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March 25, 2013
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Strategies to improve employee and population health

  Wellness Programs & Trends 
  • Employers to face new rules on employee wellness incentives
    New federal wellness program rules scheduled for 2014 will require companies to come up with alternate ways employees can win wellness incentives or rewards if their medical conditions make it difficult for them to meet health-related goals. Benefit Commerce Group president Chris Hogan said about 10% of the companies his firm works with have health-contingent programs that link insurance premiums to health requirements but that could hit 50% next year as employers see how the initiatives can help the bottom line. American City Business Journals/Phoenix/Health Care Daily blog (3/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Regular exercise in childhood may prevent fractures later in life
    Swedish researchers who followed more than 2,300 7- to 9-year-olds found that those who exercised daily had higher bone mineral density compared with the control group, possibly lowering their risk for fractures later in life. The findings were presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine meeting. HealthDay News (3/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health News & Research 
  • Many babies are introduced to solid food earlier than recommended
    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breast-feeding for about the first six months of life, but CDC researchers found that 40% of 1,334 mothers said they started introducing solid food to their babies before they were 4 months old. The researchers found that formula-fed babies were twice as likely as breast-fed babies to be given solids early. About 90% of mothers who introduced solids early said they thought their babies were old enough to eat such food, according to the study in the journal Pediatrics. USA Today (3/25), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (3/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study notes higher anal cancer rates in the U.S.
    A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found anal cancer rates in the U.S. grew from about one case per 100,000 people between 1973 and 1996 to three cases per 100,000 during the period between 1997 and 2009. Researchers said squamous cell carcinoma was the most common form, affecting 85% of patients. Researchers said better screening among high-risk groups may explain the increase. Reuters (3/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Schools & Community 
  • How some schools are combining lunch, learning
    Students at a Connecticut school can watch cooking demonstrations, play games and access "learning carts" -- all while eating lunch. The cafeteria boasts a mural, menu monitors and other interactive features. Some say such cafeteria transformations can yield better student behavior and improve school culture. WTNH-TV (New Haven, Conn.) (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Wellness Industry Developments 
Protect Medicare Advantage
CMS has proposed new cuts to Medicare Advantage that will have a devastating impact on seniors. Beneficiaries will face an average $50 to $90 per month in higher costs and benefit reductions. Visit the Coalition for Medicare Choices to learn more.
  AHIP News 
  • Meeting expectations in a changing health care system
    Encouraging consumers to make healthier choices is more and more important as our health care system changes the way individuals, clinicians, purchasers and others think about coverage, services and personal responsibility. How can we best engage consumers and achieve greater value for our health care system? Kaiser Permanente’s George Halvorson and WebMD’s Cavan Redmond will address this topic at Institute 2013, June 12 to 14 in Las Vegas. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Improve your back office operations. TPA Direct
    TPA Direct includes AHIP member companies who are third party administrators, and offers guidance to health plans and other potential payers and administrators interested in outsourcing. QualCare is a provider-sponsored Managed Care Organization that offers self-funded PPO, HMO network, point of service network, and open access health plans, third party administration services, provider network access, care management services, and a workers’ compensation product. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it."
--Zora Neale Hurston,
American author

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