Employer Health Insurance Benefits Plan Premiums Rose 4 Percent, Study Finds

The average health insurance premium increase in during the past year is 4% for both single and family coverage, according to the 2015 employer health benefits survey sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The annual single coverage premium is $6,251 while the average family coverage premium is $17,545, the survey found.

Researchers found that the percentage of firms offering health benefits to its employees – 57 percent – as well as the percentage of workers covered at those firms – 63 percent – is statistically unchanged from 2014.

Large employers with 200 or more workers said they have analyzed their health benefits to determine whether they would be subject to the high-cost health plan tax when takes effect in 2018, the study found.

“Some employers are already making changes to their benefit plans in response to the tax,” study researchers said.  Continue reading

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Trends That We Are Reporting On Our Facebook Page

Almost 70 percent of Americans now have access to an accountable care organization for their health needs

Although growth slowed the number of ACOs still rose by about 16 percent; number of patients served rose 6 percent, said consultant Oliver Wyman.

Almost 70 percent of the U.S. population now lives in localities served by accountable care organizations, and 44 percent live in areas served by two or more, found new research by the Oliver Wyman consulting firm.

The total number of ACOs participating in Medicare programs has increased to 426, up from 368 in January 2014, the study found.

About 5.6 million Medicare beneficiaries, or about 11 percent of total Medicare beneficiaries, now receive their healthcare from ACOs participating in Medicare’s ACO programs.  https://www.facebook.com/TheMCIC

Source:  Oliver Wyman Study  http://www.oliverwyman.com/

What ‪‎Physicians‬ Earned in 2014 – New Results

“On average, specialists earned $284,000 a year while primary care physicians earned about $195,000, according to a new survey, which polled 19,500 physicians across 25 specialties.”

Orthopedists‬ earn an average of $450,000 a year. Cardiologists were earning a average total of $395,000 a year, the survey found.

On the lower end, pediatrics showed the lowest total compensation at $196,000, though exactly half said they felt fairly compensated. Also, 50 percent of pediatricians polled were women.

The average compensation for a self-employed male physician was $324,000, compared to $259,000 for female physicians.  https://www.facebook.com/TheMCIC

Source: Health Care Finance  http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/

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Directories of Healthcare Payers and Provider Organizations From the Managed Care Information Center

Searching for contact information about managed care organizations, health systems and hospitals or such physician organizations as independent practice associations or physician hospital organizations visit our Directories of Health Insurers and Providers page at Health Resources Online.

https://www.healthresourcesonline.com/directories-of-health-insurers-and-providers.html
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“A small percentage of patients are responsible for the majority of healthcare spending in the United States,” study finds.

The top three percent of patients categorized as persistent high users accounted for 21 percent of total annual healthcare expenditure for a typical large business in Pennsylvania, found the study published this week in the American Journal of Managed Care.

Persistent high users incurred annual expenses of more than $38,000 compared to just $2201 for patients who never crossed the “high use” threshold, the study researchers said. While some patients experiencing acute issues or hospitalizations temporarily incurred high expenses, patients experiencing a higher burden of sustained chronic conditions were significantly more likely to be frequent users of healthcare services. https://www.facebook.com/TheMCIC

Source: Healthcare IT Analytics  www.http://healthitanalytics.com/

 

Are CDHPs Reducing Medical Costs Without Cutting Care?

It’s safe to say that the jury is still if not out, at least somewhere between curious and skeptical about the overall benefits of consumer directed health plans. 

But studies are beginning to come in that suggest there may be real reductions in costs to the system from consumer directed plans.  

Earlier this year, a multi-year study that compared the healthcare claims experience of nearly 440,000 members covered by CIGNA CDHPs and traditional HMOs and PPOs was released. 

The study found that CIGNA Choice Fund account-based consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) reduced medical cost trend by 13 percent relative to HMO and PPO plans, even as individuals enrolled in CDHPs use more preventive services and comply with their medical treatments.  

“In these tough economic times, it’s critical that we all do what we can to cut medical costs without cutting care,” said CIGNA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jeffery Kang. “Critics of consumer-driven health plans contend that people will sacrifice their health to save money; when in fact our data show that account-based plans save money even as individuals receive the same or higher levels of care than those in traditional health plans.”  

According to Dr. Kang: “In our latest study of medical claims for 440,000 people covered by CIGNA plans, we reviewed claims for 22,000 individuals who have either hypertension or diabetes and found that medical cost trend was substantially less for those with CDHPs, while their treatment regimens were the same or better than those in traditional HMOs and PPOs.”  

Key findings of the 2009 CIGNA Choice Fund Experience Study include:  

Chronic Conditions: Medical cost trend was substantially less for CIGNA Choice Fund customers with diabetes (20 percent less) or hypertension (18 percent less) than for individuals with either of those diseases in traditional CIGNA health plans. Notably, these individuals maintained similar treatment regimens regardless of whether they were covered by CDHP, HMO or PPO plans; suggesting that the lower cost trend are likely a result of better chronic disease management, rather than patients foregoing recommended care.  

Pharmacy: In the first year, pharmacy cost trend for those covered by CIGNA Choice Fund plans was 10 percent lower than traditional plan cost trend, with the use of generic medications being nearly 5 percent higher among individuals covered by CIGNA CDHPs.  

Overall Medical Trend: In the first year, normalized medical trend for CIGNA Choice Fund plans was -3.3 percent versus 10.6 percent for traditional plans. The study also shows lower medical trend for CDHP continues in subsequent years. People with CIGNA Choice Fund continued to receive recommended care at compliance rates that were similar or better than those covered by traditional CIGNA health plans.  

“Not only does the data show that consumer- driven individuals becoming smarter about their care, individuals enrolled in CIGNA Choice Fund continued to receive recommended care at the same or higher levels as those enrolled in traditional plans in an evaluation of compliance with more than 300 evidence-based measures of healthcare quality. Preventive care visits for CIGNA Choice Fund individuals were 8 percent greater when compared to traditional plans and preventive care visits for renewal year CIGNA Choice Fund were 15 percent greater when compared to traditional plans.  

Pharmacy cost trend for those newly enrolled in CIGNA Choice Funds was 10 percent lower than those enrolled in traditional plans. When compared to the prior year, usage was higher for new CIGNA Choice Fund individuals and average unit trend cost was lower, for maintenance medications, suggesting that these individuals were compliant with their medications while exercising lower-cost options such as purchasing their medications by mail order and electing to use generic medications.  

Study results suggest that people with CIGNA plans are becoming more engaged in their healthcare, with increasing numbers of individuals turning to online information and decision support tools offered via myCIGNA.com.  

Currently an average of 55,000 individuals visit myCIGNA.com each business day to get the most out of their healthcare benefits. Online capabilities include CIGNA Care Connections, a personalized online search engine that helps those with CIGNA health plans find the highest quality and cost efficient physicians and hospitals, conduct side-by-side cost comparisons for generic, brand name and available therapeutic alternative medications at more than 57,000 pharmacies nationwide and locate the cost effective medical facilities, including convenience care clinics.

Address: CIGNA, One Liberty Pl., 1650 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19192;    (215) 761-1000   (215) 761-1000 , www.cigna.com.