Archive for February, 2010

What Drives the Cost Increases in Healthcare

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

There are three primary forces driving the increase in cost of healthcare:

1. Prescription drugs – there has been a 50% to 100% increase in the number of drugs being prescribed over the past five years and the result is higher premiums.

2. The are a lot of new costly procedures that are becoming common place…. These procedures drive up the cost of insurance premiums.

3. America is aging.

COBRA Extended – Again

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

In 2009, the federal government provided a subsidy for monthly COBRA premiums because of the rising unemployment rate. Under this, an eligible person only had to pay 35% of the premiums charged, the balance was paid by the employer – which was later compensated by the federal government by way of a tax credit. The subsidy applied to nine COBRA premium payments. To be eligible, the individual only had to have been involuntary terminated from employment between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009.

The federal government has now extended the subsidy by lengthening:

1) The period during which the involuntary termination occurred. The employee’s termination date must be between September 1, 2008 and February 28, 2010.

2) The maximum period for receiving the COBRA subsidy has been extended for an additional six months (a total of 15 premium payments).

Health Savings Plans on the Rise

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Factoid: in 2008, 6.1 million people were enrolled in health savings plans. In 2009, that number rose to 8 million.

Factoid on Healthcare Utilization

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Factoid: Did you know that adults with chronic conditions account for 40% of the Medicaid population yet account for 80% of expenditures?