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wellness digest—week of november 28

December 5, 2011

in wellness digest

a roundup of last week’s news that caught my interest.

1. chronic disease may up out-of-pocket costs for insured

not surprisingly, a new study finds that people with chronic conditions pay more for health care than those without them. the culprit? prescription drugs. the rising cost of prescription drugs has been met with greater cost-shifting to employees and a reliance on tactics like excluding drugs from formulary lists and step therapy. the researchers of this study suggest another route: reducing or eliminating employee costs.

“…the study raises questions about how health care plans are designed. They [the researchers] suggested that employers and insurers should investigate whether better-designed health plans would promote the use of ‘high value’ services (for example, taking prescription medicines) by cutting the patients’ out-of-pocket costs of these services.”

2. CDC recruiting employers for healthy worksite program

the centers for disease control and prevention are launching their own national healthy worksite program. they’re partnering with viridian to offer employers a program that includes a needs assessment, program design, implementation strategy and support, and more. they’re starting with a pilot evaluation and recruiting employers to participate.

“CDC announced a series of four webinars will be presented to acquaint employers nationwide with the National Healthy Worksite Program, an initiative to establish and then evaluate comprehensive programs to improve the health of workers and their families. The agency plans to recruit as many as 100 small, medium-sized, and large employers in seven locations to participate by implementing various programs.”

3. americans still don’t know what’s in the health reform law. they may not care either.

sarah kliff of the washington post shares findings about our collective understanding of the health reform law from a kaiser family foundation poll. turns out, we don’t know much. she has a few thoughts about why.

“One [explanation] is that Americans don’t know about the law because they’re not seeing, or not reading, much news coverage about it. The majority of those polled had heard ‘nothing’ or ‘only a little’ about the health reform law in the past month.”

4. survey: americans will forfeit $34 billion worth of vacation days in 2011

i had dinner on saturday night with a girlfriend who’s doing her bit for this collection. she contributed 90 hours of vacation time this year. she’s also my most stressed-out friend. the other one striving for that title’s dealing with chronic neck and shoulder pain brought on solely by stress. mandatory vacation, anyone?

“For the past few years, the travel site Expedia has conducted a survey about the world’s vacation habits and like in years past, this year’s survey found that the United States is one of the countries that gives its workers fewer vacation days and one of the countries in which workers leave the most number of vacation days unused.”

5. the infographic is suddenly the media uzi of choice

i love infographics as much as the next gal, but i have to agree with this ad age author that they’re becoming dangerously overexposed and poorly executed. if you’re going to create an infographic, take heed of his advice.

“Second, such visuals should have a strong consumer message, not be used to strongly message the consumer. This may mean that it’s better to develop a multi-brand, topic-oriented product rather than one that is used to deliver a single brand message. Make the infographic story about your consumer, not you.”

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