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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                                               http://www.ssbenefits.net/   Septembert 2009 Issue


MultiPlan (which owns PHCS) has announced that it is acquiring Viant (Preferred Payment Systems, Texas True Choice and Beech Street ). The transaction is expected to close before year end.

Balances in Health Savings Accounts averaged about $960 for single coverage and $1,720 for family coverage in the first quarter of 2009 according to San Francisco based Canopy Financial. The average employer contribution to those accounts was $113 individual and $266 for family coverage when employers contributed. The monthly average employee contribution was $116 for individuals and $239 for family.

eHealth has released results of an ongoing survey of those consumers shopping on-line for individual health insurance policies. So far, over 1500 consumers have responded to the survey. Of those, 38.8% were uninsured. In that group, 38% were between the ages of 18 and 34.  The average uninsured person was a single woman between the ages of 25 and 44 with a college degree and a full-time job, with half of those earning between $30,000 and $75,000 per year. Another survey of individual buyers of health insurance showed that 62% bought through an agent, with most citing the need to better understand the options being offered.

A new analysis from Hewitt reveals that COBRA enrollments have doubled since the U.S. government enacted a new subsidy for COBRA. With unemployment rates at their highest in over 25 years, more than 14 million workers are now eligible for the subsidy which leaves workers responsible for only 35% of their COBRA premium.

A UBA study of over 12,000 employers shows that CDHPs grew at a rate of 33.9% this past year and now cover more employees (15.4%) than HMOs (13.6%). PPO plans have nearly 2/3 of the enrollment and indemnity fee for service plans are all but extinct, with only 0.4% of employees enrolled. The average employee contribution in that survey was $105 per month for single coverage and $419 for family coverage.


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A survey by freemarkethealthcare of 1200 employers showed that 90% offer insurance to full-time employees. 95% of employers surveyed oppose a government designed mandatory program. Eighty-eight percent also oppose expanding Medicare as a reform option.

Just for a little more perspective in the national health care reform debate which is now being switched to insurance reform: Those of us familiar with the business of insurance know that insurance costs are a merely a reflection of the claims costs. There was very little (if anything) in HR 3200 that would actually lower the cost of claims. There was much that would increase costs. But what about costs? For instance, someone with whom we are very close to was recently in an auto accident in the western suburbs of Chicago . After an ambulance ride to the hospital and a few X-rays, the person was released in less than 3 hours. The hospital bill was for over $21,000. Why? Perhaps because they knew the auto insurance would pay the bill?



Have a safe Labor Day weekend!