UMB Healthcare, drugstore.com form partnership
BELLEVUE, Wash. UMB Healthcare Services, a division of UMB Financial Corporation, and drugstore.com on Tuesday launched a new partnership to provide a growing number of UMB Health Savings Account holders direct access to eligible products for the tax-advantaged health plans.
The UMB HSA account access website provides a direct link to the customized HSA store on drugstore.com. Once there, account holders will have access to HSA-eligible products, services that automatically track purchases and provide an HSA-only receipt, and additional resources to help Consumer- Directed Healthcare Plan users record expenses for tax purposes. UMB HSA account holders will also receive special money-saving offers from drugstore.com, the companies reported.
“We’re pleased to work with UMB to provide their growing number of customers the convenience of shopping in one online location with a wide selection of more than 3,000 HSA-eligible, over-the-counter products as well as prescription medications and contact lenses,” stated David Lonczak, vice president and chief marketing officer, drugstore.com. “Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, the online retail environment is uniquely qualified to provide a convenient solution with eligible products as well as record keeping services for HSA account holders.”
UMB Healthcare’s HSA accounts grew even faster than the national average last year, according to the health insurer, surpassing $100 million in assets at the end of 2007.
The number of people with HSA/High Deductible Healthcare Plan coverage rose to 6.1 million in January 2008, a 35 percent increase over the previous year. In January 2007 there were 4.5 million people with HSAs and HDHPs and 3.2 million in January 2006, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans.
“UMB Healthcare HSA accounts give customers the opportunity to take control of their healthcare dollars while also saving money,” stated Dennis Triplett, president of UMB Healthcare Services. “The partnership with drugstore.com provides a great customer benefit, as it offers our account holders a convenient and streamlined process for managing their health care purchases.”
In addition to HSA accounts, UMB supports Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). UMB Healthcare Services was one of the first financial partners to provide multi-purpose card technology to the health care industry and recently developed a Healthcare Line of Credit product.
AMO, IER collaborate on eye care products
SANTA ANA, Calif. Advanced Medical Optics on Monday announced a collaboration with the Institute for Eye Research to develop contact lens disinfectant and cleaning solutions and related products.
“IER’s world-class scientists and clinicians have had a major impact on the development of contact lenses and lens care technologies,” stated AMO executive vice president, research and development Leonard Borrmann. “We look forward to working closely with the IER on the development of next-generation contact lens solutions.”
“Through our collaboration with AMO, we will work to develop, test and deliver, through product innovation and education, the best in contact lens care products,” stated IER chief executive officer Brien Holden. “Our goal is to develop new, safer, better and more convenient initiatives in the field of contact lens cleaning and disinfection systems, including the containers for storage, cleaning and disinfection.”
IER is a non-profit research organization that conducts collaborative and contract research with and for industry in the area of vision correction, eye care, the anterior eye, contact lenses, contact lens care and patient management, to avoid contact lens complications. IER is headquartered in Sydney, Australia.
Report: Americans opting for balanced eating over dieting
ROSEMONT, Ill. According to an NPD Group report issued Monday, the latest fad in dieting may be not to diet at all, but to eat a more healthy diet in the first place.
NPD reported that the percentage of adults on a diet has decreased by 10 percentage points since 1990, while the percentage of Americans eating healthier has increased.
“While dieting for both women and men remain huge markets, they are not growing markets,” stated Harry Balzer, vice president, The NPD Group, and author of Eating Patterns in America. “The desire to lose weight really was a 90’s trend. Today consumers appear to be making healthier food choices.”
NPD’s National Eating Trends data finds that at least once in a two-week period, more than 70 percent of Americans are consuming reduced fat foods, and over half of them are eating reduced calorie, whole grain or fortified foods. In addition to these foods, other “better for you” foods consumed include diet, light, reduced cholesterol, reduced sodium, caffeine free, sugar free, fortified, organic, and low carb varieties. The average American, according to National Eating Trends, has at least two “better for you” products a day.
More consumers are looking to add whole grains, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and probiotics, according to the NPD Dieting Monitor, which examines top-of-mind dieting and nutrition-related issues facing consumers. Awareness of these nutritional food elements continues to grow. For example, in 2005, 36 percent of consumers surveyed said they were trying to get more omega-3 fatty acids in their diets, and the most recent NPD Dieting Monitor shows that number increasing to 46 percent.