Retiree Healthcare Back in Focus

A mixed race senior couple is kayaking down a river together. The image's focus is on the elderly woman smiling in the foreground. She is Pacific Islander and has graying hair. Her husband is seen in a kayak in the background. In the distance behind the couple you can see the shoreline and a bridge. The happy couple are wearing casual clothing. It is warm outside.

With the upturn in the economy, employers are again starting to look at improvements to benefit programs, especially for their key employees. Retiree healthcare is a topic where I am surprised that discussions have changed from “how do I eliminate this obligation” to “tell me what other employers are doing for their key staff for post-employment… [Read More]

“Right to Try” Is Compassionate Legislation, but Does It Make Sense?

research drug at science lab

President Trump signed the Right to Try Act yesterday, which cleared the House in late May, having been approved by the Senate in 2017. This legislation gives terminally ill patients the ability to access experimental drugs which have passed Phase 1 of the FDA approval process but are not yet officially approved. It is interesting to… [Read More]

HSAs and Medicare – Like Oil and Water

Oil bubbles with water

I see more and more employers offering high deductible health plans (HDHPs) every year. This type of plan can be tricky, but it’s increasingly popular in the quest to keep premium spend down as healthcare costs rise. We come across our fair share of questions and issues with HDHPs and health savings accounts (HSAs) at… [Read More]

Trump Opts for a Baby Step in the Drug Cost War – Not the Expected Leap Forward

Also drug dealing, dealer or trade concept.

Last week President Trump released his long-awaited “American Patients First” blueprint on attacking out-of-control pharmacy costs. Unfortunately, it’s more of a whimper than a roar. If the regulations are effectively written to support my understanding of the President’s intent, the incremental steps forward were not horrible, they are just not bold enough. Drug manufacturers will have to… [Read More]

Change Is Good: Make Sure Your Seniors Know About New Medicare Cards

Happy and confident senior woman in the garden center

New Medicare ID cards will be mailed out in April of 2018. This is a pretty big deal – after years of requests from Medicare recipients, government representatives and advocate groups the CMS will no longer include social security numbers (SSNs) on the cards. Old versions of the card, which also included information like the recipient’s… [Read More]

A Call to End Drug Rebates

Drug Cost  Specialty Pharmacy

Healthcare can be transformative and the ability to extend and improve life continues to rapidly roll in. But while medical advances are explosive, our creative skills in controlling costs proceed at a snail’s pace. I realize that change is hard, but it boggles my mind that we can’t take simple steps to reduce cost trends. Regulating drug… [Read More]

It’s a Legislative Circus Out There

It’s a Legislative Circus Out There

My predictive skills have been working pretty well on healthcare reform. I suggested that it wouldn’t be easy or quick. I thought the House would fall in line and the Senate would eke something out – and that it ultimately will come to a thumbs up / thumbs down in both houses of Congress. With… [Read More]

Healthcare. Okay. Now What Do We Do?

Flag and Stethoscope

What a week it’s been. I am not sure why President Trump thinks that his latest attempt to coerce the Republican Congress will work better than his past efforts. The Democrats relied on 50 votes to get the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through and now the Republicans are trying to rely on 50 votes to make… [Read More]

What Will Trumpcare Mean for Employers?

what-will-trumpcare-mean-for-employers

Post-election, I have met with dozens of employers and the number one question on their mind is: what will the new administration do to our healthcare strategy and what steps do I take to correctly position my employee benefit program? The short answer is to stay the course. Except for those employers offering Minimum Essential… [Read More]

Bill Clinton Thinks the Affordable Care Act Is ‘The craziest thing in the world’

clinton-aca

Bill Clinton seems to agree with me – we should’ve just expanded Medicaid and been done with it. He said that the system does not work for the middle class who make too much money to get government assistance but still have trouble affording high premiums. But he wants to take Medicaid a step further…. [Read More]