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Visit One News Page for Health Insurance news from around the world, aggregated from leading sources including newswires, newspapers and broadcast media. Search millions of archived news headlines. This feed provides the Health Insurance news headlines.
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    A bill that would take a funding cut for the state's child health insurance program off automatic pilot is stalled in the Arizona Legislature.

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
      Reported by azcentral.com 18 hours ago.

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    StoneGate Senior Living announces its Global Liaison program, which delivers a seamless contact point for patients across its services and programs, and the expansion of its Central Intake Center, a free service streamlining the incoming medical referral process.

    LEWISVILLE, Texas (PRWEB) April 16, 2018

    Award-winning senior care and housing company launches white glove patient service resource. In a move to further enhance its award-winning standard of care for Texas’ seniors, StoneGate Senior Living, LLC announces its Global Liaison program for the Greater Dallas/ Fort Worth region, effective April 19th, 2018. The program delivers a seamless contact point for patients across its myriad of services and programs, ensuring each patient receives even greater levels of coordinated care across its 13 participating facilities.

    “StoneGate Senior Living’s communities have earned recognition and awards for their programs serving seniors’ minds, bodies and spirits,” says Angela Norris, RN & StoneGate Senior Living Senior Vice President of Business Development. “The launch of our Global Liaison program ensures our patients and their families will have even greater levels of ease and access to the highly-successful programs offered in our network of exceptional skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities.”

    The Global Liaison program will ensure that a thorough analysis is conducted for a patient, evaluating their needs and pertinent information, including insurance coverage, prior to admission. The goal of this service is to ensure optimal care quality and customer satisfaction beginning at the time of hospital-to-skilled nursing facility transfer.

    The Global Liaison team member will discuss ease of access to the StoneGate’s spectrum of care and lifestyle-enriching programs, including such offerings as the Dining Your Way restaurant-style dining program, which features the option of pre-ordering selected meals; Life Works Wellness, an exhilarating exercise program calibrated to the unique needs of each senior, customized levels of support for each senior’s need, property design with a focus on well-being as well as pleasing aesthetics, and a third-party listening program that ensures each family and patient’s voice can be heard by a neutral, external resource.

    Participating Texas facilities include: Accel at Willow Bend, located in Plano; Baybrooke Village Care and Rehabilitation Center, McKinney; Emerald Hills Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, North Richland, Garnet Hill Rehabilitation & Skilled Care, Wylie; Lakewest Rehabilitation & Skilled Care, Dallas; Ridgeview Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing, Cleburne; Settlers Ridge Care Center, Celina; The Homestead of Sherman, Sherman; The Plaza at Richardson, Richardson; Town East Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, Mesquite; Villages on MacArthur, Irving; and Williamsburg Village Healthcare Campus, DeSoto. (Simpson Place, Dallas – Coming Summer 2018)

    In addition to the Global Liaison program, StoneGate is expanding its Central Intake Center (CIC).

    The CIC's mission is to streamline the process of incoming medical referrals, assessing which communities would be a good fit for a patient and whether those buildings have the availability to support the coordinated patient care between hospitals and post-acute care. The CIC also validates health insurance benefits and secures prior authorizations from managed care organizations when necessary. The CIC will work in tandem with the Global Liaisons.

    The CIC, which first launched in all Dallas/Fort Worth locations in September 2017, will now coordinate medical referrals to Houston’s Pathways Memory Care and Villa Toscana at Cypress Woods, and College Station’s Accel at College Station. Longview’s Treviso Transitional Care is also included in the expansion. The centralized referral system is aimed at ensuring the continuity of patient care and expediting admissions for the medical care community.

    Located in StoneGate Senior Living’s headquarters in Lewisville, Texas, CIC is a free service available to patients, families, and medical professionals seeking post-acute short-term placement in a skilled nursing & rehabilitation center or long-term care in a nursing home. The CIC’s referral service can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 833-EZ-ADMIT (833-392-3648).

    About StoneGate Senior Living, LLC
    StoneGate Senior Living, LLC provides support services to senior living and care properties that offer skilled health care, assisted living, memory support and independent living locations in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. Founded and led by a team of senior living industry veterans, StoneGate understands that careful attention to customer expectations is vital to the success of a senior living and care community.

    Learn more at http://www.stonegatesl.com/. Reported by PRWeb 20 hours ago.

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    Health System and Robotics Studio team up to inspire kids to enter the world of health care engineering through a robotics challenge with naming rights to surgical systems used in the hospital for the winners.

    MISHAWAKA, IND (PRWEB) April 16, 2018

    Twenty-two student teams in grades 4 - 8 have been working hard to make sure the robots they built and programmed are ready for their final event in the Saint Joseph Health System (SJHS) Robotics Challenge on April 22. At stake are naming rights for two robotic surgical systems used at SJHS Mishawaka Medical Center.

    “Keeping the young minds of our community interested in the fields of science, math engineering and technology is crucial for the future of health care,” said Dr. Matthew Folstein, medical director of robotic surgery at SJHS. “Robotics is such a large part of our care today and will continue to grow. This generation has a significant ability to impact how health care looks and feels in the future.”

    Launched in January, the challenge series was created through a partnership between SJHS and Granger Exploration and Robotics Studio (GEARS). GEARS is a non-profit organization designed to help kids explore and learn about science, math and technology through robotics. Each challenge hosts a chance for teams to compete with their robots, and learn about the use of robots in healthcare.

    The first of the four challenges gave students a glimpse of a robot used in knee surgeries, the MAKO Surgical RIO™ Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic Systems. Kids got a hands-on experience where they plotted the surgery site with landmarks, registered arrays, cut with a saw bone and attached implants. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Sieradzki was on hand to guide students through the experience.

    The second event featured the InTouch Telehealth robot, used to connect patients with specialty physicians through virtual interaction, real-time audio and visual consultations. Students and staff at SJHS Plymouth Medical Center engaged in a real-time role play of a patient and physician interaction.

    At the third challenge, students and coaches got the chance to ask general surgery team lead and da Vinci coordinator Megan Conyveou about her role as a nurse in the world of robotics. She described how she assists the surgeon in repairing hernias using the robot, and the reduced recovery time robots have introduced.

    “Robotics competitions are held all around the world,” said Scott Chase, owner of GEARS. “But giving our students a chance to see how robots are used in hospitals today is invaluable and hopefully inspiring.”

    The challenge finale will be held at the South Bend Mini Makers Faire, where winners will be announced. Competing students, as well as faire goers, will have the chance to encounter a hands-on experience on the Intuitive Surgical da Vinci Surgical System Xi®, which is used in a variety of procedures such as colon resections, hernia repairs and treatment for endometriosis. Folstein will show students how he uses the robot with patients during his surgeries.

    The two winning teams will be invited to a “Doctors for the Day” tour, guided by Folstein and the SJHS surgical team. Students also will have a chance to see the chosen names inscribed on the robotic systems during a naming celebration.

    In addition, these two teams, as well as the third-place team, will receive robotic equipment for future competitions. Currently, the Washing MISHines team has a one-point lead for first place. Trailing closely behind are the Holy LEGOs, Amazzi, and Creative Crusaders.

    The South Bend Mini Makers Faire will be held at Success Academy, located at 3408 Ardmore Trail, South Bend, Indiana. The SJHS Robotics challenge will begin at 10:30 am with an awards ceremony at 3:30 pm in the Main Gym. The special presentation, final competition and award ceremony can be seen live by visiting the Saint Joseph Health System Facebook page at 10:30 am on April 22.

    About Saint Joseph Health System
    Saint Joseph Health System (SJHS) is a not-for-profit healthcare system located in North Central Indiana that offers acute-based hospital care and post-acute services including: community wellness, physical rehabilitation, home care, physician clinics, outpatient services, independent and assisted senior living, memory care and affordable senior apartments. SJHS includes: Mishawaka Medical Center; Plymouth Medical Center; Rehabilitation Institute; Outpatient services of the Elm Road Medical Campus; Health Insurance Services; Physician Network; VNA Home Care; the Senior Living Communities at St. Paul's, Holy Cross and Trinity Tower; and Saint Joseph PACE. SJHS serves more than 200,000 members of the Michiana community annually. SJHS is a Regional Health Ministry of Trinity Health in Livonia, Michigan.

    About GEARS
    Granger Exploration and Robotics Studio is a not-for-profit organization designed to encourage and challenge kids in the world of science, math and technologies. It hosts competitive robotics leagues for students in grades 1-12. It also uses real-world problems and challenges students to critically think about a solution. GEARS is an ETHOS Science Center program.

    ### Reported by PRWeb 16 hours ago.

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    DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: Health insurer startup fills gaps left by incumbents — Helix expands clinical genomic tests — Australia launches $200M digital health research center Welcome to Digital Health Briefing, the newsletter providing the latest news, data, and insight on how digital technology is disrupting the healthcare ecosystem, produced by Business Insider Intelligence.

    *Sign up and receive Digital Health Briefing free to your inbox.*

    Have feedback? We'd like to hear from you. Write me at: lbeaver@businessinsider.com

    --------------------

    *FRENCH STARTUP INSURER TARGETS GAPS LEFT BY LARGER INSURERS:* Alan, a French health insurance startup, raised $28 million in its most recent funding round, according to TechCrunch. The company offers software-as-a-service insurance with a one-size-fits-all approach to pricing. Alan plans to use the funding to grow its staff from 22 to 80 by December 2018. Alan has aims to reach €100 million ($124 million) in recurring as soon as possible.

    *For the moment, Alan is targeting smaller companies in France.* This is partly because smaller companies are underserved by big insurance companies, and partly because it’s easier to convince smaller companies to switch insurers. The service covers 850 companies in France, amounting to around 7,000 employees. Alan plans to expand beyond France to take advantage of additional opportunities in Europe.

    *A key to the insurer’s growth is its simple, transparent interface and one-size fits all pricing model:*

    · The cost of covering an employee and their family with Alan is the same no matter what type of company. However, it does rise for older employees.
    · The online dashboard — available on the web and mobile app — allows users to control and view all their health expenses.
    · Moreover, Alan allows its customers to integrate life insurance coverage from CNP Assurances into the same interface — CNP Assurances is one of Alan’s investors.

    *Rising healthcare coverage costs is making service-based insurers, such as Alan, or Oscar Health and Clover Health in the US, very attractive to employers.* Globally, medical benefit costs are accelerating, estimated to have grown almost 8% in 2017, up from 7.3% in 2016, according to Willis Towers Watson. And while growth is slower in Europe compared to the US, it’s still higher than overall inflation growth. Services that provide employers transparency in costs and offer an easy-to-use interface will continue to see growth at the expense of larger legacy insurers.

    *Enjoy reading this briefing?  Sign up and receive Digital Health Briefing to your inbox.** *

    *GENOMICS PLATFORM WADES INTO CLINICAL TESTING:* Helix, a personal genomics company, announced two partnerships last week that further expand the company’s offerings to include clinical services on top of its direct-to-consumer products, according to Genomeweb.

    · PerkinElmer, a medtech company, offers a product that analyses 59 genes that deal with a range of issues, such as allergies to common anesthetics and the BRCA gene, which is associated with high risks for certain types of cancer.
    · Northshore University Health System’s test looks for prostate cancer risks. The offering is already used within the health system for its patients.

    Helix differentiates itself from most consumer genetic firms because it doesn't develop actual tests. Rather, the firm developed a marketplace for other genomics companies to sell their services. After Helix collects and sequences a user's DNA sample, it then stores that data so a user can share their data with genetic test companies. Users can pick different products, such as National Geographic's genetic test, straight from the marketplace without the hassle of having to provide a whole new saliva sample.

    *For PerkinElmer and Northshore, Helix expands the reach of their respective tests.* The marketplace, which currently includes 35 products, is expected to more than double its offerings by the end of 2018. Helix is likely hoping to capitalize on a significant opportunity — the global direct-to-consumer genetic testing market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20%, from $117 million in 2017 $611 million by 2026, according to Credence Research.

    *AUSTRALIA LAUNCHES DIGITAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER: *Eighty organizations and 16 universities formed the Digital Health Cooperative Research Center (CRC) last week, with the aim of applying research and technology to improve healthcare, according to OpenGov. The CRC will investigate four primary areas: enabling information discovery and application, identifying and managing health risk, promoting better value, quality, access, and safety in health, and empowering consumers and incentivizing positive health behavior. The Australian government has committed AUD$55 million ($43 million) over seven years for the Digital Health CRC. The group represents a growing interest in digital health within Australia, in part driven by concern for the rising cost of healthcare. Health expenditures already account for 10% of the country’s GDP, with some concerned that this number will balloon along with the aging population. The Digital Health CRC believes it can save the Australian healthcare system around AUD$1.8 billion ($1.4 billion) per year.

    *IN OTHER NEWS:*

    · Surgeons from the *Royal Marsden Hospital* in London have performed a double surgery on a cancer patient using the da Vinci Xi robotic console, according to Digital Health. The technology provides a much more precise surgery, resulting in less trauma to the patient. This can help improve patient recovery time.
    · *Banner Health* will pay the US government $18 million to settle false claims allegations, according to The Department of Justice. Twelve of the health system’s hospitals based in either Arizona or Colorado knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare by admitting patients who could have been treated on a less costly outpatient basis.

    Join the conversation about this story » Reported by Business Insider 13 hours ago.

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    BALTIMORE (AP) — The board of trustees for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange has voted to move forward with a federal application for a reinsurance program. The board voted Monday to proceed with the program that Gov. Larry Hogan and state lawmakers approved to hold down consumer costs to Maryland’s individual market for health insurance […] Reported by Seattle Times 11 hours ago.

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    AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The state wants public input on an effort to lower individual health insurance premiums for Mainers. The Legislature last year passed a law to reduce premiums for individuals who don’t qualify for subsidies under former President Obama’s signature health law. The program would reimburse insurers for some costs associated with high […] Reported by Seattle Times 5 hours ago.

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    Deep Freeze is a system restore software that leverages the patented reboot to restore technology. By reverting a system to its desired baseline configuration on each reboot, it guarantees optimal functionality and uninterrupted availability of emergency medical systems.

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia (PRWEB) April 17, 2018

    Deep Freeze, a system restoration software by Faronics Corporation, ensures uninterrupted system uptime for emergency medical systems. It’s patented reboot to restore technology protects and maintains medical computers, preventing the occurrence of major issues due to unwanted changes made on systems. It enables a system to revert to an admin-defined, pristine baseline configuration with a single reboot. Deep Freeze thus eliminates possibilities of extended downtime, protecting systems from malicious or accidental threats.

    Importance of 24/7 availability in Emergency Healthcare Systems

    The healthcare system has become one of the biggest beneficiaries of advancements in IT. Technology now lives at the heart of the functioning of hospitals, clinics, and care-giving facilities. In fact, healthcare facilities need to incorporate relevant emerging technologies to keep up with the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance.

    Sophisticated diagnosis of diseases, surgeries, healthcare trackers, wearables, sensors, medical tricorders and a range of activities related to human health depend on the flawless functioning of computer systems. Even a hospital’s patient records, inventory of medicine and equipment, information on individuals injured in criminal activity (such as robbery, assault, etc) are digitally maintained. The introduction of cloud and similar disruptive technologies have improved responsiveness and effectiveness of medical services to astounding levels.

    The flipside of this is that a slight hint of system malfunction in hospitals and medical facilities can lead to dire consequences. Any interruption in a hospital’s systems, due to altered system settings or disruptions in software activity, can put human lives at risk.

    Managing the functionality and security of multiple computers can be difficult without employing a comprehensive solution. Manual IT intervention in the event of a malfunction to any computer only furthers the length of system downtime. Healthcare systems cannot afford extended downtime as lives are at stake. Unless the IT department hires a greater number of employees, a major facility cannot keep up all its systems at optimum functionality.

    The solution - Deep Freeze

    Faronics’ Deep Freeze is ideal for the protection and maintenance of multi-user computer environments. Deep freeze allows IT admins to set up the desired configuration across all workstations as per the requirement. In the event of any system malfunctioning, its reboot to restore capabilities swiftly restores systems to their pristine configuration. With a reboot, the system is cleansed of all unwanted changes and is returned to peak functionality.

    Deep Freeze discards all system changes to maintain the pristine admin-configured state. This ensures that each user has access to a fully functioning system. Since any changes made by the user is removed on reboot, unrestricted access to the device can be offered without concern.

    Deep Freeze is compatible with both Windows and MacOS. The enterprise and cloud versions provide a centralized console which allows IT administrators to configure and manage emergency medical systems remotely. It also integrates smoothly with Apple Remote Desktop, Microsoft SCCM, and Dell KACE, allowing for hassle-free management and customization of IT systems.

    Deployment of Deep Freeze has resulted in more than 60% reduction in requests for IT support, maximizing the efficiency of IT personnel and minimizing maintenance costs.

    Download Deep Freeze - Reboot Restore Software http://www.faronics.com/reboot-restore-software

    Proven application for Healthcare

    The robust and instant system restoration ability of Deep Freeze has benefited healthcare organizations across the world, providing numerous success stories testifying to its effectiveness.

    A renowned multi-specialty healthcare group was running approximately 250 workstations, 19 servers, 60 physicians and has nearly 350 employees. The workstations were spread out over six physical locations and were used for scheduling, billing, and recording patient demographics.

    The hospital faced the issue of its mission-critical systems getting compromised repeatedly by spyware and malicious software. Any of these instances could have impacted the institute’s HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance. The hospital's IT staff had to spend up to 10 hours every week to keep the servers clean.

    The deployment of Deep Freeze on the four terminal servers of the hospital has eliminated all the problems as the software has been configured to reboot the servers every midnight and restores the clean configuration. It also improved the efficiency of the IT staff, which has to spend only around 3 hours every 3-4 weeks on server maintenance. This Reboot Restore Software not only ensured 100% availability of the hospital’s mission-critical systems but also optimized the maintenance cost.

    To know more about Deep Freeze- Reboot To Restore Technology, kindly visit http://www.faronics.com/technology/reboot-to-restore

    About Faronics
    Faronics was founded in 1996 with the intention of helping customers maximize returns from their existing technological infrastructure. It helps companies manage and secure their IT environments. Headquartered in Vancouver, Faronics has offices in the USA and the UK in addition to a global channel of network partners. Their solutions have been deployed in over 150 countries in more than 30,000 organizations with more than 10 million licenses sold worldwide. Reported by PRWeb 2 hours ago.

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    Pharmaceutical, health insurance and other health care corporations will receive $100 billion in tax cuts over the next 10 years under the new tax law, according to a report released today by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat. The report details a "bonanza" the health care industry will receive from corporate tax cuts, stock buybacks and offshore accounts. “Millions of working Americans lie awake at night wondering how to make ends meet. Do they pay for their electric bill or their child’s… Reported by bizjournals 7 hours ago.

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    InsureOnline.com offers the flexibility for consumers to shop online, instantly bind their auto or health insurance and receive customer service from a licensed insurance agent.

    BEDFORD PARK, Ill. (PRWEB) April 17, 2018

    Headquartered in Bedford Park, Illinois, InsureOnline.com is a new virtual insurance agency that is being developed for the consumer that prefers online shopping. Jason Heidkamp Director of Sales and Digital Marketing, InsureOnline.com explained, “The goal of InsureOnline.com is to make securing auto and health insurance effortless. It offers consumers the freedom to purchase insurance and completely manage their account anywhere and anytime. They also have the security in knowing that a licensed experienced insurance agent is just a phone call or click away.”

    At InsureOnline.com consumers can explore coverage, find discounts and compare quotes for auto and health insurance all in less than five minutes. What makes InsureOnline.com unique is that consumers can now complete the insurance process and bind their auto and health insurance policy without talking to an agent. Heidkamp added, “For years, consumers have been able to shop the insurance marketplace in order to explore and compare insure products. InsureOnline.com now makes it possible for consumers to complete that last step and bind that insurance policy without having to talk to an agent.”

    InsureOnline.com has the capabilities of being able to complete multiple quotes at various coverage levels to meet the needs of almost all consumers. Whether a consumer needs basic liability only coverage to keep them legal or want higher limits with full coverage, InsureOnline.com can offer multiple quotes at multiple coverage levels.

    Heidkamp added, “One of the great features about InsureOnline.com is that at anytime, the consumer can chat live with a licensed multilingual insurance agent. They can also contact the InsureOnline.com call center for additional support. Filing a claim is a convenient process. InsureOnline.com was built around providing the consumer with the most streamlined and efficient service. Our claims service is no exception.”

    Heidkamp concluded by suggesting consumers visit InsureOnline.com to see first-hand how the site works. Bookmark the page so when their current policy is up for renewal, they can conveniently run a couple of quotes to compare price and coverage. “New products and enhancements to the site are being added monthly. InsureOnline.com is a valuable insurance resource that allows consumer to quote and bind coverage all with a single transaction from the convenience of home or any mobile device. It is a forward-thinking company for the 21st century consumer,” stated Heidkamp.

    About InsureOnline.com
    InsureOnline.com is a virtual insurance agency that specializes in providing quality insurance products and services to those consumers wanting to shop and purchase products online but still provide the individual the ability to work with a licensed insurance agent if they wish. Currently InsureOnline.com offers auto and health insurance products. InsureOnlinc.com is licensed to write business in 48 states and has a multilingual staff licensed and certified in a variety of insurance lines. InsureOnline.com is an entity of Warrior Invictus Holding Company, Inc. InsureOnline.com is headquartered in Bedford Park, at 6640 S. Cicero Ave, Bedford Park, IL 60638. 1-844-358-5605 Reported by PRWeb 7 hours ago.

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    Health insurance giant Aetna is expanding its presence in the Bay State, months after choosing New York over Boston to relocate its headquarters. Aetna announced Tuesday that it would expand its Consumer Health and Services Organization — or "innovation hub"— in Wellesley, adding 250 jobs by 2020 to the area of the company that develops new products, services, and technologies. In total, Aetna will build out an additional 80,000-square-feet of space at its existing location on Worcester Street,… Reported by bizjournals 4 hours ago.

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    Partnership with Student Markets Group, Inc. d/b/a StuLo is set to expand access to student loan debt relief and financial wellness benefits for employers.

    PHOENIX (PRWEB) April 18, 2018

    Student Markets Group, Inc. d/b/a StuLo, an employee benefits company focused on financial wellness, student loan debt relief, and credit repair services, announced today that it has entered into a marketing partnership with FinFit Ops, LLC d/b/a FinFit, a leader in providing voluntary financial fitness benefits delivered through their online platform.

    "We are excited that StuLo will be an integrated resource on FinFit’s financial wellness platform," said Ben Rozum, President of StuLo. Rozum added, "Unlike education-only methods, FinFit provides a short-term loan solution that provides a responsible solution for employees, so they can worry less about finances and focus more on their job. In partnering with StuLo, FinFit’s brokers and clients will have a hassle-free way to expand actionable, financial-related benefits to their employees."

    Student loan debt relief is considered one of the fastest growing employee benefits due to 44 million Americans being saddled with over $1.4 Trillion in debt. While only 4% of employers offer a student loan related benefit today, studies indicate that adoption could increase to nearly 30% through 2019.

    According to Pete Ostberg, Vice President of Product Management at FinFit, "Our investment in technology and innovative financial wellness benefits has allowed FinFit to be recognized as a leading solution for brokers and clients." Ostberg added, "By partnering with an innovative benefit provider like StuLo, we can also give our clients single-source access to a relevant and meaningful benefit solution for student loan debt relief, which we know a lot of employers are looking for. We are excited about this new relationship and the unique value it will bring to our clients and the financial well-being of their employees."

    StuLo will be available to FinFit’s clients and their employees starting in April of 2018.

    For more information on how to offer StuLo to employees or association members, contact your employee benefits broker or call StuLo at 602-888-8144 or visit https://StuLoWellness.com.

    About StuLo
    StuLo is an employee benefit and association-member benefit program that is focused on: financial wellness, student loan debt relief, and credit repair services. The benefit program takes a wholistic approach to providing a financial wellness benefit for all employees and members—not just a benefit to help student loan holders only. The aggregation of financial-related benefits includes: general financial coaching and online tools, concierge services to help with federal student loan consolidation enrollment, private student loan refinancing marketplace, concierge services to help with credit repair, accident disability insurance, and identity theft protection. As an alternative to an expensive, employer-funded student loan repayment assistance benefit, StuLo provides significant benefit value at little to no cost to the employer.

    About Student Markets Group Inc. and Coterie Advisory Group Inc.
    Student Markets Group, which is owned by Coterie Advisory Group, is the national program manager for the StuLo benefit program. The companies provide consultative services and product solutions that are dedicated to helping consumers in the insurance and benefits industry—including the rising concerns of affordable health insurance and student loan debt relief. Their packages of consumer-centric insurance and non-insurance programs solve real-world problems, make a meaningful difference in consumers' lives, and have a track-record of being market-leading and market-changing. https://StuLoWellness.com | https://coterieadvisors.com

    About FinFit
    FinFit has grown to be one of the Nation’s largest financial wellness benefit platforms with over 80,000 companies having access, providing a self-directed online experience that lets employees measure their financial fitness and provides fun, directed education and tools that drive real results. FinFit also provides affordable short-term loans that provide real-world help when it is needed most. FinFit has become a powerful way for employers to attract and retain talent by helping employees get their mind off their financial problems and stay focused on work.

    FinFit Loans are issued by Celtic Bank, a Utah-Chartered Industrial Bank, Member FDIC. Reported by PRWeb 20 hours ago.

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    Tools are more user friendly and cover growing number of procedures, but still used by just a small fraction of potential market

    BOSTON (PRWEB) April 18, 2018

    A Pioneer Institute study finds some significant improvements in the online cost estimator tools created by Massachusetts’ three largest health insurers, but there is much still to be done for the carriers to maximize the opportunity price transparency represents.

    Online cost estimator tools give consumers/plan members online information about a range of information for outpatient and many inpatient procedures. These tools display the amount that has to be paid by consumers to any particular provider, how much the plan pays the provider, and information about provider quality. Consumers can compare several providers at the same time.

    “Price transparency can help initiate reforms that reduce healthcare costs and allow market forces to drive patients to lower-cost, higher-value providers,” said Barbara Anthony, primary author of MA Health Insurers Have Improved Their Consumer Price Transparency Efforts, But Significant Work Remains.

    A 2012 state law required health insurers to develop online cost estimator tools by October 2014. In 2015, the advocacy group Health Care for All (HCFA) assessed the tools developed by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (HPHC), and Tufts Health Plan, which together controlled nearly four-fifths of the state health insurance market. HCFA gave each a grade of “C.”

    The same law also requires hospitals and doctors to provide consumers with prices of services upon request. Previous Pioneer studies showed very poor compliance by Massachusetts providers with the Commonwealth’s transparency law.

    As a follow up to the HCFA study, in late 2017, Pioneer assessed the same carriers’ performance and found their tools more user friendly. They cover between 700 and 1600 procedures, a vast improvement over the initial numbers of procedures available in 2015. Importantly, Pioneer found that all three carriers are embracing incentive/reward programs to attract workers at entities with 250 or more employees to lower-cost, high-value providers. Pioneer’s study was done with the full cooperation of the carriers.

    Under incentive/rewards programs, employees are rewarded by either small or no co-payments or cash rewards from $25 to several hundreds of dollars for choosing lower-cost, high-value providers such as outpatient surgical centers rather than a hospital outpatient clinic. HPHC has developed a program called SaveOn that makes it easier for members to switch providers to avoid co-pays or earn cash rewards. BCBS has aggressively embraced and marketed cash incentive programs to both businesses and municipalities. In all cases, the plans say they are embracing incentive programs and transparency to compete with large national carriers here and regionally.

    Both the HPHC’s and THP’s tools are a significant improvement over their initial cost estimator tools. After their common vendor pulled out of the market, the carriers had to entirely revamp their tools. The results are new, easy-to-navigate online tools which display out-of-pocket consumer costs, the remaining deductible, and quality metrics.

    Since 2015, BCBS has made several improvements that make its product more consumer friendly: by simply changing the name of its tool from “Find a Doc” to “Find a Doc and Estimate Costs,” by making the tool much more prominent on its website, and clearly showing both out-of-pocket costs and remaining deductibles. BCBS also has an improved website for consumers.

    Despite significant progress, however, deficiencies remain. The carriers had about 297,000 aggregate inquiries on their cost estimator tools from early 2014 through 2017, compared to a potential market of at least three million people that the three carriers cover.

    “The number of aggregate inquiries shows that carriers still have a lot of work ahead to achieve price transparency’s potential to rein in healthcare costs,” said Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios.

    In 2015, Massachusetts’ median annual household income was around $70,000 and the average family in the Commonwealth spent about $20,000 on premiums and cost sharing. “These figures show that transparency in healthcare is important to the budgets of Massachusetts families,” added Stergios.

    HPHC’s and Tufts’ estimator tools still don’t provide cost data on many behavioral health procedures.

    The BCBS site is compatible with online translation tools, but none of the carriers’ cost estimator tools are readily available in a language other than English.

    Anthony noted that “While state government has not provided any compliance leadership for consumer price transparency, now, after overcoming resistance and a lack of support, the market is waking up to the potential benefits of price transparency and incentive programs.”

    Comments from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Tufts Health Plan:

    “In a rapidly changing healthcare environment, providing consumers with transparency around cost and quality information is important and will help them make informed healthcare choices,” said Harvard Pilgrim President and CEO Eric Schultz. “We at Harvard Pilgrim have long been committed to promoting the value of transparency, and we are pleased to see that Pioneer Institute continues to keep a public focus on the issue. We were happy to work with them on this report.”

    “Blue Cross is pleased that the Pioneer report acknowledges our ongoing commitment to providing our members with state-of-the-art tools to make informed decisions about the cost and quality of their healthcare. Members who understand their benefits – those who aren’t surprised by bills and feel empowered – are much more likely to be satisfied members and engaged patients. I thank Pioneer Institute for their continued focus on this issue,” said Andrew Dreyfus, BCBS President and CEO.

    “Transparency is essential among all stakeholders in healthcare to ensure that customers and employer groups can make informed healthcare decisions,” said Tom Croswell, President and CEO at Tufts Health Plan. “[O]ur new, easy-to-use tool enables members to not only find high-quality, high-value providers in their area, but also see their potential costs from the beginning to the end of a procedure. The new tool is simpler and far surpasses the capabilities of the first generation of transparency tools. We applaud Pioneer Institute’s work on keeping this important issue at the forefront.”

    About the Authors

    Barbara Anthony, a lawyer, is a senior fellow in healthcare at Pioneer Institute focusing on healthcare price and quality transparency. She is also an associate at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Business and Government. She served as Massachusetts Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation from 2009 to 2015.

    Scott Haller graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. He started working at Pioneer Institute through the Northeastern’s Co-op Program and continues now as the Lovett C. Peters Fellow in Healthcare. He previously worked at the Office of the Inspector General.

    About Pioneer

    Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government. Reported by PRWeb 9 hours ago.

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    State Senate votes on health insurance reform left Gov. Ralph Northam with a big stick to end Virginia’s budget impasse, but it is unclear if he will wield it.

    In mainly party-line votes Wednesday, senators rejected Northam’s requests for delay in enacting four measures that Senate Republicans... Reported by dailypress.com 19 hours ago.

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    Included in the examination were OneNeck’s colocation services and Infrastructure as a Service for ReliaCloud.

    MADISON, Wis. (PRWEB) April 19, 2018

    Today, OneNeck® IT Solutions announces the independent examination of their HIPAA and HITECH compliance attestations is now complete. The examination for compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Security Rule of 2003 (HIPAA) and the Health Insurance Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) included scrutiny of OneNeck’s physical and administrative security controls.

    Specifically, the HIPAA and HITECH examination evaluated the colocation services OneNeck offers at their top-tier data centers in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa (Des Moines), Minnesota, Oregon and Wisconsin. The examination also includes review of ReliaCloud®, OneNeck’s Infrastructure as a Service.

    The examination was performed by Schellman & Company, Inc., an independent CPA firm with extensive IT service provider experience. As a result of the reviews, Schellman & Company opined that OneNeck has adopted the essential elements of the HIPAA Security Rule and HITECH requirements as well as implemented and maintains the following:· Administrative safeguards
    · Physical safeguards
    · Technical safeguards
    · Breach notification

    “For our healthcare clients, attaining HIPAA and HITECH attestations offers reassurance that we have the tools in place to protect and secure their patient data,” said Dave Flynn, SVP of Operations and Engineering at OneNeck. “At the same time, it allows our clients to center their focus on the security and administrative controls at the application and data layer.”

    Completion of the HIPAA and HITECH examination follows recent OneNeck announcements noting completion of the EU–U.S. Privacy Shield Framework and SSAE 18 examination.

    In addition to managing and operating top-tier data centers, OneNeck also offers a full suite of hybrid IT solutions including cloud and hosting solutions, managed services, enterprise application management, professional services and IT hardware. For more information, visit oneneck.com

    OneNeck IT Solutions LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Telephone and Data Systems, Inc., employs nearly 550 people throughout the U.S. The company offers hybrid IT solutions including cloud and hosting solutions, managed services, enterprise application management, advanced IT services, hardware and local connectivity via top-tier data centers in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon and Wisconsin. OneNeck's team of technology professionals manage secure, world-class, hybrid IT infrastructures and applications for businesses around the country. Visit oneneck.com.

    Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. [NYSE: TDS], a Fortune 1000® company, provides wireless; cable and wireline broadband, TV and voice; and hosted and managed services to more than six million customers nationwide through its businesses U.S. Cellular, TDS Telecom, OneNeck IT Solutions, and TDS Broadband Service. In 2018, TDS was recognized in Forbes list of America’s Best Employers for Diversity. The TDS family of companies, which includes OneNeck, is listed at 190 out of 250 top employers in the U.S. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Chicago, TDS employs more than 9,900 people. Visit tdsinc.com. Reported by PRWeb 15 hours ago.

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    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa insurance officials say 38,000 Iowans who bought health insurance policies after the Affordable Care Act was passed into law but before the state insurance exchanges were set up in 2014 will get to keep those polices for another year. These so-called transitional plans have been allowed to continue each […] Reported by Seattle Times 13 hours ago.

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    LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Able-bodied Medicaid recipients in Michigan may soon have to choose between finding a job or losing health insurance. The ultimatum comes in the form of a bill the GOP-controlled Senate approved Thursday in a 26-11 vote. After their amendments were shot down, Democrats took the floor to blast the bill for […] Reported by Seattle Times 10 hours ago.

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    LDAC event highlights issues affecting independent lumber and building material dealers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and other associated businesses in the state of Connecticut.

    HARTFORD, Conn. (PRWEB) April 19, 2018

    On Wednesday, April 18, the Lumber Dealers Association of Connecticut (LDAC) hosted more than 75 legislators and their staff during the association's legislative reception at the Connecticut State House.

    At the event, legislators had the opportunity to meet with LDAC members to discuss the issues affecting independent lumber and building material dealers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and other associated businesses in the state of Connecticut.

    "LDAC represents many family-owned and multi-generational businesses that support their communities and drive the state's economy," explained Bruce McCrary, LDAC president. "As small, independently-owned building material dealers and associated businesses, such as manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors, the industry prides itself on offering good jobs, great benefits, such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement savings programs, and career pathways for residents with various skill sets and talents."

    The Association is currently concerned with proposed increases to the minimum wage as well as the establishment of an expensive state-run paid family and medical leave program.

    "The lumber and building materials industry in Connecticut is stronger than ever," said Joe Ceccarelli, chair of LDAC's Legislative committee. "Our industry is providing thousands of good paying jobs and collecting over $23,000,000 in sales tax revenue for the state. Now is not the time to enact heavy-handed mandates that will cause harm to local businesses."

    For more details on LDAC's legislative agenda, please contact Ashley Ranslow at aranslow(at)NRLA.org.

    About Lumber Dealers Association of Connecticut (LDAC)
    For more than 100 years, the Lumber Dealers Association of Connecticut (LDAC) has been committed to serving local communities. LDAC is a non-profit organization focused on continuing to support and encourage dealer growth and development. LDAC offers members legislative representation, educational seminars, group programs, social events, and scholarships for continuing education. LDAC advocates for its members in Hartford and Washington, D.C. to ensure that the independents can continue to do business in Connecticut.

    LDAC is one of fourteen state and local associations across the Northeast associated with the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association (NRLA). The NRLA was established in New York in 1894 by a small group of pioneering lumbermen who recognized the value of cooperation. Today, the NRLA is a 1,100-member association representing independent lumber and building material suppliers and associated businesses in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. Reported by PRWeb 5 hours ago.

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    With health insurance premiums rising, patients around the country are facing fewer coverage options. Now, states are increasingly turning to so-called 'reinsurance pools' to support insurers and reduce individual costs. Reported by Christian Science Monitor 2 hours ago.

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    Kimberly O’Connell-Calvo has joined national insurance brokerage firm Simple Health and its sister company Simple Insurance Leads as their Chief Marketing Officer.

    FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. (PRWEB) April 20, 2018

    Kimberly O’Connell-Calvo named Chief Marketing Officer for Simple Health and Simple Insurance Leads

    Kimberly O’Connell-Calvo has joined national insurance brokerage firm Simple Health and its sister company Simple Insurance Leads as their Chief Marketing Officer.

    O’Connell-Calvo brings 14-years of experience in eCommerce and strategic marketing to the Fort Lauderdale based companies.

    “Kimberly has an unparalleled amount knowledge of digital marketing and the eCommerce industry. I know that her insight will help strengthen our brands and improve our customers’ digital experience,” said Steve Dorfman, CEO of Simple Health and Simple Insurance Leads. “We are excited to have her join our team, and to have her help us take our companies to the next level.”

    In her new role, O’Connell-Calvo will focus her initial efforts on customer acquisition and retention, category awareness and identifying new efficient growth drivers.

    Before joining Simple Health and Simple Insurance Leads, O’Connell-Calvo was head of online sales and senior vice president of Digital Marketing at Intermex Wire Transfer, where she was responsible for launching the company’s online sales channel and was responsible for all digital marketing programs aimed at customer acquisition. Prior to that, she was associate vice president of digital marketing and eCommerce for TracFone Wireless, where she managed an 11-person team and delivered year over year customer acquisition and revenue growth in excess of 325 percent.

    O’Connell-Calvo earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration of management information systems from Florida International University.

    About Simple Health
    Simple Health is a full-service insurance brokerage firm serving all 50 states. The company connects consumers with affordable health and life insurance options, ensuring individuals and families get the health insurance coverage they want and need. To learn more about Simple Health visit simplehealthplans.com.

    About Simple Insurance Leads
    Simple Insurance Leads is a performance based, lead generation network committed to generating and delivering high quality leads across the nation. The firm leverages the reach of its cross-channel performance marketing partners and its proprietary technology, to deliver results above industry standards. To learn more about Simple Insurance Leads visit http://www.simpleinsuranceleads.com. Reported by PRWeb 22 hours ago.

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    Pulse8 joins Gorman Health Group experts to Discuss Strategies on How to Improve Star Ratings

    LAS VEGAS (PRWEB) April 20, 2018

    Pulse8, the only Healthcare Analytics and Technology Company delivering complete visibility into the efficacy of your Risk Adjustment, Quality Management, and Pharmacy Benefit programs, is proud to be a sponsor and educational contributor to the upcoming Gorman Health Group 2018 Forum, April 25-26, at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Gorman Health Group’s 2018 Forum is the premier educational event within the government programs landscape. Pulse8 is privileged to work with the elite team of Gorman Health Group (GHG) experts, presenters, and industry pioneers that will be offering industry insights on key issues related to innovative strategies and product solutions to drive businesses forward – effective compliance program management, product development, network adequacy, emerging trends in technology solutions, Star Ratings, and Risk Adjustment.

    During a joint presentation led by GHG’s Melissa Smith, Vice President of Stars & Quality Innovations, entitled “Utilizing the Right Data to Drive Your Star Ratings Strategy,” Pulse8’s Senior Director of Medicaid and Quality Products, Kari Hadley, will be joining as a contributing speaker. This session will educate attendees on the following topics:· How to build data-driven strategies and tactics to support Star Ratings
    · Real-world solutions to help turn big data into actionable Star Ratings work plans

    “On behalf of Pulse8, I am proud to be co-presenting with Melissa Smith, Vice President of Stars & Quality Innovations,” said Kari Hadley. “Anyone involved in the intricacies of Quality Management should attend our session as we will be sharing industry-leading insights that will help attendees to strategize more efficient work plans to benefit your Star Ratings.”

    The session will take place on April 26th, day 2 of the event, from 9:15 am-10:10 am. Attendees also have the opportunity to visit Pulse8 in Booth #5 to speak with Kari and other key members of the Pulse8 team. To schedule a meeting or demo, please email Scott Filiault at Scott.Filiault(at)Pulse8.com.

    About Pulse8
    Pulse8 is the only Healthcare Analytics and Technology Company delivering complete visibility into the efficacy of your Risk Adjustment and Quality Management programs. We enable health plans and providers to achieve the greatest financial impact in the Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and ACA Commercial markets as well as with Value-Based Payment models for Medicare. Pulse8 has developed a suite of uniquely pragmatic solutions that are revolutionizing Risk Adjustment, Quality Management, and Pharmacy Program Management. Our advanced analytic methodologies and flexible business intelligence tools offer real-time visibility into member behavior and provider performance. Pulse8’s products are powered by our patent-pending Dynamic Intervention Planning to deliver the most cost-effective and appropriate interventions for closing gaps in documentation, coding, and quality. To learn more please visit http://www.pulse8.com

    About Gorman Health Group
    Gorman Health Group (GHG) is a leading consulting and software solutions firm specializing in government health programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Health Insurance Marketplace opportunities. Since 1996, GHG’s unparalleled teams of subject matter experts, former health plan executives, and seasoned healthcare regulators have been providing strategic, operational, financial, and clinical services to the industry across a full spectrum of business needs. Further, the GHG software solutions have continued to place efficient and compliant operations within their client’s reach. To learn more please visit http://www.GormanHealthGroup.com. Reported by PRWeb 19 hours ago.

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    Colorado’s individual health-insurance market is failing, with average premiums rising 20 percent in 2017 and another 27 percent this year. As such, a bill moving through the Colorado Legislature asks this question: Is it fair to ask some 2 million people in this state to pay between 2 and 8 percent more for their insurance premiums next year in order to stabilize the individual market for roughly 140,000 people who face the prospect of even more skyrocketing costs without some kind of help? The… Reported by bizjournals 17 hours ago.

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    Prices for employer-based health insurance -- the workhorse of the health coverage system -- are rising faster in Colorado than the national average, and that could signal a worrying trend. Reported by Denver Post 11 hours ago.

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    “We’re at a point in time where the adviser and the client have pretty much defined the plan design for the 2018 open enrollment period,” one expert says.

    NEW YORK (PRWEB) April 20, 2018

    Employee Benefit Adviser’s Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark (OERB) score for February came in at just 35 for employers with first-quarter benefit start dates. This poor showing was somewhat tempered by slightly better marks for plan selection, with employers awarding themselves scores of 49 for health plans, 45 for voluntary plans and 49 for pharmacy plan selections.

    For benefit advisers this is significant, because March is when employers should be choosing plans for their forthcoming benefits enrollment if they hope to keep pace with the 12-month open enrollment preparation process that most benefit experts recommend.

    For advisers and clients following this process, “We’re at a point in time where the adviser and the client have pretty much defined the plan design for the 2018 open enrollment period,” says Jack Kwicien, a managing partner at Daymark Advisors, a Baltimore consultancy that works with advisers. “The next step is for the adviser to determine how the employer can offer a full range of benefit options to its employees.”

    Plan selection, Kwicien says, should be based on a thorough analysis of the employee population’s demographics and how employees have been utilizing their current roster of benefits. The results should serve as the basis for an RFP sent to multiple carriers to ensure employers not only receive the best price, but also the best possible coverage and quality of service for their workforces.

    “Workforce demographics are a key consideration,” adds EBA Editorial Director Scott Wenger, “since different types of plans are better suited to different types of employees. A highly educated and well-compensated workforce in an industry like healthcare or technology, for instance, may appreciate the tax advantages of a health savings account and how it can offset the costs incurred with a high-deductible health plan.”

    In contrast, Wenger says, less well-educated employees may have difficulty understanding how an HSA works and view an HDHP simply as a way for an employer to cut costs at their expense.

    The OERB tallies employer self-assessments in 26 activities that need to be completed in four key stages for a successful open enrollment, with no progress receiving a score of zero and completed tasks earning a score of 100. The open enrollment period, which usually takes place in the fall, is a critical time for employers as they look to engage their staffs in health and retirement planning.

    The Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark is a data-based performance benchmark that gauges how prepared employers are for their annual employee benefits enrollment periods. The benchmark is sponsored by ADP. To produce the results, SourceMedia Research and EBA each month survey more than 400 prescreened HR and benefits executives at organizations of various sizes and across multiple industries. These professionals are asked to rate their completion levels for 26 activities — from selecting health plans to reviewing enrollment metrics — that take place during the four critical phases of open enrollment: benefit plan design, enrollment preparation, employee enrollment and post-enrollment analysis. Scores range from a low of zero to a high of 100 and reflect the degree to which an employer considers itself prepared for a particular activity. The activity scores are then averaged to determine scores for each of the four phases and an overall readiness score. A complete analysis of the most recent OERB data is available here.

    About Employee Benefit Adviser
    Employee Benefit Adviser (EBA) is the information resource for employee benefit advisers, brokers, agents and consultants, providing the current awareness and perspective they need to anticipate changes in the marketplace and optimally serve their clients. EBA delivers a broad range of critical content, including comparative market data, legal and regulatory updates, the latest products and services, and best practices in benefits delivery — including health insurance, vision and dental insurance, and voluntary and retirement benefits. The benefits broker community relies on EBA to stay connected through its website comment forums, its social media communities and live events.

    About SourceMedia Research
    SourceMedia Research is a full-service B2B market research service that draws upon SourceMedia’s market expertise and proprietary database of engaged executives to develop information and insights for clients. SourceMedia Research provides research solutions for marketers, agencies and others targeting sectors such as banking, payments, mortgage, accounting, employee benefits and wealth management.

    About SourceMedia
    SourceMedia, an Observer Capital company, is an innovative, growing digital business information and performance media company serving senior-level professionals in the financial, technology and healthcare sectors. Brands include American Banker, PaymentsSource, The Bond Buyer, Financial Planning, Accounting Today, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Mortgage News, Employee Benefit News and Health Data Management.

    About ADP
    Powerful technology plus a human touch. Companies of all types and sizes around the world rely on ADP’s cloud software and expert insights to help unlock the potential of their people. HR. Talent. Benefits. Payroll. Compliance. Working together to build a better workforce. For more information, visit http://www.adp.com.

    For more information, please contact:

    Dana Jackson                                        
    dana.jackson(at)sourcemedia(dot)com        
    212-803-8329            

    Scott Wenger
    scott.wenger(at)sourcemedia(dot)com
    212-803-8796 Reported by PRWeb 12 hours ago.

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    DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: Ford to offer medical transportation — Google Glass improves clinical workflow — Employer health benefits miss value for workers Welcome to Digital Health Briefing, the newsletter providing the latest news, data, and insight on how digital technology is disrupting the healthcare ecosystem, produced by Business Insider Intelligence.

    *Sign up and receive Digital Health Briefing free to your inbox.*

    Have feedback? We'd like to hear from you. Write me at: lbeaver@businessinsider.com

    --------------------

    *FORD IS ENTERING THE CROWDED MEDICAL TRANSPORTATION MARKET: *Car manufacturer Ford is launching an on-demand non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) service, according to TechCrunch. Dubbed "GoRide," the service aims to help non-urgent patients get to their appointments at partnered hospitals and facilities. Ford will launch the project with Beaumont Health, a network with more than 200 facilities. The company currently has 15 transit vans with plans to expand to 60 vans by the end of the year. 

    *Ford is entering an increasingly crowded market.* Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft have made several forays into the NEMT market. For example, Lyft teamed up with Acuity Link to expand its NEMT footprint in March, and in February partnered with Hitch Health. A beta version of the Uber Health platform released in July 2017 is already being used by more than 100 healthcare organizations in the US. That’s on top of other companies, like Veyo, that are dedicated NEMT services providers. 

    *Health systems likely view the growing interest in NEMT **as an opportunity to overcome the massive annual loss of revenue caused by missed appointments.* In the US, missed appointments cost healthcare providers as much as $150 billion each year, with no-show rates as high as 30%, according to SCI Solutions.

    *However, as non-health specific companies take on NEMT, they're likely to face barriers that could stymie adoption and growth.* For example, there is some concern over whether drivers will be liable for anything that happens to the patient on route to their appointment, according to BuzzFeed. Further, it’s not clear whether ride-sharing has a positive impact on appointment no-shows, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

    *GOOGLE GLASS IMPROVES HEALTH SYSTEM WORKFLOW: *Physicians at California-based health system Sutter Health are using Google’s augmented reality (AR) enabled Glasses to cut back on the amount of time they spend on administrative tasks, according to mHealthIntelligence. Google Glass devices are embedded with mHealth tech from Augmedix — a company that makes software for smartglasses. With the physician wearing the Glasses, Sutter’s remote scribes can “sit in” on the visit, taking notes in real-time as the physician sees to the patient. Doctors can also use the glasses to pull up patient files and look up health information without having to turn away from the patient. In addition to improving the physician-patient relationship, the tech streamlines the process of note taking, immediately storing it in the electronic health record server. This cuts down on the amount of time physicians spend writing notes after the session and reduces the risk of physician burnout, which can negatively impact productivity and customer relations. Physician burnout affects 32% of clinicians in the US, according to a survey by Medscape.

    *EMPLOYER HEALTH BENEFITS DON'T ALIGN WITH WHAT EMPLOYEE WANT:* Digital health offerings supported by employer health benefit plans aren’t in line with employee demands, according to a newly released report from health navigation company Castlight Health. These offerings, which are value-adds to health insurance plans, include things like digital therapeutics, such as weight loss programs on apps, and telemedicine services that allow workers to have their consultations remotely. While 77% of employers surveyed offered their workers a smoking cessation service, the most sought-after health goal for employess was weight loss, for example.  As consumers continue to seek out digital health solutions, employers have an opportunity to provide them with health services that can improve workers' overall wellbeing. In turn, that can cut down on the amount of time-off taken by employees and increase productivity. Workers performing at less than full productivity because of illness is estimated to cost employers $160 billion per year. For insurers, these value-adds not only make their business more appealing to employers, but can help to reduce costs associated with unnecessary hospital visits and expensive services. 

    *JURY I**S STILL OUT ON WHETHER APPS CAN IMPROVE MEDICATION ADHERENCE: *Smartphone apps may not be very effective at improving medication adherence, according to a new study published in JAMA. The randomized study aimed to determine if the Medisafe smartphone app could improve self-reported medication adherence and blood pressure control among hypertension patients. The results of the study suggest that it’s still unclear whether these services have any positive impact on patient care. There was a small improvement in self-reported medication adherence by the test group — those who downloaded and used the app — compared to the control group — those who didn’t get the app. However, blood-pressure results were the same between the two groups. Despite the lack of research supporting the advantages of mHealth apps, the solutions remain an attractive option for healthcare professionals and health systems looking to engage with and monitor their patients outside of the clinical setting. And the popularity of the overall mHealth app market continues to accelerate — by the end of 2017, the global mHealth market is estimated to have raked in $26 billion in revenue, up 33% year-over-year. And we believe the market will continue on this trajectory, particularly as demand for things like virtual consultations spread into emerging and developing smartphone markets, such as India, parts of Asia and Latin America.

    *IN OTHER NEWS:*

    · *Pear Therapeutics*, the digital health startup that makes apps to help people with substance abuse disorder, joined forces with Novartis-owned pharmaceutical company Sandoz to commercialize new prescription digital therapeutics, according to Reuters.
    · *A texting service* could reduce the rate of opioid relapses, according to a joint study developed by a team of researchers at Washington University, Epharmix, and Preferred Family Healthcare. By the end of the three-month study, the researchers found that 50% of participants reported not using opiates, while 12% said they had in the past three days — down from 42% at the beginning of the study.
    · *T**he US House Agriculture Committee*, passed a bill Wednesday that increases funding for distance learning and telemedicine by $82 million and re-authorizes the program through 2023, POLITICO reports.

    Join the conversation about this story » Reported by Business Insider 10 hours ago.

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    THE INSURANCE AND THE IoT REPORT: How insurers are using connected devices to cut costs and more accurately price policies This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

    Insurance companies have long based their pricing models and strategies on assumptions about the demographics of their customers. Auto insurers, for example, have traditionally charged higher premiums for parents of teenage drivers based on the assumption that members of this demographic are more likely to get into an accident.

    But those assumptions are inherently flawed, since they often aren't based on the actual behaviors and characteristics of individual customers. As new IoT technologies increasingly move into the mainstream, insurers are able to collect and analyze data to more accurately price premiums, helping them to protect the assets they insure and enabling more efficient assessment of damages to conserve resources.

    A new report from Business Insider Intelligence explains how companies in the auto, health, and home insurance markets are using the data produced by IoT solutions to augment their existing policy pricing models and grow their customer bases. In addition, it examines areas where IoT devices have the potential to open up new insurance segments.

     Here are some of the key takeaways:

    · The world's largest auto insurers now offer usage-based policies, which price premiums based on vehicle usage data collected directly from the car.
    · Large home and commercial property insurers are using drones to inspect damaged properties, which can improve workflow efficiency and reduce their reliance on human labor.
    · Health and life insurance firms are offering customers fitness trackers to encourage healthy behavior, and discounts for meeting certain goals.
    · Home insurers are offering discounts on smart home devices to current customers, and in some cases, free devices to entice new customers.

    In full, the report:

    · Forecasts the number of Americans who will have tried usage-based auto insurance by 2021.
    · Explains why narrowly tailored wearables could be what's next for the health insurance industry.
    · Analyzes the market for potential future insurance products on IoT devices.
    · Discusses and analyzes the barriers to consumers opting in to policies that collect their data.

    * Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: * This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports

    Access to all future reports and daily newsletters

    Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry

    And more!

    Learn MorePurchase & download the full report from our research store

     

    Join the conversation about this story » Reported by Business Insider 1 hour ago.