Thursday October 30, 2014

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Consumer-Driven Health News



PPACA Has Most Employers Rethinking Employee Benefit Offerings

The implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has made most employers “rethink” their employee benefit offerings, including increasing employees’ share of cost even more via consumer-driven plans, according to Benefits Selling’s 2014 Employer Survey. 63 percent said their company has considered expanding the use or implementation of consumer-driven plans. Currently, 44 percent of the respondents said they offer HSAs.

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Employers Reigning in Health Care Costs, But With a Twist

The 2014 Kaiser/HRET Employer Health Benefits Survey came out recently with the remarkable news that employers are reigning in health costs. Premiums for employer-based health insurance are up an average of just 3% this year, relatively little considering the steep increases from the past decade, when health costs more than doubled. The key to this achievement: employers’ widespread adoption of high-deductible health plans. But here’s a surprising twist: Employers may be cost-conscious, but they are still spending more money.

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3 Products That Might Ride a Private Exchange Rocket

Will some benefits products sell much better through private exchanges than they have through traditional distribution channels? Analysts at the Kaiser Family Foundation consider that possibility in a recent report on the private exchange movement. The analysts also talk about some of the products and services that could do well in a private exchange benefits market. Here are three of the possible private exchange universe winners.

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HSAs May Discourage Preventive Care

While health savings accounts and consumer driven health plans demonstrably give consumers more control over their use of health insurance dollars, they may also encourage decisions about health care that could be detrimental to consumers' long-term health. A study of 18,000 employees with a company that switched from a traditional health plan to a CDHP/HSA model found that plan members weren’t taking advantage of preventive health options, and instead postponing some medical care.

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Patients, Physicians Narrowing Gap on Consumer-Driven Care

Patients and consumers in healthcare are more inclined to incorporate new technologies into the delivery system than the physicians who administer most of the care, but the gap between the two is shrinking as more physicians embrace the consumer-driven model. The movement toward consumer-driven healthcare shouldn’t be all that surprising, but it’s transpiring quickly and will only accelerate, so physicians shouldn’t act surprised.

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