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Although consumer-directed health plans are on the rise, few Americans report comparing the quality and price of plans, hospitals or doctors.
With the Affordable Care Act hitting its five year birthday and the second open enrollment period nearly finished, Americans are turning their attention and wishes for Congress and the Obama administration to a focus on prescription drugs.
Employers are bracing for double-digit pharmacy cost increases in the next year, but advisers can help them to take steps now to mitigate those cost increases for both their active and pre-retiree populations.
Consumer expectations demand advisers establish an online presence, LIMRA research shows. Financial advisory firms are stepping up to meet the demand, and following 3 critical steps to achieve social media success.
Of the people who purchased health insurance through a public exchange in 2014, 9% more federal exchange participants re-enrolled compared to the state-run marketplaces.
Enrollment in private health care exchanges hit 6 million for the 2015 plan year, according to Accenture — doubling the 3 million figure from 2014. Most of the growth is in the mid-market segment.
Some universities that provide health insurance to their students are stopping the practice, as they say the Affordable Care Act’s minimal essential health benefits requirements have led to unsustainable cost increases. Those that remain are turning to their brokers to determine the best way to continue offering coverage to their students.
States should not step in and establish their own exchanges if subsides are ruled illegal on the federal health care marketplace, a recent national study found, but industry experts say that is not the national consensus and point to the wording of poll questions to support the discrepancy.
Voluntary business is a well-known tool for brokers to increase their revenue while offering new products. But many employers are hesitant to add these products because of additional administrative burdens they can require. Enter the private health care exchange, says Carlos Ferrera, COO of Solstice Benefits and the Solstice Marketplace. With an exchange, the burden is gone, he says.
UnitedHealth Group’s $12.8 billion purchase of pharmacy benefit manager Catamaran Corp. continues a trend of PBM acquisitions, and there’s more to come, industry consultants say. In the long term, that may mean lower costs and more data availability for employers.
Continued lawsuits over excessive 401(k) fees are on track to force providers to change the way they deliver products and end a practice that appears to be a “showcase of impropriety.”
After two enrollment seasons under the Affordable Care Act's exchanges, the easily accessible and amenable are signed up for health care. With year three starting this fall, the task will be tougher to target the remaining uninsured, who are harder to reach. Who better to drive the message home, Washington state thinks, than brokers?
Many exchange budgets are being cut at the same time states are struggling to reach their remaining uninsured, and some are looking to brokers to provide assistance in filling that gap.
Although most employers who move to private exchanges are seeing some cost savings below trend in their initial years, that is not sustainable over time, says Rob Harkins, practice leader, private exchanges at Willis Group. For Willis, the exchange is not designed to be a long-term money-saving product on its own, but rather part of a larger program for its clients to manage health and wellbeing.
Everyone knows healthier employees are more productive employees, and focusing on wellness can help achieve that goal. But there are two things vital to us all missing from the equation: vision and hearing.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General intends to focus its investigations in fiscal year 2015 on the public health care exchanges, adding 5-10 reviews over the course of the year.
Despite predictions that private exchange enrollment will hit 30 million in 2017, employers remain cautious about them, including those early adopters who say they had little choice but to move to one.
Rather than drop benefits in the Americas, which Hilton says would hurt not only its employees but hotel guests too, the company decided to move to a private exchange. During that process, one of the biggest critics of the move was the company’s vice president of benefits.
Industry analysts praise one-stop shopping tools as a positive reason why many employers are moving to private exchanges. At Xerox’s Buck Consultants, 100% of employees enrolling through the company’s exchange engaged with its technology — and made an average of 11.5 return visits, says Sherri Brockhorst, leader of the RightOpt exchange at Buck.
With the Supreme Court set to hear King v. Burwell today, subsidies in the federal health care exchange could be eliminated for millions of enrollees. Leading up to this, Employee Benefit Adviser and Employee Benefit News have covered the story from all angles. Here is a roundup of our coverage in the case.