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COVID-19 Vaccine Policies Provoke Strong Opinions: 100% of edHEALTH Member Colleges Will Require

Aug 10

Mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policies

BY CYNTHIA MCGRATH | UPDATED AUGUST 10, 2021Colleges and universities should require COVID-19 vaccines for all students who plan to attend in-person classes, according to an April 14 New York Times editorial. The authors posit that vaccine mandates are the fastest way to return to normalcy by achieving herd immunity – with 70 percent to 85 percent of the population having some form of immunity. Since certain vaccines are already required for school attendance, the COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t be any different.However, the decision to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees and/or students isn’t straightforward. From a legal standpoint, requiring vaccines that are under emergency-use authorization is unclear. This could become a moot issue soon as public-health experts expect full U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization of the Moderna, Pfizer BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Jans...

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To Effectively Engage Your Employees, Focus on The Message

Dec 15

The Message is Key

BY CYNTHIA MCGRATH | DECEMBER 15, 2020It’s a challenging, yet critical, time to increase your employee engagement efforts. The education sector is facing significant challenges due to enrollment drops and the costs of COVID prevention and monitoring. The usual ways of communicating – in-person meetings and quick chats by the water cooler – are no longer possible with many employees working from home. At the same time, many employees are trying to juggle work and family life. Childcare is in short supply, and many school-aged students need help navigating online classes. Social isolation is adversely affecting employees’ mental health; anxiety is 51% higher and depression is 65% higher than pre-COVID, according to the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalition’s October 2020 Mental Health Index.“Before developing any employee communication, focus on the message,” says Bob Simp...

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Beware of the Hidden Effects of Reduced 2020 Healthcare Costs: Bold Solutions Can Help Address These Challenges

Nov 12

Healthcare Costs Dropped Dramatically This Spring

BY CYNTHIA MCGRATH | NOVEMBER 12, 2020Amidst the pain, anxiety, and budget hits caused by the coronavirus, one bright spot has been reduced healthcare spending. Medical claims dropped precipitously as provider groups closed or limited their practices to ensure capacity for COVID-19 patients. Most elective procedures were canceled or postponed. Patients also stayed away to avoid potential exposure. After a drastic reduction of costs in March, April, and May, claims costs returned to normal levels in June and July, as reported at the New England Employee Benefit Council’s October 15 Healthcare Cost Control Solutions Program.According to the State’s Division of Insurance, in Massachusetts:For August and September, payments came in 5%-20% higher than normal due to catch up demand as well as the increased costs associated with deferred care.For October and beyond, the agency projects 10% h...

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5 Reasons Why 2021 Healthcare Costs will be Volatile: edHEALTH Takes Strategic Approach to Address These Challenges

Aug 25

5 Reasons Why 2021 Healthcare Costs will be Volatile

BY CYNTHIA MCGRATH | AUGUST 25, 2020Healthcare Cost Trends and ChallengesSince the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in force in March, there’s been a dramatic impact on medical claims:Medical claims have dropped precipitously as provider groups closed or limited their practices in order to ensure capacity for coronavirus patients and patients stayed away to avoid potential exposure. Most elective procedures were canceled or postponed. Provider practices have or are in the process of reopening, but traffic is not back to usual levels;Mental health care has skyrocketed as people face increased anxiety, stress, and social isolation. Much of this care transitioned to telehealth platforms, enabling patients to receive care in the comfort and safety of their home; andPrescription drug costs have largely been unaffected – spending continues to climb.These trends factor into the five r...

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