December 5, 2017
Mental Health Parity: It's Time to Fulfill the Promise!

Click on the graphic to view NAMI's helpful mental health parity infographic
"It's been nearly a decade since Congress passed the Mental Health Parity Act, with its promise to make mental health and substance abuse treatment as easy to get as care for any other condition...patients still struggle to get access."
As Action Group 2017 Mental Health Learning Network participants heard from subject matter experts and key informants, it became shockingly clear that we don't have true parity in mental health. Addressing the benefit design aspect of parity took us only so far. Work remains to be done to fulfill the promise of real parity, including reducing stigma, improving access, addressing reimbursement schedules, and rewarding for outcomes.   
The Action Group will be addressing parity action steps in 2018. Learn more at the December member meeting! 
Rx Management Still a Critical 2018 Focus for Plan Sponsors

The 2018 Health Plan Cost Trend Survey, released last month, found that health plan cost increases continue to outpace both general inflation and average wage increases. The survey revealed top employer priorities for 2018 include pharmacy cost management strategies and improved vendor contracting. 

A November Mercer study backs up the argument for pharmacy cost management with its finding that many employers are steering employees to specialty pharmacies. They credit specialty pharmacies for promoting "step therapy" and other strategies that help patients better manage their medications and care.

Please join us at Together Toward Tomorrow, our December member meeting, to learn more about health trends affecting Minnesota employers--scroll down for details.
Hot Breakfast, Hot News! Final 2017 Member Meeting...

With all of the activities and initiatives taking place simultaneously, the year has flown by! It is time once again for our annual review of Action Group issues, projects and activities.

At our December member meeting, we will be reporting on our robust agenda for this year and next, and discussing the 2017 Mental Health Learning Network findings and 2018 plans for driving toward true mental health parity. You'll come away with actionable ideas, tools and resources you can add to your health care benefit strategies.

We hope you will join us for a hot breakfast to share some holiday cheer with your fellow Action Group members.
Please RSVP to Sue Jesseman ( sjesseman@mnhealthaction to reserve your spot.
December 15, 2017
8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. (Networking begins at 7:30 a.m.)

Hilton Airport/MOA Hotel 
3800 American Boulevard East 
Bloomington, MN
If you are actively considering membership and would like to learn more and network with members, please contact Sue Jesseman for a complimentary meeting pass.
MNCM Releases 2017 Cost and Utilization Report

The total cost of medical care increased 3.4 percent from 2014 to 2015 for commercially insured patients, according to a new report from MN Community Measurement (MNCM).
"Better understanding of how much variation we have in our medical care system and what factors contribute to the variation is a starting point for strategies to make health care more affordable," says Julie Sonier, MNCM president. "The measures in this report provide unique insight for comparing and taking actions to manage and reduce health care costs."   

Time's Running Out to Secure Your Summit Sponsorship!

Every year, sponsorship opportunities for The Action Group's high-profile Employer Leadership Summit sell out quickly. Please reserve your spot for this year's Summit, now in its 11th year, by Dec. 15. Visit the Summit page to view sponsorship levels and to learn more about this unique and valuable event, taking place on May 11, 2018.
Free Lunch ... and Tasty Insights!

A new Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index study,
The Cost of Diabetes in the U.S.: Economic and Well-Being Impact,   confirms that Type 2 diabetes costs employers more than $20 billion annually in days lost to unplanned, missed work. Full-time workers miss, on average, 5.5 days each year from diabetes-related complications. Overall, diabetes costs the U.S. economy  $266 billion each year.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is inviting human resources, benefits and wellness professionals to
learn about reducing costs of diabetes in the workplace at a free Wellness Lives Here  luncheon on December 12, 2017, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Register by December 6.

Does your organization offer the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) as a covered benefit? One in three U.S. adults over age 18 have prediabetes and, without intervention, one-third will develop type 2 diabetes in five years. The Action Group is working with the Minnesota Department of Health to advance diabetes prevention statewide by encouraging employers to communicate with their employees about this important topic, and to offer access to the NDPP. 
If you are not yet a member of The Action Group and would like to learn more, please  contact us for a complimentary meeting pass, or explore information about  membership
Member Only Meetings and Events:    
Public Meetings and Events:    

"We've had this huge increase in the use of all (mental health) interventions, a 250 percent increase in the use of antipsychotics, without any change in the morbidity or mortality of people with mental disorders; it hasn't budged. If that were the case for cancer, there'd be an outcry for more research, money and new priorities."

 Thomas Insel, M.D., former director, National Institute of Mental Health