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Key Stakeholders Convene Capitol Hill Symposium To Advance Convergence of Behavioral Economics and Healthcare

Innovative Thought Leaders Launch ignite09 to Improve Health Outcomes and Lower Costs

WASHINGTON, May 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Express Scripts Center for Cost-Effective Consumerism, the American Benefits Council and Hewitt Associates along with other leading health and policy organizations are bringing together leaders in innovation from across the country at ignite09, a groundbreaking symposium on the convergence of behavioral economics and healthcare. This exclusive event is being held today on Capitol Hill and unites key decision makers and innovators in healthcare; top academics in business, medicine and economics; HR executives from leading companies in technology, healthcare and other industries; and policy and government leaders. These attendees will discuss America's existing and emerging healthcare problems and the real solutions made possible by applying the principles of behavioral economics to healthcare.

Chris Jennings, a more than two decade-long health policy veteran of the White House, Congress and the private sector, will deliver the keynote address for ignite09 and focus on the importance of behavioral economics and the future of healthcare.

"Behavioral economics is gaining tremendous momentum and is central to the approach advocated by the current administration," said James Klein, President, American Benefits Council. "Sustainable change, a critical element of health system reform, calls for rethinking how healthcare is delivered and aligning the needs of employers, consumers, providers and the government."

This solution-oriented symposium will draw on the insights of behavioral economics experts and focus on providing attendees with the knowledge and tools needed to improve health outcomes and lower costs -- a top priority for the nation and the current administration

"ignite09 will examine how breakthroughs in behavioral economics provide avenues for responding to current and emerging issues in healthcare," said Bob Nease, Chief Scientist, Express Scripts. "The research being conducted by leading academics at our Center for Cost-Effective Consumerism has led to practical programs that are driving significant results for plan sponsors."

Classical economics assumes that people are rational and act in their own self interest; behavioral economics looks at the real world, focusing not on how people ought to act but instead on how they do act. Behavioral economics draws heavily from the principles of social and cognitive psychology to analyze the way people make decisions. A deeper understanding of why people do what they do empowers individuals and organizations to more effectively promote positive change in healthcare to improve outcomes while lowering cost.

"Understanding why people make the health and health care decisions they make, and using that information to help consumers make better, more informed decisions is key to overcoming many of the cost issues employers and individuals face today," said Jeff Munn, Principal, Health Management Practice, Hewitt Associates.

Symposium speakers include:

  • Alan Garber, MD, PhD Henry J. Kaiser Jr. Professor; Professor of Medicine; Director, Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research; Director, Center for Health Policy; Stanford University; Center for Cost-Effective Consumerism Advisory Board Member
  • Bob Ihrie, MBA SVP, Employee Rewards and Services; Lowe's
  • Chris Jennings Longtime health policy veteran of the White House, Congress and the private sector; President of health policy and advocacy consulting firm Jennings Policy Strategies (JPS), Inc.
  • James A. Klein President, American Benefits Council
  • David Laibson, PhD Harvard College Professor and Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics; Harvard University; Center for Cost-Effective Consumerism Advisory Board Member
  • John Moses, PhD Communication Behavioral Thought Leader; Hewitt Associates
  • Jeff Munn Principal, Health Management Consulting Practice; Hewitt Associates
  • Bob Nease, PhD Chief Scientist; Express Scripts; Center for Cost-Effective Consumerism Advisory Board Member
  • Fred Thiele Global Retirement Director; Intel Corporation
  • John M. "Jack" Towarnicky Associate VP, Benefits Planning; Nationwide Insurance Companies
  • Kathleen Vohs, PhD McKnight Land-Grant Professor; McKnight Presidential Fellow; Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
  • Larry Zarin SVP, Marketing and Corporate Communications; Express Scripts

Additional summits will also be held in Chicago and San Francisco in late 2009 to continue the discussion and include a local perspective on how behavioral economics can best solve America's healthcare problem. For more information about ignite09, please visit

About Express Scripts and the Center for Cost-Effective Consumerism

Express Scripts, Inc. (Nasdaq: ESRX) is one of the largest pharmacy benefit management (PBM) companies in North America, providing PBM services to millions of consumers. Express Scripts serves thousands of client groups, including managed-care organizations, insurance carriers, third-party administrators, employers and union-sponsored benefit plans. Express Scripts is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. More information can be found at

Express Scripts established the Center for Cost-Effective Consumerism (the Center), which involves leading scientists from top universities working closely with its research and product development experts, to accelerate development of an advanced understanding of human behavior and of what strategies work best to motivate consumers to make optimal healthcare decisions. For more information on the Center, visit

About American Benefits Council

The American Benefits Council is the national trade association for companies concerned about federal legislation and regulations affecting all aspects of the employee benefits system. The Council's members represent the entire spectrum of the private-sector employee benefits community and either sponsor directly or administer retirement and health plans covering more than 100 million Americans.

About Hewitt Associates

Hewitt Associates (NYSE: HEW) provides leading organizations around the world with expert human resources consulting and outsourcing solutions to help them anticipate and solve their most complex benefits, talent, and related financial challenges. Hewitt consults with companies to design and implement a wide range of human resources, retirement, investment management, health management, compensation, and talent management strategies. As a leading outsourcing provider, Hewitt administers health care, retirement, payroll, and other HR programs to millions of employees, their families, and retirees. With a history of exceptional client service since 1940, Hewitt has offices in 33 countries and employs approximately 23,000 associates who are helping make the world a better place to work. For more information, please visit

SOURCE ignite09
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