The Problem Is We Are Not Doing Anything to Control Healthcare Costs

The stock market is rewarding the narrow list of surviving healthcare companies since profits are surging, yet a slight ripple to the floating tea leaves yields significant adjustments. Just two days ago, Walmart hired a former Humana executive to lead their healthcare initiative, and a leader has been selected for the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan joint venture –… [Read More]

Is Your Annual Employee Survey Enough for Engagement?

Imagine someone professing their passion for mediocre food, or their dedication to a so-so friendship – it’s just not going to happen. The same goes for disengaged employees who are feeling “meh” about their job (and I’m betting most of us have seen it happen or experienced it ourselves). This is why soliciting employee feedback… [Read More]

Telemedicine – Is It Up to the Hype?

When telemedicine hit the benefit scene my first thought was, “this will be a homerun.” For years, nurse lines were the go-to for late night medical advice – but the superficial decision matrix resulted in extraordinarily limited use, and at $1 per employee per month (PEPM) left many employers questioning the value. Along comes the… [Read More]

Hospital Chargemaster Under Fire

If you’re paying attention to healthcare news you’ve seen the headlines before – hospitals suing patients for tens of thousands in emergency room charges or for a life-saving surgery. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, more outrageous news breaks and the uproar ensues. Centura Health recently sued a patient for charges not paid… [Read More]

When Amazon Sneezes the Health Insurance Industry Catches a Cold

Once again, a move by Amazon has cut billions of the health insurance industry stock market value. When Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan announced a partnership to control healthcare costs, health insurers were devalued. This time, with the announced purchase of PillPack, the pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) shed a fast approximately $11 billion. PillPack is… [Read More]

Beware of the Short Stop Loss Year

One of my self-funded clients recently looked to convert from a fiscal plan year to a calendar year. In order to bridge the two years, we needed to either purchase a 16-month paid stop loss contract that would run through the stub year and the following calendar year, or a 4-month contract that would then… [Read More]

Does Importing Pharmaceuticals Make Sense?

Pharmacy costs are out of control and creative solutions are in demand. One of the recent strategies available to manage pharmacy costs is the importation of drugs from non-U.S. sources. The retail cost of drugs sold outside the United States is often a fraction (sometimes a small fraction) of its domestic cost. Pharma is willing… [Read More]

Talking Wellness with Your CFO (Minus the ROI Goggles)

Take a minute and think about it – Human Resources (HR) has been rebranded. I’ve seen job titles that run the gamut from “Chief Happiness Officer” and “Engagement Director” to “Vibe Manager” (sign me up for that one!). Those of you in HR know the role has evolved into so much more than just payroll… [Read More]

Association Health Plans – Will They Help?

Association Health Plans – Will They Help?

The Trump Administration has released its final rule on Association Health Plans (AHPs). This has been a long-debated topic. Advocates feel that groups in the same trade, industry, line of business or profession – or those that exist within the boundaries of the same state or metropolitan region – should be able to band together to have… [Read More]

An End-Around on Hardship Withdrawal Rules

It seems we don’t need to wait anymore for major pieces of legislation in order to get changes made in 401(k) plans. The Bipartisan Budget Act passed back in February contained several significant changes in the laws surrounding hardship withdrawals. Hardship withdrawals are premature distributions that are permitted from a retirement plan typically for reasons… [Read More]