Are you up for a “group appointment” under Obamacare…?
Read more here: http://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/group-appointments-with-doctors-when-three-isnt-a-crowd.aspx
CT scans on mummies reveal a 34% heart disease rate. This begs the question, exactly how bad are the wait times going to be under government provided healthcare? Waiting thousands of years before your CT appointment comes up? Wow. Read more here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21739193
The Department of Labor related regulations and notices on health care reform are found here:
New data shows online research can significantly reduce healthcare expenses.
Is this another step in our “everything-on-camera, reality-show” society or a useful tool to monitor your wellness regimen?
Wearable cameras – the future of fitness monitoring? http://www.gizmag.com/sensecam-diet-activity-monitoring/26129/
Michigan has become the latest state to indicate that they would expand Medicare coverage to persons up to 133% of the Federal poverty level as called for in the health care reform law. The Supreme Court ruling upholding the health care reform law created a wrinkle in the implementation when they made the Medicare expansion optional at the discretion of the states. Because of the political nature of things, it is news when a Republican governor goes along with health care reform policy under PPACA. However, a slight bit of good news for employers in states where Medicaid eligibility has been expanded, is that it reduces the number of persons eligible to receive subsidies for exchange provided policies. Medicaid covered individuals are not eligible to receive a subsidy for exchange coverage. A person receiving a subsidy for exchange provided coverage is what triggers the employer mandate penalties. So if some of the lowest paid persons in the workforce are accounted for by Medicaid, it reduces the risk to the employer somewhat.
For the Michigan news story Click Here
By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times
President Obama’s health care law will push 7 million people out of their job-based insurance coverage — nearly twice the previous estimate, according to the latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday.
CBO said that this year’s tax cuts have changed the incentives for businesses and made it less attractive to pay for insurance, meaning fewer will decide to do so. Instead, they’ll choose to pay a penalty to the government, totaling $13 billion in higher fees over the next decade.
But the non-partisan agency also expects fewer people to have to pay individual penalties to the IRS than it earlier projects, because of a better method for calculating incomes that found more people will be exempt.
Overall, the new health provisions are expected to cost the government $1.165 trillion over the next decade — the same as last year’s projection.
With other spending cuts and tax increases called for in the health law, though, CBO still says Mr. Obama’s signature achievement will reduce budget deficits in the short term.
During the health care debate Mr. Obama had said individuals would be able to keep their plans.
DES MOINES, Iowa–(BUSINESS WIRE)–More American workers recognize the rewards of participating in workplace wellness programs, according to the latest Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM: American Workers. Sixty-two percent of workers, up from 55 percent 2011, believe workplace wellness activities are successful in improving health and reducing health risks.
“In the wake of the financial crisis, which has left many companies stretched thin, maintaining a productive workforce is a priority for organizations.”
The index, which surveys American workers at growing businesses with 10-1,000 workers1, is released by the Principal Financial Group® and conducted by Harris Interactive®. These findings focusing specifically on wellness attitudes and behaviors among American workers were taken from the fourth quarter 2012 Index.
By taking advantage of workplace wellness offerings, American employees are approaching their work with more energy and motivation. Fifty-one percent of program participants feel wellness benefits encourage them to work harder and perform better, and another 59 percent of program participants say they have more energy to be productive at work as a result of their participation in employer-sponsored wellness programs.
“As wellness programs become more established in the workplace, we are seeing a growing number of employees appreciate – and expect – that their employer offers these benefits,” said Lee Dukes, president of Principal Wellness Company, a subsidiary of the Principal Financial Group. “In the wake of the financial crisis, which has left many companies stretched thin, maintaining a productive workforce is a priority for organizations.”
Nearly half (45 percent) of employees agree that an employer-sponsored wellness program would encourage them to stay in their current employment situation, up from 40 percent 2011. Additionally, 43 percent of participants say wellness programs have led them to miss fewer days of work, up eight percent from 2011. Despite the apparent benefits, about a third (34 percent) of workers still do not participate in any of the wellness programs offered by their employers.
Employer Incentives on the Rise
As wellness programs become more popular, employers are offering a variety of ways to encourage employees to participate. The survey shows the top three ways employees are encouraged by their employers to participate in wellness programs are: encouragement by management (20 percent), lower health insurance costs to those who participate (20 percent), or allotted time for participation during the workday (20 percent, up from 9 percent). Only a little more than a third (36 percent) say their employers do not offer any encouragement to participate in wellness benefits, a significant divergence from the previous three years, when about half of participants said their employer did nothing to encourage wellness program participation.
Participants also cited an increase in the following employer incentives:
Seventeen percent, up from 9 percent the previous year, say their employer offers contributions into a health savings account or health reimbursement account;
Sixteen percent, up from 12 percent the previous year, say their employer provides other financial incentives such as gift certificates or discounts for those who participate;
And 10 percent, up from 6 percent the previous year, report that their employer rewards additional paid time off from work to participants.
“It’s in every employer’s interest to have healthier, happier, more productive employees,” said Dukes. “Employers have to do more than offer wellness programs; in order to see the benefits, they have to incent participation.”
Taken from Insurance Broadcasting on 2/1/2013
By Tristan Lejeune
January 29, 2013
Less than half of U.S. small businesses offer benefits to employees, according to research from LIMRA released this week. The firm finds that 47% of those with two to 99 employees offer benefits, the lowest level in two decades.
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In its survey of 754 private small businesses, LIMRA spoke to the individuals who made or shared decision-making regarding business insurance and employee offerings. Samples were weighed by company size, industry and region based on U.S. Census Bureau data.
Seventy-eight percent of small American businesses are family-owned, LIMRA reports, and such firms had a sharper decline in benefit penetration (47% down to 40%) than non-family-owned ones between 2005 and 2012. Female-owned businesses, which accounted for a quarter of the total, tend to be smaller, produce less revenue and are less likely to offer insurance benefits than male-owned firms (37% versus 50%).
“The recession has had an impact on smaller employers’ ability to offer benefits, particularly those with fewer than ten employees,” says Kim Landry, LIMRA Product Research analyst. “The weak economy caused a lot of small firms to close, while the new firms cropping up to replace them are less likely to offer benefits. Many small businesses are also hesitant to add new benefits until the economy improves.”
Landry says that among those who do still offer benefits, health care and pharmacy remains the most popular by far, as well as the most common.
“These benefits provide an opportunity for small business owners to obtain coverage not only for their employees, but also for themselves and their families,” notes Landry. “We also found dental and vision coverage to be common offerings among small businesses, as these products tend to be very popular with employees.”
Life insurance also is offered frequently, because of its low cost and ease of administration, LIMRA reports. Accident insurance and short- and long-term disability, however, have what LIMRA calls fairly low penetration rates.
Census Bureau data reveal that 35% of the U.S. workforce is in small businesses, which account for 98% of American companies.
Taken from Employee Benefits News 1/29/2013.
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