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Survey: Consumerdriven health plans on the rise

BY DSN STAFF

CHICAGO —Despite some fear from employers about high out-of-pocket costs, consumer-driven health plans are building momentum, as more individuals and employers take advantage of money-saving options in light of rising healthcare costs, according to a survey conducted by Aon Consulting Worldwide and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists.

Generally CDHPs involve a three-tier structure of payment for health care—a tax-exempt health account that an individual uses to pay for health expenses up to a certain amount, a high-deductible health insurance policy that pays for expenses over the deductible and a gap between those two in which the individual pays any healthcare expenses out of his or her own pocket. Over-the-counter medicines are eligible expenses under most CDHPs.

The nationwide study of 470 employers found that 37 percent offer CDHPs, up from 28 percent of employers in 2006 and 22 percent in 2005, the first year this study was conducted.

“This finding shows that the CDHP movement continues to grow,” stated Bill Sharon, senior vice president with Aon Consulting, and coauthor of the survey. As much as 60 percent of employers have more than 10 percent of their employees participating in a CDHP, up from 53 percent in 2006.

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Kroger appoints Going as Michigan division president

BY Adam Kraemer

CINCINNATI The Kroger Co. announced Wednesday that it has named Rick Going president of the company’s new Michigan division.

Kroger currently operates 138 stores in the state; Going will oversee operations in them, effective immediately.

During his 26-year tenure with Kroger, Going has held a number of district- and division-level leadership positions at the store and has served as vice president of Retail Operations and vice president of Merchandising for Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division.

“Rick brings extensive experience in operations and merchandising to this new role,” said Don McGeorge, Kroger’s president and chief operating officer. “We look forward to his leadership as he works with our associates to build on Kroger’s growth in Michigan by focusing on our customers to create even better shopping experiences for them.”

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NACDS responds to “misleading” New York Times article

BY DSN STAFF

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has fired back at The New York Times after the publication ran an article in its Sept. 18 issue titled, “The ‘Poisonous Cocktail’ of Multiple Drugs.”

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

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