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Smart Benefits: Communicating Healthcare Reform: Go by the Book

Monday, May 05, 2014

 

The way employers administer benefits today is very different than four years ago. And that means communication to employees about benefits is more important than ever, especially when it comes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Lead with the Law

Employers need to stay abreast of current and future healthcare reform provisions and what they need to communicate to their employees – and when. Then they need to make sure employee handbooks reflect recent changes, such as the definition of a full-time employee and offering coverage to new employees.

Update Semi-Annually

Employee handbooks are a valuable tool to establish company policies, procedures and expectations. But they can quickly become outdated, especially with regard to the complex and dynamic ACA. As a best practice, employers should seek guidance from their benefits advisor, HR professional or employment lawyer in reviewing their employee handbooks twice a year, and update them as the law requires

Write it…or Risk It

Consistent, compliant policies that are communicated clearly in an employee handbook can reduce employee confusion – and the risk of lawsuits.  

 

Amy Gallagher has over 21 years of healthcare industry experience guiding employers and employees. As Vice President at Cornerstone Group, she advises large employers on all aspects of healthcare reform, benefit solutions, cost-containment strategies and results-driven wellness programs. Amy speaks regularly on a variety of healthcare-related topics, and is often quoted by national publications on the subject matter. Locally, Amy is a member of SHRM-RI, the Rhode Island Business Group on Health, and the Rhode Island Business Healthcare Advisory Council. 

 

Related Slideshow: 13 Biggest Healthcare Stories in RI in 2013

The most import stories from one of the most historic years in memory for Rhode Island healthcare.

Prev Next

13 Doctors Behaving Badly

Rhode Island Doctors Behaving Badly

Doctors, having professed in their professional lives to "do no harm," are typically looked at in their personal lives as upstanding citizens.  But 2013 proved that not all doctors are cut from the same cloth.

With charges ranging from unprofessional behavior in the office to giving morphine to babies to breaking into a residence without permission at 3 in the morning and being in possession of marijuana, this breakdown of reprimanded doctors in 2013 is simply a must see. 

Click here for a slideshow of all the stories.

Prev Next

12 Staying Healthy + Fit

10 Ways To Stay Healthy + Fit This Summer—Miriam Experts

Summer brings soaring temperatures, family cookouts and tempting warm-weather treats like ice cream and margaritas, and can easily sabotage your fitness and diet plans. That’s why leading nutrition and exercise experts at The Miriam Hospital shared their timeless top tips for staying fit and eating healthy while still having fun in the sun.

Summer fitness never goes out of style. Click here for tips you can use every year to maintain that beach body!

Prev Next

11 Well-Being Index

How Happy Is Rhode Island—Latest Gallup Well-Being Index

Rhode Island may need an attitude adjustment, according to the latest Well-Being Index numbers from Gallup-Healthways. The state's latest ranking for happiness is #37 in the nation, a drop of 2 spots from last year. And that ranking was a drop from the year before.

Click here for the full breakdown.

Prev Next

10 Retail Insurance

Smart Benefits: Health Insurers Go Retail

Healthcare reform has brought about lots of changes to the procurement of individual and family plans. Now, when you head to the mall, you'll be able to buy health insurance in addition to shopping for clothes. In a move that continues to gain steady momentum, leading health insurers across the country are opening retail stores to cater to individuals who now have to purchase health insurance on their own because of healthcare reform.

To see which insurer has already opened up a retail outlet in RI, click here.

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9 A Healthier You in 2013

13 Ways To Be Healthier in RI in 2013

As we embarked on 2013,  Rhode Island's Director of Health, Michael Fine, MD, encouraged Rhode Islanders to make health and wellness a priority in the new year. Check out the 13 steps he recommended Rhode Islanders take to get and stay well in the new year. Whether you stuck to them or not in 2013, we find ourselves at another time for goal-setting and resolutions. Brush up on your healthy living and put your knowledge to good use in 2014!

Click here for the tips!

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8 RI’s Sexual Health

Rhode Island’s Sexual Health Worst In New England—New Ranking

Rhode Island's abysmal showing in the 2013 Sexual Health Rankings landed them at last place in New England.

The first-ever assessment of state-by-state data on 26 comprehensive health and services measures that speak to sexual health put the Ocean State at #19 overall in the US, and #6 among New England states. 

Click here for our full coverage of our study.

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7 Deloitte's Big Contract

Deloitte Awarded $105 Million Contract to Create New Healthcare System

Last January, Governor Lincoln Chafee announced that the State had awarded a $105 million contract to Deloitte Consulting to create the technology infrastructure to modernize the way the state administers Medicaid and other human service programs, and, most importantly, to create Rhode Island’s Health Benefits Exchange in compliance with the Affordable Care Act. Do you think Deloitte was the right choice? Read on for a breakdown of why Deloitte was chosen and the outlook on the exchange - who's rollout was not without its hiccups - while it was in just the conception phase.

Click here for our coverage of the announcement.

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6 Non-Profit Hospital CEO

Rhode Island Non-Profit Hospital CEOs Criticized For Big Paychecks

The American healthcare system may be quite deathly ill. But the paychecks CEOs of Rhode Island non-profit hospitals are quite healthy.

Because of the trend of for-profit chains buying non-profit hospitals, which has swept the nation over the last decade or so, only eight non-profit hospital groups remain in the Ocean State. Together, they control a total of 11 hospitals.

And you won't believe how handsomely the CEOs of these hospitals are paid.

Click here for the full breakdown.

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5 Healthiest Counties

Rankings: Where the Healthiest Rhode Islanders Live

Where do the healthiest residents in Rhode Island live? According to 2013 rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a national foundation focused on improving public health, Bristol County took top honors -- while Providence County was the bottom of the list of the five counties in the state.

Click here to get the full story.

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4 Health Exchange Rebrand

Rhode Island’s First Health Benefits Exchange Launches

In July, The Rhode Island Health Benefits Exchange announced a number of important updates and initiatives – including a new name and the creation of 70-100 new jobs – in preparation to enroll Rhode Islanders in quality affordable health insurance plans starting on October 1, 2013.

Dubbing the Health Exchange HealthSource RI and announcing the state's new contact center in Providence, the exchange announced it would employ 70-100 Rhode Islanders when fully operational who would be accessible to  individuals and small employers to talk in-person or over the phone with engagement specialists who would provide personalized assistance in finding, comparing, and purchasing health insurance options available through HealthSource RI. 

Click here to read more about the announcement.

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3 Heart Health

RI’s Go Red Day 2013: 10 Ways Women Can Keep Their Hearts Healthy

According to the AHA, nearly half of American women do not know that heart disease is their No. 1 killer, and less than half know the best blood pressure and cholesterol levels for cardiovascular health. Making red visible on Mondays could help sound the alarm and keep heart health ever present in the lives of American women.

Click here for 10 ways women can keep their hearts healthy.

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2 Health Exchange Launch

Healthsource RI Announces Health Benefits Exchange Rates

In late August, HealthSource RI announced the plans and rates that were to be offered through the state's health benefits exchange when open enrollment began on October 1 for individuals and small businesses. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, United HealthCare, and Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island all signed on to offer 28 plans through the exchange.

The exchange launched on October 1st with no shortage of hiccups, but the launch was relatively smooth by comparison to those in states whose exchanges were facilitated federally. By November, the exchange had processed over 4500 applicants. And by December the New York Times noted that the RI exchange was the second-best performing in the country with enrollment exceeding target rates by a sizeable margin.

Click here for our coverage of the rate announcements.

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1 Patients Rank Hospitals

New England’s Best Hospitals Rated By Patients

Traditionally, hospitals are rated and ranked on a combination of sound technical care, adequate resources, and impressive statistics. But an increasing emphasis is being placed on perhaps one of the more important measures: the patient’s perspective. With that in mind, GoLocal has sifted through and analyzed the results from a government-sponsored survey of more than 50,000 patients in 176 hospitals in New England (full chart here), and emerged with the first-ever patient-based ranking of the region’s top hospitals.

GoLocal consulted with patients, experts, and hospital administrators for their take to contextualize the rankings- click here to read the story.

Click here for the ranking of New England's Top 20 Hospitals

 
 

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