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Articles: Health

Both employers and employees struggle with health insurance costs. While most people think of doctors' visits when they think of health insurance, mental health and substance abuse treatment fall under the same umbrella. A recent study by a group of Harvard researchers from the Cambridge Health Alliance, found treatment coverage for medical school students is on the low end of the scale. Of the 115 med schools analyzed, fewer than 22 percent provide students with complete coverage, without co-pays or coinsurance, for mental health and substance abuse treatment.

smoke-free campus sign

Imagine it's the end of the semester. Students are pulling all-nighters to complete term papers and study for final exams. The stress level is off the charts, and some students reach for the pack of cigarettes for a "quick smoke" to help calm their nerves. For the growing number of colleges and universities that have adopted tobacco-free policies, this is their final exam.

Remember the first day you came to work? For some people, first days are overwhelming—with new rules, processes, and software programs to learn, new coworkers to meet, and myriad choices to make, from which health plan to choose to the amount of taxes you want deducted.

Universities are often in a unique position when it comes to managing their pharmacy benefits. Those associated with medical schools, hospital, and clinics often have affiliated pharmacies and access to staff with clinical pharmacy expertise. If an institution can fully leverage these in-house capabilities, it can have a dramatic effect on its overall pharmacy benefit budget. How to best leverage these capabilities should be considered when HR administrators selects a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) partner.

On March 24, 2010, the day after President Obama signed sweeping health care reform legislation into law, Robert T. Kakuk's phone didn't stop ringing.

Employees were eager to add their adult children under the age of 26 back on to their health insurance policy, one provision of the Affordable Care Act, explains Kakuk, director of total compensation and human resources information systems at Western Michigan University, which supports approximately 2,800 benefits-eligible employees.

Universities are often in a unique position when it comes to managing their pharmacy benefits. Those associated with medical schools, hospital, and clinics often have affiliated pharmacies and access to staff with clinical pharmacy expertise. If an institution can fully leverage these in-house capabilities, it can have a dramatic effect on its overall pharmacy benefit budget. How to best leverage these capabilities should be considered when HR administrators selects a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) partner.

Who are you and how did you find us? That's what admissions officers at colleges and universities all over the country are asking this year as "stealth applications" proliferate.

Most higher ed institutions offer a wide variety of employee programs and benefits: health fairs, faculty and staff recognitions, tuition waivers, and more.

But are the programs at your institution reflective of current employee needs? And how can human resources professionals maximize the impact of these programs? Are there routine diagnostics to perform? Or does HR simply make a tweak here, a twist there, keeping the program objectives intact?

Recent events have understandably triggered a flurry of crisis preparedness efforts at colleges and universities across the country. Many of these institutions are today breathing easier now that they have incident response plans the size of phone books resting in drawers or populating intranets. They feel confident that in an emergency they can evacuate parties at risk in a timely organized manner — perhaps.

 

THERE IS A NEW "SIN" INDUSTRY on college campuses. It’s not beer, fast food, or tobacco. It’s water! Universities around the nation have begun to deny students the option of drinking bottled water, removing it from vending machines and campus stores.

 

ALL YEAR LONG, BUT THROUGHOUT the colder months in particular, health care needs inevitably arise. But for college students, particularly those in traditionally underserved minority groups, access to health care may be as slippery as the roads they come to school on.

 

I HAVE LEARNED THAT THIS COLUMN CAN touch a few nerves. Two examples of this are editorials I wrote about guns and alcohol, both of which continue to draw reader response long after they were published.

 

AS AN ENTHUSIASTIC signatory to the Amethyst Initiative, a joint statement issued by college and university presidents and chancellors urging public debate on the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, I am pleased to say the discussion is certainly underway.

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