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Where Your Coverage Counts

don trudeau

Healthcare services are notoriously opaque and that’s why you want someone on your side, like Benistar, presided over by healthcare expert Don Trudeau, who will help explain what you are covered for and will help you fight for your own coverage. But do you know what procedures you will need included in your healthcare plan? This is a hard thing to anticipate as a lot of health care costs don’t entail maintenance/prevention, they often entail accidents or previously unforeseen conditions. Well, in the case, you’ll want to consider the most popular and most important procedures/offerings your healthcare should cover. This is where your health care coverage really counts and where your dollars are put into action. In order to best understand where your coverage counts and what procedures are essential to be covered for, we’ll delve into what the healthcare industry considers essential.

In the healthcare marketplace, the following procedures/types of care are considered essential and are covered by most major, high-quality providers: outpatient care, emergency room trips, inpatient care in the hospital, care for infant delivery (both before and after), mental health and substance abuse treatment (this is relatively new, so some providers cover inpatient treatment, whereas covers behavioral health treatment, counseling and psychotherapy), prescription drugs, physical therapy and occupational therapy, tests completed in a laboratory, preventive measures (screenings, vaccines, maintenance for chronic diseases and counseling) and pediatric services (aka treatment for children). It is important to realize that plans vary from state to state as specific states have guidelines regarding health care coverage, plans and costs. Furthermore, health care coverage may vary slightly within different locations in the same state. However, the ten essentials are pretty steadfast, as they were initiated under the Affordable Healthcare Act. The act mandated that all individual and small group plans (available to companies that have under 50 employees) must cover the aforementioned essentials.

Though the ten essentials do comprise a lot of procedures and therapies you’ll need, there are some things healthcare providers may not cover because they are not included in the ten essentials. You will want to know what they are, as if they are important to you, you may want to consider contacting healthcare professionals at Benistar to talk you through and to the plan that’s perfect for you, your needs and probably the needs of your family, too. Benistar and their President Don Trudeau are committed to making sure you get the coverage you need.

Things not covered via the ten essentials include: travel vaccines, alternative treatments such as acupuncture, cosmetic surgery, nursing home care (of particular importance to those in the winter of their life), dental, vision and hearing, weight loss therapies and surgery, preventative tests, a lot of medications (though prescriptions are listed as part of the ten essentials, healthcare providers do not often provide all prescriptions, instead choosing one prescription of each varying class- you’ll want to connect with Benistar for optimum prescription benefits) and a few less important therapies. Benistar and their President Don Trudeau will make sure you are covered for the care you need, and will work with you even if the treatment is not listed under the ten essentials.

Healthcare and your subsequent coverage may seem incomprehensible, but with the help of Don Trudeau and Benistar, you’ll find you have coverage where it counts.

Benefit Plan Trends October 2017

 

A report covering plan design and legislative changes VOLUME 60, ISSUE 10
 

Asset Allocations of 401(k) Savers Changed Significantly Over Two Decades

While most 401(k) retirement plan savers continue to invest heavily in equities, the asset allocations of plan participants in their twenties at the end of 2015 differed significantly from those of plan participants in their twenties in the mid-1990s, shifting away from equity funds and company stock and toward balanced funds, a study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and the Investment Company Institute (ICI) found.

Published on August 3, “401(k) Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2015,” is the latest update of a 1999 joint study that analyzed 1996 data from the EBRI/ICI database. At year-end 2015, the EBRI/ICI database included statistical information on 26.1 million 401(k) plan participants in 101,625 employer-sponsored 401(k) plans with $1.9 trillion in assets. In the new study, the authors were able to make a cross-generational comparison of 401(k) investors in their twenties in 1996 and 2015 by drawing on 20 years of data analyzed in the EBRI/ICI series of annual studies on 401(k) participants’ activities.

The research showed that throughout the study period, the share of assets younger 401(k) participants invested in equities was high: plan participants in their twenties held 80% of their aggregate assets in equities at year-end 2015, or only slightly more than the 77% of assets held in equities by their 1996 counterparts. But the analysis also found that the vehicles younger savers used to invest in equities changed between 1996 and 2015: whereas savers in their twenties allocated 55% of their aggregate assets to equity funds in 1996, this share had fallen to 28% by year-end 2015. Meanwhile, the share of assets that these younger 401(k) participants allocated to company stock decreased from 17% in 1996 to 5% at year-end 2015.

The findings further indicated that compared to their 1996 counterparts, younger 401(k) participants in 2015 were much more heavily invested in balanced funds, including target-date funds. According to the analysis, participants in their twenties in 1996 allocated only 8% of their 401(k) plan assets to balanced funds (target-date funds were not reported separately in the database before 2006); whereas their counterparts in 2015 invested 54% of their assets in balanced funds, with nearly half (47%) of these assets invested in target-date funds.

The authors emphasized that trends among investors in their twenties are mirrored across all age groups in the database: among all investors, allocations to equity funds declined from 53% in 1996 to 43% in 2015, and allocations to balanced funds increased from 7% of assets in 1996 to 25% in 2015.

The analysis also showed that target-date funds have been growing in popularity among 401(k) investors of all ages, and particularly among recently hired participants. The study found that among all participants, investments in target-date funds rose from 5% of assets at year-end 2006 to 20% of assets at year-end 2016, and that nearly half of the 401(k) participants tracked in the database held these funds. In addition, the study found that recently hired participants have become especially likely to hold target-date funds, and to have allocated a large portion of their balances to these funds: the findings showed that at year-end 2015, 60% of recently hired participants held target-date funds, and that these funds accounted for more than one-third of their assets.

The results of the analysis also revealed that among all of the 401(k) participants studied, investment in company stock remained at historically low levels in 2015: less than 7% of 401(k) assets were invested in company stock at year-end 2015, roughly the same share as in 2012, 2013, and 2014; but down sharply from 1999, when 63% of participants were invested in company stock, and company stock accounted for 19% of assets. The study also found that recently hired 401(k) participants have been investing in company stock at especially low rates: at year-end 2015, around one-quarter of recently hired 401(k) plan participants in plans offering company stock held company stock, compared with around 43% of all 401(k) participants.

Employers Anticipate Substantial Increases in Health Benefit Costs in 2018

In 2018, average per-employee health benefit costs are expected to increase at the highest rate since 2011, driven in part by the high prices of prescription medications and other medical advances, according to the results of a survey of health plan sponsors conducted by human resources consultancy Mercer.

Early responses to a national survey of employer-sponsored health plans of approximately 1,500 employers (who responded by August 15, 2017) indicated that even after they make planned changes, such as raising deductibles or switching carriers, employers predict that health benefit costs per employee will rise by 4.3% on average in 2018. Researchers noted that this increase is considerably higher than the average annual increase over the past five years of around 3%; and is the highest since 2011, when costs rose 6.1%.

In addition, researchers pointed out that the projected underlying cost growth from 2017 to 2018—or the increase employers would expect if they made no changes to their medical plans—is 6.0%. The survey findings indicated, however, that 46% of employers will take steps to reduce cost growth in 2018.

Researchers also observed that employers must contend with cost increases related to medical advances, including the introduction of new medications used to treat complex conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and hepatitis C. The survey found that between 2017 and 2018, spending on these specialty drugs is expected to increase around 15%, and the overall cost of prescription drugs is on track to rise more than 7%.

Moreover, researchers pointed out that many employers are concerned that they could be liable to pay the excise tax on higher-cost plans, which, after the failure of efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, is still scheduled to go into effect in 2020. They cited research showing that 31% of large employers (500 or more employees) would be liable to pay the excise tax in 2020; and that with the tax threshold indexed to inflation and rising at about half the rate of health bene-fit costs, more employers will pass the threshold in subsequent years. According to researchers, many employers are introducing lower-cost, high-deductible health plans to minimize their exposure to the excise tax and to hold down overall health benefit costs.

Researchers also reported that employers are increasingly adopting strategies to manage medical costs without raising employee out-of-pocket spending, including providing care coordination and support for high-cost claimants. In addition, they noted that many employers are addressing quality by using incentives to direct employees to Centers of Excellence and other high-performance provider networks, and are moving away from traditional fee-for-service provider reimbursement and toward new payment models that reflect the value as well as the quantity of the services provided.

Companies Increase Their Use of Pay-For-Performance Incentives

More than 60% of large-cap companies provide at least half of CEO equity compensation through performance incentives, up from just one-third five years ago, according to a report on equity compensation trends recently published by executive compensation benchmarking firm Equilar.

The report’s findings, released on September 20, are based on an analysis of the Equilar 500, an index that comprises the largest U.S.-listed companies by revenue adjusted to approximate the industry sector mix of similar large-cap indices. The study examined the equity compensation design and granting practices of Equilar 500 companies, and tracked these data for those companies over the last five fiscal years.

The results of the analysis showed that the percentage of companies in the index that provided at least half of CEO equity compensation based on performance awards increased from 52.5% in fiscal year 2015 to 60.8% in 2016; and that the total share of Equilar 500 companies providing CEO performance awards has increased significantly over the past few years, from 69.7% of companies in 2012 to 82.1% of companies in 2016.

According to the study, the remaining portion of equity compensation was time-based, which means that awards vest at specific time periods, rather than being contingent on meeting particular performance goals to become eligible to receive allocations of stock or stock options. The research indicated that most CEOs continue to receive time-based as well as performance awards, with nearly 40% of companies in 2016 providing a majority of equity compensation in the form of time-based awards. However, the study also found that a growing share of these time-based awards are being provided as restricted stock, rather than as stock options.

Broken down by sector, the analysis showed that 90.5% of industrial goods companies, 86% of health care companies, and 84.6% of utilities provided performance awards to CEOs in 2016. The technology sector saw the largest growth in the percentage of companies offering performance awards to CEOs during the study period, increasing from 63.7% in 2012 to 82.3% in 2016.

Millennial Workers Show Signs of Being Highly Engaged

While workers of the Millennial generation are often criticized for being difficult to please, they may actually be more engaged than older generations of employees, the results of a recent analysis performed by the Hay Group division of executive search firm Korn Ferry showed.

The analysis of employee engagement surveys from 350 companies with a total of 6.8 million workers was published on September 6. The results showed that 73% of Millennials would recommend their employer to others as a good place to work, compared to 70% of the overall workforce.

The research also indicated that Millennials are more positive than older workers about their advancement opportunities, with 54% of Millennials having a favorable view of their opportunities, compared to 46% of the overall workforce. The findings further revealed that Millennials are more likely than their older counterparts to feel that their immediate managers support their development, with 71% rating the level of support they receive favorably, versus 63% of the overall workforce.

In addition, the analysis found that Millennials are more likely than older workers to report that the feedback they receive from managers helps them improve, with 67% saying they believe that good performance is adequately recognized by their employer, compared to 63% of the overall workforce. The findings also suggested that Millennials have greater faith in their organizations than older employees, with 71% expressing a favorable opinion about the extent to which their companies are responding effectively to changes in the business environment, compared to 65% of the overall workforce. Moreover, 78% of Millennials, but only 72% of the overall workforce, rated their company’s prospects for success over the next 2-3 years positively.

The results further showed that Millennials are more likely than older workers to believe their company treats people with respect, with 82% having a favorable view, compared to 79% of the overall workforce. In addition, 80% of the Millennials surveyed said they think their company values and promotes diversity, versus 77% of the overall workforce. The analysis also showed that the Millennial respondents were on par with overall averages in their ratings of their employer’s social responsibility (80% favorable) and ethics in operations (83% favorable).

However, while Millennials take a more positive view of many aspects of their workplace than their older co-workers, the analysis also showed that employees of this generation are more eager to test their capabilities and to be rewarded for their efforts. The analysis indicated that 74% of the overall workforce, but only 71% of Millennials, said they think their current job makes good use of their skills and abilities. Millennials were also slightly less likely than older workers to say they believe they are paid fairly for the work they do, with 47% saying they have a favorable assessment of their compensation level, compared to 50% of the overall workforce.

The results of the analysis also seemed to confirm the view that Millennials are more likely than other generations of workers to job-hop, as 60% of the overall workforce, but just 48% of the Millennials, said they intend to remain with their current employer for more than five years. To help explain this gap, researchers cited other research indicating that greater mobility among Millennials could simply be a factor of their young age.

 

The information contained in this newsletter is for general use, and while we believe all information to be reliable and accurate, it is important to remember individual situations may be entirely different. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. This newsletter is written and published by Liberty Publishing, Inc., Beverly, MA. Copyright © 2017 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

The Flexibility of the EGWP

benistar egwp

The Flexibility of the Employer Group Waiver Plan

There are several ways Benistar can help employers provide prescription drug benefits to their Medicare-eligible retirees. One way we do this is by providing flexibility in the plans that we offer, doing our best to reduce member disruption and noise for the employer. By attempting to match plan designs as closely as possible, we are able to provide a smoothest transition to both employer and retiree.

Subsidies and Discounts

The EGWP is particularly competitive in the marketplace because it offers government subsidies and discounts that are built into the premium. Two notable components are the Coverage Gap Discount Program and Catastrophic Reinsurance. CMS requires companies that wish to sell Part D drugs to give a 50% discount to Part D members inside the coverage gap. Catastrophic reinsurance is an 80% subsidy provided by CMS once the member hits a specific out-of-pocket expenditure.

The Coverage Gap

One of the most problematic issues with Part D is the coverage gap (often called “the donut hole”). The coverage gap is when a retiree has reached their initial coverage limit and has to start paying an increased out of pocket for his or her prescription drug costs. This is when the 50% discount from manufacturers kicks in. While the discount may help offset a significant portion of the expenditures from that point on, drug costs involving members who make it to this point are often-times becoming a serious financial issue for the member. With drugs costs always rising, these additional expenditures can be substantial.

A plan that exposes members to this additional out of pocket cost is known as a base plan. Benistar offers solutions that can help to keep the out of pocket costs low for retirees during this period by offering full-coverage and generic-only options. Full-coverage plans allow members to continue paying their initial coverage copay’s throughout the donut hole. Generic-only plans provide similar benefit to generic drugs while in the donut hole. Both types of plans work to both keep member cost low and keep patients healthy.

Formulary

The standard open formulary for Benistar’s Part D program is among the broadest Medicare formularies. Benistar’s ability to offer such generous plans stems from our excellent partnerships with carriers and large book of business.

Employer Contribution

The EGWP allows plan sponsors the freedom to choose how much they contribute to the cost of the premium. Plan sponsors can either pay for the full premium, for a portion of the premium or they may choose to have retirees enter the plan on a voluntary non-contributory basis. Unlike with the Retiree Drug Subsidy, the EGWP contribution level does not impact savings from subsidies and discounts. This means that regardless of how the premium is split between employer and member, premiums are still eligible for the cost savings and subsidies under the EGWP.

How to Time Your Medicare Enrollment

Click here to read a quick article in Time Magazine on How To Time Your Medicare Enrollment. The article explains the difference between initial, Medigap, general and special enrollments. If you’d like to talk to one of our specialists on setting up enrollment for your post-65 retiree group, contact us at retireebenefits@benistar.com.

New Medicare data available – Benistar

The CMS has released new data on hospital and physician utilization.  “These data releases will give patients, researchers, and providers continued access to information to transform the health care delivery system,” said acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt. “It’s important for consumers, their providers, researchers and other stakeholders to understand the delivery of care and spending under the Medicare program.”  Read the full study here:

http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2015-Press-releases-items/2015-06-01.html

Benistar focuses on the administration of retiree medical and prescription drug plans.

 

NEW rules for Medicare Shared Savings Program

Benistar shares announcement from the cms.gov website released June 5, 2015

The CMS finalizes rules for Medicare Shared Savings Program

Continued Growth in ACO Program is a Core Component of Delivery System Reform

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today released a final rule updating the Medicare Shared Savings Program to encourage the delivery of high-quality care for Medicare beneficiaries and build on the early successes of the program and of the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Model.  This final rule is an effort to provide support for the care provider community in creating a delivery system with better care, smarter spending, and healthier people.

The Medicare Shared Savings Program final rule will both enhance the focus on primary care services and provide additional flexibility in the program, which should grow participation.  CMS is making these modifications to the proposed regulations after considering comments received from the December 2014 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

“Accountable Care Organizations have shown early but exciting progress in improving quality of care, while providing more patient-centered care at a lower cost,” said CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt.  “The ACO rules today strengthen our ability to reward better care and lay the groundwork for more providers to become successful ACOs.”

The final rule issued today improves the program over the proposed rule in a number of areas, including but not limited to:

  • Creates a new Track 3, based on some of the successful features of the Pioneer ACO Model, which includes higher rates of shared savings, the prospective assignment of beneficiaries, and the opportunity to use new care coordination tools;
  • Streamlines the data sharing between CMS and ACOs, helping ACOs more easily access data on their patients in a secure way for quality improvement and care coordination that can drive critical improvements in beneficiaries’ care;
  • Establishes a waiver of the 3-day stay Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) rule for beneficiaries that are prospectively assigned to ACOs under Track 3; and
  • Refines the policies for resetting ACO benchmarks to help ensure that the program continues to provide strong incentives for ACOs to improve patient care and generate cost savings, and announces CMS’ intent to propose further improvements to the benchmarking methodology later this year.

The Medicare Shared Savings Program was created by Section 3022 of the Affordable Care Act to promote better health for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries by encouraging physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers to improve patient health and experience of care and to reduce growth in costs.  The program is voluntary and accepts applications on an annual basis in which organizations agree to participate for three years.

Over 400 ACOs are participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, serving over 7 million beneficiaries. Early results released last November indicated the Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs starting in the first two years of the program improved quality of care for beneficiaries, as ACOs improved performance in 30 of 33 quality measures.

According to an independent evaluation report released by CMS earlier this month, the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Model generated over $384 million in savings to Medicare over its first two years – an average of approximately $300 per participating beneficiary per year – while continuing to deliver high-quality patient care.  The Pioneer ACO Model is the first that meets the tests to have its elements incorporated into other Medicare programs.

ACOs are a part of the Department’s broader initiative to create a health care system that results in better care, smarter spending, and healthier people. The Administration earlier this year announced the goal of tying 30 percent of Medicare payments to quality and value through alternative payment models, such as ACOs, by 2016 and 50 percent of payments by 2018.

For more information on the Medicare Shared Savings Program, please visit: http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/sharedsavingsprogram/index.html.

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Benistar Emerges as Leader in Retiree Benefits

Benistar Emerges as a Nationwide Leader in Retiree Benefits Administration and Insurance Services

After providing extraordinary service for more than two decades, Benistar has now emerged as the leading organization in the nation for design, installation and administration of post-65 group retiree medical benefits.

With specialized service in health and related insurance, actuarial, underwriting, claims management, and third party administrative services, Benistar is now a preferred alternative for retiree benefits administration and insurance services. The company has gained the trust from benefits professionals and Medicare beneficiaries as their retiree benefits service provider of choice by offering much more than just administrative or advisory services. As seen at http://www.benistar.com/, Benistar designs, underwrites, delivers and administers complete welfare benefit solutions.

The benefit experts from Benistar are highly proficient in due diligence, restructuring, benefits liability evaluation, stakeholder assistance, advisor support, and investor services. The company operates an integrated portfolio of service solutions offering a full range of health care benefit services including Third Party Administration (TPA Services), Retiree Group Benefits Exchange, Employer Group Waiver Program (EGWP) and Prescription Drug (Rx) products, Reinsurance and Risk Management solutions, and Retiree Member Call Center services. Find out more about Benistar Professionals at https://www.linkedin.com/company/benistar-administrative-services-inc.

Retiree benefit solutions offered by Benistar include:

  • Retiree liability evaluations, carve-outs, OPEB liability transfers and settlements for medical, Rx, group life, and disability obligations
  • Benefit plan cost containment, reductions and financial recapture strategies
  • Welfare Benefit Plan design, installation, and administration
  • Eligibility, Coordination of Benefits, Subrogation and related Audit services
  • Traditional and specialty risk placement and other voluntary supplemental benefits
  • HSA, HRA, MSA and other account based solutions
  • Plan Sponsor Pre and post-bankruptcy filing solutions

For more information, see more about Benistar at https://www.facebook.com/BenistarInc.

About Benistar:  Benistar was established in 1978 and is a nationwide leader in the design and installation of post-65 retiree medical benefits plans.  The company focuses its efforts on administration of retiree health insurance and prescription drug plans and works with consultants and brokers to provide medical and prescription solutions for companies worldwide.

 

 

For More Information:

Jeff Gordon, Media Director

Benistar Admin Services, Inc.

25 Seir Hill Road

Norwalk, CT 06850

(203) 969-6000

info@benistar.com

http://www.benistar.com

 

Benistar Introduces New Retiree Medical Benefits Plans

Benistar, the nationwide leader in the design, installation and administration of group retiree medical benefits, has just launched a series of new retiree medical benefit plans.

Benistar proudly announces the introduction of their new retiree medical benefit programs. Since the original inception of the company in 1978, Benistar has steadily emerged as a trusted provider of group retiree medical benefits. The company’s primary area of specialization is the administration of employer group retiree medical and prescription drug plans. Benistar provides retiree benefit solutions for publicly and privately-held companies, labor unions, city and county government entities, educational organizations, and religious organizations. To find out more, please visit the official website of Benistar as seen at http://www.benistar.com/.

Benistar’s group retiree medical plans are designed to pay for the costs that are recognized but not covered by Medicare Parts A and B. The experienced and knowledgeable service representatives of the company will assist the plan sponsor in developing a cost effective and sustainable solution for its retirees from design through communication and ongoing service support. The company assists plan members in seamlessly transitioning from current arrangements without the need for enrollment forms or other challenging technology. The company’s efficient Retiree Customer Service Center representatives are available over the phone and in person to help the retirees with all of their benefit needs and questions.

The retiree prescription drug plans from Benistar are tailor-made specifically for groups under Medicare Part D. In collaboration with its national PBM and insurance carrier partners, Benistar is fully compliant with all CMS regulation related to Part D plans that are supported by Benistar.

Benistar Retiree Medical Plans News Summer 2014

Here are some of this summer’ss trending news in the Retiree Medical Plans.

Connecticut Medicare Beneficiaries Saved On Drugs Due To ACA (Click to read more about this article on Retiree Medical Plans)
The Norwich (CT) Bulletin: (4/13, Benson) reports that “a lesser-known part of the Affordable Care Act has resulted in more than $14 million in savings on prescription drug costs for 12,000 Eastern Connecticut Medicare beneficiaries in 2013,” an amount that is expected to increase “through 2020.” Then, the “so-called ‘doughnut hole’” for drug costs will be “phased out of Medicare Part D coverage.” The Bulletin adds that “in 2013, Medicare beneficiaries who reached the Part D doughnut hole received a 52Se.5 percent discount on brand-name drugs and a 21 percent discount on generic drugs.” 

Retiree Health Plans Prescription Drugs

Benistar Retiree Health Plans Prescription Drugs

WPost: Medicare Payment Information Release Is “Just What The Doctor Ordered.” (Click to read more about this article on Retiree Medical Plans)
The Washington Post: (4/13) editorializes that the Obama Administration’s release of doctor-specific information about Medicare payments made last week “a breakthrough week for health-care transparency,” illuminating “the workings of a complex system of fee-for-service medicine whose seemingly uncontrollable costs have challenged U.S. policymakers for decades.” The Post expects that the pressure caused by the police should present no problem “for the vast majority of doctors who play by the rules,” and is “just what the doctor ordered” for those who don’t.

WPost: Medicare Payment Information Release Is “Just What The Doctor Ordered.” (Click to read more about this article on Retiree Medical Plans)
The Washington Post: (4/13) editorializes that the Obama Administration’s release of doctor-specific information about Medicare payments made last week “a breakthrough week for health-care transparency,” illuminating “the workings of a complex system of fee-for-service medicine whose seemingly uncontrollable costs have challenged U.S. policymakers for decades.” The Post expects that the pressure caused by the police should present no problem “for the vast majority of doctors who play by the rules,” and is “just what the doctor ordered” for those who don’t

CMS To Test New Hospice Program (Click to read more about this article on Retiree Medical Plans)
Reuters: (5/15, Belisomo) reports on a new CMS program, the Medicare Care Choices Model, which may make it easier for patients to receive hospice care while still receiving curative care. CMS, in testing the program, will assess whether offering hospice services earlier can improve quality of life and cut Medicare costs. The program will be limited to those with advanced cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, and HIV/AIDS.

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