Saturday, October 29, 2005

California HealthCare Foundation Press Release 05/03/2005

Health Insurance: Can Californians Afford It? Rising health insurance costs hit chronically ill and low-wage workers hardest
May 03, 2005 For minimum-wage workers and the chronically ill, the cost of health insurance is increasingly unaffordable and may not be providing the financial protection for which it is intended, according to Health Insurance: Can Californians Afford It?, a new analysis from the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF).
The snapshot of health insurance costs reveals, however, that the issue of affordability is not isolated to those groups.
"We have to consider that these worrisome affordability figures may be a sign of things to come for a greater number of Californians," said Mark D. Smith, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of CHCF.
The snapshot compares health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses to hourly wages and household spending across California and within six local markets: Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Shasta. The results show the significant financial pressure health care costs are putting on insured Californians.
Using a series of slides, the report focuses on the small business and individual insurance markets, where the greatest number of uninsured Californians would get their insurance if they thought they could afford it.
"The first week in May is a time when we in health care focus our attention on the uninsured through Cover the Uninsured Week," said Dr. Smith. "But we should recognize that even for those Californians who are insured, it can be a struggle to pay their share of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. If health insurance becomes unaffordable, this will increase the numbers of uninsured Californians."
The report shows that average employee health insurance premiums for a minimum-wage worker can represent a quarter to nearly half of wages. "The burden of affording health care is greatest for low-wage workers, particularly for those who have a chronic illness," said Marian Mulkey, senior program officer for CHCF’s Health Insurance Program.
According to the snapshot report:
A chronically ill individual earning $29,458 (average per capita, after-tax disposable California income) with a limited PPO plan could end up facing costs that amount to nearly 40 percent of his or her income.
Depending on their benefit levels, healthy workers and chronically ill workers may face very different out-of-pocket costs. For small business employees enrolled in a PPO plan with moderate benefits, a healthy worker might spend $370 in annual out-of-pocket costs, while an employee with a chronic condition might face over $5,000 in annual out-of-pocket costs.
A median California household spends $49,765 annually; the greatest share of which is spent on necessities such as housing, transportation, and food. If serious health problems arise—even for an insured family—coverage and out-of-pocket costs could account for a significant portion of annual spending.
Even lower-priced products available in California can cost $1.62 per hour worked, or 11 percent of the state’s median wage.
"Comparing the cost of insurance to the wages and incomes of average workers in California leaves little doubt that premium costs can impact hiring decisions, wage levels, and insurance offerings in small businesses," said Mulkey. "While this analysis focuses on individual purchasers and consumers who obtain coverage through small businesses, even Californians insured through larger businesses may find it hard to afford their share of health care costs."
Background and Methodology
Health Insurance: Can Californians Afford It? is based on information for people covered by insurance plans in the small group and individual insurance markets. Most of the data for this report were collected through CHCF's "Small Group and Individual Health Insurance Tracking Study." Premium rates for the report are based on January 1, 2005, data and reflect an individual aged 40 with 0.8 dependents. Wage figures assume full-time work of 2,080 hours per year and a median hourly California wage of $15.38. The report includes information on low, median, and high benefit plans that have different deductibles, co-insurance, out-of-pocket, and drug copay levels.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Humana Press Release 10/17/2005

Card Guard AG and Humana form new company to provide innovative wireless platform for wellness and disease management
Switzerland & Louisville, KY - Oct 17, 2005 - Card Guard AG (SWX: CARDG) and Humana Innovation Enterprises, a subsidiary of Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), announced today that they have formed Sensei Inc., a new company designed to offer personalized monitoring services for wellness and disease management.
Sensei will be operated mainly as a wireless information platform, on which subscribers will be able to receive personalized nutrition, weight loss information, fitness notifications and medication reminders through their mobile phones and/or PDA's. The company's first services are scheduled to be available to subscribers in the first half of 2006.
"Humana's innovation, expertise in data analysis, leadership in promoting positive behavior change and ability to engage consumers in managing their health led us to partner with Card Guard in this exciting new venture," said Jonathan T. Lord, M.D., senior vice president and chief innovation officer of Humana. "Throughout the world, the negative consequences to individuals and society of poor diet and low physical activity are increasingly being understood. Sensei will provide a novel solution to this problem by leveraging technology to foster better health decision-making on a consumer-friendly, real-time basis."
Yacov Geva, Chairman and CEO of Card Guard AG added: "It is our strong belief that new consumer-oriented, wireless applications will meet an emerging market need, and we're pleased that Humana shares this view. Card Guard will provide technical know-how and experience to Sensei in order to construct a multimedia platform that answers the health, wellness and disease management demands of 21st-century consumers around the world." The Sensei platform will be marketed through wireless carriers, weight loss companies, fitness centers, consumer electronic companies and web portals. By 2007, the platform is also expected to include monitoring for hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, stress reduction, and asthma, among other conditions.
"Sensei is well positioned to capitalize on the vision and resources of Humana and Card Guard to positively impact consumer behavior," said Terry Minton, CEO of Sensei. "Engaging consumers with personalized messages and customized content enables Sensei to be their wireless information mentor."
Sensei, Inc. is 50 percent owned by Card Guard AG and 50 percent by Humana.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Humana Press Release 10/17/2005

Card Guard AG and Humana form new company to provide innovative wireless platform for wellness and disease management

Switzerland & Louisville, KY - Oct 17, 2005 - Card Guard AG (SWX: CARDG) and Humana Innovation Enterprises, a subsidiary of Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), announced today that they have formed Sensei Inc., a new company designed to offer personalized monitoring services for wellness and disease management.

Sensei will be operated mainly as a wireless information platform, on which subscribers will be able to receive personalized nutrition, weight loss information, fitness notifications and medication reminders through their mobile phones and/or PDA's. The company's first services are scheduled to be available to subscribers in the first half of 2006.
"Humana's innovation, expertise in data analysis, leadership in promoting positive behavior change and ability to engage consumers in managing their health led us to partner with Card Guard in this exciting new venture," said Jonathan T. Lord, M.D., senior vice president and chief innovation officer of Humana. "Throughout the world, the negative consequences to individuals and society of poor diet and low physical activity are increasingly being understood. Sensei will provide a novel solution to this problem by leveraging technology to foster better health decision-making on a consumer-friendly, real-time basis."
Yacov Geva, Chairman and CEO of Card Guard AG added: "It is our strong belief that new consumer-oriented, wireless applications will meet an emerging market need, and we're pleased that Humana shares this view. Card Guard will provide technical know-how and experience to Sensei in order to construct a multimedia platform that answers the health, wellness and disease management demands of 21st-century consumers around the world." The Sensei platform will be marketed through wireless carriers, weight loss companies, fitness centers, consumer electronic companies and web portals. By 2007, the platform is also expected to include monitoring for hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, stress reduction, and asthma, among other conditions.
"Sensei is well positioned to capitalize on the vision and resources of Humana and Card Guard to positively impact consumer behavior," said Terry Minton, CEO of Sensei. "Engaging consumers with personalized messages and customized content enables Sensei to be their wireless information mentor."

Humana Press Release 10/17/2005

Card Guard AG and Humana form new company to provide innovative wireless platform for wellness and disease management

Switzerland & Louisville, KY - Oct 17, 2005 - Card Guard AG (SWX: CARDG) and Humana Innovation Enterprises, a subsidiary of Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), announced today that they have formed Sensei Inc., a new company designed to offer personalized monitoring services for wellness and disease management.
Sensei will be operated mainly as a wireless information platform, on which subscribers will be able to receive personalized nutrition, weight loss information, fitness notifications and medication reminders through their mobile phones and/or PDA's. The company's first services are scheduled to be available to subscribers in the first half of 2006.
"Humana's innovation, expertise in data analysis, leadership in promoting positive behavior change and ability to engage consumers in managing their health led us to partner with Card Guard in this exciting new venture," said Jonathan T. Lord, M.D., senior vice president and chief innovation officer of Humana. "Throughout the world, the negative consequences to individuals and society of poor diet and low physical activity are increasingly being understood. Sensei will provide a novel solution to this problem by leveraging technology to foster better health decision-making on a consumer-friendly, real-time basis."
Yacov Geva, Chairman and CEO of Card Guard AG added: "It is our strong belief that new consumer-oriented, wireless applications will meet an emerging market need, and we're pleased that Humana shares this view. Card Guard will provide technical know-how and experience to Sensei in order to construct a multimedia platform that answers the health, wellness and disease management demands of 21st-century consumers around the world." The Sensei platform will be marketed through wireless carriers, weight loss companies, fitness centers, consumer electronic companies and web portals. By 2007, the platform is also expected to include monitoring for hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, stress reduction, and asthma, among other conditions.
"Sensei is well positioned to capitalize on the vision and resources of Humana and Card Guard to positively impact consumer behavior," said Terry Minton, CEO of Sensei. "Engaging consumers with personalized messages and customized content enables Sensei to be their wireless information mentor."