Category Archives: Health Benefits
How much time do you spend shopping for your companies Group Benefits? According to some reports, not as much time as you spend researching your electronics purchases. Jon Cohen, a vascular surgeon and chief medical officer at Quest Diagnostics said the average American spends twice as much time before buying a TV as they do looking for a doctor, speaking at the TEDMED conference in early April. Patients don’t invest the time into their own health. Price, quality, and desire are the three main components that comprise consumer decisions. However the traditional consumerist approach to appraising products doesn’t apply in healthcare. For example, price doesn’t necessarily mean better care. Patients are generally not good healthcare consumers in that they don’t tend to proactively manage and maintain their health. Furthermore, Cohen said, people use the wrong parameters to judge the quality of their healthcare. For example the service at a practice, such as wait time in a doctor’s office, extended hours or availability tend to influence patients more than factors such as experience and judgment. A two-part approach is needed. Patients need to be voracious in managing their own healthcare. If people are motivated for their own health, Cohen argues, then they will be better motivated to be informed about their own health. And in return, the medical profession must continually strive to meet them halfway to help translate extensive and often complex medical problems. Take the first step to help your employees get the best healthcare possible. At the Dryfoos Group, we offer a variety of comprehensive Pennsylvania Group Benefits programs that can be custom tailored to fit your specific employee benefits needs. Contact us today for more information.
Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc. won approval from the Federal Trade Commission in early April for their 29.1 billion dollar merger, according to the Wall Street Journal. This merger created a huge pharmacy-benefit manager that will have significant industry impacts. Pharmacy benefit managers (or P.B.M.’s) manage prescription drug plans for employers and insurers. P.B.M.’s are the middlemen between drug companies and the payers. The new combined company is predicted to save as much as 1 billion; they will handle one of every three prescriptions written in the U.S. The merger allows Express Scripts and Medco to combine forces and squeeze out a lot of costs, which they then say will be passed on to the consumer. The decision was not unanimous. Pharmacy and consumer advocacy groups comprise the main opponents of the deal. They argue that the merger will shrink competition, potentially raise prices and limit where patients can get their prescriptions filled. Opponents such as the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association sued to block the deal in federal court. They claim the merger violates anti-trust laws and isn’t in the best interests of patients or consumers. The merger has raised antitrust issues; many are worried about the effect of such a huge merger on the pharmaceutical industry and the potential of driving other companies out of business. What are your thoughts on the Express Scripts-Medco merger? Is it a step in the right direction in lowering health care costs or a potentially harmful consolidation of assets that could change the industry? Let us know your thoughts. Our healthcare system is in the middle of a substantial overhaul. From the Express Scripts-Medco merger to the healthcare case being debated in the Supreme Court, our healthcare will see significant changes in the next few years. However none of those changes alter the importance of protecting your employees. At the Dryfoos Group, we understand the importance of providing comprehensive group benefits plan to your employees. We offer a variety of plans that can be custom tailored to fit your specific employee benefits needs. Contact us today for more information. The facts in this article were provided by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Bloomberg Business Week.
President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law two years ago. Refuted immediately by 26 states, the law comes before the Supreme Court for review late March. The Courts will review the constitutionality of the act and are expected to return a decision in June. The ACA is a 900 plus page bill with hundreds of amendments and components. Most visibly, the overhaul requires all individuals to have healthcare- failure to comply incurs fines and possible imprisonment. This mandate is a huge reason for the ACA’s appearance before the Supreme Court next week. The issue hotly debated is the constitutionality of the ACA, specifically the federal government’s right to require all individuals to purchase healthcare. The main points of each side were summarized in a video between Neal Katyal, Former Acting Solicitor General who defended the ACA in three appeals courts and Randy Barnett, a Libertarian legal scholar and anti-ACA intellectual architect behind the challenges to the individual mandate. Below are the key issues they argue. Interstate commerce: Katyal and proponents of the bill argue that the individual healthcare mandate is included in the umbrella of interstate commerce, and thus Congress has the right to regulate it. Barnett argues that the institution of fines and potential imprisonment for those who don’t comply with the requirement is an aggregation of federal power. Congress is requiring individuals to “buy” a product: Opponents argue it is unconstitutional and beyond Congress’ taxing power to fine individuals for not purchasing a product (i.e. healthcare). Proponents argue that Congress is not asking individuals to buy a product they wouldn’t usually consume. A national problem calls for national solution: Katyal views the issue as a national problem that the states can’t fix; Barnett argues it is a violation of state sovereignty and a dangerous concession of power to the federal government to allow them to regulate the healthcare system. The Supreme Court’s decision could transform the state governments’ role in the provision of healthcare. The case is so significant it has been allotted six hours, featuring multiple lawyers, to be argued over three days, the longest oral argument heard in the Supreme Court in almost half a century. Show your employees you care about their well-being with Group Insurance/Benefits from Dryfoos. We offer a variety of comprehensive policies that can be custom tailored to fit…