Hearsay & News Review
Advocate was thinking about
Health System, but the letter of intent has expired. They have, however, agreed
to a new letter of intent to explore “clinical alignment and shared
services.” Advocate has signed a second letter of intent formalizing
negotiations with BroMenn Healthcare System in
According to Employee Benefit
News, HR outsourcing is on the decline due to the economic conditions of the
country. Makes one wonder why anyone was doing it if it was not economically
Once again, a J.D. Powers
& Associates survey says that the majority of employees do not understand
their health plan. The survey covered 33,000 members in 131 plans in 17 regions.
Only 1/3 of employees surveyed say that they understand their health plan. From
the land of Blago, that actually seems pretty good compared to the voting
population understanding what candidates stand for. Congrats to HR for doing a
better job than the news media!
ING has been cutting back on
employment in its insurance operations as a direct result of turmoil in its
banking operations that have resulted in huge losses. They plan to manage
banking and insurance operations separately and according to an announcement,
they plan to divest
insurance activities such as group reinsurance.
Wellpoint has agreed to sell
its Rx operations to Express Scripts for $4.675 billion. The transaction
includes a 10 year agreement for Express Scripts
to manage Rx service for Wellpoint (which includes Unicare and Anthem
plans). Get ready for the fallout as the plans make the transition. Express
Scripts has not exactly been known for their service in previous acquisitions.
The transaction will close in the second half of 2009, and then let the chaos
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EBA surveyed benefit managers,
advisers and other related professionals if company CEOs, CFOs and other
executives are sold on wellness programs. 20.8% were, 17.9% were skeptical,
56.4% believe it’s 50/50 and 5% have some other opinion (although we are not
sure exactly what that could be).
A survey of 300 employers by
Aon showed that 60% of employers expect their overall healthcare costs to
increase due to the COBRA subsidy. Apparently 40% of surveyed employers are
kidding themselves? COBRA costs usually range from 140% to 160% of COBRA premium
with 5%-10% of former employees enrolling. The survey said that employers expect
enrollment in COBRA to increase by 14% to 18%.
A multi-year study published
by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine of 150,000 workers
found that presenteeism (at work, but unable to perform at full capacity)
creates a greater drain on company productivity than employee absence. How do
they measure this stuff? The study went on to say that when productivity losses
are factored in with medical and drug costs, the five costliest conditions for
employers are depression, obesity, arthritis, back/neck pain and anxiety.
The Association of Health
Insurance Advisors has announced that they oppose a government sponsored health
plan as an option under health care reform. They view that option as a slide
toward a single payer system that would feature rationing as a method of cost
Milliman 2008 Health Insurance
Survey: Anticipated 1/09 rate increase was 12.1% PPO, 10.7% high deductible PPO,
8.4% HMO. PerMemberPerMonth (not employee) average premium in 2008: $350 HMO,
$355 PPO includes PMPM drug cost of $49 HMO, $50 PPO. 2007 profitability for HMO
and PPO was 2.6%. The average savings from a$250 deductible plan to a $1,000
deductible plan was 11.8%. To go from a $250 deductible to a $2,000 deductible
the savings average was 20.2%.