Category Archives: Current Economic Times

Evaluating Your Benefits Broker Relationship: 5 Important Questions to Ask

The receptionist calls to let you know that your insurance broker has arrived – it’s that time of year again – time to talk renewals. In walks the broker you’ve had for the last ten years. You exchange the usual pleasantries, but they’re ready to get right down to business. Now, don’t get me wrong, you like your broker. They are nice people and always return your calls. They resolve issues when you ask, and are glad to come out and see you once or twice a year. But is that enough? Are they really adding value to your business and to your employees? Continue reading Evaluating Your Benefits Broker Relationship: 5 Important Questions to Ask

Can Employers Control Big Pharma Greed?

The pharmaceutical industry has become abundant with misuse and greed. Profit, shareholder returns and risk minimization are the primary goals for most stakeholders. Half of specialty drug spending is for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Saved lives and cured diseases are products of these primary objectives, but as a multi-trillion dollar money trail evolves, capitalism prevails. Predatory pricing is a major business strategy for many.

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Online Consumerism and Private Healthcare Exchanges

How is it that we make purchases on Amazon.com with a touch on a smartphone, yet many of us still buy group health insurance with paper and a pen? The discrepancy between the two different experiences is confounding. Yes, I would like to clarify that there are fundamental differences between buying Cards Against Humanity on Amazon.com and choosing the right health plan for you and your dependents. However, the marketplace tells us that those two different experiences will be converging. Employers are adopting technologies to more efficiently and accurately manage their benefits and human resource processes and employees are demanding that they do so. Continue reading Online Consumerism and Private Healthcare Exchanges

Merger Mania

We recently heard of The Big Five health insurers vying for takeovers. The most current is Anthem’s bid for Cigna. Frustrated by negotiation breakdowns, Anthem made the deal public in an effort to “convince” the Cigna management team and board of the potential positive outcomes for them and the shareholders. But what about the members served by those organizations and why is this all occurring now?

A recent Wall Street Journal article1 shed some light on the motivations behind the sudden merger mania. The article alluded to: credit being inexpensive, the fact that some entities looking to pair up have complementary businesses, Health Care Reform has somewhat leveled the playing field, and economies of scale will be accretive. Also noted in this report, is the number of hospitals and insurance providers that have merged in recent years, with more mergers to come in the future. Continue reading Merger Mania