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Vermont residents spend less on health care, but clouds are looming

By: Melanie Evans, Modern Healthcare

Published August 27, 2014 - 8:49am CST

In Vermont, a state with ambitions for universal health care by 2017, privately insured patients spent less time hospitalized and used more generic drugs than the average U.S. patient during the five years leading up to and including the year when health reform passed nationally and in Vermont, a report said.

HealthCare.gov to be run by Connecticut exchange leader

By: Darius Tahir, Modern Healthcare

Published August 26, 2014 - 3:57pm CST

The leader of one of the most successful state-based insurance exchanges will head to Washington to become CEO of the federal marketplace. The CMS named Connecticut's Kevin Counihan to the newly created post on Tuesday.

Retrofit bulks up corporate weight-loss effort with BSwift

By: John Pletz, Crain's Chicago Businsess

Published August 26, 2014 - 3:07pm CST

Chicago's Retrofit Inc., a tech-enabled weight-loss startup backed by J.B. Pritzker, Larry Levy and Jai Shekhawat, is teaming with BSwift, a Chicago-based health insurance services company.

Judge strikes down Florida ban on same-sex marriage

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 22, 2014 - 12:13pm CST

A federal judge has struck down Florida's ban on same-sex marriage.

FBI warns health care companies they are targeted by hackers

Published August 20, 2014 - 2:33pm CST

(Reuters) — The FBI has warned that health care industry companies are being targeted by hackers, publicizing the issue following an attack on a U.S. hospital group.

EEOC says energy company's wellness program violated ADA

By: Judy Greenwald

Published August 20, 2014 - 2:32pm CST

The U.S. EEOC has filed suit against an energy company for allegedly violating the ADA, charging that it shifted responsibility for paying health care premiums to an employee.

Employers expect modest health plan cost increases in 2015: Survey

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 20, 2014 - 1:49pm CST

Employers are expecting only modest increases in 2015 in their group health care plan costs, but are looking at new approaches to continue to keep costs under control, according to a survey released Wednesday.

West Palm Beach, Fla., contractors must offer domestic partner benefits

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 19, 2014 - 3:02pm CST

City commissioners in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday unanimously approved an ordinance requiring private companies that contract with the city to provide equal benefits for domestic partners.

Final vote phases out Massachusetts' state health insurance mandate

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 18, 2014 - 2:34pm CST

A Massachusetts health reform law board unanimously voted to repeal for a final time rules relating to a landmark state statute that required employers to either offer health care coverage to their employees or pay a fine.

Benefits administration vendors retool to help firms comply with reporting rules

By: Joanne Wojcik

Published August 17, 2014 - 6:00am CST

Providers of benefits administration outsourcing services are scrambling to help employers comply with upcoming tax reporting requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but few can transmit that information directly to the IRS.

ALCO Stores finds provider to help with automated health benefits enrollment

By: Joanne Wojcik

Published August 17, 2014 - 6:00am CST

ALCO Stores Inc. changed benefit administration outsourcing providers this year to help it meet Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requirements that the chain of more than 200 stores provide automated enrollment to employees and extend benefits to those working 30 or more hours per week.

Wellness programs have value beyond medical cost savings: DMEC speaker

By: Stephanie Goldberg

Published August 14, 2014 - 10:14am CST

LAS VEGAS — The business value of having a wellness program and a healthy workforce goes beyond the potential to reduce medical costs.

More large employers to only offer CDHPs: NBGH survey

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 13, 2014 - 2:06pm CST

WASHINGTON — Large employers are continuing to pare back the type of health care plans they offer to try to keep costs under control, according to a survey released Wednesday by the National Business Group on Health.

WellPoint to change name to Anthem

By: Bob Herman, Modern Healthcare

Published August 13, 2014 - 8:52am CST

WellPoint, one of the largest investor-owned health insurers in the country, is looking to rebrand itself as Anthem, pending shareholder approval.

Silicon Valley startup launches self-insurance option for smaller firms

Published August 12, 2014 - 3:18pm CST

(Reuters) — The founders of Collective Health, a Silicon Valley startup, say they can help employers save money by self-insuring rather than paying premiums to a health insurance company.

Massachusetts employer health insurance penalty set for repeal

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 12, 2014 - 1:26pm CST

A Massachusetts health reform law board is scheduled to vote for the final time to repeal regulations relating to a state statute that required employers to either offer health care coverage to their employees or pay a fine.

OFF BEAT: Bill for Band-Aid adds insult to injury

Published August 11, 2014 - 12:29pm CST

A New Jersey hospital has a public relations emergency on its hands after it charged a man $9,000 to bandage his cut finger.

Medical autonomy not violated by ACA's individual health insurance mandate: Court

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 08, 2014 - 11:02am CST

A key health care reform law provision that requires individuals to purchase coverage or pay a financial penalty does not violate their constitutional right to make their own medical decisions.

Ruling opening up captives to fund benefits hits 35th anniversary

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 07, 2014 - 2:11pm CST

Thursday marks the 35th anniversary of a U.S. Department of Labor ruling that opened the door for employers to use their captive insurance companies to fund employee benefit risks.

Blue Cross balks at residential mental health coverage: Lawsuit

By: Andrew L. Wang, Crain's Chicago Business

Published August 06, 2014 - 2:49pm CST

An employee of a Chicago company is suing Health Care Service Corp., alleging the insurance giant is violating a federal law in denying coverage for her daughter's costly mental health treatment.

Utah asks Supreme Court to rule on state's ban on same-sex marriages

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 05, 2014 - 3:14pm CST

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether Utah's law banning same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution.

Health plan administrator WageWorks expands with Conexis acquisition

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 05, 2014 - 2:18pm CST

WageWorks Inc., a San Mateo, California-based administrator of consumer-driven health and other benefit plans, said it has purchased health plan administrator Conexis Benefits Administrators L.P., a unit of The Word & Brown Cos. in Orange, California.

ERISA does not pre-empt Michigan tax on health claims: Court

By: Jerry Geisel

Published August 05, 2014 - 11:56am CST

A 2011 Michigan law that imposes a 1% tax on paid health care claims is not pre-empted by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Battle over health insurance premium subsidies may dilute Affordable Care Act

By: Matt Dunning

Published August 03, 2014 - 6:00am CST

The ultimate outcome of lawsuits seeking to limit the availability of federal premium subsidies under the health care reform law could substantially weaken its key provisions, including the employer and individual coverage mandates.

Employers export U.S. cost-sharing to overseas units

By: Joanne Wojcik

Published August 03, 2014 - 6:00am CST

As the cost of health care climbs worldwide, some U.S. multinational employers are introducing cost-sharing into their expatriate health benefits plans, many for the first time.

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