NACDS Foundation names director of development
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation has appointed Matthew Burriesci as director of development.
Burriesci began his new role with the NACDS Foundation on Aug. 20 and reports directly to NACDS Foundation president Kathleen Jaeger.
Burriesci will play a lead role in fostering a culture of philanthropy and further enhancing the NACDS Foundation’s efforts to advance public health. He will develop and execute a fundraising strategy for programs under the foundation’s tenets of evidenced-based research, charitable advancement and education. Burriesci will also be responsible for cultivating new and existing relationships with potential donors and other supporters of these programs.
“The NACDS Foundation has a bold vision that requires a talented team,” stated Jaeger. “Matt brings all of the right qualifications to marshal support for NACDS Foundation programs that seek nothing less than to improve public health. We are excited to welcome him and look forward to his work with the NACDS Foundation board and with the foundation’s amazing donors.”
Previously, Burriesci served as executive director of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation in Washington, D.C., which bestows the largest peer-reviewed prize for fiction in the nation. Burriesci also served in various capacities for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, including executive director, and served as a consultant for the Association of Academic Health Centers. Previously, he also managed marketing and educational programs at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in Chicago.
Survey: Health plan premiums outpacing pay raises, inflation
MENLO PARK, Calif. — Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $15,745 this year, up 4% from last year, with workers on average paying $4,316 toward the cost of their coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Educational Trust 2012 Employer Health Benefits Survey released Tuesday.
This year’s premium increase is moderate by historical standards, but outpaced the growth in workers’ wages (1.7%) and general inflation (2.3%). Since 2002, premiums have increased 97%, three times as fast as wages (33%) and inflation (28%).
“In terms of employee insurance costs, this year’s 4% increase qualifies as a good year, but it still takes a growing bite out of middle-class workers’ wages, which have been flat or falling in real terms,” stated Drew Altman, Kaiser president and CEO.
The 14th annual Kaiser/HRET survey of more than 2,000 small and large employers provides a detailed picture of trends in employer-sponsored health insurance costs and coverage. The survey reveals significant differences in the benefits and worker contributions toward family premiums between firms with many lower-wage workers (at least 35% of workers earn $24,000 or less a year) and firms with many higher-wage workers (at least 35% of their workers earn $55,000 or more a year).
Workers at lower-wage firms on average pay $1,000 more each year out of their paychecks for family coverage than workers at higher-wage firms ($4,977 and $3,968, respectively). This occurs even though the firms with many lower-wage workers on average pay less in total premiums for family coverage than firms with many higher-wage workers ($14,694 and $16,427, respectively).
In addition, workers at lower-wage firms are also more likely to face high deductibles than those at higher-wage firms. Specifically, 44% of covered workers at firms with many low-wage workers face an annual deductible of $1,000 or more, compared with 29% of those at firms with many high-wage workers. Across all employers, a third of covered workers (34%) face a deductible of that size, including 14% with deductibles of at least $2,000 annually.
“This year’s survey suggest that working families at the low end of the wage scale face significant out of pocket costs for coverage,” stated study lead author Gary Claxton, a Kaiser VP and director of the Foundation’s Health Care Marketplace Project. “Firms with many lower-wage workers ask employees to pay more out of pocket than firms with many higher-wage workers even though the coverage itself tends to be less comprehensive.”
The survey estimated that 2.9 million young adults are currently covered by employer plans this year as a result of a provision in the 2010 Affordable Care Act that allows young adults up to the age of 26 years without employer coverage of their own to be covered as dependents on their parents’ plan. That’s up from the 2.3 million in the 2011 survey. Young adults historically have been more likely to be uninsured than any other age group.
The survey also found that 48% of covered workers are in “grandfathered” plans as defined under health reform, down from 56% last year. Grandfathered plans are exempted from some health-reform requirements, including covering preventive benefits with no cost sharing and having an external appeals process. To retain this status, employers must not make significant changes to their plans to reduce benefits or increase employee costs.
In addition to the survey conducted in the spring, employers were asked in August whether they had information about the change in premiums (or total cost for self-funded plans) for their current health plan with the largest enrollment. The average increase reported by employers who had received information for their current plan is 7%.
These early reports may not match what employers and workers ultimately end up paying next year, as firms can raise deductibles or otherwise change the health benefits and plans they offer to lower premiums. This year, for example, more than half (54%) of employers who offer health benefits reported that they had shopped around for new coverage. Of that group, significant shares switched carriers (18%) or changed the type of plans they offer (27%).
FDA: No matter that firms market concussion treatments as supplements; they’re unapproved drugs
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday issued warning letters to PruTect Rx, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., and Trinity Sports Group, of Plano, Texas, for promoting products labeled as dietary supplements with claims to treat concussions and prevent or treat post-concussion syndrome and other neurological disorders.
The products cited in the warning letters include Trinity Sports Group’s Neuro Impact Concussion Response Formula and PruTect Rx’s NeuroPruTect and Omega3PruTect. These products are in capsule and powder forms. They are marketed online in the United States and internationally.
Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, a product is a drug and not a supplement if it is intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease. New drugs may not be legally marketed in the United States without prior FDA approval. Although Neuro Impact, NeuroPruTect and Omega3PruTect are marketed as dietary supplements, they are promoted as drugs through claims made on the firms’ websites.
“The FDA has taken these actions because companies may not sell new drugs unless the drugs have been tested by the sponsor and approved by FDA, and they may not make false or unsubstantiated claims about drugs they sell,” stated Dara Corrigan, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “Products with unapproved claims are dangerous because they may cause consumers to delay or avoid legitimate treatments.”