Small businesses adapting to new workforce expectations | Insurance type affects seniors' ability to afford Rx drugs | Companies help employees pay for fresh produce
May 24, 2019
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Best Business Practices
Small businesses adapting to new workforce expectations
A tight labor market and a younger workforce with new expectations are bringing about changes in culture at small businesses, which are becoming more accommodating in a number of ways. More flexible cultures that emphasize the chance for career advancement may also give small businesses a competitive employment edge over their larger counterparts.
The Associated Press (5/22),  The Associated Press (5/22) 
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Prospects, Products and Market Trends
Insurance type affects seniors' ability to afford Rx drugs
About 5% of seniors who are prescribed medications cannot afford to follow their prescriptions, and about 18% of seniors asked for a less expensive alternative, according to a CDC brief. About 8% of seniors covered by conventional Medicare could not afford to take their medication, compared with 5% of those with a Medicare Advantage plan or with both Medicare and Medicaid coverage, and 3% of seniors with a private plan.
HealthDay News (5/22) 
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Companies help employees pay for fresh produce
Facilities Management Services and Heine Brothers' Coffee in Louisville, Ky., are partnering with a nonprofit group to help their employees pay for bags of fresh produce this summer. The companies are located in an area where there are only two grocery stores for more than 13,000 residents, and an FMS survey found employees wanted better access to fresh food.
The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.) (tiered subscription model) (5/21) 
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Policy and the Health Care Landscape
AHIP pushes back against arbitration to address surprise bills
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers released details of a proposal meant to protect patients against surprise medical bills for out-of-network care through a "baseball-style" arbitration process. AHIP said it is concerned that the "proposal relies on a costly and cumbersome system of dispute resolution that utilizes inflated charges of certain specialty providers to determine payment. These arbitrary rates bear no relation to the cost of care and this approach would likely lead to increased healthcare spending at a time we need solutions to reduce costs for patients."
Becker's Hospital Review (5/23),  Becker's Hospital Review (5/23) 
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Senators unveil legislative package to lower health care costs
Senators unveil legislative package to lower health care costs
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., have proposed sweeping legislation designed to lower health care costs by addressing unexpected medical bills and improving drug price transparency. Alexander has said they hope to bring the package, which consists of close to three dozen provisions, to the Senate floor for a vote in July.
The Hill (5/23),  Kaiser Health News (5/23) 
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House lawmakers unveil plans to restructure Medicare Part D
The leaders and ranking members of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee released the discussion draft of legislation meant to limit beneficiaries' out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs in Medicare Part D and reduce the government's portion of catastrophic coverage from 80% to 20% over a four-year period. Stakeholders are invited to submit input on the proposals by June 6.
Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (5/23) 
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Minutes: Fed confident on patient approach to rates
Federal Reserve officials are in agreement a patient approach to interest rates is the right course to take "for some time," according to meeting minutes. Many members support Chairman Jerome Powell's opinion that recent weakening of inflation is "likely to be transitory."
BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (5/22),  Investing (Cyprus) (5/22),  The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (5/22),  The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (5/22) 
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House passes retirement bill in bipartisan vote
The House has voted 417-3 to pass the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019, which would make changes intended to encourage Americans to save for retirement. Major provisions include removing obstacles to small businesses' offering of retirement plans and making it easier for plans to offer annuities.
ThinkAdvisor (free registration) (5/23) 
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Health Insurance Provider Company News
AHIP News
DM programs to improve care while managing costs
AHIP's DM Direct members offer products, services, and strategies that can help health plans leverage their DM programs to improve care and deliver value. Envolve is the life, health and wellness company dedicated to helping people transform their lives with support, encouragement, and motivation. The company offers an inclusive people-centered approach designed to help in all stages of life.
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Loneliness & social isolation are public health issues
Between 20% and 43% of Americans report feeling lonely or socially isolated. Learn how Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan fosters social connectedness to help its members improve health and well-being. Read the AHIP blog post.
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Monday
In observance of Memorial Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday. Publication will resume Tuesday.
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I accept chaos. I am not sure whether it accepts me.
Bob Dylan,
singer and songwriter

May is Jewish American Heritage Month

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