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August 2020 edHEALTH newsletter

Find out how Salve Regina University has realized strong results and valuable HR support; the 5 reasons healthcare costs could accelerate and how edHEALTH is responding strategically; Boston Col...

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Salve Regina Realizes Strong Results and Valuable HR Support

With compensation and benefits comprising 60% of Salve Regina University’s budget, Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, William Hall is always evaluating ways to keep costs in check while continuing to attract and retain top-notch faculty and staff. In the late 1990s he  moved the health insurance benefits from an insured to a self-insured program where the university takes the responsibility for paying medical claims plus stop-loss to protect against high-cost claims. This approach creates the lowest possible administrative costs and means that the employer isn’t paying profits on top of claims. This was a bold move, especially at the time, as some small colleges and universities worry about the higher risk of a self-insured arrangement.“We were already self-insured and had been pleased with that decision,” said Mr. Hall. “However, healthcare costs were stil...

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Boston College Takes Home Walking Challenge Trophy: Event Especially Appreciated in These Difficult Times

In the midst of a difficult time, edHEALTH’s “Walk this Way” Walking Challenge brought some healthy competition for our college and university staff. Fourteen higher education institutions participated in the four-week challenge, and edHEALTH staff joined the competition. Over 450 employees walked almost 108 million steps over the four-week period. Boston College was this year’s winner and earns the edHEALTH Walking Challenge Trophy and a future in-person celebration for their winning scores:49 participantsOver 15.7 million steps walkedAverage of 321,254 steps per walker“This year's edHEALTH Walking Challenge was especially welcome, considering everything we've all been going through,” said Boston College Director of Benefits, Jack Burke. “It gave participants a fun way to keep healthy and compete against other colleges and universities. We look forward to defending our champion title...

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Connect with Us on Facebook

We want to hear from you! As so many of our member school faculty and staff, vendors, partners, and other stakeholders are on Facebook, we’re back on the platform. Collaboration has never been more critical, and social media is one more way to stay in touch. How can we be helpful? Are you experiencing a positive or negative experience with your healthcare benefits? Let us know.edHEALTH is also on Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Be sure to engage with us on these platforms too.Be sure to “like us” on Facebook to receive the latest edHEALTH news and insights. We look forward to connecting.

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5 Tips to Keep You Walking After the edHEALTH Challenge

Although the edHEALTH Walking Challenge has ended, it’s an ideal time of year to keep your steps up. Walking is low-cost, healthy, and a mood booster. Your activity tracker can inspire you to continue to make progress. Whether you walk for enjoyment, to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, or lose weight, here are five steps to keep you fit and motivated:Invest in good sneakers – sneakers are the only equipment needed for walking. Be sure your athletic shoes fit properly to avoid blisters and calluses. Look for shoes with a good arch and elevated heel that supports your heel and prevents wobbling.Vary your route – keep your walk interesting by mixing up your where you walk. Include hills in the course to increase your fitness level.Bring along a buddy – walking with a friend can make exercise fun and provide social interaction during these difficult times. Be sure to follow socia...

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June 2020 edHEALTH Newsletter

Find out how COVID-19 is accelerating adoption of telehealth while also affecting claims trends in the June 2020 digital edition of our newsletter.

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Healthcare Costs Have Plummeted; What’s Next?

As the medical community sought to increase hospital capacity to serve COVID-19 patients, reduce the spread of COVID-19, and follow social distancing mandates, medical claims volume dropped precipitously. Many patients elected to forego or delay medical care. Colonoscopies, knee and hip replacements have almost disappeared. A May 2020 Kaiser Family Foundation Tracking poll found that nearly half of adults (48%) say they or someone in their household have postponed or skipped medical care due to the coronavirus crisis.edHEALTH claims data reflect these trends. Pre-COVID, medical spending was running 14% ahead of 2019. During the pandemic, spending is down approximately 40% year over year.The KFF poll estimates that as stay-at-home restrictions ease, most (68% of those who delayed care, or 32% of all adults) expect to get the delayed care in the next three months. However, this timing c...

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Telehealth’s Popularity Soars

Employee Engagement Communications Help Spread the WordTelehealth, the remote delivery of healthcare clinical services, has soared in popularity nationally and for edHEALTH member schools. All twenty-three of our member institutions are enrolled in the Teladoc or Doctor on Demand video and telephone telehealth platforms, five more than last year. Four percent of members used telehealth in the first quarter, a significant jump over last year’s less than 0.5%.edHEALTH’s telehealth experience is in line with national trends where there was a 4300% jump in telehealth claims from May 2019 to March 2020, according to a FAIR Health Study. Telehealth offers a safe, convenient, and generally less-expensive way for patients to access healthcare with non-emergency medical services available 24 hours per day. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the temporary closing of on-site services, man...

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Cynthia McGrath Named Marketing Communications Strategist at edHEALTH

Consultant to Organization Joins the TeamedHEALTH officially welcomes Cynthia McGrath as its Marketing Communications Strategist. For the last few years, she has identified opportunities and implemented comprehensive communications campaigns for several healthcare, broker, and education clients, including edHEALTH. Prior to her consulting work, she was the long-time Communications Director for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission, the agency that covers state and municipal workers, including UMass and the community college system. In this role, she communicated and advanced innovative healthcare solutions that have subsequently been widely adopted in the industry, such as tiering providers based on quality and cost efficiency, and promoting limited network plans.Over the past year, she rebuilt the website, created a strong social media presence, and other digit...

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May 2020 edHEALTH Newsletter

edHEALTH is responding to the coronavirus crisis through increased collaboration and communication. Find out how sharing best practices is helping member institutions respond to the challenges COVID-19-related shutdowns and other edHEALTH news in the May 2020 digital edition of our newsletter.

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First Vermont Institution to Join edHEALTH - Finds Move will Benefit Faculty, Staff, and College

Bennington College became familiar with edHEALTH six years ago when it began exploring alternative healthcare models to the insured go-it-alone common practice. Because the consortium approach was a new concept, the school took a wait and see approach while continuing to keep an eye on edHEALTH’s progress. In 2019, the college requested a rate quote and met with edHEALTH staff to see whether joining would be an appropriate long-term strategy. They found that there would be minimal provider and benefit disruption to faculty and staff while also saving employees and the college money. As a result of their research, the college decided to join edHEALTH effective July 1, 2020.“The college wanted to think creatively about how to support the college’s mission while offering faculty and staff a competitive benefits package,” said Heather Faley, Director of Human Resources. “The edHEALTH mode...

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Population Health Vendor Providing Free COVID-19 Assistance

edHEALTH’s population health and clinical assistance partner is offering free assistance to all member school employees, even if a school is not enrolled in the program. Employees and covered dependents can call the nurse hotline to get answers to COVID-19 related concerns:Questions about COVID-19Resources specific to a patient’s or family member’s COVID-19Helping with the adjustment to working from homeSupporting parents with children home from schoolProviding strategies for employees with elderly parents or relatives feeling isolatedOffering resources for stress and anxietyLet your employees know about this free resource by distributing COVID-19 Assistance flyer 2020.pdf.

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April 2020 edHEALTH News

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a major effect on higher education institutions and healthcare. Find out how edHEALTH is responding in the April 2020 digital edition of our newsletter.

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edHEALTH’s Population Health Program Provides Critical Resource During COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis is driving demand for help from edHEALTH’s population health vendor. Under this program, the highest risk, highest cost employees and their covered families receive a coordinated care approach that supports their needs. With a focus on the 5% of the population that comprises 53% of claims, these patients are at high risk for COVID-19.  COVID-19 Risk FactorsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control, COVID-19 risk factors include:Age 65 or overLung risk (e.g., asthma; COPD; tracheostomy)Heart risk (e.g., Coronary Artery Disease; Pulmonary Hypertension)Diabetes risk (Type I or Type II)Neurological risk (e.g., Cystic Fibrosis; Muscular Dystrophy; Parkinson’s Disease)Immune system risk (e.g., organ or bone marrow transplant; Systemic Lupus)Cancer risk (e.g., malignant neoplasms; Leukemia)Liver risk (e.g., End Stage Renal Disease; Hypertensive Chronic Kidney Disease)A...

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Share-it Employee Engagement Communications

edHEALTH provides share-it employee engagement communications to help member school employees navigate and maximize their healthcare benefits. Check out these helpful communication tools:Tips for Navigating COVID-19: Navigating COVID-19.pdf; Online versionTake advantage of telehealth convenience Tufts Health Plan and Trustmark Health Benefits: Telehealth Tufts Trustmark.pdf; Online version Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare: Telehealth Harvard.pdf; Online versionTelehealth Benefit Details: telehealth benefit details.pdf; Online versionTips for saving money and time using online health plan portalsTufts Health Plan: Tufts Online Portal Communication.pdf; Online versionHarvard Pilgrim Healthcare: Harvard Online Portal Communication.pdf; Online versionTrustmark Health Benefits: Online Portal Communication Trustmark.pdf; Online versionBenefit changes effective January 1, 2020Benefit Changes.pdf; ...

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Tips for Navigating Coronavirus and Your Healthcare Benefits

What is COVID-19?COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The virus enters the body through the nose, mouth or eyes, and causes a respiratory (lung) infection. Here are tips to help you navigate these stressful times.Find out tips for avoiding infectionRecognize the symptoms of COVID-19 The following symptoms may appear two-14 days after exposure to COVID-19:FeverCoughShortness of breathCOVID-19 symptoms differ from colds, the seasonal flu and allergies.Find out what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms - this includes links to telehealth benefit detailsIf You’re Stressed, Seek HelpThe COVID-19 pandemic is causing panic, stress, and uncertainty. It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by the current environment, and many people are feeling the added stress of financial uncertainty. Your telehealth benefits offer a con...

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What to Do if You Have Symptoms of COVID-19

For the benefit of all, if you have COVID-19 symptoms, access your telehealth benefits to see whether you need screening. By using a phone or computer, you’ll receive guidance about whether you need to be seen or tested while freeing up other clinicians to deal with the most severe cases in person. With telehealth:You can receive quality medical care without leaving your home. Virtual care is a highly effective method to evaluate and treat symptoms while minimizing exposure to potentially contagious viruses.If you think you are infected, telehealth doctors can answer questions about the disease, evaluate your risk, and advise you on next steps. Telemedicine doctors are trained on the latest protocols for local and national notification, testing, and management.If you are not already infected, you increase your risk of catching the disease by visiting your doctor, urgent care, or emerg...

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Tips for Avoiding COVID-19

Here are tips for avoiding contracting COVID-19:Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Hum the complete “Happy Birthday” song to be sure you’ve washed thoroughly. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.Stay away from crowded areas. Maintain at least six feet of distance between you and another person.Cover your cough in your elbow, not your hand, if you don’t have a tissue.The Centers for Disease Control recommends that for the next eight weeks individual and group organizers cancel any event with 50 or more people. State agencies have also put in place rules to discourage the spread of the disease. These social distancing protocols – putting distance between yourself and other people – can help prevent the spread of this contagiou...

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How edHEALTH’s Captive Risk Financing Options Work

Under edHEALTH’s captive, member organizations pick their own self-insured retention level based on their risk tolerance, philosophy, financial status, and experience. In addition to the stop-loss coverage schools automatically receive, they can purchase aggregate stop-loss coverage to further protect their risk. Here’s how the risk financing works:If a school picks a Self-Insured Retention (SIR) of $100,000 per claim:The college will pay any single claim up to $100,000.The Educators Health Insurance Exchange captive will pay the next $1-$650,000 for each individual claim from this school.edHEALTH purchases excess protection from a stop-loss insurer. This insurer reimburses edHEALTH for any part of a particular claim that exceeds $750,000.Members work with the actuaries to pick a Self-Insured Retention amount that balances their claims experience with the risk of paying claims and sto...

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The ABCs of Captive Insurance

Twenty-two colleges, universities, and educational institutions own Educators Health, LLC (edHEALTH), a healthcare collaborative formed to address rising healthcare costs that were straining school budgets. By bypassing commercial insurers and pooling resources, edHEALTH leverages the combined schools’ purchasing power, thereby saving on healthcare costs for faculty, staff, and family members. But, did you know that edHEALTH’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Educators Health Insurance Exchange, is a group captive insurer?The captive insurance company’s main purpose is to insure its own risk. By joining colleges and universities together as a single purchaser, the schools gain market leverage. The captive manages its own risk through claims management, innovative programs aimed at loss control, and collaboration with strong business partners.Here are the ABCs on how the Educators Health Excha...

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Prevalence of Diabetes Growing: Chronic, Costly, and Deadly Disease Takes Toll on Patients and Payers

If you attended edHEALTH’s Annual Meeting, you saw the visual impact of diabetes in the United States. The prevalence has skyrocketed between 1990s and today, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  Today:Diabetes prevalence: An estimated 30.3 million people have diabetes (9.4 percent of the U.S. population – an increase of 44% since 1998)Pre-diabetes prevalence: An estimated 84.1 million people (more than 1 out of 3 adults) have pre-diabetes: 9 out of 10 don’t know they have it.Diabetes, which occurs when blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. The main types of diabetes are type 1 (also called Juvenile Diabetes where the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas), type 2 (as well as prediabetes where cells become resistant to the action of insulin), and gestational (in pregnancy, too little glucose gets into the mother’s cel...

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