News and Updates

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Read our October Update with Guest Post about the Cost of Musculoskeletal Conditions, Shareable Content for Employees, and More

Read our October Update with Guest Post about the Cost of Musculoskeletal Conditions, Shareable Content for Employees, and More

Inside our October 2022 newsletter, you'll read about:Our November 2 virtual and fre...

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Tracy Hassett, edHEALTH's President and CEO elected as the new Board Chair

Great news for the Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA), as they've selected edHEALTH President & CEO to be their new Board Chair. The VCIA, one of the largest associations for captives worldwide, provides education and legislative advocacy. Tracy is excited to engage with all captive stakeholders to uncover new ways to offer even greater value to all in the captive space. Read more here.

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Sign up for our free Thought Leadership Series on November 2, read tips for a successful open enrollment and more

In our September newsletter, you'll discover:How to sign up for our free virtual Thought Leadership Series on November 2 with industry leader Megan Nail4 strategies to consider for greater success during your annual open enrollment What's inside an edHEALTH school web portalA podcast featuring the history and future of edHEALTH with President & CEO Tracy HassettMember-owner schools will also find a Walking Challenge 2022 wrap-up and key dates to know this fall. Read edHEALTH’s September 2022 newsletter now.Subscribe to the newsletter.

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Planning for Your 2023 Annual Open Enrollment: 4 Strategies to Consider for Greater Success

Photo by Yan KrukovSince the pandemic, most employers have seen significant shifts in how to manage open enrollment periods. From big fairs onsite to virtual meetings, and emails sent with pdfs, intranet links, or pre-recorded presentations, there are many variations. This year, more organizations, including educational institutions, are turning to a hybrid model to meet the needs of as many employees as possible.Whether in person, virtual, or hybrid, edHEALTH’s Vice President Nancy McConaghy shares four simple tips that can help organizations host a more effective annual open enrollment period—for Human Resources staff and employees alike.1. Communicate“It is ok to overcommunicate when it comes to health-related benefits,” notes Nancy. It is important that staff understand how benefits may change in the coming year. “With everyone working so hard, it’s easy for employees to miss an e...

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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:Healthcare Benefit News and 5 Tools to Help You Navigate Your Benefits: Benefit News and 5 Tools to Help You Navigate Your Benefits.pdf | Online VersionHow to Save Money on Prescription Drug Costs: Tips to Save Money on Your Prescription Drug Costs.pdf | Online VersionWhat You Need to Know About Your Prescription Drug Formulary and Savings Opportunities for Specialty Medications: What You Need to Know About Your Prescription Drug Benefits Overview.pdf | Online VersionHealthcare Terms You Need to Know to Understand Your Options and Navigate Your Benefits: Healthcare Terms to Know Share-It Communication.pdf | Online versionPPO Members Can Access In-Network Providers Nationwide: PPO Members Can Access In...

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edHEALTH President and CEO featured in Global Captive Podcast

Hear from edHEALTH President and CEO Tracy Hassett as she was interviewed with Spring Consulting’s Managing Partner Karin Landry in a recent GCP Short. In this 15-minute episode, you can learn more about edHEALTH, how it brings together educational institutions to pool purchasing power and save money on healthcare, and find out what’s on the horizon.You can listen on these platforms or any podcast app:Global Captive Podcast websiteApple PodcastsSpotifyHave questions? Email Tracy at info@educatorshealth.org.

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edHEALTH President & CEO Talks Advanced Medical Stop Loss at VCIA on August 11, 2022

Want to learn more about Captive Insurance? Join edHEALTH's President & CEO, Tracy Hassett, along with other industry leaders, talks about medical stop loss on Thursday, August 11th at the 2022 VCIA Annual Conference in Vermont. If not at the conference, visit our website again soon for a link to a podcast featuring Tracy's insights.

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What do consumers think about their employer-provided health coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic?

It’s a question that America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) asked in a recent survey that the Locust Street Group completed on behalf of AHIP Coverage@Work.According to the study: “The vast majority (75%) report that their coverage was important to maintaining the health and financial security of them and their families during the pandemic, with 71% reporting their plan helped access services like free testing, vaccination, and telehealth appointments.”The study also showed long-term support for telehealth:3 in 4 consumers (75%) report they’re likely to consider being seen by a doctor or treated via telehealth if it’s an option76% of respondents consider it important for plans to cover telehealth services79% believe it’s important for the federal government to maintain COVID-19 telehealth flexibilities for patientsCheck out this infographic with findings at a glance or read here for ...

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Discover summer safety tips to share, the value and cost of cell and gene therapy, and edHEALTH annual meeting news

In our summer newsletter, you'll findAn overview of the value and cost of cell and gene therapyShare-it downloads for promoting summer safety among employees, including telehealth while on vacationan edHEALTH annual meeting recap plus timely member-owner information Our member-owner schools also can find out who's leading the fifth annual Walking Challenge.Read the June 2022 digital edition of our newsletter.Subscribe to the newsletter.Photo by National Cancer Institute 

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Understanding the value and costs of cell and gene therapy

Understanding the value and costs of cell and gene therapyInnovation in health care is constant and is marked often by significant breakthrough treatments and cures. Not too long ago, we thought of the idea of altering a gene to cure or treat a disease to be science fiction. But, today, that concept is a reality as cell and gene therapies have quickly emerged as one of the most transformative innovations over the last few years and will continue well into the future. Cell and gene therapy represent overlapping fields of biomedical treatments with similar therapeutic goals, which target DNA and RNA inside and outside the human body. Both approaches seek to modify genetic material to improve functioning or fight disease. Specifically, gene therapy uses genetic material, or DNA, to manipulate a patient’s cells for the treatment of an inherited or acquired disease. While cell therapy is t...

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Supporting mental health awareness in the workplace should be year-round: Tips to help employers and more in our May newsletter

In our most recent newsletter, you'll learn:Why workplaces should support employees with mental health awareness year-roundHow telehealth continues to be an important resource when it comes to behavioral health servicesTips and resources to help reduce stress in the workplaceOur member-owner schools also learn about the June 6 kick-off of edHEALTH's fifth annual Walking Challenge and can download resources to inform employees about behavioral health access.Read the May 2022 digital edition of our newsletter.Subscribe to the newsletter.Photo by Emily Underworld.

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What are Biosimilars? Learn more about this emerging Rx trend and more in edHEALTH's April newsletter.

Read about: The emergence of biosimilars for curbing specialty costsGearing up for edHEALTH's 5th annual Walking ChallengeNews and tips for spring health and wellbeingSurvey results from last monthRead the April 2022 digital edition of our newsletterSubscribe to newsletterPhoto by Marcelo Leal

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More on the Rx Front: The slow emergence in the U.S. of biosimilars for curbing specialty costs

Last month we highlighted how both cost and utilization are increasing when it comes to prescription drugs. Much of the increase is due to the rise in specialty medications. This trend is national, across all industries, and continues to be of great concern. The rising costs of medications result in potential barriers for patients’ ability to afford and/or access the drugs they need to be as well as possible.Related to the surge in specialty medications—which often means patients receiving very expensive yet effective, life-altering biologic therapies—it’s helpful to know about the biosimilars that are emerging slowly on the market.Here is some background on this valuable drug product option, which you can expect to read more about in the coming months and years.Defining biosimilarsThe Public Health Safety Act defines biosimilarity to mean, “The biological product is highly similar to...

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edHEALTH talks healthcare trends in the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts member newsletter

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICU MASS) offered edHEALTH the opportunity to discuss one of the biggest trends facing schools today – healthcare and rising costs – in their most recent member newsletter. You can read our insights in their Hub of Higher Ed newsletter here. https://lnkd.in/d6Fn3ZkZ

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Join us on Monday, May 9th at 10 AM for our Virtual Thought Leadership Series: Wellness Programs - Perception vs. Reality - featuring Leena Johns, MD

Now more than ever. employers need to look at reality over perception and understand the true data of their employees and covered family members’ healthcare utilization. Dr. Johns looks at the health of our populations in a realistic way - one that focuses on human actions and supporting data to improve the value of wellness programs. With her Captive-perspective and focus on the whole person and data analytics, Dr. Johns, will help us to rethink the design of wellness programs and how to make the most of them. Join us to discover:Why we need to shift from reactive to proactive careWhy preventative care with a focus on changing individual behavior should be front and centerHow healthcare is changing because of the COVID-19 pandemicEveryone is invited! Sign up here now.About Leena Johns, MDDr. Leena Johns’ particular area of interest is health data analytics. In her role as Head of Hea...

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Read our latest newsletter - featuring why prescription costs are on the rise and much more

Learn about:The big picture when it comes to medication breakthroughs, their costs, and how we all play a role in trying to control costsedHEALTH's 3 new board members When edHEALTH's 2022 Walking Challenge takes placeThe newest team member at edHEALTHHow readers can help us improve by sharing their honest input with usRead the March 2022 digital edition of our newsletterSubscribe to newsletterPhoto by NordWood Themes

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On the Rx Front: More breakthroughs, continued increases in prices Understanding the big picture, and how we all play a role in trying to control costs.

Healthcare experts, employers, and consumers alike recognize the significance prescription drugs have in today’s world. Thanks to clinical innovations in the pharmaceutical world, especially when it comes to specialty medications, more people can better manage their health conditions with new medications on the market. In recent years breakthroughs have had a positive impact on people living with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and other complex medical conditions e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.In the fall of 2021, a Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll noted that six in 10 adults take at least one prescription, with a quarter of them taking four or more regularly. These prescriptions, while life-changing, also come at a cost—for both the employee and the employer. Since prescription drugs are such an integral part of healthc...

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edHEALTH Adds Three Board Members Brandeis University, College of the Holy Cross, and Wellesley College Represented

(March 22, 2022) - edHEALTH announced today three new members were elected to the edHEALTH LLC Board of Managers and the edHEALTH Insurance Exchange (edHEALTH Captive) Subscribers Advisory Committee. Joining the boards are: Marymichele Delaney, Chief Human Resources Officer at College of the Holy Cross, Melissa Fletcher, CPA, Assistant Vice President for Finance and Controller at Wellesley College, and Sam Solomon, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer at Brandeis University.“Growing a strong and talented board has been a priority for us. We are very fortunate to have these three experienced people joining us on the boards where they will provide additional input, strategic guidance, and fiduciary oversight to edHEALTH LLC and edHEALTH Captive,” says Steve Hannabury, Chair of both the edHEALTH LLC Board of Managers and edHEALTH Captive Subscribers Advisory Committee.Marymichele is an ...

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Annual edHEALTH President Letter for Member-Owners

Dear Colleagues,Strength.  Resilience.  Support.  Collaboration.  Opportunity.  Hope.  Trust.  These are just a few of the words that come to my mind as we look ahead to 2022.  We are still facing incredibly challenging times with the ongoing pandemic and the realities of the uncertainties ahead.  The education industry has been hit particularly hard and yet, in large part due to its long-standing tradition of collaboration, will come out of this stronger than ever.edHEALTH continues to support our member-owners and your faculty, staff, and family members so that you can focus on the business of running your institution.  Below I share a look back at 2021 and look forward to 2022 and beyond.New Member-Owners! It is with great excitement that I welcome our two newest member-owners of edHEALTH:  College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA and St. Joseph’s College of Maine!  This brings o...

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What is Advanced Primary Care and why is it an Important Healthcare Policy

BY CYNTHIA MCGRATH | November 15, 2021Primary care practices, which are crucial in providing coordinated, efficient, and high-value care, were severely impacted by the pandemic. Primary Care Providers (PCPs) closed or limited their practices to ensure capacity for COVID-19 patients and patients stayed away to avoid potential exposure. Twenty to forty percent of the PCP practices surveyed in June 2020 by the Mass Health Policy Commission and Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Physicians stated that they were considering consolidating, selling, or closing their practices.Underinvestment and a fee-for-service reimbursement arrangement that pays providers based on the number of services provided decimated PCP finances that no longer had a steady flow of income from in-person visits and tests. This method of paying PCPs is misaligned with the benefits of primary care:Total-pe...

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Unstoppable Healthcare Cost Pac-Man Gobbling Up Valuable Resources - Discover 3 cutting-edge risk management levers to unlock savings

BY CYNTHIA MCGRATH | December 16, 2021Unstoppable healthcare costs are eating up resources that companies and governments could better use to advance other important priorities. Healthcare rate increases will jump around 5% in 2021, according to a recent SHRM article. Not only does this hamper employers’ abilities to focus on their missions, but it also impacts HR departments’ ability to attract and retain employees by their attractive compensation and wellness offerings.The go-to strategy of moving employees to high-deductible health plans has inadvertently created adverse financial and health consequences. The Mass Health Policy Commission reports that 46% of the state’s adults skipped needed healthcare in 2019 due to unaffordable out-of-pocket costs. The numbers were especially alarming for low-income and people of color, but even high-income people were not immune. A new study fro...

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Tracy Hassett Selected Vice Chair of the Vermont Captive Insurance Association

Educators Health Exchange President, Tracy Hassett, was selected Vice Chair by the Board of the Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA). VCIA is the largest trade association for the captive industry and provides educational opportunities and legislative advocacy. As reported in October, Tracy is chairing the committee to identify the next president of the Association.“I’m honored that my fellow Board members voted to appoint me as the Vice Chair of VCIA,” said Tracy. “It’s an esteemed board to be working with and an exciting time for VCIA and the captive industry as a whole.”VCIA is the largest trade association for captive insurance in the world. Established in 1985, the Association provides lobbying support on both the state and federal levels for its nearly 500 member companies. It also hosts and supports professional education opportunities for the industry at large. Its 11-...

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Point32Health Selects UnitedHealthcare as its National Network – What This Means to Tufts Health Plan and HPHC Members

Point32Health, the combined Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care organization, selected UnitedHealthcare as its national network provider effective January 1, 2024. UnitedHealthcare is already the national provider for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care members, so there are no changes for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care members as the result of this announcement. Until 2024, Tufts Health Plan members will continue to use the nationwide Cigna network. Tufts Health Plan and HPHC members residing in New England access the plans’ networks of nearly 100K healthcare providers and all New England hospitals. For PPO members, the national carrier complements these networks outside of the service area. When visiting a doctor or hospital, the employee shows their edHEALTH health carrier ID card, which gives the provider the information they need for billing the plan administrator.

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Why Employers Must Focus on Improving Workplace Mental Health - 3 Strategies to Support Employees

BY CYNTHIA MCGRATH | October 21, 2021The Mental Health Crisis and Its Effects on Employees and EmployersThe pandemic has upended lives and led to increased rates of stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Seventy-six percent of U.S. employees surveyed report at least one symptom of a mental health condition in the past year according to Mind Share Partners’ 2021 Mental Health at Work Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data suggests that the mental health of younger people and minorities has been especially impacted.Mental health affects employers’ ability to retain employees. Fifty percent of employees left their jobs for mental health reasons in 2020, including those caused by workplace factors like overwhelming and unsustainable work (Mind Share Partners’ report). These numbers are higher for younger workers, LGBTQ+, Black, and Latinx employees. Sixty-eight...

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How do you Ensure Healthcare Equity in Keeping with Your Institution’s Diversity and Inclusion Goals? It Takes a Systemic Approach

BY CYNTHIA MCGRATH | August 9, 2021Racial justice protests and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color have shone a light on the need for organizations to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). The higher education industry has taken a leading role in tackling these challenges by evaluating and implementing policies that seek to ensure that all residents – regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation – have the same opportunity to thrive. Recent New England Journal of Higher Education and Higher Education Today editorials have encouraged colleges and universities to act now to eradicate disparities and promote economic vitality.Numerous studies have shown that gender, race, and ethnicity have a marked influence on a person’s health. The systemic disparities in the health status of population groups have significant...

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Why is it a Challenge to Control Rising Healthcare Costs? It's the Prices

BY CYNTHIA MCGRATH | MARCH 18, 2021The U.S. is spending nearly 20% of its Gross Domestic Product on healthcare services, which crowds out other needed products and services. Most other countries limit spending by imposing tight budget constraints on spending. Why are healthcare cost rising so quickly? “I’ve heard excessive estimates that 20-30% of rising costs are due to waste,” said Stuart Altman, Ph.D., Sol C. Chaikin Professor of National Health Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. “Those of us in the healthcare policy arena haven’t been able to figure out where all that waste is.” Although representing a higher percentage than other countries, administrative spending only comprises 8% of total healthcare spending.Excessive use of hospital and physician services aren’t to blame for high spending either. Annual hospital and physician v...

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Teetering at the Precipice of Anxiety and Depression Crisis – How Can HR Respond?

BY CYNTHIA MCGRATH | OCTOBER 7, 2020The Trends and Why They Could Get WorseThe pandemic has upended everyone’s life and the strains are showing in the escalating rates of anxiety and depression. In March, 32% of U.S. adults reported that their mental health had been negatively affected due to worry and stress over the coronavirus. This rate jumped to 53% in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s July Tracking Poll. Adults are also reporting specific negative impacts including:Difficulty sleeping – 36%Difficulty eating – 32%Increases in alcohol or substance use – 12%Worsening chronic conditions – 12%Social isolation, job losses, racial tensions, and balancing work and home responsibilities are taking a toll. People who have lost their jobs or work in healthcare have seen a dramatic increase in mental health disorders. Other at-risk populations include:Older adults age 65 and over who are espec...

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Time for Some Good Healthcare News: Innovative Mobile Service Offers Excellent Care at Reduced Costs

BY CYNTHIA MCGRATH | SEPTEMBER 14, 2021To borrow from actor John Krasinski, we can all use some good news – especially in healthcare. One of our member school employees has a story that makes us smile. Are you familiar with a mobile hospital, also known as a mobile ER department and mobile urgent care? We weren’t, but we’re excited to share “Susan’s” experience.Susan recently fell and suffered multiple fractures. She’s recovering well and has faithfully stuck to a strength and conditioning regimen to improve her mobility. While she was recuperating, she got an upper respiratory infection that required medical attention. Due to her lack of mobility, she couldn’t travel to the hospital without using an ambulance. Her doctor suggested using a mobile hospital service.With the Delta variant of COVID raging across the country, staying out of an emergency room - unless it’s critical - is pru...

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Population Health Helps Improve Quality and Reduce Costs

By CYNTHIA MCGRATH | February 4, 2019How do we go about improving care for our employees while reducing costs? That’s the conundrum facing most employer healthcare purchasers. According to Workpartners, edHEALTH’s data warehouse, 5% of our insureds represent over 50% of our claim costs. Our Board made the strategic decision to target these high-cost claimants. We believe it will be a triple win: an opportunity to reduce costs, improve care for our members, and benefit our participating schools.edHEALTH’s premium trends have consistently been lower than the industry. Over the last four years, we’ve averaged premium increases of 2.7% per year. That’s much better than national trends of 4.1% (Kaiser Family Foundation), and even better when employer cost shifting is factored in. We have made very few benefit changes since our inception in 2013. The first step in launching our population h...

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