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High-deductible plans and wellness programs keep health care costs low

By: Jerry Geisel

Published September 14, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Employers' move to high-deductible health plans and greater use of generic drugs and wellness programs are limiting increases in health care costs, with no sign that premiums will surge in the near future.

Q&A: James Klein, American Benefits Council

By: Jerry Geisel

Published September 14, 2014 - 6:00am CST

For years, employers have been grappling with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as reform law provisions took effect and regulations were published. At the same time, federal lawmakers, especially Republicans in the House of Representatives, have launched drives to modify and, in some cases, repeal the law.

Workers comp industry needs strategies to combat opioid abuse: Panel

By: Bill Kenealy

Published September 11, 2014 - 2:56pm CST

DANA POINT, California — Workers compensation professionals need a comprehensive strategy to address the risk of opioid abuse among injured workers, speakers said at the 2014 California Workers' Compensation & Risk Conference.

Health benefits costs back on the rise: Mercer survey

By: Matt Dunning

Published September 11, 2014 - 2:52pm CST

Following several consecutive years of decline, the average rate of increase in health benefit costs has begun to trend back upward, according to preliminary survey results published Thursday by Mercer L.L.C.

California law guarantees workers three paid sick days a year

By: Judy Greenwald

Published September 10, 2014 - 2:08pm CST

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Wednesday legislation that provides California workers with up to 24 hours or three days of paid sick leave per year.

Group health premium increases modest in 2014: Survey

By: Jerry Geisel

Published September 10, 2014 - 9:10am CST

Group health insurance premiums continue to increase modestly, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.

Gallagher buys Connecticut-based benefits consultant

By: Matt Dunning

Published September 09, 2014 - 4:47pm CST

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. on Tuesday announced the purchase of Everett James Inc., a Ridgefield, Connecticut-based employee benefits broker and consultant.

BROKER BEAT: M3 Insurance

Published September 09, 2014 - 1:24pm CST

Business Insurance Associate Editor Bill Kenealy speaks with Mike Victorson, president and CEO of M3 Insurance, about issues currently impacting the Wisconsin-based insurance brokerage.

Hackers break into server for Obamacare website: U.S. officials

Published September 05, 2014 - 10:49am CST

(Reuters) — An unknown hacker or hackers broke into a computer server supporting the HealthCare.gov website through which consumers enroll in Obamacare health insurance, apparently uploading malicious files.

Appeals court upholds gay marriage rights in Indiana, Wisconsin

By: Matt Dunning

Published September 04, 2014 - 5:16pm CST

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled unanimously Thursday in favor of gay and lesbian couples seeking equal marriage rights and benefits in Indiana and Wisconsin.

New York health insurance rates going up in 2015 for individuals, small groups

By: Matt Dunning

Published September 04, 2014 - 3:15pm CST

New York state's individual and small group health insurance rates for the 2015 plan year, including rates for plans purchased through New York's public health insurance exchange, will increase by averages of 5.7% and 6.7% respectively.

Full appeals court to review legality of premium subsidies in federal exchanges

By: Jerry Geisel

Published September 04, 2014 - 12:13pm CST

A federal appeals court Thursday agreed to review a lower court ruling striking down health care reform law premium subsidies for lower-income individuals purchasing coverage in the federal insurance exchanges.

Researchers project health care spending to accelerate

By: Jerry Geisel

Published September 03, 2014 - 4:38pm CST

Health care expenditures rose modestly in 2013, but cost increases could begin to accelerate this year and continue as the economy improves and key provisions of the health care reform law take effect.

Landmark ERISA pension reform law sees mixed results 40 years after implementation

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 31, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Forty years after President Gerald Ford signed the first comprehensive pension reform bill into law, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act has produced successes and failures.

Employers want unbiased advice on private health care exchanges

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 31, 2014 - 6:00am CST

As private health insurance exchanges evolve, some benefits consultants are trying to distinguish themselves as unbiased advisers in a marketplace dominated by companies offering advisory services.

Brokers with private health exchanges strive to maintain unbiased stance

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 31, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Several brokers have positioned themselves as objective consultants within the private health insurance exchange marketplace, despite having their own exchanges.

Affordable Care Act pushes health insurer revenues higher

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 31, 2014 - 6:00am CST

The influx of new customers buying health insurance through public exchanges drove moderate revenue and enrollment growth for the nation's largest health insurers during the first half of the year, but it also dampened their collective profit.

Largest health insurers plan to increase public exchange participation

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 31, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Midway through the year, four of the five largest U.S. health insurers have signaled plans to increase their participation in public health insurance exchanges despite early profit declines and pricing uncertainty.

Direct contracts with medical providers help self-insured employers control costs

By: Karen Pallarito

Published August 31, 2014 - 6:00am CST

A growing number of self-insured employers are bypassing health plan administrators and contracting directly with providers in efforts to limit the increases in their health care costs.

Denver suburb provides its own primary care clinics to cut health costs

By: Karen Pallarito

Published August 31, 2014 - 6:00am CST

What's the antidote for escalating health benefits costs? The City of Arvada, Colorado, is betting on a whopping dose of primary care medicine.

Ex-Little Caesar manager sues over denial of same-sex spousal benefits

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 29, 2014 - 3:27pm CST

A former Little Caesar Enterprises Inc. employee has sued the company for denying spousal health insurance to married same-sex couples in California.

IRS issues draft copies of health care coverage reporting forms

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 29, 2014 - 2:54pm CST

The Internal Revenue Service has issued draft copies of the health care coverage forms employers will have to provide to full-time employees and to the IRS starting in 2016.

Flexible spending account cap expected to rise in 2015

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 29, 2014 - 2:49pm CST

The maximum contribution employees will be able to make to their flexible spending accounts is expected to rise in 2015 by $50 to $2,550, according to Buck Consultants at Xerox calculations.

Senior execs increasingly more hands-on in medical stop-loss decisions: Study

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 29, 2014 - 2:13pm CST

As high-cost medical claims continue to rise among employers that self-insure their group health benefits, the number of senior executives, financial officers and risk managers involving themselves in their company's decisions regarding stop-loss insurance is also increasing.

Washington health exchange plans double; average rates rise 1.9%

By: Rachel Landen, Modern Healthcare

Published August 28, 2014 - 2:35pm CST

Consumers in Washington state will have more choices in health plans next year and at rates lower than initially proposed, according to information made public by the state's Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

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