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How President Trump Plans to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

HHS recently released “100 Days of Action on the President’s American Patients First Blueprint.”

Some of the information looks great, such as 60% fewer brand-drug price increases than the same period in 2017 and a record breaking 126 generics approved in July.  Additionally, 4 drug companies canceled planned price increases and 13 committed to price freezes for the rest of 2018.

Topics: HR / Employee Benefits

3 Startling Facts About Health Care Costs

FACT #1

HEALTH CARE COSTS ARE RISING 4X FASTER THAN WAGES

Over the last 18 years, the cost of family premiums and worker contributions have risen by a total of 270% and 224%, respectively. That compares to worker earnings growth of 64% and inflation of 47%.  The result: every year health care is consumes a larger percentage of Americans' paychecks. 

 

Topics: Leadership / Strategy HR / Employee Benefits

How Prescription Drugs Became the Wild West of Health Care

Pharmaceutical pricing and fees have become the health care industry’s best kept secret. The cost of prescription drugs are increasing at an unsustainable rate, and to make matters worse the revenue sources aren’t transparent to the patient or employer. 

THE FACTS
  • Prescription drug spending in 2016 accounted for 10% of the nation's total health care costs.
  • Prices for common medications are as much as 117% higher in the United States than in other nations.
Topics: Leadership / Strategy HR / Employee Benefits

The Problem with Hospital-Owned Primary Care

2016 was the first year in which more physicians were employed by hospitals (53%) than were self-employed or working in a privately owned practice.

When hospital systems own the primary care centers, they can put pressure on physicians to refer patients to specialists within their network (which tend to be higher in cost).

Topics: HR / Employee Benefits

It's Time to Stop Health Care Insanity

Over the past few years, we've all witnessed the unchecked rise of health care costs in America. 

Some employers have been sitting back hoping things will get better. Others have been desperately trying everything to regain control. 

But one thing is clear: we aren't winning.

 

THE SYSTEM KEEPS WINNING

Every incentive in the health care system has been built to work against you: the employer.

Insurance companies make more when the cost of claims goes up.

Hospitals are buying primary care centers and referring patients to treatment options with higher profit margins.

Pharmacy Benefit Managers get paid more when drug costs increase.

Insurance Brokers have delivered ideas and tactics. But they often fail to deliver their clients a multi-year strategy that can move the needle. 

Topics: Leadership / Strategy HR / Employee Benefits

New Tax Law Eliminates Tax Breaks for Several Fringe Benefits

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the new tax law signed into effect by President Trump in late December) impacts several employer/employee fringe benefits. Some of the law's most significant changes include:
  • eliminating tax breaks
  • creating a new tax credit for employers offering paid family and medical leave
  • repealing the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

That being said, the impact on the fringe benefit programs is less drastic that what was contained in earlier drafts of proposed tax bills that were being considered.

Topics: HR / Employee Benefits

How to fix employee benefits (ideas from the peanut gallery)

pea·nut gal·ler·y
ˈpēnət ˈɡal(ə)rē/
noun
a group of people who criticize something, often by focusing on insignificant details.
 

It’s easy to criticize from the sideline. And employee benefits provides a lot of fodder for complaints directed at HR folks.

Why do peanut gallery comments hurt so much? 

Peanut-gallery-style commentary isn’t just unpleasant to receive, but it’s also unhelpful.

As stated above, the peanut gallery is defined as people who focus on insignificant details. And this is what makes it so frustrating.

Topics: HR / Employee Benefits

The financial cost of poor employee benefits communication

Only 50% of employees understand their employee benefits1. And with the price of healthcare services varying by up to 1,000%2 depending on when and where you receive your care, poor communication is costing employers big bucks.

Topics: HR / Employee Benefits

5 takeaways from SHRM's 2017 benefits report

SHRM recently released their 2017 Employee Benefits Survey that examines the prevalence of benefits over the past five years. It tracks trends and helps employers understand the benefits landscape while also providing insight into what other companies are doing with their benefits program. We've pulled out the top statistics employers should pay attention to.

Topics: HR / Employee Benefits

The Talent Assessment Problem

Recruiting and hiring top talent is one of the biggest challenges that companies face. And yet we simply aren't good at it.

We aren't good at recognizing when a high performer is sitting right in front of us. And we aren't good at weeding out candidates that sound good but ultimately underperform. 

Topics: Leadership / Strategy HR / Employee Benefits