HSA Bank Health & Wealth Index rReveals where Americans Stand with their Physical and Financial Well-being

HSA Bank, a division of Webster Bank, N.A., released the HSA Bank Health & Wealth IndexSM for 2018, a new report that explores how today’s consumers are faring when it comes to their financial and physical health. More than 1,000 U.S. adults were surveyed about their health plan enrollment status, health practices, ability to pay for health-related expenses, and level of engagement in their own health and wealth. The results showed that 41 percent never save money for future healthcare expenses and 35 percent never consider cost when selecting health services.

Key findings from the report show that although consumers are paying attention to their physical health and engaging in healthy lifestyle behaviors, opportunities exist for employers, benefit administrators, and healthcare providers to further educate consumers on the various factors that play a critical role in influencing physical and financial health.

1. Consumers can improve their focus on the financial aspect of healthcare.
2. Consumer confidence in health plan coverage does not align with their financial literacy of health plans.
3. Consumers are making lifestyle changes to improve their health.

To view the full report, visit hsabank.com/healthandwealthindex.

Building a Next-Generation Platform for Care at Home

CareCentrix has published a new whitepaper outlining how home-centered care drives significant savings, promotes recovery, and increases patient satisfaction. Unfortunately, according to the paper, home care remains underused due to barriers that are structurally embedded into the healthcare system.

The white paper, “Building a Next-Generation Platform for Care at Home” explores what it would take for the home to become the center of patient care.

The paper concludes that health plans need to take a closer look at how implementing a robust home health benefit that includes telehealth and value-add services (such as transportation and personal care) can reduce upfront costs as well as help limit downstream costs from hospital readmissions, repeat surgeries, and other complications.

Download a copy here.

Americans’ Health Care Costs Rise Again, Now $28k per Family

From BenefitsPro

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is reporting in BenefitsPro that the cost of health care for a typical American family of four receiving coverage from an employer-sponsored preferred provider plan will rise by just 4.5 percent this year. This is according to the 2018 Milliman Medical Index.

The article notes that the index also found that prescription drug trends are down for the third consecutive year. However, while employers are paying more, employees are paying a lot more. Over the long-term, Milliman had seen employees footing an increasingly higher percentage of the total. That trend continues in 2018, with employee expenses increasing by 5.9 percent, while employer expenses increased by only 3.5 percent.

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Value-based Health Care Explalined

From EBA

Sam Ho, the chief medical officer at UnitedHealthcare, describes value-based care arrangements in an EBA article.

Under value-based care arrangements, healthcare providers are paid for achieving certain quality outcomes and demonstrating that they’re improving people’s health, rather than getting paid solely for the number of services they provide to patients.

 In short, value-based care puts the patient at the center of the healthcare experience. It emphasizes the importance of keeping people healthy and rewards physicians for coordinating care.

Ditching PPOs for Direct Contracting

From EBA

Jeff Fox, a principal and the benefits practice leader at HJ Spier in Indianapolis, Ind., is ditching PPOs in favor of direct provider contracts for his employer clients. He pairs this with self-funding to achieve substantial cost reductions over their previous preferred provider discounts, and in some cases, he helps clients band together to enter direct contracts as an employer coalition.

Fox’s partner in these undertakings is Gary Everling, the executive director for business development at Hendricks Regional Health in Hendricks County, Ind., and the Hendricks County Government and the Town of Plainfield, Ind., were his first direct contract clients.

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Amazon has Healthcare Fever: Six Symptoms You Should Recognize

By Marc Butler, Intellgize 

It’s obvious that Amazon is becoming a player in the healthcare space. And it’s making plenty of people in the industry sick.

A mere sneeze out of Seattle can give anyone in the vicinity the chills. In January, Amazon announced a partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase to form an independent health care company for their employees. Despite a lack of details, the news sent the stocks of United Health and Anthem plummeting by more than 5 percent. And that’s just one of the entry points that Amazon has established into our ripe-for-disruption healthcare industry. Here are six initiatives that Amazon has going right now, all of which signal a serious commitment to break into – if not break up – the industry:

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Leading the HSA Revolution: How to help Employers see the Value of HSAs

From BenefitsPro

After 14 years in the marketplace, why are HSAs not more widely used by employers and individuals? Possibly employees and employers have some questions that aren’t being answered. Here’s how to help. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Roy Ramthun (also known as “Mr. HSA”), founder and president of HSA Consulting Services and Chad Wilkins, president of HSA Bank in Sheboygan, Wis. are quoted in this article.

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Obamacare Startup Oscar Plans Expansion to New States

Bloomberg is reporting in a copyrighted article that Oscar Insurance Corp., the Obamacare-focused health insurance startup, plans to expand to Arizona and at least three other new markets next year.

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Web-Based Interventions Can Improve Parents’ Attitudes About Benefits of Vaccination

DENVER — Providing parents accurate clinical information about vaccines through a website, and providing access to vaccine experts can help improve parents’ attitudes about vaccinating their children, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The 1,093 study participants, who were recruited during pregnancy, were randomly assigned to one of three study groups: website with vaccine information and interactive social media components (or VSM); website with vaccine information only (or VI); or usual care only (UC).

The study team created a website that presented easy-to-understand information on the risks and benefits of vaccination, recommended vaccination schedules, vaccine ingredients and vaccine laws. The investigators also built an interactive social media component within the website that included an expert-moderated blog, discussion forum, chat room and an “Ask a Question” portal where parents could ask experts questions about vaccines. Continue reading


PITTSBURGH, Pa. (May 4, 2018) — Highmark Inc. has entered into a six-year partnership with Sharecare, the digital health company helping people manage all their health in one place, to exclusively offer innovative, personalized health and wellness solutions to its employer group customers in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. Additionally, beginning January 1, 2019, Highmark members will have access to Sharecare’s personalized mobile and web-based platform that will help them better manage and understand their health, and provide timely and actionable steps to improve it, no matter where they are in their health journey.

“Consumers are more active in their own health care, but they are challenged with credible real-time information to help with health care decisions,” said Dr. Charles DeShazer, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Highmark. “Sharecare is laser focused to meet consumer expectations and ensure an exceptional member experience, and further sets its platform apart with personalized articles, videos and health content from trusted sources like the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association and Centers for Disease Control — all through the smartphone and in the palm of your hand.”

Sharecare’s real-time data and personalized messages are also beneficial to employers, who are looking for ways to keep employees engaged, healthy and productive. Continue reading