Home Up Services About The Truth Useful Links Accomplishments Creative-Cost Plus OBAMACARE Newsletter Archive


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                                               http://www.ssbenefits.net/   July 2007 Issue


A survey of 531 HR and non-HR execs by Deloitte and the Economist Intelligence Unit found that only 23% believe HR plays a crucial role in strategy formation and operational success for corporations. HR is viewed as primarily administrative and 63% of those surveyed said that they don’t consult HR in mergers and acquisitions. Considering the cost /liability of benefits, that figure is surprising, if it is correct.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says that Rx costs for those under age 65 rose 140% from 1997 to 2004 and that the number of prescriptions increased by from 2 to 3 Billion in that same time.

A survey of agents and brokers indicates that accounts of less than fifty employees have been the hardest hit with renewal increases. Agents and brokers reported that 54% of renewal increases were between 11% and 15%, with over 80% of accounts receiving increases.

As reported in our special edition earlier this month, United Healthcare and Adventist Midwest have signed a new contract after more than a year without a contract for the four hospitals in the Chicago area. Street rumors say that UHC is close to a deal to get back together with Advocate as well, since the lack of a contract has hurt large multi-site account sales. We’ll see.

Concentra announced that it has, through its Beech Street subsidiary, acquired ppoNEXT for $19 million.

Interesting statistic- in 2004 for vaginal delivery births, allowed costs were an average of $7,737 and C-sections had an average allowed cost of $10,958. Employers covered 94% of costs. For the first year of life with no complications at birth, the medical cost was $2,830. Premature diagnosis first year medical costs averaged $41,610.

Aon’s Spring trend survey for 2007-with Rx- HMO-10.9%, POS-10.8%, PPO-11.2%, Indemnity-12.7%, CDH-10.7%, DHMO-4.5%, DPPO-6.1%, D-Indemnity-7.1%- General Pharmacy-9.5%, specialty Rx-15.1%.

Humana is buying Atlanta based dental and vision plan provider CompBenefits Corp., for $360 million for 4.8 million members.

The Portland ( Maine ) press recently interpreted remarks by MetLife CFO William Wheeler to mean that MetLife may be interested in acquiring Unum. Later, both companies refused to remark on the speculation.

Drug makers AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Schering-Plough’s subsidiary Warrick have been convicted in a Massachusetts court. The court ruled that they engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices by publishing inflated average wholesale price data for certain drugs between 1991 and 2003.

In the 2007 SHRM benefits survey the total cost of benefits was averaged at 38% of payroll with 20% of the cost to mandatory benefits and 18% to voluntary benefits.

Walgreen Co. is acquiring Option Care, Inc., to allow the company to get into  the specialty pharmacy business.

Hewitt surveyed 160 large companies for their initial expected 2008 HMO rate increases which are expected to average 14.1% in 2008, compared to an 11.7% increase in 2007. Increases are expected to be the highest in the Midwest (18.4%) and Southeast (18.2%)