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Medicare Advantage Funding Cuts and the Impact on Beneficiary Value

March 3, 2015 Comments off

Medicare Advantage Funding Cuts and the Impact on Beneficiary Value (PDF)
Source: Milliman (via Better Medicare Alliance)
From press release:

Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are on average paying more for less as a result of federal payment rate cuts implemented each plan year from 2012-2015. Medicare Advantage enrollees who need the most care have seen their maximum annual out-of-pocket costs increase by up to $761 since 2012. While seniors and people with disabilities in 211 U.S. counties now have no access to Medicare Advantage general enrollment plans.

Most troubling for the more than 17 million Medicare Advantage beneficiaries nationwide is the fact that some Medicare Advantage cuts have yet to go into effect.

Warren Buffett’s Letter to Berkshire Shareholders – 2014 (2/28/15)

March 3, 2015 Comments off

Warren Buffett’s Letter to Berkshire Shareholders – 2014 (PDF)
Source: Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire’s gain in net worth during 2014 was $18.3 billion, which increased the per-share book value of both our Class A and Class B stock by 8.3%. Over the last 50 years (that is, since present management took over), per-share book value has grown from $19 to $146,186, a rate of 19.4% compounded annually.

During our tenure, we have consistently compared the yearly performance of the S&P 500 to the change in Berkshire’s per-share book value. We’ve done that because book value has been a crude, but useful, tracking device for the number that really counts: intrinsic business value.

In our early decades, the relationship between book value and intrinsic value was much closer than it is now. That was true because Berkshire’s assets were then largely securities whose values were continuously restated to reflect their current market prices. In Wall Street parlance, most of the assets involved in the calculation of book value were “marked to market.”

Today, our emphasis has shifted in a major way to owning and operating large businesses. Many of these are worth far more than their cost-based carrying value. But that amount is never revalued upward no matter how much the value of these companies has increased. Consequently, the gap between Berkshire’s intrinsic value and its book value has materially widened.

Equation Group: Questions and Answers

March 3, 2015 Comments off

Equation Group: Questions and Answers (PDF)
Source: Kaspersky

The Equation group is a highly sophisticated threat actor that has been engaged in multiple CNE (computer network exploitation) operations dating back to 2001, and perhaps as early as 1996. The Equation group uses multiple malware platforms, some of which surpass the well-known “Regin” threat in complexity and sophistication. The Equation group is probably one of the most sophisticated cyber attack groups in the world; and they are the most advanced threat actor we have seen.

Chinese enthusiasm for social media drops sharply

February 26, 2015 Comments off

Chinese enthusiasm for social media drops sharply
Source: Kantar

Chinese social media users are increasingly concerned with the impact social media is having on their lives as the number of people who feel positively about social media has dropped by 12.1 percentage points from last year to 64.7%.

The second annual Kantar China Social Media Impact Report also found that social media is now used by more age groups, by less educated people and by people in smaller cities, while Tencent WeChat has become the dominant social media platform of an increasingly mobile-connected country.

Categories: China, Kantar, social media

STEM Confidence Gap

February 25, 2015 Comments off

STEM Confidence Gap
Source: Piazza

Recent studies have shown that engaging students in active learning can drive improved student outcomes, particularly for women and minorities. These findings reinforce the message we’ve been hearing anecdotally from numerous professors since we launched Piazza five years ago.

Piazza recently undertook an extensive study of all U.S and Canadian actions occurring on the platform in 2013 and 2014, which was recently published in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Our hope is that shedding a light on classroom behavior patterns will help create a fruitful conversation among educators about how best to drive improved learning outcomes — especially among those students who need it most. We were fascinated by the results and wanted to share them with you:

When Women Thrive Businesses Thrive

February 25, 2015 Comments off

When Women Thrive Businesses Thrive (PDF)
Source: Mercer
From press release:

When will women thrive? This is a question with profound implications for businesses striving to establish competitive advantage, because the link between women’s participation in the workforce and economic growth has never been clearer. It is also a question of urgency for women themselves — and for the families and communities that depend on them.

To answer this question, Mercer reached out to a large set of employers globally and relied on objective, statistical analysis to find out how female talent is faring and to uncover the real story of what drives gender diversity in organizations. The results, captured in the new report When Women Thrive, Businesses Thrive, indicate that despite diversity efforts over the past several decades, employers are still decades away from true gender equality if they don’t implement changes, and that a holistic strategy for supporting women across several key aspects of their personal and professional life cycle is key to success.

IBM Study: The Real Story Behind Millennials in the Workplace

February 25, 2015 Comments off

IBM Study: The Real Story Behind Millennials in the Workplace
Source: IBM

IBM today announced that pretty much everything you thought you knew about Millennials could well be wrong. A new IBM study reveals much of the hype about Millennial employees simply isn’t true. They aren’t the “lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow” workers that many believe them to be.

The results of the global, multigenerational study “Myths, Exaggerations and Uncomfortable Truths” found that the fundamental distinction between Millennials and older employees is their digital proficiency, which comes from growing up immersed in a digital world. But, for things like career goals, employee engagement, preferred leadership styles and recognition, the study shows that Millennials share many of the same attitudes as Gen X and Baby Boomer employees.

By 2020, Millennials will be approximately 50 percent of the U.S. workforce (1). So within the next five years, Millennials will wield increasing influence over organizations’ decisions, move in to leadership roles and basically take over the workforce.

Today’s business leaders need to begin planning for this shift by creating a workplace environment that will maximize the Millennial generation’s unique strengths. To do so, they first need to separate fact from fiction on what Millennial employees are really all about.

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