August 7, 2018
More Deadly than Opioids: Anti-Anxiety Drugs Driving U.S. Drug Crisis
Fueled by an alarming rise in the use of prescription drugs used to treat anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, seizures and insomnia, overdose deaths are rapidly increasing, leading experts to sound the alarm about the next U.S. drug crisis. Consider the facts:

  • More than 40 million U.S. adults suffer from anxiety, the nation's most common mental illness.
  • Overdose deaths from benzodiazepines like Xanax, Valium, Librium and Ativan, quadrupled between 2002-2015*, attributable to a 65 percent rise in prescriptions during that time.
  • The market is expected to reach $3.8 billion in the U.S. by 2020.

Employers have a unique opportunity to get in front of the trend -- and save lives -- by educating all employees and offering training to ensure access to care and ongoing support. Over 30 Action Group employers and staff members recently attended Mental Health First Aid at Work to learn how to notice and support an individual who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use concern or crisis and connect them with the appropriate resources.

To learn more, please contact Action Group Vice President, Deb Krause (
Click on the image to learn more about Mental Health First Aid at Work
Webinar Examines the Path to Health Care Cost Transparency
Price transparency is an essential component of a value-based, rational health care marketplace. Yet, for many reasons, it remains elusive. 
Action Group members are invited to join an August 14 webinar from 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. to hear our panel of experts share their perspectives on variable prices for common health care procedures in Minnesota, and what employer health care coalitions nationally are doing to better understand the marketplace and push for greater price transparency.
This webinar builds on our June member meeting where attendees were surprised and dismayed to learn Minnesota health plans reported profits of $810M in 2017, while Twin Cities hospital systems reported profits of $444M in 2016.

Calling All Action Group Members! Win the Book Club Selection!
Join us for Coffee and Conversation!
Action Group members are invited to engage in a lively discussion of the thought-provoking book, An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back , on September 18 . It is a  New York Times  bestseller, Washington Post  Notable Book of 2017, NPR Best Books of 2017, and Wall Street Journal  Best Books of 2017. 

The first 10 Action Group members to register for the meeting will receive a complimentary copy of the book. Register now and watch your email to see if you are a winner. Others are encouraged to purchase the book directly from their favorite local bookstore or online source. To watch a quick preview from the author, click here .

If you have a friend or colleague who is considering Action Group membership, please contact Sue Jesseman ( for a complimentary meeting pass!  
Variation in Specialty Drug Coverage Across Health Plans
Variations in coverage have implications for patient care; health system costs
Insurance coverage and reimbursement for specialty medications varies substantially, with under 16 percent of drug coverage policies consistent across the largest U.S. commercial health plans. Less than half of all drug coverage decisions were consistent across 75 percent of health plans, according to research published in Health Affairs .

To learn more about The Action Group's Specialty Drug Guiding Coalition and how members are working together to address the high cost of specialty drugs and drive consistency and transparency, click here .
The Action Group, the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, and others offer on-trend opportunities to learn about key health care issues facing employers today. Members, please take note of generous discounts available for National Alliance events!
Member Meetings:

In-person meetings begin with networking at 8 a.m., and conclude at 10 a.m. All are held at the Hilton Airport/MOA, 3800 American Boulevard East, Bloomington; webinars are held from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Members who miss a meeting or are interested in viewing the slides may log into the Member Center from the  homepage   and select Member Meeting Presentations.  

Actively considering membership and want to experience a meeting or webinar? We hope you will join us! Please contact Sue Jesseman ( for a complimentary pass!

Public Meetings and Events:      
Action Group Members: Post Job Openings at No Cost!
Action Group members seeking to find the best possible candidates to fill challenging positions in human resources and benefits are encouraged to use our newsletters to advertise. Best of all, there is no charge to do so! To learn more or to post a position, contact Sue Jesseman ( with a job description. The ad can run until the position is filled.
Members regularly tell us that one of their favorite membership perks is having many opportunities to network and share thoughts and ideas with their colleagues. Additionally, the member roster is updated regularly and available through the Member Center on the homepage .

"In the past quarter century, the American medical system has stopped focusing on health or even science. Instead it attends more or less single-mindedly to its own profits."

Author of An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back