As prescription drug costs continue to increase, it is important for employers to understand the trends behind prescription drug costs and what they can do to better manage their health care expenses.
In 2013, the United States spent $329.2 billion on prescription drugs—eight times more than the $40.3 billion spent in 19901. Although prescription drug spending has historically been a small proportion of national health care spending compared to hospital and physician services, in recent years, it has grown rapidly.
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The Department of Labor (DOL)’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has the authority to conduct audits on benefit plans that are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). DOL audits often focus on violations of ERISA’s fiduciary obligations and reporting and disclosure requirements.
The DOL may also investigate whether an employee benefit plan complies with ERISA’s protections for plan participants, such as the special enrollment rules or mental health parity requirements. Recently, the DOL has been using its investigative authority to enforce compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
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Health Insurer Anthem Hit by Massive Cyber Attack
In what is likely to be the largest data breach of a health care insurer, hackers gained access to as many as 80 million internal files of Anthem Inc., the nation’s second-biggest health insurance carrier.
Anthem revealed on Feb. 4 that the stolen files numbered in the tens of millions and contained the personal information of current and former customers, as well as employees. A statement released by Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish said that the company was hit by a “very sophisticated, external cyber attack.”
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Did You Know?
The IRS recently announced a new annual contribution limit for health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) starting in 2015.
According to this guidance, for taxable years beginning in 2015, the dollar limitation on employee salary reduction contributions to health FSAs will be $2,550, an increase of $50 from the amount for 2014.
To read the rest of the December Newsletter go here.