July 2016 Volume 18 Issue 7
Providing Current Information on

Health Insurance Industry Issues and Legislation

Employers Innovate To Control Health Care Cost
In 2015, over half of companies surveyed did not offer spousal health benefits
to employees whose spouses have access to medical benefits through their own
employer. Over a quarter of those still offering the benefit are charging employees a
spousal premium of 16-27%. A third are offering their employees cash compensation
to waive medical and dental insurance.
Supreme Court Patent Decision Could Mean Lower Drug Costs
A provision in a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholds inter partes review of
patents that have already been issued. As a result, those challenging existing patents
may continue to make their appeals before a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office board
rather than in federal court. Typically, inter partes reviews take much less time than
the federal courts to make decisions. According to Marilyn Travener (AHIP), and Chip
Davis (Generic Pharmaceutical Association) the decision will promote "a competitive,
affordable prescription drug market for consumers."
Physician Starting Salaries Skyrocket, Physician Shortage Looms
Starting salaries for 19 of 20 physician specialties shot up between 11% and 20%
in 2016, according to Merritt Hawkins, a physician search firm. Rising demand for
healthcare services and a growing doctor shortage appear to be the major causes
of the large jump. Dermatologists ($444,000) had the highest starting salaries and
Non-Invasive Cardiologists (+21%) saw the greatest percentage increase. Physician
shortages are only expected to grow over time, as baby boomer physicians retire
and demand for healthcare services by our aging population continues to grow.
Study Confirms Healthcare Consolidation Means Higher Prices for Care
A new University of Southern California study found that hospital chain
consolidation in California led to higher, not lower prices for care. In 2004,
the amount paid for care at Dignity Health and Sutter Health hospitals was
comparable to that at 175 other hospitals in the state. However by 2013, the
amount paid at Dignity and Sutter facilities had increased 113% and were 25%
or $3,964 higher per admission than the other hospitals in the state.
Three Star Preferred Provider Program Additions
Bakersfield Specialty Surgery Center
Bakersfield, CA 93309

Comfort Home Health Care Group
Rochester, MN 55901

Fresh Start Recovery
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Laser Spine Surgery Center of Arizona
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Dallas, TX 75267

Mary L. Gorzelic
Orefield, PA 18069

New Jersey Group
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Paris Counseling Center
Paris, TX 75460

Southland Medical Group
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Stephen A. Irwin, MD
Rogers, AR 72758

Texarkana ER
Pittsburgh, PA 15251

Town & Country EMS
Hiawatha, KS 66434

Valley Emergency Care
Daytona Beach, FL 32120