Open Enrollment

Brad Cain, for HealthLeaders News , November 20, 2007

Fall is the traditional open enrollment period for employer-sponsored health plans--a time when workers across the country receive carefully prepared packages of materials explaining their health plan options, the changes to their benefits and information on how much they'll have to pay to cover themselves and their families. Too often they're seeing their level of benefit coverage drop or their share of the bill increase. Or both.

But it's not always about bad news. A recent survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide found that nearly half of all employers are now offering incentives to encourage healthy behaviors and another quarter plan to do so in 2008. Employers are also juggling benefits to waive co-pays and deductibles for preventive care services to remove any financial barrier to receiving care in a timely manner.

A growing number of workers will also receive information rating the relative performance of their health plan choices, and often the quality of care provided by the plans' contracted network of physicians and hospitals. In this age of growing consumerism, such information is not only helpful but necessary to educate workers about making smart healthcare choices. Here at HCPro, we're conducting an open enrollment of a different sort. We're reaching out to loyal readers of HealthLeaders magazine and HCPro newsletters who are interested in receiving a new weekly e-zine focusing on the health plan side of the healthcare equation.

While most of you are familiar with HealthLeaders' daily and weekly e-newsletters, this e-zine will go beyond the general healthcare news clippings to bring you targeted information on health plans and their partners in the business of healthcare. We'll bring you interviews with leaders in the field--both in print and via audiocasts--such as today's featured audio interview with Brenda Schmidt, managing director at Diversity Wellness that was conducted by Les Masterson, managing editor of HCPro's Disease Management Advisor. We'll also bring you original articles from the editors of HCPro's various managed care newsletters, as well as links to independent articles that we find particularly compelling.

We're not just looking for readers, however. We're also seeking collaborators to help build this into an interactive exchange between those working for, with or even against health plans, as well as those of us covering the industry. So we'll look to you for feedback on what we put forth and may even call on a few of you to contribute your own material from time to time.

With that, welcome to HCPro's new Health Plan Insider e-zine.

Brad Cain is editor of California Healthfax and executive editor for managed care with HealthLeaders Media. He may be reached at .

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