Hearsay & News Review
hope that all of our readers had a great Thanksgiving! In view of the fact that
our next issue may not be published until after January 1, we would also like to
wish everybody a Happy New Year and Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah or holiday of
your religious choice. You may note that this issue is a combined Nov.-Dec.
issue. For that reason we went a little over the normal one page per issue
maximum. That’s simply because the author was not able to publish November on
a timely basis. By way of a short explanation, there was an issue that enabled a
sampling of the
medical care system and there was more than the usual reason to be thankful on
November 23rd. Many
thanks to everyone who knew and expressed their support.
Hewitt survey of 400 major employers predicts cost increases of 7.7% for 2007 to
an average cost of $8,340 PEPY. Last year’s survey by Hewitt predicted a cost
increase of 2% more than actually occurred for these major employers. Let’s
hope they are overestimating by 2% again this year. Meanwhile PWc predicts that
PPO costs will rise by 11.9% and CDHP plans will increase in cost by 10.7% in
has followed Wal-Mart into the $4 per generic script arena. The publicity
surrounding these scripts is somewhat misleading since it has become known that
there are only just under 300 generic drugs involved out of several thousand
available. In addition, the list includes generics for such drugs as
amoxicillin, where there are actually 12 generic substitutes available that are
all on the same list. The actual number of unique generics on the list is
estimated to be approximately 150. Once again, like most healthcare issues
touted in the press, the hype is much greater than actual substance.
of Il is proposing legislation that all employers must offer group health
coverage, even though the employer will not be forced to contribute. Under the
law, all commercial insurance carriers would be required to offer insurance to
these groups of 2-50 workers. Mandated benefits would not be required.
Apparently, all insurance companies would be forced to eliminate their employer
contribution requirements which are normally intended to eliminate
Lewis of the Disease Mgmt. Purchasing Consortium says that firms of less than
5,000 employees cannot accurately even begin to calculate an ROI on disease
has announced Ronald Williams as Chairman of the company effective October 1st
after the retirement of Executive Chairman John Rowe.
The U.S. Treasury
Department has released the 2007 indexed amounts for Health Savings Accounts.
For 2007, the minimum annual deductible is $1,100 for single or $2,200 for
family coverage. The maximum annual HSA contribution is $2,850 for single or
$5,650 for family coverage. The maximum annual in-network, out-of-pocket
amount is $5,500 for single or $11,000 for family coverage.
EBRI 9th annual health confidence survey shows that most employees
rate the health care system as fair (28%) or poor (51%). Just to add some
perspective, these same employees rate their own situation as extremely
satisfied (18%), very satisfied (36%) or somewhat satisfied (35%). Seventy-five
percent of workers say they would prefer $6,700 in health care coverage over
$6,700 in salary. A study by McKinsey & Company reveals that only 44% of
consumers with HSA-linked benefits were as satisfied with those plans as they
were with their previous (more generous?) plans.
group, Citizens for Economic Opportunity, has filed suit against Aetna and their
mini-med subsidiary SRC in
, alleging that the mini-med plans are misleading.
and Caremark have announced plans to merge. One is reminded of a previous merger
of a pharmacy chain (Rite-Aid) with a PBM (PCS) that eventually broke. It is
ironic that PCS eventually became part of Caremark.
based Subimo LLC, which provides on-line health information tools.
fighting in the press, United Healthcare and HCA Corporation have announced a
new agreement through 2011. By nature of the announcement, we think they are
about to declare each other “best buddies” despite the strong arm
negotiating tactics used by both sides in the past months. It reminds us of the
new bi-partisan attitude everyone is now promising in Congress after two years
of attack ads.
28% of United States PCPs use electronic medical records and more than 40% say
it is difficult or impossible for them to identify a patient who is overdue for
a test or preventive care. This compares to 19% of doctors in other countries,
according to a study by the Commonwealth Fund. The study suggests that part of
the problem is that there is no national IT plan in the
and that the
has a less social approach to medicine.
90% of employers with a Section 125 plan offer FSA’s, 73% of those report that
less than 39% of their population participates in a health care FSA and less
than 9% participate in a dependent care FSA. Sixty-two percent of employers
reported that less than 7% of those using FSA’s forfeited any money in their
healthcare FSA and less than 5% forfeited any money in their dependent care FSA.
polled 1,500 Americans about health insurance issues. One interesting finding
was that more than 75% of the people without health insurance reject the idea of
mandating the purchase of health insurance coverage. Overall, 28% of people are
supportive of a system which charges more for health care coverage to those with
survey by Watson-Wyatt says that 71% of employees believe that pay is a top
reason to consider employment elsewhere, but only 45% of employers believe that
to be the case. 86% of companies believe they do a good job of treating
employees well, but only 55% of employees agree.
survey by Eastbridge Consulting shows that women are more likely to purchase
voluntary insurance products than men. Supplemental products are most attractive
to those employees who are age 30 to 49. The most popular supplemental benefits
are life (24%) and disability (20%) followed by accident and hospital indemnity
(15%) and cancer/critical illness (12%).