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What's the Difference Between Health and Wellness?

Dr. Christine

The terms health and wellness are commonly thrown together, thanks in large part to the prevalence of wellness programs promoting better health in the workplace. It’s easy to see how the two terms could be interchangeable, but the difference between health and wellness is important.

Wellness programs largely focus on the idea of preventative care, which is primarily designed to save policyholders (and employers) money in the long run (though many employers unfortunately sink a ton of time and money into wellness programs without any strategy whatsoever). The general idea is that if people are getting regular checkups, adhering to their prescribed medication regimen, and getting recommended vaccines, health problems can either be completely prevented or at least managed before they become extraordinarily expensive.

Although it’s fair to say that one of the goals of wellness programs is to make people healthier, there is a difference between health and wellness. So let’s dive into this and why it matters.

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Topics: wellness, Employee Communications, employee health, workplace wellness, wellness program

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Ducey's Plan for Arizona's CHIP Program

David Rook

Governor Ducey is working on a plan to fund Arizona’s CHIP program until Congress either passes a new budget or finds a way to pass an independent CHIP bill, which would require some legislative maneuvering with very few legislative days left in the year and a tremendous backlog of bills.

On September 30, 2017, the government’s fiscal year ended without passing a new budget, essentially cutting off all federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) across the country. Because 9 million children in the U.S. (and their parents) depend on the insurance CHIP provides, states are trying to find extra cash to sustain the program.

Who Does CHIP Cover?

CHIP was created to fill in the gaps for families that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not necessarily enough to pay for private or employer-sponsored health insurance.

Children up to age 19 are eligible for the program, but states have discretion over further eligibility standards, including those related to income. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) also expanded CHIP eligibility to children of state employees.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Compliance, employee health, Arizona

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How to Choose a Health Insurance Plan for Your Workforce

David Rook

Ask nearly any employee how they feel about the importance of health insurance and they’ll tell you it ranks pretty high on their list of priorities. Research backs this up time and time again. A 2017 Harvard Business Review survey reveals that employees value better health, vision and dental insurance over benefits like additional vacation time and work-from-home options.

As an employer or Human Resources professional, you know that health insurance is a must-have benefit workers want. What you may not know is how to choose a health insurance plan that keeps workers happy and attracts new talent to your organization. Here is a quick guide to selecting a plan that works for everyone.

Choosing What Type of Health Insurance Plan to Offer

Perhaps you’re an employer who has grown to the point where you have to legally start offering healthcare per the ACA, or perhaps you're still classified as a “small business” but would like to offer insurance as a retention and recruitment benefit. But where to start? Selecting health insurance for your employees may seem like an overwhelming decision. By breaking it down and approaching the decision step by step, you can better manage the decision making process.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, employee health

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How to Improve Employee Medication Adherence & Why It’s Critical To Your Benefits' Budget

Jeff Griffin

When working on cost containment solutions, many employers completely overlook a critical component that could secretly be costing them tens of thousands of dollars: medication adherence. Medication nonadherence is associated with a higher rate of hospitalization (and at a higher cost) than those compliant with their medication regimen.

It seems simple enough — people are prescribed medications and they take the necessary doses, right? Well no, not necessarily. Medication adherence is a complicated topic with multiple, unrelated causes that are difficult to pinpoint and treat. And unfortunately, this problem doesn’t actually have a simple solution. But nonetheless, it’s important for employers to understand what it is so they know how they can help — and how it affects their budgets.

What Is Medication Adherence?

Simply put, medication adherence is when patients properly follow directions for taking medications as written by a doctor or pharmaceutical company on the label. For example, many over the counter pain medications allow for one or two pills to be taken every four to six hours, but never more than so many in a 24-hour period. Some asthma medications require once daily doses, while others require two (morning and night), and others require four (two in the morning and two at night). In addition, many blood pressure and cholesterol medications are taken once daily.

Some medication requires a change in diet (such as avoiding certain foods, like grapefruit, which can counteract the drug) or have strict instructions on how to take the medicine, like not eating for a certain period of time after consumption. Many times, these food restrictions have to do with a body’s inability to absorb the medication or vitamins if certain foods are present in the patient’s system.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) there are three different forms of medication nonadherence:

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Cost Containment, Education, Behavioral Psychology, employee health, Pharmacy

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Types of Health Insurance Plans & How They Compare

David Rook

Navigating the alphabet soup of types of health insurance can make anyone’s eyes glaze over, but it doesn’t have to be so intimidating — or boring. HMOs, PPOs, EPOs, POSs, and HDHPs share similarities, but they all provide health benefits in slightly different ways — and some of those can be deal-breakers for employees. Here’s a go-to guide for differentiating the types of health insurance plans available on the market today.

HMOs (Health Maintenance Organization)

Created by the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973, HMOs are designed to be a less expensive type of health insurance plan than some of the alternatives — in fact, they are usually among the least expensive options, but with that perk generally comes narrow networks and less freedom of choice when it comes to doctors and hospital systems.

With HMOs, you must see a primary care physician (PCP) prior to seeing any kind of specialist, otherwise the visit and any treatment provided may not be covered. In addition, the insurance policy does not cover any portion of a bill accumulated from an out-of-network provider. However, if an enrollee is transported to an out-of-network hospital in the case of an emergency (such as in an ambulance or life flight), services must be covered at the in-network price. The exception to this rule may be doctors within that hospital because they can bill separately (such as an anesthesiologist).

This type of health insurance generally boasts the least amount of paperwork, which is appealing for many people in an age where insurance paperwork seems to be as endless as it is pointless. Policyholders are subject to monthly premiums, in addition to their deductible, copays at the doctor’s office and pharmacy, and coinsurance.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, employee health, HSAs

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