New Push Ties Cost of Drugs to How Well They Work

via Wall Street Journal

Tarceva has shown a smaller benefit in pancreatic cancer than in lung cancer.

Express Scripts Holding Co., a large manager of prescription-drug benefits for U.S. employers and insurers, is seeking deals with pharmaceutical companies that would set pricing for some cancer drugs based on how well they work.

The effort is part of a growing push for so-called pay-for-performance deals amid complaints about the rising price of medications, some of which cost more than $100,000 per patient a year.

Some insurers and prescription-benefit managers are pushing back by arguing that they should pay less when drugs don’t work well in certain patients. Drug companies are countering with pricing models of their own, such as offering free doses during a trial period..

To read the full article CLICK HERE

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Quality Now Trumps Quantity in Stats on Uninsured

via Wall Street Journal

Sometimes, fixing one statistical problem creates a new one. For years, the Current Population Surveyconducted by the U.S. Census Bureau overestimated the number of people without health insurance. Last year, the Census Bureau revised the survey to correct the error, which was likely caused by the way the government asked Americans about their coverage.

The fix, which had been in the works since 1999, should produce more-accurate estimates. But responses obtained with the new methodology aren’t compatible with responses collected using the previous approach, making it harder to examine uninsured rates over the years at a crucial moment—as Americans try to gauge the success of the Affordable Care Act…

To read the full article please CLICK HERE

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High Court Ruling Adds Protection for 401(k) Investors

via Wall Street Journal

The Supreme Court on Monday put companies managing 401(k) retirement plans on notice they have a continuing duty to be judicious on plan investment decisions, adding protections for the worker savings plans.

A unanimous court said plan administrators must continue “to monitor trust investments and remove imprudent ones. This continuing duty exists separate and apart from the trustee’s duty to exercise prudence in selecting investments at the outset.”

The case involves investors in Edison International’s 401(k) offerings who claimed the Rosemead, Calif., energy holding company violated its fiduciary duties by buying retail mutual funds when nearly identical products were available through less-expensive institutional-class funds. It came to the court on the issue of calculating how long investors had to bring their lawsuit.

To read the full article CLICK HERE

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Court Makes It Easier to Sue Over 401(k) Retirement Plans

via USA Today

The Supreme Court today made it possible for workers saving for retirement to sue their 401(k) plans for offering investments with excessive fees.

The court ruled unanimously in favor of current and former workers of Edison International, a public utility holding company based in Rosemead, Calif., who claimed that six retail-class mutual funds selected by plan fiduciaries as investment options were imprudent, because they charged higher fees than identical institutional-class funds that were allegedly available to large investors, such as the defendant Edison’s 401(k) plan, according to a brief by Marcia Wagner of the Wagner Law Group…

To read the full article CLICK HERE

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Health Coverage Grows Under Affordable Care Act

via RAND Corporation

Insurance coverage has increased across all types of insurance since the major provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act took effect, with a net total of 16.9 million people becoming newly enrolled through February 2015, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Researchers estimate that from September 2013 to February 2015, 22.8 million Americans became newly insured and 5.9 million lost coverage, for a net of 16.9 million newly insured Americans…

To read the full article from RAND Corporation CLICK HERE

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Engaging Office Design

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via Deloitte HR Times Blog

With businesses around the world citing culture and engagement as one of their top challenges (see Culture and engagement: The naked organization), office design is being considered as a multifaceted organization design solution. Companies are looking to their workplace environment not only to entice and retain talent (particularly Millennial talent) and support their employment brand but also strengthen communication, collaboration, and employee satisfaction — which could ultimately lead to improved customer service and stronger business performance. “Open plan” office designs have been around for many years, but they are enjoying a new resurgence, perhaps because they are closely associated with tech- and innovation-driven companies of all sizes — from recognized global giants to high-potential startups. But is the trend right for your organization?

Open office design is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. While design can enhance organizational efficiency and performance, it can equally impede these outcomes when floor plans do not align with a company’s culture and capabilities, or enhance employee productivity and morale…

To read the full article CLICK HERE

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IRS Adjusts HSA-Related Limits for 2016

via Lockton Benefit Group Compliance Services

The IRS has released the inflation-adjusted contribution and related amounts for health savings accounts (HSAs) and HSA-compatible high-deductible health plans, or HDHPs, for 2016. These limits are tied to changes in the Consumer Price Index by application of the cost-of-living adjustment rules. The limits for 2016 are set forth below:

2016 HSA-Related Limits

Annual HSA Contribution Maximum: $3,350 for single coverage, $6,750 for family coverage (maximum for single coverage unchanged from calendar year 2015; maximum for family coverage increased from $6,650)

Annual Catch-Up Contribution Maximum: $1,000 for HSA-eligible individuals age 55 or older (no change from calendar year 2015)

HDHP Minimum Deductible: $1,300 for single coverage, $2,600 for family coverage (no change from calendar year 2015)

HDHP Out-of-Pocket Maximum: $6,550 for single coverage, $13,100 for family coverage (increase from $6,450 and $12,900, respectively; for plans with non-calendar year plan years, the increase in out-of-pocket maximums applies for the plan year beginning in 2016)

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