Milwaukee health rank drops, still compares favorably

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The Commonwealth Fund’s 2016 Scorecard on Local Health System Performance is out, and it gives interesting perspective on the state of healthcare in the U.S. Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest scored well overall, while most Southern states did not. Milwaukee’s ranking dropped 17 spots from the 2012, the year the first edition of the Scorecard was released, yet it still compares favorably to other major cities.

The latest Scorecard measured changes in the country’s 306 ...

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Madison area providers explore partnerships

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Two health systems and their affiliated insurance companies are exploring a strategic partnership in Wisconsin. This is yet another example of the trend of consolidation among health care providers and insurance companies.

UW Health and UnityPoint Health announced two non-binding letters of intent regarding a future joint operating agreement last month. One letter describes a plan to “create an integrated clinical enterprise with a shared strategic direction.” The second letter describes a possible combination of ...

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DOL proposes changes to Form 5500

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The U.S. Department of Labor plans to revise Form 5500 to require insurers and health plans to report more information. The proposed changes focus on five broad goals: modernizing financial reporting, providing greater information regarding group health plans, enhancing data mineability, improving service provider fee information, and enhancing compliance with ERISA and the tax code. One element that is sure to attract the attention of smaller employers is a proposal to eliminate the exemption ...

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Carrier megamerger now in doubt

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Eleven months ago four of the country’s largest health insurance companies announced two merger plans to consolidate in what would be among the largest transactions in U.S. history. In early July 2015, Aetna agreed to purchase Humana for more than $37 billion. Later that month, Anthem agreed to purchase Cigna for more than $54 billion.

The merger agreements must be approved by state insurance officials and federal anti-trust regulators. ...

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SHRM releases 20th annual employee benefits survey

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The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released the 20th anniversary edition of its annual benefits survey on June 20th at the SHRM 2016 Annual Conference and Exposition in Washington, D.C. The survey looks at the popularity of various benefits and highlights statistically significant differences between the results of this year’s survey and results from last year, five years ago, and the initial 1996 survey.

Methods

This year’s survey comes from the responses of HR professionals ...

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Study finds Wisconsin has high healthcare prices

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A study released this month by the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute found that Wisconsin has the second highest healthcare prices among the 41 states it surveyed. The study was based on claims data from UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, and Humana, which the Institute said represents 34% of total commercial claims in Wisconsin. The study found that prices in Wisconsin for over 200 common medical services were on average 81% higher than the national average, and that the ...

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2016 HR Awards Winners Announced

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The Milwaukee Business Journal has announced the winners of its second annual HR Awards!

The HR Awards program is intended to recognize the best human resources programs or practices that have had a positive impact on employees and the overall organization. In addition to receiving cash prizes provided by Mueller QAAS CEO Jim Mueller, the winners will be celebrated at an awards ceremony at the Pfister Hotel Friday May 20.

Please join us in congratulating the ...

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Scam Targets Payroll and HR Professionals

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Earlier this month, the IRS issued an alert to payroll and HR professionals to watch out for a scam that aims to obtain employees’ personal information. The scam is a form of a “phishing” email in which a cybercriminal pretends to be someone they are not in order to trick the victim to install malicious software or send money or valuable information.

In this particular scheme, criminals are targeting payroll and HR professionals by purporting to be ...

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Last Chance for 2016 HR Awards Nominations!

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The nomination deadline for the 2016 HR Awards is March 11, 2016. If you know an HR professional or team in Southeastern Wisconsin who deserves to be recognized, please nominate them at MilwaukeeBusinessJournal.com.

The HR Awards recognize the important work individuals, companies and organizations do in the field of human resources to make southeastern Wisconsin firms and organizations successful. In addition to receiving cash prizes, the winners will be honored at an awards dinner on May 20 and will ...

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Drug Costs Continue To Rise

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Although the rate at which overall health costs are rising is historically low, employers, experts, and politicians are expressing alarm at the rising cost of prescription drugs. According to a recent Aon analysis, the average health care rate increase for mid-size and large companies in 2015 was 3.2%. Prescription drug costs, however, jumped by 10% last year according to a report by Truveris that was publicized by the Business Health Care Group.

In general, hospital expenses account ...

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