuses on employee effectiveness and illness/injury management.   As you can see, the common element between employee effectiveness and illness/injury management... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Tuesday, May 31, 2011

MBGH Launches New Health Promotions Benefits Tool & Solutions Center

Our members said they wanted it, and we listened. In the most recent MBGH user survey, worksite health promotion ranked number one as the most important learning topic. That’s why MBGH created a new Tools & Solutions Center dedicated to Health Promotion Benefits.The center is available to MBGH members, affiliates and conference sponsors at the Patron and Partner level. Your login is your email address and the password is  mbgh  . This center includes information from the... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Monday, May 16, 2011

Are Memphis Employers Kinder & Gentler?

Are Memphis Employers Kinder and Gentler Than Their National Counterparts?   MBGH decided to find out. We separated out the responses of Tennessee employers to a national survey of employers and then compared them to national responses.  Most of the Tennessee respondents were from Memphis, giving us insight into what Memphis employers are thinking and doing! And, it's surprisingly different. Take a quick look at these easy-to-read findings. Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Sunday, March 20, 2011

MBGH Helps MBQ Get a Handle on What Health Reform Means to Business

Cristie Upshaw Travis, CEO of Memphis Business Group on Health, helps Richard Banks, blogger for the Memphis Business Quarterly's Business Minded Blog, get, what he refers to as, a "semblance of comprehension" about what health reform means for business. In this first installment of a series of postings on the realities of health reform, Banks talked with Travis about decisions both large and small employers are making now that "sidestep" some of the early provisions of health reform, at... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Thursday, January 13, 2011

Health Reform Impact on Dental & Vision Benefits Depends on Structure

Segal's December 2010 Health Reform Insights focuses on the impact of health reform on dental and vision benefits. Segal finds that self-insured dental and vision plans that are NOT separately elected and paid ARE subject to health reform. However, exemptions ARE granted for dental and vision plans that have a participant election and contribution. Interestingly, the 2010 Dental Benefits Enrollment Report , shows a decline in dental benefit enrollment for the first time since... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Tuesday, January 4, 2011

MBGH's Health Reform Meeting Outlined Key Decisions for Employers

Andy Webber, CEO and President of the National Business Coalition on Health in Washington, DC, addressed a room full of Memphis employers and community leaders at Christian Brothers University on December 14,2010, on "Health Care Reform: The Uncertain Journey Forward" Andy suggested there are three chapters in health reform, each of which include key decisions for employers: Chapter 1: Health Insurance & Benefits Regulation Will employers choose to continue grandfather status for... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Healthy People 2020 Sets Agressive Goals for Health Improvement

On December 2, 2010, HHS released "Healthy People 2020", updating goals and objectives for improving the health of our nation over the next decade (replaces Healthy People 2010). Visit the Healthy People 2020 website for details. Overarching goals include: Attain high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death Achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups. Create social and physical... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Saturday, December 4, 2010

Deficit Panel Targets Healthcare Cost Reduction to Reduce US Debt

Just when we were all beginning to adjust to the sweeping changes in health insurance plans required by Health Reform legislation passed in March 2010, we are now bombarded by the possibility of more changes included in the Deficit Panel's recommendations to reduce US debt. Although many of these specifics may not become law, most experts believe that they will, indeed, be considered and debated since healthcare costs and their rate of increase contribute significantly to the Federal deficit.... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Double Whammy: We Still Have Unsafe, Expensive Healthcare

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to draw the conclusion that we still have unsafe, expensive healthcare in the US, and right here in Memphis, when you read the headlines of recent reports: AHRQ: Rate of Adverse Events in Medicare Cases "Disturbing" Case 34-2010: A 65-Year Old Woman with an Incorrect Operation on the Left Hand Surgery on Wrong Patients, Surgical Sites Persists, Study Finds   Top 10 Most Costly, Frequent Medical Errors These articles not only focus on the... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Wednesday, November 17, 2010

MBGH Hosts Successful Value-Based Insurance Design Webinar

MBGH hosted a successful Value-Based Insurance Design webinar on Thursday, November 4,2010 with A. Mark Fendrick, MD, co-Director of the Center for Value-Based Insurance Design at the University of Michigan. MBGH  has been working with Mark since February 2008, when MBGH launched our value-based benefits initiative to educate our members and Memphis-area employers on the principles of value-based benefits and to assist them in identifying opportunities to deploy those principles in... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Thursday, November 4, 2010

Milliman Survey: Even with New Contracting Approaches Rates Increase 11.7% in 2011

Milliman's 2010 Group Health Insurance Survey  found insurers estimated a 10.2% and 11.7% increase for HMOs and PPOs respectively for 2011. The survey also found that the most frequent contracting and cost control steps insurers are taking in 2011 include: Quality incentive programs Shared risk with provider networks Increased price transparency with members More aggressively tiered providers networks Reduced broker commissions Almost all of the insurers... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sentara Healthcare Saves $3.4 Million & Improves Employee Health

A 3-year, incentive-based wellness program for the employees of Sentara Healthcare had a 6:1 return on investment, saved approximately $3.4 million in healthcare costs, and resulted in health improvement for nearly 80% of the employees that participated in the program. Major program components included: Completion of a voluntary personal health profile to identify risk factors Employees with low risk factors were awarded a $500 annual premium reduction Employees with... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What is your premium increase for 2011?

Tell us what your premium (or premium equivalent if you are self-insured) increase is for 2011 .Approximately what is the amount of this increase that is due to changes required by health reform? Did you make some benefit design changes to reduce your premium increase? If so, what changes did you make and what do you think the impact of those changes were on your final premium increase?  Be sure to tell us if you are fully-insured or self-insured. Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Over the Counter Rules Can Be Confusing

Effective January 1, 2011, employees must have a "prescription" to purchase over-the-counter medicines and drugs if they are to be categorized as "medical care" for purposes of the employer health plan and health savings accounts. Click here to read this concise summary from Alston & Bird and published in Employee Benefit News of the recently released IRS notice which provides clarifications around: What is a medication or drug? When is a medicine or drug considered prescribed?... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Friday, October 1, 2010

Health Reform's Impact on Mini-Med Plans

Mini-med plans provide only the very basic health care coverage in order to keep premiums affordable and are usually offered to seasonal, part-time, temporary, blue-collar, and entry-level employees. Firms that offer mini-med plans include McDonald's, Waste Management, Dollar Tree, and TN's own, Gaylord Properties in Nashville. Health reform will significantly impact these plans in 2014 and it is possible that this option will disappear completely because mini-med plans do not generally... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Thursday, September 16, 2010

Evidence Mounting: 2011 Will be a Messy Year for Both Employers & Employees

Survey results released over the past 2 weeks clearly indicate that employers of all sizes will be asking their employees to share in healthcare cost increases expected in 2011.For example: Large Employers: The National Business Group on Health 's survey of 72 large employers found employers expect an average trend increase of 8.9% in 2011. 63% will increase employee percentage contribution to premium cost, 46% will increase out-of-pocket max, and 44% will increase in-network... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Will New Technology Transform How Healthcare is Delivered?

Check out how wireless technology is now being used to help manage patients from home & the other innovations being developed to improve care & increase efficiency. How do you plan to incorporate this type of technology into your employee health benefit plan?   Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Friday, August 20, 2010

Large Employers Rate Flexibility Over Advantages of "Grandfather" Status

A Hewitt Associates survey of 466 large employers released on August 10, 2010 indicates most expect to lose their Grandfather plan status in the next two years, and for sure by 2014. Reasons sited for loss include changes they plan to make regarding: Plan design (72%) Employee premium subsidy (39%) Insurance carriers (16%) Union contracts (15%) These employers indicate that overall health benefit strategy is more important than... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Health Plan Appeals Rules Announced by HHS

Click here to read the HHS fact sheet on the new internal/external appeals rules for NEW health plans. Grandfathered plans are not impacted by the new rules. The new rules provide health plan members with the ability to appeal denials to an outside, independent decision-maker. The National Association of State Insurance Commissioners is encouraging states to adopt these same appeals procedures. If states do not, members will have these same rights through the Federal regulations. NEW... Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Employers Face Penalties with New Non-Discrimination Rules

Click here  to read  the article from Employee Benefit News summarizing new non-discrimination rules re: executive medical plans. Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Tuesday, July 20, 2010

DOL FAQ on Mental Health Parity Offers Guidance for Grandfathered Plans

Click here to read Buck Consultants' summary of how recently released DOL FAQ ( click here to read) on mental health parity impacts grandfathered status under health reform. Read More
Posted by Cristie Travis at Wednesday, July 7, 2010

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