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Don’t stop taking your medication!

September 28, 2011 By: PharmaSueAnn Category: Medtipster

An annual survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that 48% of adults admitted skipping or delaying medication or other health care services to save money, up from 39% in 2010.

Visit Medtipser.com to stretch your healthcare dollars.

Towers Watson Survey: Employer Health Cost Rate Increases to Slow to 6.5% This Year, Medtipster reports.

March 02, 2010 By: Nadia Category: Medtipster

Medtipster Source: Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW), 2/22/2010, www.towerswatson.com and www.businessgrouphealth.org

NEW YORK — The continuing sluggish economy is forcing a growing number of large U.S. employers to take more aggressive measures to control rising health care costs and motivate workers to take charge of improving their own health, according to a survey conducted by Towers Watson, a global professional services company, and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), a non-profit association of large U.S. employers.

Survey findings

  • 83% of companies have already revamped or expect to revamp their health care strategy within the next two years, up from 59% in 2009.
  • Costs are expected to increase 6.5% this year, down slightly from 7% in 2009.
  • 67% of employers identify employees’ poor health habits as a top challenge to maintaining affordable benefit coverage.

Employee Engagement

  • 58% of employers indicate the biggest obstacle to changing employees’ health-related behavior is the lack of employee engagement.
  • 31% say there is a lack of sufficient financial incentives to encourage participation
  • 30% say there is a lack of an adequate health management program budget.

Employee Incentives and On-site Health Centers

  • 66% plan to offer incentives for employees to complete a health risk appraisal, up from 61% in 2009.
  • 56% of employers now offer health coaches, and
  • 26% now offer onsite health centers.

Vendors Can Do Better

  • 67% of companies feel that vendors fall short with programs designed to change member behavior to drive more efficient use of health care services.
  • 66% identify vendor programs designed to change member behavior related to making healthy lifestyle decisions as not at all or only slightly effective.
  • 57% of employers also consider vendors not at all or only slightly effective at driving care to high-quality providers.

“The downturn has amplified the pressure on companies to find ways to support effective health management programs under budget constraints,” said Ron Fontanetta, senior consultant at Towers Watson. “For employers, the current environment is a clarion call to adjust their health plan strategy, reassess vendor relationships and aggressively address the challenge to encourage workers to become better advocates for their own health.” 

“Even in tight times, employers will continue to encourage healthy behaviors with financial incentives and other initiatives,” said Ted Nussbaum, senior consultant at Towers Watson. “However, there are challenges to changing employee behavior that extend beyond budget constraints and employer-sponsored programs. Inspiring workers to be actively involved in their own health remains an uphill battle for most companies.”

About the National Business Group on Health/Towers Watson Report

The 15th Annual National Business Group on Health/Towers Watson Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care was conducted from November 2009 through January 2010 with 507 employers of 1,000 or more employees that collectively employ 11.5 million workers. The full report will be available in March.

About Towers Watson

Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW) is a leading global professional services company that helps organizations improve performance through effective people, risk and financial management. The company offers solutions in the areas of employee benefits, talent management, rewards, and risk and capital management. Towers Watson has 14,000 associates around the world.  Visit www.towerswatson.com.

About the National Business Group on Health

The National Business Group on Health is a non-profit membership organization of more than 280 members, including 60 of the Fortune 100. The National Business Group on Health is devoted to providing practical solutions to its employer-members’ most important health care problems and serving as the voice for large employers on national health care issues and public policy. Its members purchase health and disability benefits for over 55 million people. Visit www.businessgrouphealth.org.

Mini Clinics Increase share 15% over last 24 Months

November 16, 2009 By: Nadia Category: Medtipster, Prescription News

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ — Despite the recession, overall growth of the heath care retail clinic market has increased approximately 15 percent in the past two years, according to a new report released today by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. Retail clinic market growth, however, will likely slow to 10-15 percent from 2010 through 2012 and will accelerate above 30 percent from 2013-2014, according to the report.

The report, “Retail Clinics: Update and Implications,” suggests that consumer adoption of retail medicine is strong and growing. Additionally, the report suggests that the industry’s potential to expand its revenue opportunities will support its long-term sustainability. The four factors that will likely contribute to the sector’s growth include:

•Increased use and satisfaction by consumers
•Increased use and acceptance by commercial health plans and large employers
•Increased services provided through the retail medicine model
•Increased demand for preventive and primary health care services as a result of health reform and consumer demand

“The growth and evolution of retail clinics reflect opportunities for disruptive innovation and an improved value proposition of price, quality and service for the U.S. health care system,” said Paul Keckley, Ph.D. and executive director, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. “While the current economic downturn has incited a period of contraction, the retail clinic industry will emerge with a more refined business model to drive a second, albeit slower, wave of growth in the next three years.”

Key findings highlighted in the report include:

•Patient Volume Remains Strong: According to the report and Deloitte’s 2009 Survey of Health Care Consumers, 33 percent of consumers indicate they are willing to use a retail clinic, especially younger and middle-aged working adults. Moreover, 30 percent of respondents are likely to use a retail clinic if it would cost them 50 percent less than seeing their physician.

“Retail clinics represent a new channel that can deliver primary care services more conveniently and at lower cost to consumers,” added Keckley. “Clinic services are typically safe and effective, due in large measure to medical management programs that are evidence-based and supported by electronic medical records. Additionally, health insurance plans are increasingly offering coverage of retail clinic visits in their benefits packages for individuals and employers — ‘covered lives’ is a key to growth.”

•Existing Locations: Most retail clinics operate in retail pharmacy settings (82 percent), or as a department or wholly-owned subsidiary of the host organization, such as a grocery store (12 percent) or big-box discount store (6 percent). Notably, 2009 has seen increased activity by acute care organizations entering retail medicine via contractual arrangements with drug store and grocery chains.

•Potential Locations: The market potential for retail clinics remains strongest in retail pharmacies, as within 10,000 retail pharmacies, there are currently 801 clinic locations. However, big-box discount stores and grocery stores have expansion opportunities if these channels selectively leverage services, given:
•Within over 5,000 big-box discount stores, there are currently only 58 clinic locations
•Within over 5,000 grocery stores, there are currently only 115 clinic locations

•The Evolving Business Model: Core services at retail clinics typically include preventative health screenings, prescriptions and over the counter (OTC) therapeutics and uncomplicated primary care. The retail clinic business model is capable of supporting additional revenue streams (zones) unrelated to its core operations:
◦Zone Two: Core extenders including medication management, health coaching for chronic issues and employee wellness
◦Zone Three: New revenue programs including care management services for chronic issues; referral management services for acute, specialty or OTC issues; and health insurance for individuals or groups

•Challenges to Growth: The retail clinic industry faces a few challenges, including labor shortages, compensation inflation, price pressures from new entrants and regulatory pressures from state governments — all of which may slow growth or impede retail clinics from opening. In fact, in some states and localities, regulators are fearful that retail clinics represent a compromise to safe and effective care. Additionally, some local physicians have actively campaigned against retail clinic openings and advised patients to seek care elsewhere.

“As a new entrant to the health care industry, retail clinics represent a threat to many traditional health care stakeholders,” added Keckley. “However, to consumers, health plans and employers, retail clinics offer an important health care alternative with a strong value proposition. Therefore, we expect this new sector to mature while growing its scope of services, locations and impact on population-based health status.”

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