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April 22, 2008
 
  Spotlight 
  • Memo to employers: You can offer retiree health benefits
     
    Chad L. Wilkins
    CEO, OptumHealth Financial Services
    Employers are increasingly turning to account-based solutions as an answer to the issue of retiree health care benefits. Account-based solutions can be used instead of defined benefits, and they can simultaneously help employers manage costs and retirees cover expenses.

    These solutions, which can include multiple account products and debit cards, can eliminate certain financial risks that usually come with offering traditional defined benefit plans.

    "Alternatives to defined benefits allow employers to reduce costs and still provide meaningful benefits to their employees," says Chad L. Wilkins, CEO of OptumHealth Financial Services. Continue reading this article online.

     

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  • Effectively Addressing the Challenges of GASB 45
    Other post-employment benefits (OPEB) often pose a challenge for government employers and are, at the same time, a cornerstone of a competitive benefits package. Funding those benefits, mostly post-service medical, has traditionally been done on a pay-as-you-go basis. GASB Statement 45 will have an impact on how government employers handle reporting OPEB obligations and when appropriate, funding those obligations. Join us for a webinar conducted by an attorney who is one of the foremost experts in the U.S. on the topic of the impact of GASB 45 and OPEB liabilities -- Darcy L. Hitesman of Hitesman & Associates P.A. Register for the free webinar. Email this Story
 

  Employer Solutions 
  • Reduce sick days by encouraging employees to walk more
    Businesses can reduce the number of sick days taken by employees by simply encouraging them to walk the recommended minimum of 10,000 steps per day. Global Corporate Challenge of Australia has been battling the sedentary lifestyles of white-collar workers for the past few years through a fitness challenge. Last year, more than 500 companies participated in the challenge and their employees walked a total of more than 30 billion steps. A study of the program showed a $3.26 return on investment for each dollar spent, and sick days were lowered by an average of more than 40%. Employee Benefit News (4/10) Email this Story
  • Eating well improves health, on-the-job performance
    Encouraging employees to eat healthy diets not only can reduce health care costs by preventing obesity but also leads to more productive workers, experts say. John C. Barrett has been promoting healthy eating habits to the staff at Med Advantage for six years and says he has witnessed increased punctuality and productivity, higher morale and a decrease in absenteeism. U.S. News & World Report (4/8) Email this Story
  • Wisconsin companies implement wellness programs
    Rising health care costs have prompted companies in Wisconsin's Fox Valley to launch wellness programs to encourage their employees to get and stay fit. One company, Miron Construction in Menasha, paid for voluntary health assessments and brought a wellness coach onboard. "Programs that look at the underlying causes of cardiovascular [disease] and cancer, in particular, are very good. Programs that look at diabetes management have shown to be very effective," said one expert. Oshkosh Northwestern (Wis.) (4/8) Email this Story
Solutions:Behavioral Health |  Case Management |  Complex Medical Conditions |  Consumer Solutions |  Decision Support |  Disease Management |  Financial Services |  Physical Health |  Wellness
For more information about unique programs, please contact an OptumHealth sales representative by calling toll-free (866) 427-6845, 8am - 6pm CST, M-F. Or email us at engage@optumhealth.com

  Emerging Trends 
  • Companies focus on wellness to reduce health care costs
    Across the U.S., businesses are using health fairs, wellness coaches, contests and other programs to boost the overall health of their employees and curb escalating health care costs. According to the National Business Group on Health, issues such as smoking and obesity increase the nation's health care costs by more than $168 billion every year. "The old school, quite honestly, is increasing co-pays, increasing deductibles, increasing contributions," said one expert, adding, "The new school of thought is about prevention and wellness." PhillyBurbs.com (Pennsylvania)/Bucks County Courier Times (4/6) Email this Story
  • Commentary: Medical tourism has obvious, legitimate benefits
    Globalization has reached the health care industry, prompting hundreds of thousands of Americans to go overseas for elective surgeries and other medical procedures at a fraction of the cost of having them done in the U.S. This columnist writes that it makes a lot of sense for companies to encourage medical tourism as health care costs in the U.S. have soared and are expected to continue to increase. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (4/5) Email this Story
  • Rising costs of drug benefits have slowed down for employers
    Prescription drug benefit cost increases for large employers have slowed since 2000, largely because of employee cost sharing and greater use of drug tiers, a new Mercer report shows. Increases in drug benefit costs dropped from 18.3% in 2000 to 9.3% in 2007. CCH (4/8) Email this Story
Solutions:Behavioral Health |  Case Management |  Complex Medical Conditions |  Consumer Solutions |  Decision Support |  Disease Management |  Financial Services |  Physical Health |  Wellness
For more information about unique programs, please contact an OptumHealth sales representative by calling toll-free (866) 427-6845, 8am - 6pm CST, M-F. Or email us at engage@optumhealth.com

  Tapping Technology 
  • Connected health benefits patients, employers and payers
    In nearly a dozen research studies, the Center for Connected Health found several benefits to connected health technologies. "Through a number of ongoing programs, we are finding more evidence demonstrating the benefits of connected health for patients, health care providers, employers and payers, as well as for the person who simply wants to stay healthy," said the founder and director of the center. Healthcare IT News (4/9) Email this Story
Solutions:Behavioral Health |  Case Management |  Complex Medical Conditions |  Consumer Solutions |  Decision Support |  Disease Management |  Financial Services |  Physical Health |  Wellness
For more information about unique programs, please contact an OptumHealth sales representative by calling toll-free (866) 427-6845, 8am - 6pm CST, M-F. Or email us at engage@optumhealth.com

  Clinical Connections 
Solutions:Behavioral Health |  Case Management |  Complex Medical Conditions |  Consumer Solutions |  Decision Support |  Disease Management |  Financial Services |  Physical Health |  Wellness
For more information about unique programs, please contact an OptumHealth sales representative by calling toll-free (866) 427-6845, 8am - 6pm CST, M-F. Or email us at engage@optumhealth.com

  Policy Watch 
  • Court to hear challenge to employer payment rule
    A U.S. appeals court was scheduled to hear arguments recently in a case challenging part of San Francisco's new universal health care program that requires employers to spend a certain amount of money on worker health care or pay the city a fee. Legal experts say it's a case that has the potential to end up at the U.S. Supreme Court. MarketWatch (4/16) Email this Story
  • Managers seek information about new military FMLA provisions
    Employers are seeking information about the National Defense Authorization Act, which expands the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and was recently signed into law. Under a new provision, anyone who is the "spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin" of certain members of the military is granted up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave. PropertyCasualty360.com (4/10) Email this Story
Solutions:Behavioral Health |  Case Management |  Complex Medical Conditions |  Consumer Solutions |  Decision Support |  Disease Management |  Financial Services |  Physical Health |  Wellness
For more information about unique programs, please contact an OptumHealth sales representative by calling toll-free (866) 427-6845, 8am - 6pm CST, M-F. Or email us at engage@optumhealth.com

  SmartQuote 
The groundwork of all happiness is good health."
--Leigh Hunt, English writer and poet

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OptumHealth optimizes the health and well-being of individuals and organizations through personalized health management solutions that help people stay healthy, get healthy or live with health conditions. optumhealth.com.
 
 
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