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California sees health exchange surge as open enrollment ends for 2014

Published April 18, 2014 - 9:50am CST

(Reuters) — Thanks to a final April surge, California's health care exchange marketplace enrolled a total of 1.4 million people in private health insurance plans, state officials announced Thursday.

Mercer projects health reform law's 2015 penalties, HSA and HDHP tax limits

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 18, 2014 - 9:00am CST

Mercer L.L.C. has projected the amounts employers can expect to pay in 2015 for failing to comply with the health care reform law's “play or pay” provisions in a report released on Tuesday.

PPACA enrollment tops 8 million, Obama says

By: Paul Demko, Modern Healthcare

Published April 17, 2014 - 4:44pm CST

Enrollment in health plans sold on Obamacare's insurance exchanges has reached 8 million, and 35% of those who signed up through are under the age of 35, President Barack Obama said Thursday.

Misdiagnosis could affect 12 million U.S. adults annually: Study

By: Sabriya Rice, Modern Healthcare

Published April 17, 2014 - 11:15am CST

An estimated 1 in 20 U.S. adults could be misdiagnosed during outpatient visits, and about half of those errors could prove to be harmful for the patient, finds a new study in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety.

U.S. health care usage, spending resume rise in 2013: Report

Published April 15, 2014 - 9:22am CST

(Reuters) — Americans used more health services and spent more on prescription drugs in 2013, reversing a recent trend, though greater use of cheaper generic drugs helped control spending, according to a new report.

CBO predicts 6% annual premium hikes for Obamacare plans this decade

Published April 14, 2014 - 3:14pm CST

(Reuters) — The average premium for an Obamacare benchmark plan will rise slightly in 2015 and increase about 6% a year during the rest of this decade, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Monday.

Flexible spending accounts' future uncertain as health care rules evolve

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Internal Revenue Service guidance resolves how to integrate health savings accounts with carry-over flexible spending accounts, but employer interest in carry-over FSAs appears limited.

Coordinated medical delivery supports employers' health care cost-cutting efforts

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — There may be a silver lining to employers' move to high-deductible health plans: It is making medical providers more conscious of the need to control costs.

Employers switch to high-deductible plans and private exchanges to cut costs

By: Bill Kenealy

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Benefit managers who are looking to control rising health care costs have converging trends that can aid them in that effort.

Focusing on chronic illness management reduces overall health costs over time

By: Bill Kenealy

Published April 13, 2014 - 6:00am CST

A still-unsettled issue in health care cost containment is the potential of wellness and case management programs to reduce costs overall or over time.

Katy Spangler joins American Benefits Council as health policy lead

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 11, 2014 - 2:25pm CST

Katy Spangler, a former congressional health policy staffer, will join the American Benefits Council next month as its senior vice president of health policy, the Washington-based employer benefits lobbying organization announced Wednesday.

Obama taps budget director as new health secretary after Sebelius resigns

Published April 11, 2014 - 11:42am CST

(Reuters) — U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning after overseeing the botched rollout of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reforms.

Health insurance exchanges top 7.5 million as late sign-ups continue

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 10, 2014 - 2:17pm CST

Even with the formal registration period ended, enrollment in public health insurance exchanges continues to grow and now tops 7.5 million, federal health officials said Thursday.

Senate panel approves mass transit tax break, some health premium subsidies

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 07, 2014 - 10:47am CST

New tax legislation would allow employees to make up to $250 a month in pretax contributions to pay for mass transit expenses through the end of 2015, while an expired but limited federal health premium subsidy would be restored.

House votes to change PPACA full-time worker definition to 40 hours

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 03, 2014 - 3:09pm CST

The House of Representatives approved legislation to ease the health reform law's definition of a full-time employee by changing it to those working at least 40 hours per week, shielding more employers from a stiff financial penalty.

Segal Group expands health care exchange offerings for retirees

By: Kate Shepherd

Published April 02, 2014 - 1:56pm CST

The Segal Group Inc. on Wednesday said it has expanded its retiree health services offerings for organizations interested in a private health care exchange platform for Medicare-eligible retirees.

Oswald launches health care exchange with benefits management features

By: Kate Shepherd

Published April 02, 2014 - 1:49pm CST

Oswald Cos. has launched the Oswald Private Exchange, a private health care marketplace and benefits management platform for Ohio businesses, the Cleveland-based broker said Wednesday.

Oregon same-sex marriage ban 'wrong' and bad for business: Employers

By: Matt Dunning

Published April 02, 2014 - 10:52am CST

A group of large and midsize employers in Oregon says the state's ban on same-sex marriage is not only “morally and legally wrong,” it's also bad for business.

Health care firm Bswift lands $51M from private equity fund

By: John Pletz, Crain's Chicago Business

Published April 02, 2014 - 10:29am CST

Bswift L.L.C., a health care benefits software firm, has received $51 million from a private equity fund to keep up with torrid growth.

California health exchange enrollment continues to surge

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 01, 2014 - 12:19pm CST

Enrollment in California's health insurance exchange, the largest public exchange authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, continues to soar.

Towers Watson risk transfer program aims to offload retiree health care risks

By: Jerry Geisel

Published March 30, 2014 - 6:00am CST

A program that applies aspects of the pension plan risk-reduction concept to employers' retiree health care exposures could provide financial relief to some employers, experts say.

PERSPECTIVES: 2014 is a pivotal year for reassessment of benefits strategy

By: Amy Bergner and Michael Thompson

Published March 30, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Employers should re-evaluate their role in providing health care coverage and better define the value in their benefits strategy, say Amy Bergner and Michael Thompson of PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P.

Medicaid, Medicare Advantage enrollment drive rise in health insurer revenue

By: Matt Dunning

Published March 30, 2014 - 6:00am CST

The nation's biggest health insurers enjoyed modest growth in 2013, but their net income was nearly flat.

Coventry acquisition helps Aetna report increased revenue and profit

By: Matt Dunning

Published March 30, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Propelled largely by its successful acquisition of Coventry Health Care Inc., Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna Inc. posted the strongest 2013 performance among the five largest publicly traded U.S. health insurers.

Medical bill reviews and audits can help employers lower health benefit costs

By: Joanne Wojcik

Published March 30, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Medical bill review services that audit hospital bills to identify errors and overcharges can help self-funded employers reduce their health benefit costs.

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