January 2018 Newsletter

January 2018 Newsletter

Hello and Welcome to an Exciting New Year of Health Action Council Happenings!

We’re just a few days into 2018, and the new year is already looking to be a big year full of changes, learning curves, and surprises in the health and benefits management world. Which is why the timing couldn’t be better to hear from some of our industry’s sharpest minds at the 2018 Columbus Annual Symposium, Thursday, January 25th at Nationwide Conference Center!

Register here for the first of our premier networking and education events, and join us for a day of topics ranging from best practices and day-to-day solutions to the insights, technologies, and innovations that are changing healthcare and employee benefits. Speakers will offer thought-provoking points of view and substantive, objective content on what lies ahead in the health policy and employee benefits management world. Featured speakers include:

  • Jim Klein, president of the American Benefits Council, who will present on the policies, processes, and politics of healthcare moving into 2018
  • Rishi Manchanda, physician, author and healthcare leader, who will discuss paths for employers and hospitals to improve care and value by addressing health-related social needs
  • Don Abraham, partner at Ipsos Strategy 3, who will speak to the future of innovations, where to play, and how to win 

Headlining the Symposium will be Dave Chase, co-founder of Health Rosetta, who will give us insight into common sense solutions to prevent the working and middle class from being crushed by skyrocketing healthcare costs.

Throughout the day, you’ll hear from nationally known speakers, take advantage of breakout sessions, and have multiple opportunities to network with industry leaders, like-minded individuals, and peers.

I look forward to seeing you there, and showing you how truly In·Value·Able Health Action Council events really are.

Patty Starr
Executive Director

Member Center

Member Center

Enough is Enough: Employers Need to Stop Rolling Over and Playing Dead When it Comes to Health Plan Cost Hikes

Every year the health insurance beast comes a knocking. Each year the creature becomes bigger and uglier than the year before. It's an enormous job to fight this thing. You hate it, but don't believe that you can beat it...But you can.

Eric Krieg, president of Risk International Benefits Advisors and Health Action Council member, discusses a smarter alternative for employers to cutting benefits or passing along more costs to employees. Read more.

New Blood Pressure Guidelines Impact Individuals and Wellness Programs
Written By: Carrie Alexander and Cory Planning of Member and Supporter Findley Davies

In November 2017, The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology tightened the guidelines for high blood pressure: from 140 over 90 to 130 over 80. This new definition takes into consideration complications that can occur at the lower guidelines, with the goal of earlier interventions to treat and prevent complications.

It is expected that about half (46 percent) of American adults now meet the new definition for high blood pressure and that 14 percent who previously were considered prehypertensive are now classified as hypertensive. In particular, men and women under age 45 who previously were considered prehypertensive are now classified at a higher risk. Individuals with at-risk blood pressure may wish to seek medical guidance from their doctor.

Employers offering outcomes-based wellness incentives should take time now to evaluate their program design. Those incentivizing for achieving each biometric outcome (such as blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, and/or weight) are advised to update their blood pressure goals to align with the new guidelines. Companies who incentivize based on the achievement of a consolidated health score should contact their wellness vendor to understand the effect these changes will have on the health goal algorithm and program design.

Click here for the American College of Cardiology press release

Click here for the American Heart Association press release

Using Reference Based Pricing to Lower the Cost of Care
A Report from USI Employee Benefits Insight

According to an analysis performed by the Health Care Pricing Project, the cost for a lower limb MRI in Philadelphia can vary by as much as 500% and as much as 1200% compared to other markets in the US. A July 2016 article from Vox compares the cost of drugs and medical services in the US to those in Europe and Australia and shows that Americans pay more than any other country. Read more.

Around the Water Cooler

Around The Water Cooler

Health Action Council Launches Emergency Room Campaign: FindTheRightCare.org

Studies have shown unnecessary emergency room (ER) visits—i.e. visits that were not a true “emergency” and could have been assessed via retail clinic/virtual visit/urgent care, etc.—account for almost $7 billion in national healthcare costs each year.

In order to decrease the inappropriate use of the ER and drive individual consumers to the right place for care, Health Action Council teamed up with members UnitedHealthcare, CVS Health, and Walgreens to launch a Digital Emergency Room Campaign. Targeting seven regions in Ohio with the highest numbers of inappropriate ER use, the campaign aims to educate and enlighten consumers to the benefits of choosing care options wisely.

Digital ads will run through the end of February and direct consumers to FindTheRightCare.org—an easy-to-use, educational web page designed to provide tools to help consumers choose the right course of treatment for care.

 FindTheRightCare.org is just one more way Health Action Council works to improve patient quality of care, reduce costs and, and enhance the consumer journey.

Mark Your Calendars For Our Premier Educational and Networking Events!

Columbus Annual Symposium
January 25, 2018
Nationwide Conference Center, Columbus, OH

Cleveland Annual Conference
February 21-22, 2018
Huntington Convention Center, Cleveland, OH

Our 2018 Annual Symposium and Conference will feature nationally known speakers, multiple plenary presentations, and breakout sessions covering the latest trends, technologies, solutions, and innovations that are changing the face of healthcare and employee benefits. Click here to learn more. 

Congratulations to the 2017 Healthy Ohio Healthy Worksite Award Recipients!

The Healthy Ohio Healthy Worksite Award was designed to recognize employers that demonstrate a commitment to employee health by incorporating comprehensive worksite health promotion and wellness programs. It acknowledges efforts to facilitate and encourage employee health, enhance productivity and ensure a healthy work environment.

Healthy Ohio Business Council will recognize 73 Ohio employers—15 being Health Action Council supporters/members—for healthy worksite practices in a special ceremony at our 2018 Columbus Annual Symposium.

A special round of applause to the following members/supporters to receive this distinguised award.

Small Business: ≤ 300 employees (21 awards)
Silver Award: Bricker & Eckler LLP
Bronze Award: Findley Davies

Medium Business: 301-1,000 employees (16 awards)
Gold Award: American Showa, Inc; Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
Silver Award: City of Dublin
Bronze Award: Automated Packaging Systems 

Large Business: 1,001+ employees (36 awards)
Gold Award:  City of Columbus; Montgomery County; OhioHealth; Youngstown State University
Silver Award: American Greetings; Case Western Reserve University; Columbus City Schools Wellness Initiative; University of Cincinnati; Westfield Insurance

 To learn more about the award, click here.  

Leapfrog Group Closes 2017 With Great Successes

Last month, our very own Patty Starr and Bridget McQuaide attended the inaugural Leapfrog Group Health Care Ratings Summit, December 6-7, 2017, in Arlington, Virginia. The purpose of this national event was to understand the progress made regarding transparency in the healthcare system and see how far we still have to go.

The following day, December 8th, Patty and Bridget also took part in the Annual Regional Leader meeting. This meeting brought together Leapfrog Regional Leaders from around the country who serve as a voice in their local communities and encourage hospitals to complete the Leapfrog Hospital Survey. Health Action Council proudly serves as the Regional Leader for Ohio, Minnesota, and Oregon.

Leapfrog also announced its 2017 Top Hospital Recipients. Congratulations to the 100+ hospitals that received this prestigious award for their exceptional performance across many areas of hospital care, such as preventing infections, reducing C-sections, use of technology to ensure safer care, and leadership policies and practices (among other laudable qualities).

Interested in learning more about the Leapfrog Hospital Survey? Check out the survey content here.

To find out if any hospitals in your area were given this respected award. Click here.

Enhancing Business

Enhancing Business

The Role of Empathetic Leaders in Recruiting, Engaging, and Retaining Talent

New research from Businessolver indicates that empathy coming from the top of the organization plays an important role in employee engagement and performance. Recent research finds that 98% of HR professionals and 92% of employees say that empathy drives retention. If companies want to break the cycle of disengaged employees—around 1/3 of the workforce—and create better corporate cultures, it has to start with leaders.  Read more.

Eight Secrets of Corporate Wellness Program Success

Research has shown that corporate wellness programs can improve employee loyalty and retention, reduce healthcare costs, and boost productivity. But such benefits don't magically materialize. In fact, a number of common mistakes can threaten to derail corporate wellness programs. Discover eight tips to bypass those mistakes and create a workplace with happy, healthy employees. Read more. 

Engaging Your Employees is Good, But Don't Stop There

Each year, organizations look for creative and effective ways to promote their group employee benefit offerings. It has become critical in a time when individuals are faced with comparing their workplace benefits with those offered on the open marketplace. Companies need to make employee benefit marketing a priority in order to attract and retain their best employees. Read more. 

Enlightening Lives

Enlightening Lives

3 Keys to Creating True Healthcare Consumers

For the past decade or longer, health care leaders and benefits professionals have been talking about consumerism: employees need to have “skin in the game” and the data and tools to help them shop for care based on cost and quality. And while the availability of data and tools to help employees shop has dramatically increased, the problem is that most still don’t. Read more. 

The Inside Scoop on your Health Insurance and the American Dream

It's no secret that our health care system is underperforming or in crisis on many different fronts: legislative gridlock, high costs, poor performance overall compared to other nations, etc. Dave Chase, author of “CEOs Guide to Restoring the American Dream” describes some of the easiest, most practical, and most effective ways to slash health care costs and improve benefits. Read more. 

Open-Source Value Project

A new tool has been unveiled by the Innovation and Value Initiative to help payers, providers, and patients assess the value of medical technologies. The Open-Source Value Project uses a transparent, collaborative, and iterative process to develop flexible, open-source value models in specific diseases. These models could serve as a platform to engage stakeholders and build consensus around how value is measured in the health care system. Read more.

Enriching Communities

Enriching Communities

Medical Care is Incomplete if Social Determinants Are Not Addressed- ‘HealthBegins’ Founder Rishi Manchanda

The social determinants of health, such as unmet housing needs, lack of income, employment, and legal status are major contributors to poor health. Rishi Manchanda’s work with HealthBegins and his upstream approach to delivering health care is touched on in anticipation of his appearance at the Columbus Symposium. Read more. 

Standardized Screening for Health-Related Social Needs in Clinical Settings

The impacts of unmet-health related social needs, such as homelessness, inconsistent access to food, and exposure to violence on health and health care utilization, are well established. Addressing these and other needs can help reverse their damaging health effects. The Accountable Health Communities model begins to address the need to systematically identify and address these health-related social needs. Read more. 

5 Ways I Navigate This Messy, Flawed Healthcare System as a Chronically Ill Person

The US healthcare system is immensely complex, inefficient, and expensive. Patients who are unprepared to take ownership of their own health care are at the greatest risk of getting lost in the muck. Here is one chronically ill patient’s advice on how to navigate the system. Read more.

Programming & Community Calendar

Programming & Community Calendar

Health Action Council Programs are diverse, informative, and free to Health Action Council employer members. Click on the available links to learn more and register. 

January 25, 2018
Columbus Annual Symposium
Symposium topics balance best practices and day-to-day solutions with insights into the trends, technologies and innovations that are changing the face of healthcare and employee benefits.
Nationwide Conference Center
7:15 am - 3:30 pm EST




February 21-22, 2018 
Cleveland Annual Conference
Our annual premier educational and networking event features nationally known speakers, multiple plenary presentations, and concurrent breakout sessions for employers and other key stakeholders in the health benefits industry.
Huntington Convention Center
Wednesday 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm EST
Thursday 7:25 am - 5:00 pm EST



Thanks to Our Annual Supporters

Special thanks to our Premium Annual Supporters for sharing Health Action Council's vision and collaborating with us to provide outstanding services to our members.

Classic Annual Supporters


Health Action Council is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization representing mid and large-size employers that enhances human and economic health through thought leadership, innovative services and collaboration. It provides value to its members by facilitating projects that improve the quality and moderate the cost of healthcare purchased by its members for their employees, dependents and retirees.

Health Action Council also collaborates with key stakeholders - health plans, physicians, hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry - to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare in the community.