Hearsay & News Review
A Hewitt survey says that 4%
of 340 companies they surveyed say they are taking steps “today” that will
enable them to discontinue offering health care benefits. Overall, the survey
shows that most employers will not eliminate health benefits, but will increase
other measures to reduce their cost. Sixty-five percent intend to shift more
cost to workers and 49% will reduce the number of plans offered, while 33% will
increase their focus on wellness and 40% expect to add a CDHP option.
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The National Federation of
Independent Business released a research report analyzing the impact of an
employer health insurance mandate on small business. According to the research a
mandate would create a net loss of more than 1.6 million jobs between 2009 and
2013. Small business will lose more than one million of those jobs.
real gross domestic product will contract by $200 billion between 2009 and 2013
and small business would lose $113 billion of real output, which is 56% of all
real output lost.
They are renaming
after the insurance broker consolidates its offices in the
area. Something tells us the British based insurance broker is doing just fine
even after being forced by the former NY Attorney General to give up its
override compensation in the
Rumors are flying that
Hartford Financial Services will be selling its money losing life insurance
operations to Sun Life of
. The report in Bloomberg News also noted that
had been in discussions with MetLife. Rumors of Humana selling its operations
for health insurance to
have died down. One Humana rep apparently attributed the recent Humana stock
activity that looked like a sale to the change in Medicare reimbursements.
However, that doesn’t seem to make sense since it seems that Medicare is going
to reduce its reimbursements, thus shifting more cost onto the private sector.
A Fidelity Investments press
release of a recent survey of companies of over 100 employees indicates that 55%
of employees believe their employers pay less than $5,000 annually per person to
provide health insurance vs. the reality of $5,000 to $15,000 per employee
annually. Sixty-one percent of employees say they are paying more for benefits
but get less than they did in 2007. One out of four employees indicated that
they are working more to receive benefits than to receive income. Eight out of
ten would rather have health benefits provided through their job than to receive
a cash payment to manage their own health needs.
A NY Times article says the
Obama administration is signaling to Congress that the president would support
taxing some employee health benefits. However, that position is contrary to the
president’s campaign position when he criticized McCain for proposing to tax
benefits. Another mixed/contrary signal is the tax deductibility of the
subsidized COBRA benefits.
The MetLife 7th
Annual Employee Benefits Trend Survey interviewed 1,500 benefits decision makers
and found that fewer than 15% of employers expect to scale back their benefit
programs. About 40% of small employers and 50% of large companies say that there
is a strong connection between workplace morale and the quality of employee
A former BCBS-Il Exec VP
received $15.3M in severance when she left for UHC after being passed by for the
head job. Executive pay at Health Care Service Corporation is the highest for
all BC companies nationally. The former CEO, Ray McCaskey, received $10.6M last
year to run the $17.97B in revenue company. By contrast, the largest Blues plan
is Wellpoint, which is also the number two
insurer with $61.25B in revenue. Wellpoint’s CEO received $9.1M in
compensation. So now you know where your network access fees and discounts go
when you are insured with the Blues.
Employee Benefit News reports
that 82% of
workers have been personally affected by the recession; 91% say their companies
have been affected; 54% say their company is not hiring while 45% report
staffing cuts at their company.
A Consumer Reports poll says
only 4% of patients discuss the cost of their prescription with their doctor.
Forty-six percent say their doctor either never or only sometimes recommended a
generic drug. Of those surveyed, 67% went to their doctor for a script due to an
ad campaign (!) and said their doctor wrote the script.
80% of the 67% received free drug samples from their doctor, which is
also a telling figure on advertising influence.