For a little Halloween fun, I’ve compiled a few articles that have to do with healthcare tricks and treats. All related to Obamacare, or the Affordable Healthcare Act, of course…
Trick: Gov. Kasich’s four Obamacare tricks by Washington Examiner
Treat: Ebola: Obamacare’s ultimate pre-existing condition by The Fiscal Times
Trick: Government close to closing loophole that lets employers offer substandard insurance by The Washington Post
According to an article in The Huffington Post today, Ikea plans to increase the minimum wage for all employees of its US stores, and in doing so, will likely raise the bar for other American retailers.
Well known for their “ready-to-assemble furniture and home goods” Ikea plans to tie wages to MIT’s “Living Wage Calculator.” The calculator tool estimates the base salary a worker needs to make in order to live in a particular geographic area.
The article says that this move by Ikea will boost the average minimum wage to $10.76, a 17% increase, and also means about half of the store’s 13,650 employees will be getting a raise. Rob Olson, Chief Financial Officer and acting president of Ikea US says the rates will go into effect Jan 1, 2015. Olson also told The Huffington Post, “It’s all centered around the Ikea vision, which is to create a better everyday life for the many people.”
Using a living wage calculator to determine salaries based on geographic location seems to be a first for major American retailers. The new minimum wage will vary from $9 to just over $13 among Ikea’s 38 retail stores, plus several distribution and service centers and one manufacturing plant based here in the US.
Olson says the new wage structure is part of Ikea’s effort to attract employees by making its pay and benefits plan more appealing. The company recently expanded its benefits package by increasing the employer match on its 401k plan and launching a separate retirement account for employees that have been with the company for at least five years.
IKEA GIVES HALF ITS US WORKERS A 17% RAISE
The company has decided to focus solely on the co-worker, rather than follow the lead of the competition – other US retailers. Bold move. The article goes on to point out, however, that Ikea is not the only retailer to raise wages across the board for its employees. Gap Inc. announced earlier this year that it would raise wages affecting more than two thirds of its 90,000 workers.
As the article points out, this will undoubtedly become a talking point as the national debate heats up over increasing the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour. It hasn’t been raised since 2009. Olson asserts that Ikea’s decision should not be read as an endorsement of any legislative proposals regarding minimum wage.
Read the full article, Ikea To Raise Minimum Wage For U.S. Workers With Tie To Living Wage Calculator
An article about big pharma companies and their pricing policies show a trend toward sharply rising drug prices. It doesn’t seem likely that it will slow down any time soon. I warn you – there’s tons of details to consider when it comes to pharmaceutical drug costs. Here are some key takeaways:
- Big Pharma is in a period of intense consolidation
- The cost of brand-named drugs is soaring
- Starting prices of new drugs are escalating
- More concentration in a therapeutic area = higher prices
- Generic drugs now make up 86% of all medicines used in the U.S. but that hasn’t reduced total spending on prescription drugs
- The economics of prescription drugs are unique compared to other major markets
- Turf wars between drug makers are driving costs higher
- Rising prices of brand-named drugs is roughly equal to losses due to patent expirations
If you or your employees are concerned about the rising cost of drugs, stay tuned…you’ll see more about this hot topic from us.
To read the entire article, read Big Pharma’s Favorite Prescription: Higher Prices as seen on BusinessWeek.com
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- May 9, 2014
- Brand names, cancer, costs, diabetes, drugs, economics, economy, pharmaceutical, prescription, therapeutic
- 0 Comments
Seems like everyone wants to know what’s on the minds of employers and what they are thinking about insurance. A new survey conducted by Wells Fargo Insurance interviewed 70 employers across the U.S. Results show that as employers and their employees face higher costs, deductibles and copays the employers are searching for ways to control costs and help employees improve their health.
The survey findings also show the top three employer product innovations this year include:
- Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s)
- increased wellness programs
- narrow provider network offerings
47% of survey respondents say they will develop their own private proprietary exchange by 2015.
Read the full article at Wall Street Journal online, Survey: Cost of Healthcare Claims Continue to Rise; Interest in Private Exchanges Increases
Are you an employer? What are you thinking about insurance?