HEALTH

Survey shows consumer-driven health plans on the rise

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO Employees who fear high out-of-pocket costs aren’t blocking the growth of consumer-driven health plans, 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 health care expenses out of their own pocket. Over-the-counter medicines are eligible expenses under most CDHPs.

The nationwide study of 470 employers found the number of employers offering CDHPs  is on the rise, with 37 percent offering CDH plans, 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 CDH movement continues to grow,” stated Bill Sharon, senior vice president with Aon Consulting and co-author of the survey. As much as 60 percent of employers have more than 10 percent of their employees participating in a CDH plan, up from 53 percent of employers in 2006. Additionally, employee fears about enrolling in this new plan type have decreased. Of those employers offering a CDH plan, 54 percent cited concerns among employees about high out-of-pocket costs as the principal reason for not enrolling in a CDH plan. That figure is down from 66 percent in 2006.

“There is a growing recognition that most employees do not want a medical plan with high out-of-pocket costs,” Sharon said. “Therefore, most companies with CDH enrollments of 40 percent or more have designed CDH plans with out-of-pocket maximums comparable to their more-traditional HMO and PPO plans. In addition, employers have used out-of-pocket cost comparisons to show employees the relative cost advantages of the CDH plan.”

The survey found the CDH plan models and contribution levels to be consistent with 2006. Forty-two percent of employers are using health reimbursement arrangements and 48 percent are using health savings accounts while 10 percent offer both.

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Abbott starts correction on blood glucose meters

BY Drew Buono

ALAMEDA Abbott has started a worldwide medical device correction for its Precision Xtra, Optium, ReliOn Ultima, Rite Aid, and Kroger blood glucose meters that were manufactured after Jan. 31, 2007.

If the meter is dropped on a hard surface, it may affect the screen’s readability. Risks of not being able to read the test results include hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.

Abbott Diabetes Care discovered the problem during testing which found the meters’ display can be jarred or disconnected when dropped, thereby making it difficult to read the lot number or date information; in some cases it caused the screen to appear completely blank.

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Adams celebrates 10-year anniversary

BY Michael Johnsen

CHESTER, N.J. Adams Respiratory Therapeutics Tuesday morning announced that it will commemorate the 10th anniversary of its incorporation with a celebration for employees on Sept. 12 at Municipal Field (Gazebo Park) in Chester, New Jersey.

“On the occasion of this important milestone, I applaud our employees, whose talents and tireless efforts have fueled Adams’ phenomenal growth in the past several years,” stated Michael Valentino, Adams president and chief executive officer. “I’m proud of our accomplishments and I look forward to a second decade of success with multiple new product introductions and our planned expansion into the prescription respiratory market.”

Adams, best known for its Mucinex and Delsym cough and cold products and the nationwide Mr. Mucus consumer advertising campaign, commenced operations in Fort Worth, Texas in September 1997. In April 2004, the company relocated its corporate headquarters from Fort Worth to Chester. Adams currently employees nearly 500 people and its Chester facility houses more than 80 of its employees. The company has expanded its headquarter operations twice since relocating to Chester in 2004 and doubled its portfolio of marketed respiratory products this year.

Federal, state and local officials are scheduled to attend and participate in a ceremony recognizing Adams for its decade of success as a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of respiratory disorders.

“I congratulate Adams Respiratory Therapeutics on its 10-year anniversary, and the tremendous growth and success that this company has achieved in such a short period of time,” stated Stanley Kosierowski, chief operating officer and senior vice president, business support, New Jersey Economic Development Authority. “It is New Jersey’s good fortune to have companies like Adams come to our state, where they create jobs, become good neighbors and corporate citizens, and continue New Jersey’s fine tradition of improving public health by providing important medicines for the entire nation.”

In August 2007, Adams was named to Deloitte & Touche’s prestigious Technology Fast 50 Program for New Jersey, a ranking of the 50 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, and life sciences companies in the area. Adams was ranked No. 7 overall, based on achieving a revenue growth rate of 1,638 percent from 2002 to 2006.

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