Higher Co-Pays Lead Insurance Changes
More than 58 percent of consumers cite higher co-payments for prescription drugs and physician visits as the most significant change to their health insurance coverage during the past year, according to a recent online survey conducted by Weiss Ratings, Inc., an independent provider of ratings and analyses of financial services companies, mutual funds and stocks. Higher prescription drug co-pays were cited by 34.3 percent of consumers polled, while 23.8 percent indicated higher co-pays for physician visits. The results of the online survey were based on voluntary responses from 915 individuals visiting the company’s Web site. Presented with the question, “How has your health insurance coverage changed most this year?” respondents were asked to vote for one of five choices. The following is a summary of all responses received:
How has your health insurance coverage changed most this year?
|• Higher prescription drug co-payments||
|• Higher physician visit co-payments||
|• Changed provider||
|• Loss of health insurance||
“Skyrocketing healthcare expenses have forced insurance companies, and hence employers, to pass more costs onto their employees, resulting in higher co-pays,” commented Melissa Gannon, vice president of Weiss Ratings, Inc. “This trend is likely to continue, as consumers are forced to take more responsibility for an inefficient healthcare system.”
Frightening Facts About Lawsuits
These statistics are excerpted from The Lawsuit Lottery: The Hijacking of Justice in America, by Benjamin R. Lodmell:
• More than 70,000 lawsuits are filed every day in the United States.
• The litigation war in America appears to have cost about twice as much in 2003 as America spent during its first year fighting the war in Iraq.
• Class action suits jumped 300 percent from 1997 to 2003, and class action attorneys typically chalked up huge fees – on average, over $1,000 per hour.
• The $368 billion “Big Tobacco” settlement in 1998 will provide lawyers – not plaintiffs – with about $3 billion in annual fees for the next 25 years.
• Seventy-five percent of the asbestos claims in a 2001 class action suit were filed by the “unimpaired” – those not exhibiting symptoms despite being exposed.
• The burden of lawsuits costs every U.S. citizen a “tort tax” of $1,003.
• U.S. tort costs in 2002 totaled $233.4 billion – equal to the combined economic output of Denmark and New Zealand.
• The cost of civil justice in America is expected to approach $300 billion a year by 2005. That’s 100 times more than litigation cost the economy 50 years ago.
• Just 15 percent of the amount of money spent by Americans on torts every year would be enough to provide adequate food, water, sanitation, basic education and healthcare for every developing country in the world, according to calculations by the United Nations Development Program.
• A study by Class Action Reports cited one auto insurance case in which the lawyer who filed the suit got $8 million, while policyholders got $5.50 each, plus an increase in their auto insurance premium.
My Way or the Highway
One out of three people has changed jobs because of a micromanager, according to a study by Harry Chambers, who recently released a book on the topic of micromanagement called My Way or the Highway. In addition, four out of five people say they’ve been micromanaged by a boss and paid the price with their own productivity and morale. Chambers encourages workers in this situation to be proactive in defusing the micromanager’s destructive behavior. Here are some of his suggestions:
Find out his agenda. Figure out what’s really important to him and focus on it.
Don’t wait to be asked for information. Find out what the manager needs to feel confident and comfortable, and get it to him ahead of time.
No one fears inertia more than the micromanager, so be sure to give him constant updates demonstrating your activity.
To protect yourself, stay clear on expectations. Clarify your agreements in a trail of memos and emails.
The micromanager is notorious for piling on assignments. Establish some kind of system to prioritize which tasks are most important.
The micromanager loves to impose deadlines and mete out punishment when they are missed. Be pre-emptive when discussions about an assignment are beginning, and offer a realistic timeline.
Play by the rules, no matter how illogical they may appear. The micromanager loves catching people involved in minor infractions.
Learn from the “best practices” of others. If some people in your organization have managed to avoid the boss’s wrath, watch them closely for the secrets to their success.
Pick your battles. The micromanager will go to war on every issue, so pick the battles that are most important to you.