Health care

Accounting Rule Change Affects Pediatric Vaccine Stockpile

A change in accounting rules has forced the hands of the companies that make pediatric vaccinations and has caused a serious shortfall in the government's vaccine stockpile.Under the new rule, companies can't recognize the revenue for a vaccine until it is given to a patient, so selling to the stockpile no longer benefits the companies, the Washington Post reported.

Bush Targets State Medicaid Accounting Practice

If the Bush administration has its way, Congress will take steps this year to end an accounting practice in states that some say is tantamount to money laundering.The accounting trick, used by California for instance, will yield the state $2 billion more in federal Medicaid money than it would otherwise receive, the Washington Post reported.The trick goes something like this: cash-strapped California counties, public universities and government hospitals find $1.9 billion to send to the state capitol, under the guise of a local contribution to Medicaid.
Practice

Is Your Health Insurance Provider Overbilling You?

State regulators in Wisconsin say Milwaukee-based Assurant Health overbilled an unspecified number of small businesses and will have to pay refunds to those clients. It’s not yet clear how many of Assurant Health’s small employer clients, those having fewer than 50 employees, had to pay higher health insurance premiums because of the miscalculations or how far back the miscalculations stretch.During an investigation by the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance found that Assurant Health, which was known as Fortis Health Insurance Co.

Domestic Partner Benefits Becoming Commonplace in Corporate America

It seems corporate America is more concerned about recruiting and retaining talented employees than it is about the lifestyle choices those employees make outside of work.Charlotte Observer reported that more than 60 percent of the Fortune 100 companies are now offering health benefits to same-sex couples, even as national debate on the issue rages on.According to a recent survey conducted by Robert Half Management, 1,400 CFOs, ranked "recruiting and retaining qualified staff" as the third top priority for success in 2005, just behind "growing revenue" and "controlling expenses," the Obs
Tax

Tax Benefits of Health Savings Accounts

Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are a new tax-advantaged savings account— combined with a high deductible health plan—that individuals can use to pay for medical expenses. HSAs have a few tax benefits that other medical savings accounts do not. “One of the major advantages,” according to Mike Hayes, EA “is that there is no ‘use it or lose it’ requirement” with HSAs. You don’t have to spend all the money by the end of the year. Coupled with that, HSAs are portable, so they stay with you even if you change employers.
Education & Careers

Majority of Workers Believe Their Bosses Lack Integrity, Fairness

More than half of American workers question the basic morality of their organizations' top leaders and say thattheir managers do not treat them fairly, according to results of a just-released, representative, nationwide survey of 7,718 American workers aged 18 and over.Reacting to ongoing corporate scandals, accelerating outsourcing and continued downsizing, only 36 percent of workers said they believed top managers acted with honesty and integrity.
Tax

The Year Ahead, Revenue Growth and Managing Costs Top List of Concerns

What keeps financial executives up at night? Making sure their businesses are in the black. In a new nationwide survey, 34 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said their company’s top priority for 2005 is growing revenue. Nearly half (45 percent) of respondents said they anticipate employee healthcare plans to be the biggest cost increase over the next 12 months.The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S.
Community News

Talent Management Among Top Five Priorities in 2005

Providing rewards programs that attract, motivate and help retain employees has been ranked among the top five priorities for employers in 2005, according to a new survey conducted by Deloitte Consulting LLP's Human Capital practice and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS).
Workplace Fitness

Workplace wellness tips for this coming busy season

By: Dennis Winslow, MSW - We all know stress affects our mental and physical wellness -- both in positive and negative ways. Stress at work is what energizes us and stimulates our creative thinking. It is also what frustrates and exhausts us.The reality is that bad stress levels at work are getting higher with each passing year. Studies show that there is a significant connection between unmanaged stress and rising health care costs.
Community News

Workers Surveyed Find Value in Performance Appraisals

It's that time of year again -- holiday parties, colder weather and, for many employees, annual performance reviews. Not everyone looks forward to these meetings, but a new survey shows that most workers find them beneficial. Seventy-seven percent of employees polled said they consider performance reviews valuable; 40 percent see them as very beneficial.The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in highly skilled administrative professionals.
Tax

Treasury, IRS Issue Indexed Amounts for Health Savings Accounts

On Monday, the Treasury Department and IRS issued new guidance on the maximum contribution levels for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and out-of-pocket spending limits for High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) that must be used in conjunction with HSAs. These amounts have been indexed for cost-of-living adjustments for 2005 and are included in Revenue Procedure 2004-71, which announces changes in several indexed amounts for purposes of the federal income tax. The minimum deductible required for HDHPs did not change.
Community News

HealthSouth's Scrushy Begins New Career: Religious Talk Show Host

While preparing for a criminal trial due to begin in January, ousted HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy has apparently added a new member to his legal team: Jesus, USA Today reported.Scrushy, 52, who stands accused of orchestrating a $2.7 billion fraud at the medical services company he founded in 1984, has been hosting a half-hour religious talk show every weekday morning since March with his wife Leslie.The show, called Viewpoint, is supported by the Guiding Light Church, an African-American oriented ministry Scrushy joined last year after attending church for years in his upscale suburb

Employees Facing New Plans, Changes and More During Healthcare Enrollments

U.S. workers can expect to see major changes in their employer-sponsored health benefits coverage during the upcoming open enrollment season, according to benefits consultants at Watson Wyatt Worldwide. "Faced with rising health costs, employers are making several changes to their benefit programs that employees should anticipate seeing in their enrollment packages," said Tom Billet, a senior benefits consultant with Watson Wyatt.
Community News

Power Napping, the Latest Trend for Weary Workers

When you think of afternoon naps, you may conjure up memories of rest rugs on the kindergarten floor. But naps are not just for babies and toddlers anymore.Members of the accounting profession are joining adults from many professions in the latest energizing office trend – quick naps at the workplace. Indeed a National Sleep Foundation survey found that 33% of workers admitted they would take advantage of the opportunity to nap at work if their bosses allowed it.
Community News

CPA Poll Shows Employee Benefit Reductions Likely

Many New York state employers are likely to ask for employee benefit givebacks in an attempt to contain costs, according to a Labor Day Poll of CPAs in New York State.The New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) conducts the Labor Day Poll to address current business issues and concerns around the State. The CPA Poll is a random sampling of the association's 30,000 members.According to the results, almost 60 percent of CPAs who responded said businesses are asking for employee contributions toward benefits.
Practice

Companies Choose Consumer-Driven Health Plans to Curb Costs

Nearly one in five companies (19 percent) of 314 firms surveyed offer a consumer-driven health plan, up from 11 percent in 2003, according to Deloitte Consulting LLP.
Community News

Dixon Hughes Forms Alliance to Address Coding Staff Shortages at Hospitals

Dixon Hughes PLLC and Global Healthcare Resources, Inc., a leading provider of medical processing services, have formed an alliance to offer outsourced medical coding solutions to hospitals.Timely and accurate coding of medical records is critical for healthcare providers to minimize the billing and reimbursement cycle and optimize cash flow. Diagnosis and procedure codes bridge the gap between the clinical and financial reporting sides of healthcare.

Mid-Sized Employers Still Outspend Large Employers On Health Care

The nation's small and mid-sized employers cut benefits in their health plans in 2003, holding the cost increase to 9.8% among employers with fewer than 2,000 workers. According to a survey report released today by Marsh Inc., which analyzes data from 1,904 such employers, the total cost of health benefits (medical, dental, and any other health plans offered) averaged $6,130 per employee in 2003. The smallest employers generally are keeping costs down by discouraging coverage of dependents and imposing high deductibles.
Community News

E&Y Improves Heart Safety in Offices Nationwide

According to a press release, Ernst & Young LLP, has purchased Medtronic's automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to treat incidents of sudden cardiac arrest at work. Ernst & Young has committed to installing Medtronic's LIFEPAK(R) CR Plus AEDs in its 95 offices in the United States. "By agreeing to implement our LIFEPAK AED program, Ernst & Young becomes a leader in the professional services industry when it comes to improving the health and welfare of its employees," said Robert White, president of Medtronic's Emergency Response Systems business unit.

Study Shows Companies Underestimate Cost of Leaves of Absence

While nearly all larger companies (96 percent) have formal documented leave of absence (LOA) policies, fewer than two in 10 calculate costs associated with them and only one-third track leave utilization, according to a recent study from Hewitt Associates.

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