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S&S Benefits.....Opinion, Hearsay & News Review

S&S Benefits Consulting, Inc. 219 Darien, Dundee, IL 60118 Phone: 847-428-5353, Fax:847-428-9876,

Email: jseiler@ssbenefits.net www.ssbenefits.net January 2005 Issue

A survey by benefits administrator TRI-AD reported on in Managed Care Weekly Digest says that nearly 2/3 of participants in FSA accounts do not favor their employers switching to high deductible HSA programs. This is an increase of 4% from last yearís survey.

A study published by the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that 85% of emergency patients had health insurance and people who had a usual source of care made 83% of emergency visits. Poor physical health was a driving force for the visits according to the study of over 49,000 adults interviewed between 2000 and 2001. The study seems to debunk the idea that the ER is overcrowded with uninsured patients.

Heads of the largest U.S. companies view rising health costs as the greatest threat to economic growth, followed by litigation costs and energy prices. The survey was of 160 executive members of the Business Roundtable. The executives of the Roundtable represent a combined workforce of more than 10 million U.S. employees.

The merger of Anthem and Wellpoint creates the nationís largest health insurer with 28 million enrollees. In order to receive approval for the merger, Wellpoint agree to pay off California (reported in last monthís issue at $365 million) and Anthem agreed to put $126.5 million over 20 years into rural health initiatives in Georgia. Georgia Insurance commissioner John Oxendine apparently did not have the same clout as Garamendi in California, but he did get a deal that even Eliot Spitzer would be proud of.

No surprise to anyone that Eliot Spitzer has announced that he would be running for governor of New York. It will be interesting to see if he targets government waste and corruption with the same vigor as he has pursued with mutual funds and the insurance industry.

A Wyatt survey says that 61% of 13,000 employees surveyed expressed satisfaction with their health plans while only 17% expressed dissatisfaction.

PHCS and Chicago area based Adventist Health System are reportedly at odds and Adventist has announced that they will not participate in PHCS effective 2/1/05. Facilities affected include Hinsdale, GlenOaks and LaGrange hospitals. Meanwhile, PHCS has announced that Dreyer Clinic is joining PHCS effective January, 2005.

Aetna has exercised their option to acquire the assets of Magellan Behavioral Health effective December 31, 2005.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that Rx is the fastest growing health expenditure and comprises 10% of health costs. 44% of Americans take at least one prescription drug and 17% take at least three. AARP reports that 5 of 6 people age 65 and older take at least one medication and almost half take three or more.

The Mental Health Parity Law has been extended to December 31,2005.

We have a CD ROM multi-media presentation available for prospective clients who would like to consider using our services as a health and welfare consultant or broker. Please email us for a copy if you would like to learn more.

If you know someone in your organization or another company that would find this newsletter useful, please send us their name and email address and we will forward them a copy at your request.

STREET TALK-WHY BE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE?