MANAGED CARE June 2009. ©MediMedia USA
A survey of 500 HSA enrollees finds that 82 percent are satisfied with their accounts and 91 percent believe such accounts should remain an option for Americans. More than 80 percent of respondents cite their ability to save for future health care expenses as the primary reason for opening and depositing money into their HSAs. The survey was conducted by OptumHealth, a health and wellness company that is part of the UnitedHealth Group.... Americans are still having trouble keeping their diabetes under control, according to the 2008 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality National Healthcare Disparities Report. Only slightly more than half of the 18 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes had their blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure under optimum control. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, with $116 billion spent on medical care for people with the disease. What’s scarier is that the report also says another 6 million Americans may have diabetes and don’t know it.... Employers now foresee an increase of 7.4 percent in health benefit costs in 2009. Health benefit costs had risen by about 6 percent annually for four consecutive years and employers had expected a similar increase for 2009, according to a study conducted by Mercer. Nearly half of all respondents say that they will be making more cost-saving changes than usual to their current health plans because of the economic downturn and that they don’t see “simple cost shifting as the silver bullet this time around,” says Linda Havlin, a consultant in Mercer’s health and benefits business. The survey reports that 22 percent of employers are considering a consumer-directed health plan.