Health Wonk Review & More Noteworthy News

July 17th, 2014 by Julie Ferguson

Catch up on your Health Policy Wonkery for the summer – Jennifer Salopek has posted Health Wonk Review: Polar Vortex Edition at Wing Of Zock. It’s a great edition and one of only two to be published during the abbreviated summer schedule, so get your wonk fix now!
Up? Down? Sideways? What’s up with health care costs? – Joe Paduda: “First, let’s not confuse “costs” with “insurance premiums”. Unfortunately, many mass media outlets don’t understand that insurance premiums are not costs…which certainly contributes to the confusion … Second, let’s not confuse “price” with “cost”, as this report does.”
NCCI data reveal need for new model for workers’ comp claims management – “What’s easy to notice and applaud is the industry’s improvement. Not only is the 2013 workers’ comp combined ratio of 101 far from the 2001 peak of 122, it is also a seven-point improvement over the previous year. However, the improvement represented in this data must be considered carefully, as the second, more telling story highlights a systemic problem the industry has yet to reconcile.”
It’s Just Work Comp – DePaolo: “…why is there so much controversy in workers’ compensation?”
Can You Link Insurance Premiums To Smoking? – “Another recent study found that smokers missed an average of 6.16 days of work per year as opposed to the 3.86 days missed by non-smokers, and that a smoker taking four 10-minute smoke breaks actually worked one month less over the course of a year than a non-smoking employee. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that each smoking employee costs a company an additional $3,391 per year – including $1,760 in lost productivity and $1,623 in excess medical expenses. So, smoking employees seem to be an excellent target to help an employer manage its costs, and not just the cost of providing healthcare.”
CDC: Opioid Painkiller Prescribing Varies Widely Among States – “Health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012 – many more in some states than in others – according to a Vital Signs report recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that highlights the danger of overdose. The report also has an example of a state that reversed its overdose trend.”
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