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Wednesday 05/19/21 Walt Podgurski 440-773-1108 E-Mail
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Amazon to roll out health, wellness program to all US employees by 2022
Jackie Drees / BECKER'S HEALTH IT / / Read Article

Amazon will launch WorkingWell, a program that gives employees physical, mental and nutritional support, across its entire U.S. operations network by the end of 2021, according to a May 17 CNBC report.

The wide-scale rollout is part of Amazon's efforts to cut workplace injury and illness rates by 50 percent by 2025. Amazon launched the WorkingWell pilot in 2019; since then, the program has reached 859,000 employees across 350 Amazon sites in North America and Europe.

One of the elements being added to the program in the U.S. is daily site meetings, called health and safety huddles, for operations leaders and small groups of employees near workstations to watch short interactive videos on topics such as gripping and handling, pushing and pulling, and nutrition. Amazon also will have dedicated wellness spaces within buildings for activities like voluntary stretching and interactive videos.

Pax­ton Sues Biden Admin­is­tra­tion to Block Biden’s Pow­er Grab, Rein­state Bil­lions Promised for Texas Healthcare
kEN pAXTON / Attorney General Of Texas / / Read Article

On April 16, the Biden Administration unlawfully stripped away Texas’s 1115 Medicaid waiver extension, which would have ensured stable funding for providers of healthcare for children, people with disabilities, and the elderly. To secure the assistance that countless Texans rely on, Attorney General Ken Paxton fired back with a lawsuit to reinstate the extension of the Medicaid waiver and prevent the federal government from forcing the adoption of its own unsuitable program.

Texas is in contact with the federal government on numerous aspects of its Medicaid program, including a temporary “Demonstration Project” that allows states to achieve healthcare-related goals while tracking efficiency, success, and needed changes along the way. In 2020, Texas commissioned a survey of Medicaid providers and determined more time was needed for its current Demonstration Project. After many weeks of negotiations, Texas’s request for an eight-year extension was granted by the Trump Administration in January 2021. The Biden Administration rescinded that extension without warning, proper authority, reasoning, or the required notice-and-comment period.

Medicare-Covered Older Adults Are Satisfied with Their Coverage, Have Similar Access to Care as Privately-Insured Adults Ages 50 to 64, And Fewer Report Cost-Related Problems
Nancy Ochieng, Jeannie Fuglesten Biniek Follow, Karyn Schwartz, and Tricia Neuman / KHN / / Read Article

High and rapidly growing health care spending in the U.S. is a concern for consumers, employers, tax payers and policy makers. The relatively high prices paid by private insurers is one of the key factors fueling this trend, leading some policy makers to consider whether Medicare rates, or a multiple of Medicare rates, should be used to help control costs and address affordability concerns for people with private insurance.

Our analysis finds:

Overall, the vast majority of adults 65 and older with Medicare coverage (94%) report being very satisfied or satisfied with the quality of their medical care and the availability of specialists.

Most privately-insured adults ages 50 to 64 and Medicare-covered adults ages 65 and older report having a usual source of care in a setting other than an emergency department (96% for both insurance groups).

A somewhat larger share of privately-insured adults ages 50 to 64 (16%) than Medicare-covered adults ages 65 and older (11%) report having cost-related problems, defined as delaying or forgoing medical care due to costs or having problems paying medical bills.

The affordability gap is wider among adults in relatively poor health: one-third (33%) of privately-insured adults ages 50 to 64 report cost-related problems compared to one-fifth (20%) of Medicare-covered adults ages 65 and older.

The ‘golden age of benefits’ is coming. Here’s what it means
By: Jen Colletta / HR Executive / / Read Article

Sumser, who focuses primarily on HR tech, says he examined the shifts in the benefits space with a beginner’s mindset—giving him the advantage of realistically seeing all the possibilities that abound. In that regard, he thinks the entire “point of benefits” is changing.

In particular, he cites nine overarching ways the goal of today’s employee benefits has shifted:

expanding workplace safety;
enhancing engagement;
improving employee experience;
increasing alignment;
ensuring diversity;
creating joy;
demonstrating care;
improving the likelihood of business continuity;
and strengthening bonds and pride in membership.

Benefits are becoming more like infrastructure—on which you expect and project a return, he says. They are the elements that make divergent groups of people come together and contribute to a quality experience—and, in turn, drive productivity—creating a group of people who “feel like a fan of their place of work because of the quality of benefits.”

New Survey Shows How To Triple Employee Engagement – 5 Steps You Can Take Right Now
Caroline Ceniza-Levine, Senior Contributor / Forbes / / Read Article

At companies where recognition incorporates D&I [diversity and inclusion], 55% of employees are highly engaged, vs. just 17% of employees at companies where there’s no integration. – 2021 D&I Insights Report by Achiever and Workplace Intelligence

Yet despite the benefits to employee engagement of fostering an inclusive recognition program, only 17% of the employees surveyed and 32% of the HR leaders reported that their company’s recognition programs include a D&I component. Whatever the reason that companies may be lagging in recognition efforts, you as an individual employee don’t need an official program or even budget to incorporate recognition and foster an inclusive culture in your day-to-day work.

1 – Develop people on their strengths, not weaknesses
2 - Acknowledge a range of factors – skills, qualities and small daily actions
3 — Provide opportunities for networking and visibility
4 — Call out colleague contributions to managers and senior leaders
5 — Recognize yourself

Why employee engagement is the critical driver for B2B market growth
Udayan Bose, Founder and CEO, NetElixir / B2B Marketing / / Read Article

Over the past year, the pandemic has had substantial implications for B2B marketing with the absence of in-person events, such as trade shows. Due to this major impediment, businesses were forced to adapt and totally reinvent business networking strategies geared toward the growing online demographic.
Today, digital marketing is the number one common denominator in every B2B strategy. But what does that really mean, and what’s next?

Let's explore the core components that make up a compelling and engaging B2B digital marketing growth strategy in today’s evolving climate.

Brand awareness is critical; let’s not neglect it.
Organic employee engagement spurs brand advocacy; leverage it.
Marketers should encourage social media backing

Family and Medical Leave: What’s New and What’s Not
Akerman LLP - HR Defense / JD SUPRA / / Read Article

Last month, President Biden rolled out “the American Families Plan,” a proposal that would phase in paid family and medical leave for employees with certain medical and family obligations. The proposal would cost around $225 billion over 10 years, which, according to the White House, would be paid mostly by upping taxes on the wealthy.

According to a White House fact sheet, President Biden’s proposed plan would guarantee workers 12 weeks of paid leave, which they could use to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, deal with a loved one’s military deployment, find safety from sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence, heal from their own serious illness, or take time to deal with the death of a loved one.

The program would provide workers up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages replaced, rising to 80 percent for the lowest wage workers. The program would phase in paid family and medical leave over a 10-year period, guaranteeing 12 weeks of paid parental, family, and personal illness/safety leave by the 10th year.

Employers expect to add new perks
Tina Reed / Axios / / Read Article

The pandemic is driving more employers to offer benefits such as extra protection against major hospital bills and even pet insurance, according to the Emerging Trends in Health Care Survey from Willis Towers Watson.

Why it matters: In the wake of a year that brought plenty of worst-case scenarios, this analysis shows employers responding to employees' desire for security.

Details: Overall, 94% of the 238 employers who responded to the survey indicated they expect voluntary benefits — benefits that are available but largely unsubsidized — to hold great importance over the next three years.

That's up from 36% in 2018.

Some of the fastest-growing voluntary benefits provide coverage against unforeseen health costs, including hospital indemnity coverage, expected to be offered by 65% of the employers by 2022 and critical illness coverage (76%.)

Photo Of The Day

Monday, 05/17/21 - - Pandemic accelerating employers' interest in voluntary benefits: WTW survey

Tuesday, 05/18/21 - -
CVS Health and Aetna tackle skyrocketing mental health issues among women

Wednesday, 05-12-21 - -
New Washington Payroll Tax to Pay for ‘Free’ Long-Term Care Benefits from the State

Thursday, 05-13-21 - -  Amazon confirms nationwide expansion of telehealth services

Friday, 05-14-21 - -
8 low-cost apps to help employees manage their mental health

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Editorial Mission Statement: The goal of this publication is to provide readers a broad selection of what is being written about the insurance industry and related issues. Some articles may have a “tilt” towards a particular perspective one way or another. Inclusion in this newsletter is not an endorsement of any views or content; but report the various and differing views appearing in media.