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Q&A: Charles Smithers Jr., National Business Coalition on Health

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 30, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Charles Smithers Jr. is the chief operating and financial officer for the Washington-based National Business Coalition on Health, as well as its interim chief executive officer. He recently discussed the concept of value-based health insurance design with Business Insurance Associate Editor Matt Dunning. Edited excerpts follow.

Health care industry struggling to defend against cyber attacks

By: Shelby Livingston

Published August 27, 2015 - 3:25pm CST

Despite the high frequency of cyber attacks against health care providers and health insurers, only a little more than half of those organizations say they're prepared to safeguard data, a new analysis finds.

Health care premiums rise, more increases coming

By: Shelby Livingston

Published August 26, 2015 - 1:06pm CST

Group health care premiums continue to outpace inflation, and while most employers are feeling the pressure of rising health care costs, benefits experts say smaller employers may face a heavier burden.

Cigna cleared of stealing firm's points-based wellness plan

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 25, 2015 - 3:32pm CST

An Illinois appeals court says Cigna Corp. did not steal its concept for a points-based workplace wellness program from a competing health insurer.

CBS Sports worker can sue UnitedHealth over mental health parity

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 21, 2015 - 3:30pm CST

UnitedHealth Group Inc. must face litigation that it illegally restricted a CBS Sports Network employee's coverage for mental health expenses, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Coalition takes aim at health reform law's 40% excise tax

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 21, 2015 - 2:36pm CST

A coalition of employers, insurers and unions on Friday urged federal lawmakers to repeal the health care reform law's so-called Cadillac tax.

New tool will compare costs and benefits of cancer treatments

Published August 21, 2015 - 12:32pm CST

(Reuters) — As options for cancer patients become increasingly complicated and expensive, the most influential source for U.S. oncology treatment guidelines will for the first time offer a tool to assess the costs versus benefits of available therapies.

Health plan premium costs rising for most employers

By: Shelby Livingston

Published August 21, 2015 - 11:17am CST

The vast majority of employers are reporting increases in the premiums they currently pay for employee health plans, according to a new survey by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Contraceptive coverage battles

Published August 19, 2015 - 12:17pm CST

In June 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that family-owned for-profit employers cannot be forced by the federal health care reform law to provide coverage for prescription contraceptives. Since then, numerous religious colleges and charities have sought to earn the same exemption, but have had limited success. A history of these ongoing court battles is documented in this photo gallery. ...

Maximum FSA contributions expected to stay the same for 2016

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 19, 2015 - 11:36am CST

With inflation running low, the maximum contribution employees will be able to make to their flexible spending accounts in 2016 is expected to remain unchanged, according to the latest government statistics.

California workers comp medical payments down

By: Gloria Gonzalez

Published August 19, 2015 - 11:11am CST

Industrywide medical payments in California's workers compensation system declined by $100 million, or 3.7%, to $2.5 billion in 2014 from 2013, according to a report published by the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California.

College football players' union efforts likely sacked for good

By: Shelby Livingston

Published August 19, 2015 - 9:52am CST

The National Labor Relations Board's decision to dismiss a petition by Northwestern University football players to unionize and sidestep the issue of whether they are employees thwarts the potential for similar action by other private school scholarship athletes, legal experts say.

Growing chorus warns of perils in hospital, insurer mergers

By: Melanie Evans, Modern Healthcare

Published August 18, 2015 - 9:27am CST

There’s a growing chorus among those who fear giants created by merging hospitals and insurers will squash innovation and boost prices.

'Cadillac' tax repeal gains momentum

By: Bob Herman, Modern Healthcare

Published August 17, 2015 - 8:43am CST

Momentum is building in Washington to repeal the Affordable Care Act's tax on high-cost employer health plans — a move that would undo policymakers' previous goal of restructuring a tax exclusion that insulates all employees from experiencing most of the pain of rising health care costs.

Employers who negotiate with hospitals get ahead

By: Shelby Livingston

Published August 16, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Few employers negotiate with hospitals and other health care providers to obtain discounts on cost of medical services, but those that do usually cut their costs and improve the quality of the care their employees receive.

Q&A: Dr. Roy Schoenberg, American Well Corp.

By: Shelby Livingston

Published August 16, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Dr. Roy Schoenberg is the president and CEO of telehealth provider American Well Corp. He co-founded the Boston-based company with his brother in 2006 for patients to access medical services, rather than just information, over the Internet. Today, American Well provides telehealth technology for more than 600 employers in addition to health insurers, hospitals and individuals. Dr. Schoenberg...

Health care system targets employers in Alabama, Indiana and Florida

By: Melanie Evans, Modern Healthcare

Published August 14, 2015 - 10:09am CST

MissionPoint Health Partners, an Ascension subsidiary that develops health plan networks and accountable care organizations, is going after employers' business in Alabama, Indiana and Florida.

San Francisco boosts employer health care spending mandate for 2016

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 14, 2015 - 10:04am CST

Employers with workers in San Francisco will have to pay more next year to comply with the city’s health care spending law.

Uninsured rate dips below 10%

By: Shannon Muchmore, Modern Healthcare

Published August 13, 2015 - 9:04am CST

The percentage of uninsured people in the United States dropped below 10% this year for the first time, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey released Wednesday.

Benefit reductions not easing employer's workers comp cost increases

By: Gloria Gonzalez

Published August 12, 2015 - 3:07pm CST

Employer costs for workers compensation continue to rise despite the fact that workers comp benefits as a share of payroll were lower in 2013 than any other period, according to a report published Wednesday by the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Employer groups wary of new out-of-pocket health maximums

By: Jerry Geisel and Matt Dunning

Published August 12, 2015 - 10:05am CST

Employer groups voiced their support this week for congressional questioning of a potentially costly change to employee cost-sharing rules under the health care reform law.

Majority of health plans likely to trigger 'Cadillac' tax

By: Shelby Livingston

Published August 12, 2015 - 9:31am CST

Nearly half of large employers expect at least one of their health plans to trigger the health care reform law's “Cadillac” tax on high-cost health plans in 2018 if no additional measures are taken to control rising health care costs, a new survey shows.

Drugmaker prevails over comp insurers in off-label opioid case

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published August 11, 2015 - 2:53pm CST

The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit has dismissed workers compensation insurers' claims that a pharmaceutical company marketed its powerful opioids for off-label uses.

GOP lawmakers question HHS rules on out-of-pocket limits

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 10, 2015 - 9:32am CST

The chairmen of three House committees are asking HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell to justify a costly “clarification” of health reform law rules that places new limits on how much in out-of-pocket expenses employers with high-deductible plans can require employees to pay.

Court denies religious groups seeking 'contraceptive mandate' opt-out

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 07, 2015 - 3:08pm CST

Religious charities and schools seeking an outright exemption to the health care reform law's so-called prescription “contraceptive mandate” were denied again on Friday in federal court.

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