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Unhealthy price hikes. (Editors Prologue).

Rising health-care costs are like a broken record for those in the health-care and health insurance industries--the message that is repeated year after year. Treatments, technology and drugs continue to improve, and the price tag for these improvements continues to escalate. And with the baby-boomer generation approaching retirement age, health-care utilization rates and costs are expected to increase at a faster pace in the coming years.

Jim Mead, president and chief executive officer of Pennsylvania's Capital Blue Cross, has been dealing with the problem throughout his 28-year tenure at the company "One of the issues that was very high on the agenda when I came here was rising health-care costs, and that's still the primary issue," he said in a recent interview.

Insurers today are taking actions they hope will contain costs. They are pursuing strategies such as disease management, cost shifting and prescription-drug initiatives to rein in health-care costs. (See "Multiple-Choice Questions", page 20.)

Disease management considers the total health of a patient and offers a prescribed routine of wellness, prevention and treatment to avoid or delay acute episodes--and reduce costs. Also, insurers are doing more than just shifting the cost of health care to consumers--they're offering customizable benefits that allow consumers to select the kind of coverage they want. And generic drugs are playing a large pan: in the effort by insurers to cut prescription drug costs.

National Recognition

Best's Review received three national awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors, including a national honorable mention nod for Magazine of the Year. Senior Associate Editor Lynna Goch won a national bronze award for her November 2001 cover feature on mold claims. Also, the production department won a national silver award for information graphics in the December 2001 edition.

Best's Review also won three East Coast regional awards from ASBPE:

* Gold, single news article, Goch, "Mold: A Growing Problem," November 2001

* Silver, information graphics, production staff, December 2001

* Bronze, overall typography, production staff, November and December 2001

David Hilgen is editor. You may reach him at (908) 439-2200, Ext. 5038, by writing to A.M. Best Co., Ambest Road, Oldwick, NJ 08858, or by e-mail at The e-mail address for Best's Review is
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Title Annotation:health care costs
Comment:Unhealthy price hikes. (Editors Prologue).(health care costs)
Publication:Best's Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2002
Previous Article:July meetings.
Next Article:Comment.

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