A nonprofit group that helps employers control health-care costs is launching an online comparison shopping tool for benefits.
Employers Health Purchasing Corp. of Canton recently announced it will offer member companies access to its Employers Health Benefits Accelerator, which will allow participating companies to let their employees compare benefit options.
The online marketplace, also known as a private exchange, will be available for open enrollment starting Aug. 1.
“I think it has a lot of potential,” said David Uldricks, vice president of legal and corporate planning for Employers Health. “There’s a lot of market momentum going in this direction. I think it really will help individuals select the right insurance for themselves and provide them with all the education they need to feel well informed and confident with their benefit decisions.”
Participating employers will be able to provide employees a variety of health insurance coverage options from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and pharmacy benefits from CVS Caremark.
With private exchanges, employers typically establish a set amount they will contribute toward benefits, allowing workers to determine which type of coverage they want and how much extra they’re willing to pay.
“Different employers will be able to select different plan design options that best suit their population,” Uldricks said.
By directing employees to an online tool that helps them pick the best plan, “that makes life easier on human resource professionals,” he said.
“The technology will help guide employees to a set of options that are best suited for them,” he said.
The website will be designed and run by Bloom Health, a Minneapolis-based company.
The fee structure for participating employers to access the exchange still is being developed, Uldricks said. However, employees won’t pay a “per-click” fee or charges for using the service.
Employers Health now has about 650,000 covered lives in its pharmacy benefits group-purchasing program.
The goal is to have about 30,000 workers at participating member companies enroll in benefits through the new exchange by 2015, Uldricks said.
Free spray tans
A local nonprofit group dedicated to educating people about melanoma is joining with a mobile spray tanning service to offer an alternative to tanning beds.
The Melanoma Education Initiative is joining with Optima Sun Lab to offer free spray tans from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. March 31 at the Macedonia Family Recreation Center, 1494 E. Aurora Road.
The nonprofit group’s primary focus is providing education to middle-school and high-school students about melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
More information is online at www.melanoma-education-initiative.org.
Children and adolescents who are victims of bullying are at higher risk for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, a new report published Monday in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics confirmed.
Author Mitch van Geel of Leiden University in the Netherlands and his colleagues examined 34 previous studies that focused on the relationship between bullying and suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.
Cyber-bullying, in particular, appeared to be more strongly related to suicidal thoughts than traditional bullying, the author determined, though noting there were fewer studies available on the topic.
The report “establishes that peer victimization is a risk factor of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts,” the author concluded. “Efforts should continue to identify and help victims of bullying, as well as to create bullying prevention and intervention programs that work.”
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/CherylPowellABJ.