7 Things Employers Don’t Know About Healthcare Benefits

“During the bad economy, employees were focused primarily on salary. Now… they are taking a look at their entire compensation package and benefits are coming into sharper view.”  Read more here.

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Governor appoints Robyn Jacobson, COO of Entrust, to new Health Institute

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 4, 2012) – Texas Governor Rick Perry has appointed Robyn Jacobson, COO of Entrust, Inc., to the Board of Directors of the newly-formed Texas Institute of Health Care Quality and Efficiency.

“I am honored to be appointed by the Governor to the Board, and hope that the goals of creating a viable free market of healthcare services can be realized for the people of Texas,” said Mrs. Jacobson.

During the last legislative session, Mrs. Jacobson worked with Representative Lois Kolkhorst on HB 2430, a bill that would have created a fair playing field for all consumers by requiring providers to establish one price for their services, regardless of who the payer is, and disclose that price in advance of services rendered. While the bill did not pass during last session, the transparency aspect of the bill was added to article 3 of SB 7 during a special session, which established the new Institute.

The Institute has the charge of improving health care quality, accountability, education, and cost containment in Texas by encouraging health care provider collaboration, effective health care delivery models and coordination of health care services. Due to report its recommendations by January 1, 2013, the Institute is also tasked with examining the inconsistency of health care providers’ charges and exploring potential ways to improve consumers’ access to pricing information.

One of just two businesspeople appointed to the medically-trained 13-person board, Mrs. Jacobson has a reputation for remaining at the forefront of her ever-changing industry. Her premier employee benefits third party administrator, Entrust Inc., is highly regarded for its innovative and cost-effective solutions for employers.

In addition to being the Chief Operating Officer of the Entrust, Inc., Mrs. Jacobson is also the CEO of a claim adjudication software company, EnCore System Professionals, Inc., Board Chairman of the National Society of Professional Benefit Administrators (SPBA), immediate Past President and a board member of the Texas Association of Benefit Administrators (TABA), and a member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), Houston West Chamber of Commerce, and Texas Association of Business.

SPBA in talks with HHS on Hospital Transparency

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CHEVY CHASE, MARYLAND (March 5, 2012) – Staff at the Society of Professional Benefit Administrators (SPBA) – including Chairman Robyn Jacobson – recently joined Actuary Hobson Carroll, FSA MAAA, in meeting with high-level U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) policymakers to discuss the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (PPACA) hospital transparency provision.

In October 2011, SPBA submitted Policy Brief Comments on Section 2718(e) of Title XXVII Public Health Service Act which deals with Standard Hospital Charges.  The subsection is loaded with words that have escaped common acceptance of their definitions and can change depending upon the stakeholders’ interpretation.

“The inherent struggle to reach a consensus of opinion on the what and how of expressing hospital charges to the public is a debate that could take decades more to resolve if we do not have legislation and regulations to facilitate this practice.  Talking with HHS on February 14, we elaborated on why the approach put forward in our Policy Brief Comments is vital,” said Mrs. Robyn Jacobson, SPBA Chairman.

Taking SPBA’s proposals on hospital transparency into serious consideration, high-ranking representatives from various government agencies participated in asking probing questions.

“Think of the empowerment to be gained by exposing the range of actual payments hospitals are willing to receive from different payers for more or less the same service, and the resulting innovation and creativity generated in benefit plan and provider reimbursement structure design, and the competition that will, using this first step, inexorably result in the market place,” enthused Mr. Hobson Carroll.

Even though the law exists as part of the Affordable Care Act, the regulatory process will take time to complete.  Functioning as a principal knowledge resource for regulators, SPBA is well-positioned to continue its dialog on the topic of hospital transparency until a workable and enforceable rule is implemented.

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