How Many Steps? I’ll Never Be Able to Do That!

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Most workplace exercise programs ask employees to “walk 10,000 steps” or engage in at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 3 times per week. Uh-huh. Tell that to someone whose walking consists of parking lot to elevator to desk. Oh, and then to coffee pot. Exercise should not be intimidating. That’s what often… [Read More]

This Skeptic Is Still Hopeful about Healthcare Reform

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As I write these blog entries, I often ask myself, “Am I one of those negative people? Do I always see the downside?”  For more than a year I have been writing with a cautionary, skeptical tone about whether the Obama Administration has bit off more than it can chew with federal healthcare reform. I really… [Read More]

Multimillion Court Awards Threaten Healthcare Affordability

In a potential watershed case for the health insurance industry, a Nevada jury awarded $24 million in compensatory damages and $500 million in punitive damages to three plaintiffs in a case stemming from a hepatitis C outbreak. In the case against affiliates of UnitedHealth Group, two plaintiffs claimed they became infected when their gastroenterologist used unsafe… [Read More]

The Insurance Exchange: If You Build It, Will They Come?

Recently the President and his head of HHS met with insurance industry executives to reaffirm the commitment to the insurance exchanges. The exchanges, a significant part of the ACA legislation, are intended to help individuals and small businesses more easily procure less-costly healthcare. Like many pieces of the ACA, exchanges are off to a rocky start. Many states have opted not to establish a… [Read More]

Bertolini: Major Change Is Inevitable

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I always enjoy listening to Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, speak. He has thought-provoking ideas, great insight and the organizational clout to impact our economy. Here’s why Mark thinks things have to change. Costs are escalating rapidly. It is clear that the shift to high-deductible plans will be swift—but even this shift won’t be… [Read More]

ACA Implementation: Oh, and What About Rating Virgin Groups?

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A slew of unanticipated outgrowths of healthcare reform will challenge lawmakers in the years ahead but perhaps none will be as interesting as figuring out how to handle employers who want to offer coverage but don’t have a health insurance carrier who will write their policy. Under the ACA, an applicable large employer must offer health… [Read More]

Delays, More Delays and Bureaucracy

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So. . .they did it again. Tuesday HHS announced that the Federally-Facilitated and Partnership exchanges or marketplaces (the Small Business Health Options Program or SHOP exchanges) that will operate in 33 states will not be fully functional until 1/1/2015.  Employers in these states purchasing coverage through the exchange will only be able to offer one… [Read More]

Could Losing Cash and Face Spur Wellness Participants?

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Having trouble accomplishing a goal? Can’t quite stick to your workout regimen? Well, there’s something relatively new on the scene that may help you activate yourself. You may have already heard about it: It’s called an online commitment contract and you can draw one up on a website aptly called StickK. It’s basically free to… [Read More]

Who Pays for Healthcare Reform?

The Society of Actuaries predicted Tuesday that medical claims costs — the biggest driver of insurance premiums — will jump an average 32 percent for individual policies under the ACA legislation.  By 2017 the estimated increase is about 80 percent for Ohio, 62 percent for California and more than 20 percent for Florida. This makes… [Read More]

Limited Provider Network Plans May Help Employers Meet ACA Affordability Standard

While ACA is a very complicated piece of legislation, let’s try to simplify it. If employer-sponsored plans can meet two major provisions of the law—affordability and “minimum value”—a lot of the problems go away. Most experts feel that an employer will not have much difficulty meeting the minimum value provision, which is offering a plan… [Read More]