"Let’s start a conversation. We would welcome the opportunity to learn about your challenges and goals for your employee benefit plan. We are confident that our different thinking can lead to improved employee wellbeing, lower costs and greater employee appreciation – resulting in a better outcome for both you and your employees."
– Dan Dorsheimer
Founder & Principal,
AIA Benefits Resource Group

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News

25Jul, 2016

Democratic Platform calls for end to Obamacare tax

By Robert King • 7/22/16 5:40 PM  | The Washington Examiner

Democrats drove another nail into the coffin of the unpopular “Cadillac” tax on expensive health plans created under Obamacare.

The Democratic Party platform released Friday calls for ending the planned excise tax on high-cost healthcare plans that has been nicknamed the “Cadillac” tax. Democrats have largely joined Republicans in opposing the tax.

“We will repeal the excise tax on high-cost health insurance and find revenue to offset it because we need to contain the long-term growth of health care costs, but should not risk passing on too much of the burden to […]

25Jul, 2016

Healthy eating can include ‘a lot’ of (good) fat, analysis of 56 diet studies concludes

By Ariana Eunjung Cha | The Washington Post
July 19

Hanna Bloomfield’s bosses at the Department of Veterans Affairs had been reading a lot about the plant-based Mediterranean diet. Some highly publicized recent studies had shown that eating lots of fresh vegetables and olive oil along with maybe a splash of red wine could have tremendous health benefits, and they wondered whether it was something the VA, as an organization, should consider recommending to its more than 9 million patients.

They tasked Bloomfield with figuring out whether this health effect was real — or simply hype. Bloomfield, associate chief of staff for research for the Minneapolis VA Health Care System and a professor at the University of Minnesota, pulled […]

21Jul, 2016

Pa. offers prescribing guidelines, monitoring program to combat opioid abuse

By Lenay Ruhl,July 21, 2016 at 3:00 AM | CPBJ

(Photo / Thinkstock)

The latest state efforts to combat the epidemic of painkiller and heroin abuse are focusing on prescription medication.

State officials this this week adopted guidelines for physicians prescribing opioids, while a new prescription drug monitoring program is set to become fully functional in August.

The efforts are critical as Pennsylvania combats a national epidemic, officials said.

More than 259 million opioid prescriptions were written across the U.S. in 2012, and an estimated 1.9 million Americans are addicted to opioid pain pills, according to a study by the National Security Council.

The study found […]

15Jul, 2016

U.S. Health Care Costs Reach Record Highs

July 14–WASHINGTON — The nation’s health care tab this year is expected to surpass $10,000 per person for the first time, the government said yesterday.

The new peak means the Obama administration will pass the problem on to its successor.

The report from number-crunchers at the Department of Health and Human Ser­vices projects that health care spending will grow at a faster rate than the national econ­omy over the coming decade.

That squeezes the ability of federal and state governments, not to mention employers and average citizens, to pay. Growth is projected to average 5.8 percent from 2015 to 2025, below the pace […]

14Jul, 2016

Law blocks insurers from upcharging for oral cancer treatment

By Lenay Ruhl, July 14, 2016 at 3:00 AM | CPBJ

(Photo / Thinkstock)

New legislation approved this week will protect cancer patients in Pennsylvania from paying more for oral treatments.

The law ensures that insurers in Pennsylvania cannot increase a patient’s insurance rates simply because they are using oral forms of treatment.

Oral cancer treatment is newer than traditional, intravenous or injected chemotherapies, and tends to have fewer, less harmful side effects, according to the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

However, health insurance plans typically imposed higher co-payments, deductibles or coinsurance amounts for oral anticancer medicine, the society said.

Those practices are now illegal under a law […]

13Jul, 2016

How can I help my employees become better health care consumers?

According to the 2016 Milliman Medical Index, the average cost of providing health care for a family covered under an employer-sponsored health care plan has surpassed $25,000.

That is three times the cost of family coverage in 2001 and represents the 11th consecutive year that the total dollar increase for the average family’s health care costs exceeded $1,000.

With many employers not able to continue absorbing ever-increasing insurance renewals, some are partnering with employees to reduce expenditures as part of their benefit strategy.

Too frequently, employers spend months working with consultants to plan an upcoming renewal only to spend a day or two […]

27Jun, 2016

Study finds Pa. is “lagging” in fight against opioids

Lawmakers, governor plan special session to tackle problem
By Lenay Ruhl, June 24, 2016 at 10:32 AM | CPBJ

Pennsylvania is lagging behind when it comes to combating opioid pain pill and heroin addiction, according to a report released today by the National Security Council, but elected officials are springing into action with plans for a special legislative session.

The council deemed the opioid epidemic the most fatal drug crisis in U.S. history, blaming it for the loss of 165,000 American lives between 2000 and 2014.

It evaluated efforts by all 50 states based on six indicators deemed necessary to confront the crisis.

The study […]

24Jun, 2016

Reports of Highmark wanting to sell vision unit raises questions

Is Highmark Health looking to sell its profitable HVHC vision business?

 

The Wall Street Journal says it is, but a Highmark spokesman would not confirm that and Pennsylvania Insurance Department officials say they have not received any notification from Highmark — a requirement if an insurer intends to sell part of its holdings.

Highmark spokesman Aaron Billger described HVHC as “a strategic investment for Highmark” and said the Pittsburgh insurer is often contacted by others who may be interested in purchasing it or other non-core Highmark businesses.

As to whether Highmark is actively shopping HVHC, he said simply, “We are keeping our options […]

23Jun, 2016

White House blasts HSA deduction limits package

The Obama administration is opposing an effort to increase the health savings account (HSA) deduction limit along with two other health measures bundled with it in H.R. 1270.

House Republican leaders plan to bring H.R. 1270, the Restoring Access to Medication Act of 2015 bill, to the House floor Thursday, according to an analysis posted by the House Republicans.

The H.R. 1270 package includes:

The original text of H.R. 1270, which would let consumers use cash in HSAs and other personal health accounts to buy over-the-counter drugs without a prescription.
The text of H.R. 5445, which would increase the maximum deduction to about $7,800 […]