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URAC launches Consumer Education Initiative

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON The nation’s leading healthcare accreditation and education organization has launched a Consumer Education Initiative, designed to teach consumers about health insurance and identifies ways they can make more informed decisions about their health care.

URAC developed a toolkit late last month that features republished materials – originally developed by the American Institutes for Research with funding from the California HealthCare Foundation – that have been recreated into several multi-media tools consumers can use to make better healthcare decisions, assume more “ownership” over their health care, and increase their ability to take on new behaviors to improve their health and the quality of care they receive.

“Many consumers need help navigating through the healthcare maze. Often they do not understand what their healthcare plan covers and how to ask the right questions to get the best plan for their individual needs,” said Alan Spielman, URAC president and CEO. “Knowing when to select an HMO versus a PPO versus a CDHP plan can be difficult. Our initiative empowers consumers to take responsibility and play an active role in their health by breaking down the complex selection process into more understandable components.”

To supplement the toolkit, URAC has also developed a free consumer eLearning course, “Understanding Your Health Insurance.” The course covers key areas including defining health insurance concepts; identifying the impact of rising healthcare costs; comparing the different types of health insurance plans; and defining important elements of health insurance, including prescription coverage, case management and wellness.

For additional information about URAC’s Consumer Education Initiative and to download the Health Care Communications Toolkit, please visit www.urac.org/consumers/.

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Bennett named Drug Store News publisher

BY Drug Store News Team

NEW YORK Lebhar-Friedman Inc., parent company of The Drug Store News Group, last month named Wayne Bennett publisher of the group, which includes Drug Store News, Pharmacy Practice, PharmacyTech News, Retail Clinician and Specialty Pharmacy magazines, as well as all Drug Store News electronic media products.

The move, which became effective just prior to the Holidays, acknowledges the considerable contributions Bennett has made to the Drug Store News franchise over a highly successful 15-year career with the company. Bennett, who most recently served as associate publisher of the group and national sales manager prior to that, has played an instrumental role in the overall growth of the enterprise from the single flagship Drug Store News print edition to the current group of publications and e-media products that comprise The Drug Store News Group today.

Bennett succeeds John Kenlon, who in 2009, was named VP and group publisher for Lebhar-Friedman’s Retail Division, which includes The Drug Store News Group, as well as Chain Store Age, Retailing Today and Home Channel News, including all print and electronic products.

“Wayne has a genuine passion for retail pharmacy and wants the industry to succeed — not just Drug Store News,” Kenlon said.  “For that reason, suppliers and retailers want to work with him; they know he will do everything he can to help improve their businesses.”

Bennett first joined Lebhar-Friedman in October 1996 as area manager for Drug Store News. An avid cyclist, and life-long New Yorker, he lives in Long Island with his wife Gail and his two sons, Alex and Jake. A proud SUNY-Albany graduate, Bennett also has an MBA from St. John’s University.

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Weis Markets implements Price Freeze program for New Year

BY Allison Cerra

SUNBURY, Pa. Weis Markets announced it has lowered the prices on 2,600 staple items, and frozen these lower prices for 90 days through April 1, 2010. It has also moved to freeze the prices on an additional 624 products.

The overall Price Freeze item count increases to 3,224 products, up from 3,000, and includes private-label and brand name products.

The price program is being promoted in Weis Markets’ current circular, television and radio ads. Throughout stores, customers will see Price Freeze signage and shelf tags for participating items.

“It is clear our customers remain in a cautious mood due to the weak economy. Over the past year, our Price Freeze program has generated $16 million in savings for our customers,” said David J. Hepfinger, Weis Markets president and CEO. “With our current program, we have lowered the prices on thousands of our products – and have committed to maintaining these lower prices through the spring. As a result, we are able to offer our customers consistent, long-term savings and values on the products they are looking to purchase.”

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