Saturday February 13, 2016

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Consumer-Driven Health News

Concierge Medicine: Better Patient Access, But Effects on Care Quality Less Certain

Physicians who embrace the concierge medicine model say they're able to spend more time with fewer patients. Still, critics protest that the practice model makes physicians' lives easier, without regard for what's best for patients. The big question is whether such care is living up to the promise of its marketing, that it is truly better care. Or whether it may leave many patients who can't afford such fees scrambling to find fewer doctors.

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Incentive Worth $550 Fails to Motivate Obese Workers to Lose Weight

Promising workers lower health insurance premiums for losing weight did nothing to help them take off the pounds, a recent study found. At the end of a year, obese workers had lost less than 1.5 pounds on average, statistically no different than the minute average gain of a tenth of a pound for workers who weren't offered a financial incentive to lose weight. "Our study highlights some of the weaknesses" of workplace wellness programs, said the study's lead author.

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Are Wellness Programs Falling Short?

Transparency is still lacking in the popular wellness programs, which too often focus on lifestyle changes, including smoking cessation and diet changes, instead of determining and emphasizing important health metrics. HealthMine data finds workers enrolled in wellness programs lack access to their biometric data, with less than one-third of consumers knowing key health metrics — including their blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI and blood sugar. Even more, the majority of consumers lack access to their lab records, their insurance information and their prescription histories.

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Health Savings Accounts: A Win-Win-Win

Health savings accounts are a WIN-WIN-WIN for businesses and their employees. Let’s look at three of those “wins” more closely. Considering the potential benefits, it might be worth seeing if an HSA could be a “win” for your company and its employees.

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Understanding the Retiree Benefit of HSAs

In this age of high-deductible healthcare plans, industry experts say employers and employees should increasingly consider the benefits of health savings accounts as a retiree benefit. HSAs, they say, offer cost-shifting benefits for employers and employees that advisers should be educating clients about. A high-deductible healthcare plan coupled with an HSA is a way for employers to cut healthcare costs for the company, yet still satisfy employee retirement and healthcare needs.

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