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Press Releases
02 - 04 - 2005

Conference Chair Expects Stimulating Discussion at Much Anticipated Healthcare Event Involving Featured Keynote Speaker Newt Gingrich

“Consumerism” is the focus of the upcoming New York Business Group on Health Conference; various national and local views expected to produce substantive dialogue.

New York , NY – “Gingrich's new book on healthcare is called ‘Winning the Future,’ yet I ask what will it take for New Yorkers to win the future regarding the healthcare crisis,” said event co-chair, Philip Micali, founder and CEO of bWell International, inc. “The NYBGH Health Benefit Advisory Committee has put together a very strong panel whose members know healthcare inside and out, so I expect many will question the healthcare strategies being advanced in this book and others published previously. It's going to be a lively discussion, to say the least.”

The oversubscribed New York Business Group on Health Conference“ Saving Lives, Saving Money: Transforming Healthcare in the 21 st Century” is scheduled for February 9 th, 2005 at the Urban League Club in New York City .

Gingrich is Founder and CEO of The Center for Health Transformation and Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. A discussion panel, comprised of local thought leaders, will follow Mr. Gingrich’s presentation of ideas that will shape the future of healthcare in America . The panel includes Marianne DeFazio, Director Global Benefits for IBM; Arthur Levin, Director, Center for Medical Consumers, Shoshanna Sofaer, Dr. P.H., School of Public Policy, Baruch College, CUNY; and James Tallon, Jr., President, United Hospital Fund. Mike Thompson, Principal and thought leader on consumerism in healthcare at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP will moderate the panel discussion.

New York is a market that was slow to adopt managed healthcare in the early 90s. Micali will set the stage for discussion and debate of how the new models of reimbursement, including Health Savings Accounts and other consumer driven health plan programs, will be adopted and learned by New York employers and consumers attempting to address cost and quality of care issues.

Like Gingrich did in his previous book “Saving Lives, Saving Money: Transforming Health and Healthcare”, Micali believes that consumer attitudes, beliefs and behaviors regarding personal health and wellness will be driven by market forces and financial incentives that will change the way people think of healthcare from an entitlement to an accumulated asset. He says “this requires addressing the emotional barriers and getting into the heads and hearts of consumers as they seek to acquire attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that drive good personal health and wellness”.

Micali just participated in The Conference Board three day “Employee Health Care Conference” in New York, where senior benefits administrators of mid-size and large employers delivered a resounding message that communication strategies must move to more effective and long term education campaigns in order for consumers to understand their benefit options, care choices and lifestyle risks factors.

Currently, nearly 3.2 million Americans are enrolled in a consumer driven health plan either through their employer or an individual policy. These are the early adopters representing a three fold increase from this time last year. Much of the growth is attributed to the federal legislation, Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) passed in December 2003, which enables consumers to hold a triple tax advantaged (contributions, income, withdrawals) and portable health savings account attached to a high deductible health plan, characteristically with lower premiums. At the New York Business Group on Health Conference, Micali will generate dialogue on how consumers can conceivably make the leap from a defined benefit to a defined contribution style of managing healthcare costs, especially when there is strong campaign now to legislate similar changes for social security to an account based system.

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About bWell International, inc.:

bWell International, inc. provides consumer education, benefit program branding, benefits coaching and enrollment services for consumers participating in employer-based or public programs. It offers multi-media communication, grass roots education campaigns and touch points to effectively learn useful skills health and wellness program selection.

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