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UnitedHealthcare and Premier Health deal: What’s really going on?

Published: Saturday, October 07, 2017 @ 11:55 AM


            BOB UNDERWOOD/STAFF
BOB UNDERWOOD/STAFF

Unless a deal is reached soon between UnitedHealthcare and Premier Health, thousands of people with Medicare plans through the insurer will soon have to decide whether they want to switch insurance companies or health care providers next year.

WHEN DID THE CONTRACT EXPIRE BETWEEN UNITEDHEALTHCARE AND PREMIER?

The contract expired expired May 13 after negotiations fell apart, but Medicare Advantage recipients were exempted and have remained in network under a deal that extends until the end of this year. Medicare open enrollment period starts Oct. 15. and runs until Dec. 7.

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WHO IS IMPACTED?

With the two parties saying their negotiations remain far apart, the 4,000 Medicare Advantage members with UnitedHealthcare that use Premier Health are faced with choosing a new doctor or a new insurance company.

WHY DID THE DISPUTE HAPPEN?

The dispute centers around the giant insurer’s plan to rank hospitals and doctors in tiers based on cost and quality, with the goal of incentivizing lower health care costs. Premier opposes the ranking system, which it says is already steering patients away from its hospitals and providers.

“We’re not even talking at this point,” said Tom Duncan, Premier Health chief financial officer.

HOW DOES IT IMPACT WHERE PATIENTS GO?

Patients with health benefit plans that are part of the UnitedHealthcare tiering system have lower co-payments if they choose doctors from a group ranked “tier 1,” which includes physicians the insurer considers cost-efficient.

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Premier officials say the ranking system doesn’t take into account expenses the hospital system has for offering specialized care such as its Level 1 trauma center, high risk maternity care, and burn care. The cost data used by UnitedHealthcare to determine its tiers is skewed by these higher-end services, according to Premier.

None of Premier’s hospitals are in UnitedHealthcare’s tier 1, although some of its doctors are.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

5 fast facts that will help make filling out FAFSA a breeze

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 10:32 AM

Student Given $1M In Financial Aid by Mistake

It's that time of year again when parents and college or college-bound students fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

The idea of wading through a form – especially one that requires financial information – is definitely not an appealing idea, but the FAFSA could be a tremendous help in getting your student money to attend college.

RELATED: 20 financial aid terms every college student and parent should understand

The following points are what you need to know, as well as common mistakes to avoid when filling out the FAFSA.

Fill it out – you have nothing to lose.

You may think that you don't need to fill out the FAFSA, especially if you believe you might not qualify for need-based aid. But there's no income cut-off point with federal student aid, according to the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, the FAFSA can help you qualify for all kinds of grants, loans and scholarships, including those offered by your state, school or private organizations.

By investing a few minutes of time, you could reap thousands of dollars in potential rewards.

Submit it ASAP.

The sooner you submit your FAFSA, the better, according to consumer adviser Clark Howard. Although the federal deadline isn't until June 30, 2018, you should check with the financial aid administrator at colleges you're interested in to make sure their deadlines aren't earlier.

Submitting earlier will help you plan how you'll pay for college. You'll also have a better chance of getting as much aid or scholarship money as possible since some colleges distribute their available money on a first-come, first-serve basis, Howard says.

Gather the information you'll need.

The FAFSA asks questions about the student as well as his or her parents if the student is a dependent.

You'll need the following information on hand as you fill out the FAFSA:

  • The student's Social Security number
  • The parents' Social Security numbers
  • Driver's license number (if you have one)
  • Alien registration number (if you're not a U.S. citizen)
  • Federal tax information for the student (and his or her spouse, if applicable) and the parents. This can often be imported online, so you may not need your records.
  • Information on the student's and parents' assets, such as money held in bank accounts and real estate holdings (not your primary residence)
  • Records of the student's or parents' untaxed income, such as veterans benefits and interest income

Watch out for common mistakes.

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators points out some common mistakes that can delay your form's submission or cause you to not get the aid and scholarships you might qualify for. They include the following:

  • Leaving some fields blank – Instead, put in a "0" or "not applicable."
  • Listing an incorrect Social Security or driver's license number – It pays to recheck these numbers.
  • Failing to use your legal name – Use the name on your Social Security card, not a nickname.
  • Forgetting to list colleges – Even if you're not sure of which college you'll be attending, add any reasonable possibilities to the list of colleges that will receive your information. You're under no obligation to apply to or attend these colleges, and they can't see which other colleges you're interested in.

Keep an eye out for requests for more information.

Your FAFSA may be selected for verification, which means you'll have to provide some additional or supporting information, U.S. News & World Report explains. This process doesn't necessarily mean you've done anything wrong. You may have a discrepancy or mistake on your form, but some FAFSAs are just randomly selected for verification (lucky you!).

These requests will often come to the student's personal email account or university email address, so he or she will have to be diligent about checking it and responding to any requests by the stated deadline.

Related

Companies drop liquor at holiday parties amid sexual harassment saga, study says

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 9:44 AM

What to Do If You're Sexually Harassed at Work

As sexual harassment scandals remain at the forefront of the nation's collective conscious, many companies across the United States aim to cut down on any possibility of such occurrences at holiday parties by removing alcohol from the festivities.

RELATED: Sexual harassment in the workplace: What is it, how to report it and more you should know

Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based consulting firm, conducts an annual survey of American companies and their holiday party plans for employees. This year, the survey noted a dramatic 13 percent drop in companies planning to serve alcohol during their holiday festivities.

Just under 49 percent of the 150 companies included in the survey plan on serving alcohol this year, compared to 62 percent in 2016. Last year's percentage was the highest since the consulting firm began the survey a decade ago, while this year's survey is the first to record a dip in companies planning to serve alcohol.

"Employers are currently very wary of creating an environment where inappropriate contact between employees could occur," Andrew Challenger, vice president of the firm, said in a statement included with the findings.

"One way to create a safer environment is to limit the guest list, hold the party during the workday, and avoid serving alcohol," he added.

Challenger believes that companies have taken notice of the news reports regarding sexual harassment.

With high-profile sexual harassment allegations making headlines, from Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, to Alabama judge and politician Roy Moore, to actor Kevin Spacey and President Donald Trump, among a long list others, workplace sexual harassment has also been thrown into the spotlight.

RELATED: From Weinstein to Lauer: A timeline of 2017's sexual harassment scandals

In a 2015 survey of 2,235 full-time and part-time female employees, Cosmopolitan found that one in three women experienced sexual harassment at work during their lives. While many remain silent about harassment, fearing repercussions, recent media attention and high-profile cases have emboldened many women – and some men – to come forward with their own stories.

As a result, companies across the nation are taking extra precautions in the workplace and during their seasonal gatherings.

"[The company party] should boost morale and let workers know they are valued. It should not put anyone in an uncomfortable situation," Challenger said, explaining that human resources departments definitely don't want the holiday season to be "marred by a disturbing workplace party experience."

Although recent allegations of sexual harassment may increase companies' concerns, steps to avoid uncomfortable and inappropriate situations have been encouraged for years. For instance, the National Federation of Independent Businesses has recommended for several years that companies stop hanging mistletoe at holiday parties, according to TIME.

Some companies have decided against having open bars, offering limited drink tickets to employees instead. Many also specifically ask bar tenders, security guards or designated employees to keep an eye on how much individuals are drinking and monitor their behavior towards others.

While these steps help create a safer environment, employees should also be more aware and monitor their own behavior as well. A recent study conducted by Data marketer Brionna Lewis with auto company Instamotor found that many men aren't really clear on what constitutes sexual harassment.

One in three respondents said they don't think catcalling is sexual harassment, and two in three respondents said they don't think repeated unwanted invitations to dinner, drinks or dates is sexual harassment. At the same time, 45 percent of the men said they've witnessed someone being sexually harassed, with 50 percent of respondents reporting such incidents occurred at work or at a party/bar/nightclub.

RELATED: Woman says she lost work hours after reporting sexual harassment

If you're unclear on what sexual harassment is and/or are wondering how to get help in case you've been harassed, here's a breakdown:

  • The US labor department defines two types of sexual harassment: 1) if an employment decision (such as promotion, assignment or keeping your job) is made based on submission to the sexual harassment, and 2) sexual harassment makes workplace hostile, intimidating, abusive or offensive.
  • Harassment can include (but is not limited to): unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature and non-sexual but offensive remarks about a person's sex.
  • Harassment is illegal when: conduct is unwelcome, conduct is based on the victim's protected gender or sexual orientation status, subjectively abusive to an affected person, or severe and pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would find hostile.
  • The gender or position of the individual doesn't matter. A harasser can be a man or a woman as well as a CEO, manager, co-worker, client or customer.
  • According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the law doesn't prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments or isolated incidents that are "not very serious."
  • But when teasing becomes frequent and severe, creates an adverse or hostile work environment, or results in an adverse employment decision, it then becomes illegal.
  • If you are sexually harassed you should immediately tell the individual the attention is not welcome. You should then inform your manager, employer or HR manager of the situation.
  • For those who find speaking out too difficult, individuals can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), which includes free services and confidential support.

Related

Dayton developer names new CEO, announces business spin-off

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 8:34 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 10:28 AM


            Miller Valentine Group’s corporate headquarters at 137 N. Main St., Dayton. TY GREENLESS/STAFF
Miller Valentine Group’s corporate headquarters at 137 N. Main St., Dayton. TY GREENLESS/STAFF

Dayton developer Miller Valentine has announced a new chief executive, the spin-off of its commercial asset and property management businesses and other leadership changes.

Elizabeth Mangan will be the real estate company’s CEO effective Jan. 1.

RELATED: Arcade developer adds works across U.S.

Mangan graduated cum laude from West Virginia University and earned a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. She joined Miller-Valentine in 2008, was named general counsel in 2011 and became a partner in 2014, the firm said in its announcement.

After becoming a member of the company’s executive committee, Mangen was chosen to lead the strategic planning initiative for the company.

“For the past two years, she has been instrumental in defining the path forward for Miller-Valentine,” the firm said in its statement. “Mangan is committed to giving back to the community and currently serves as a board member of Adopt-A-Class, the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation, and The Aruna Project.”

MORE: With Dayton Convention Center bleeding red, task force formed

Also, the company said senior partners Bill Krul and Mike Green will become co-executive chairmen of Miller Valentine’s board of directors.

“They will oversee the transition of leadership and ownership, the fourth of its kind since the company was formed in 1963,” the firm said. “Miller-Valentine’s commercial asset and property management businesses will be spun off to a newly formed entity, Culmen Real Estate Services.”

Culmen will be led by senior partner Ed Blake, who will be departing Miller-Valentine.

These business units are two of the spin-offs planned by Miller-Valentine as the company focuses on what it calls its “core businesses.”

MORE: Developer eyes $30M project ‘in the heart of Beavercreek’

“Miller-Valentine Group continues to evolve and these changes in leadership and strategy position the company for future growth and success,” the company’s statement said.

Feeling crafty this holiday season? 5 artsy ideas that can bring in cash

Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 4:27 PM

The following jobs may start you off as a volunteer or part-time, but with potential for advancement Package handler for UPS Bell ringers for Salvation Army Retail cashiers or warehouse work Santa's helpers for photography companies Gift wrapper at department stores Shelter servers in your community Delivery drivers for Lyft or Uber

The most wonderful time of the year could be a wonderful time for your wallet as well. 

If you're a pro at arts and crafts, the Christmas season opens up opportunities to showcase your talents and develop a lucrative holiday business.

RELATED: 7 temp holiday jobs to flip into full-time fun

"Christmas is one of the busiest times for me as a graphic designer," said Tonya Wright, an award-winning, Georgia-based creative consultant and owner of Wright Touch Designs. "Creatives who don't capitalize on this time of year are missing out on a lot of freelance projects that make money. I've been in this industry for more than 15 years, and people still appreciate original gifts. In December, I rake in around $1,500-plus from designing and selling digital holiday cards and promotional merchandising."

The following jobs can produce real money and crafty workers can use them to jump start creative careers during the holiday season:

Turn your creative hobby into a gift-giving profit for yourself during the holidays.

Graphic design

Merging art and technology, seasoned graphic designers can take an idea and bring it to print or digital life for editorial, marketing and advertising projects.

  • Holiday How-To: During the holidays, exercise this design skill by creating custom-made Christmas cards and letters that families and friends can use for e-blasts, social media posts and printed keepsakes.

Cake decorating

With steady hands to apply confetti, icing and, at times, out-the-box embellishments onto cakes, pies and pastries, cake decorators give personality to their sweet masterpieces. 

  • Holiday How-To: Before the holiday season begins, start baking breath-taking winter wonderland-themed desserts worth sharing on social media like Pinterest and Instagram. Not only will you attract followers, but you'll start collecting orders for your extravagant baked goods in time for Christmas and the new year. 

Window painting

These artists know how to dress up a storefront by telling a visually engaging window story using paint. 

  • Holiday How-ToVisit local businesses to see if they have any cool holiday promos or campaigns going on. Then pitch them on how you can artfully illustrate their theme or project to woo Christmas shoppers and passersby. 
Creatively collaborating with local businesses during the holiday season could earn you extra cash and kick start a new career for the new year.

Lifestyle photographing

Creatives in this category know how to capture ordinary people in natural settings to create memorable images. 

  • Holiday How-ToBuild a relationship with venues and area companies in need of original, festive stock photography. Then contract with them annually to capture local images of scenic events and holiday shoppers.

Seasonal copywriting

If you're skilled at effectively stringing words together that make people want to ring in the new year, consider copywriting throughout the Christmas season.
  • Holiday How-To:Collaborate with skilled graphic designers and illustrators to develop authentic, punchy postcards and party fliers that individuals and companies can use to promote events or thank partners, sponsors and colleagues.