Expert Opinion: Simplifying Health Plans and Controlling Costs

The year was 2003, and a Fortune 500 company in Austin was looking to be the first employer with over 10,000 covered employees to launch a consumer driven health plan (CDHP). The savings the company realized from the federally mandated high deductibles would be redistributed in the form of Health Savings Account (HSA) dollars, so employees and their dependents could be better stewards of their own money. Coming out of an HMO era with low copays, the promise was that healthcare consumers needed “skin in the game” to impact the rising cost of healthcare.  As famed economist Milton Friedman’s once… Full Story

Just How Much Does a Knee Replacement Cost in North Texas?

One of healthcare’s greatest challenges is determining exactly how much an operation is going to cost. While a patient’s unique body and medical history can make it difficult for providers to predict the exact price, consumers are applying pressure to make healthcare more like retail, with open and transparent pricing. We acquired some research from healthcare consultants Holmes Murphy about how different hospital systems price for a major joint replacement. According to Holmes Murphy, $40 billion is spent in Dallas-Fort Worth every year on healthcare. In order to combat costs, they were employed by regional municipalities to form the North… Full Story

Dealing with Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace

As opioid use continues to plague the country, employers are looking for ways to reduce addiction, missed work, and safety issues caused by addiction to highly addictive painkillers. Bonnie Merz is a Dallas-based Senior Claims Consultant at Holmes Murphy, and she advises employers about how to best manage risk in response to drug abuse. The healthcare industry is particularly vulnerable to this problem, as a Hazeldon Betty Ford study shows that Health Care Providers are more likely than the general public to abuse opioids. Starting in the 1840s when surgeons would abuse their own anesthesia for “ether frolics,” today 10 to 15 percent… Full Story