Study suggests more cases, fewer death rate of COVID-19 in Indiana

first_img Pinterest IndianaLocalNews By Network Indiana – May 14, 2020 0 316 Facebook Google+ Study suggests more cases, fewer death rate of COVID-19 in Indiana WhatsApp WhatsApp (Photo supplied/Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) INDIANAPOLIS — An I-U-P-U-I study estimates more than 180-thousand Hoosiers have already had coronavirus:Randomized testing by the Fairbanks School of Public Health found about one in 60 Hoosiers had the virus, and another one in 90 showed antibodies, indicating they’d had it previously without knowing it. It adds up to nearly three-percent of Hoosiers who have been infected — 11 times the number of known cases at the time of the study at the end of April.Fairbanks health policy director Nir Menachemi says nearly half of all Hoosiers with coronavirus never had any symptoms. The large number of previously unsuspected cases makes Indiana’s death rate point-six-percent, one-tenth what the official data had indicated.Menachemi says while that means any individual Hoosier’s odds of dying from the virus are about one in 170, that’s still six times the death rate from flu. And since the coronavirus is far more infectious and can be carried by people without symptoms, Menachemi says Indiana needs to “double and triple up” precautions like hand washing and social distancing as it slowly reopens.Menachemi says the study shows people in a household with someone with coronavirus were 12 times as likely to get the virus themselves. He says the large gap shows social distancing has succeeded in reducing the virus’s spread in the community at large.State health commissioner Kristina Box says it’s “a little bit heartbreaking” when she receives photos from people alarmed at seeing people ignoring those restrictions, standing shoulder to shoulder in line at stores without wearing masks. Box, Menachemi and Governor Eric Holcomb all emphasize the virus is still lurking, and if Hoosiers let their guard down, it could come roaring back.Menachemi notes the nearly one-half of patients who don’t get symptoms are still carriers who can infect the other half.Fairbanks plans three more rounds of testing to monitor the virus’s spread, with the next wave planned for the first week of June. Twitter Twitter Facebook Pinterest Google+ Previous articleHoosier truckers getting recognition during pandemic, shutdownNext articleReported shooting kills one, injures another in South Bend Wednesday Network Indianalast_img read more

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Surveys show rising health care costs affect retirement savings—HSAs are a solution

first_imgLike many Americans, Gavin Smith’s employer is offering only a high deductible health plan (HDHP) next year. Having two active sons and knowing the HDHP has higher out-of-pocket amounts, he is worried about having enough money to pay the medical bills. Gavin decides to reduce the amount he saves for retirement to help free up more money for health care costs.A recent survey by Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI)/Greenwald & Associates shows that Gavin is not the only worker making a choice like this. Some workers are sacrificing their retirement security to meet their potential medical expense obligations. Unfortunately, this only shifts the financial burden from health care to retirement readiness.While HDHP enrollment continues to grow, some workers and employers may not realize how health savings accounts—a component of HDHPs—can reduce their financial concern. Workers save money using tax-free HSA distributions for qualified medical expenses. And similar to retirement plans, many employers help fund their workers’ HSAs to encourage HDHP enrollment, which is a cost savings for employers and workers alike.Worker DissatisfactionThe Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI)/Greenwald & Associates recently released the 2016 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey (WBS), which shows that some workers are sacrificing their retirement security in response to rising health care costs. The survey included 1,500 workers between ages 21–64. The results show, among other things, that some workers are reducing their retirement plan contributions, taking loans and withdrawals from their retirement savings, or delaying retirement.28 percent of workers who reported an increase in health plan costs decreased their retirement plan contributions, and 48 percent have decreased their contributions to other savings.12 percent took a loan or withdrawal from their retirement plan. 30 percent have delayed retirement as a result of rising health care costs.Another survey, the 2017 Workplace Benefits Report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, also indicates that health care costs negatively affect financial wellness. This survey included a national sampling of 1,242 employees across the U.S. whose employers offer 401(k) plans. Survey results show that 79 percent experienced an increase in health care costs in 2016 (up from 69 percent in 2015). Among those experiencing an increase, 56 percent are spending less or contributing less to their financial goals and about 62 percent are saving less for retirement. HSAs GrowingAlthough the cost of health care seems to be having a negative impact on saving for retirement, it is shedding light on a possible solution—saving with an HSA. The number of HSAs and the amount of HSA contributions are at all-time highs, and are a clear reflection of growing enrollment in HDHPs. And expectations are that this trend will continue if employers continue moving to HDHPs. Devenir, a national leader of customized investment solutions for HSAs and the consumer-directed healthcare market, conducts annual HSA market surveys of the top 100 HSA providers. Devenir’s 2016 Year-End HSA Market Statistics and Trends report shows that the number of HSAs exceeded 20 million at year-end 2016 (a 22 percent increase over 2015), holding almost $37 billion in assets (a 20 percent increase). Of a total $25.5 billion HSA contributions made in 2016,26 percent came from employer contributions ($868 average employer contribution), 46 percent from employees ($1,786 average employee contribution), and19 percent from individual contributions not associated with an employer ($1,713 average individual contribution).The survey also shows that health plan partnerships are the largest driver of new account growth in 2016. Health plan referrals account for 37 percent of new accounts opened. Direct employer relationships accounted for 32 percent of new accounts.The remaining drivers are insurance agent referrals (10 percent), administrator/TPA referrals (9 percent), and individuals (5 percent).While HSA assets are withdrawn every year to cover medical costs, the amount that is retained in HSAs continues to grow every year. When looking at contribution and withdrawal activity, Devenir estimates that 22 percent ($5.7 billion) of HSAs assets were retained at year-end 2016. HSA SolutionMore Americans are moving to HDHPs—by choice or as driven by their employers—and the number of HSAs continues to rise. Employers and individuals should understand the benefits of HSAs. Individuals can pay for current medical expenses or save for future expenses with an HSA—there is no use it or lose it rule. Contributions reduce taxable income. Earnings on the account build tax free. Distributions are tax-free if properly used for qualified medical expenses. Individuals who save on medical expenses may have more money in their budget to focus on other savings needs. Educating employers and individuals about the tax benefits of an HSA will not only encourage HDHP/HSA participation, but can free up funds for IRA and retirement plan contributions. 26SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Christle Johnson Christle Johnson has worked at Ascensus since 2001 as a consultant and an editor. Her work includes researching, writing, and editing a variety of topics on IRAs, HSAs, and employer-sponsored … Web: https://www2.ascensus.com Detailslast_img read more

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To succeed at digital transformation, make application security a priority

first_img 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Greg Crandell Greg Crandell provides strategy, market planning, business development, and management consulting to financial technology firms and their clients – Credit Unions and Banks. For more years than he wishes to admit, … Web: queryconsultinggroup.com Details WFH initiatives heighten security concernsAs discussed in the article “Is Digital Transformation a Victim of Covid-19” the “Covid-19 pandemic is putting growing pressure on organizations to expand their digital transformation efforts to include work from home (“WFH”) processes to allow for continued operations in a “social distancing” environment.”As well, “WFH means many more endpoints and many more inadequately secured network access points (“endpoints”). With the use of video conferencing tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet growing, and with the use of less secure network connections growing,  there are security implications that CISOs are rushing to address — especially for these remote employees; because an increase in collaboration application usage, and remote access, means a larger attack surface for threat actors to target.”Digital transformation demands better endpoint securityHowever, it’s not just the security response to COVID-19’s impact on daily business with which we should concern ourselves. Credit unions’ digital transformation efforts (designed to tap the power of mobile, internet of things (IoT) and other edge technology to improve business results) are also rapidly expanding the threat vector within which security people must contend. And if we don’t successfully address the security issues generated by digital expansion, our efforts to transform will suffer, maybe implode.The endpoint revolutionDigital transformation is driven, in part, by the dramatic increase in computing power built into endpoint devices such as tablets, smartphones, laptops, IoT sensors, operational technology (e.g. transformers) and other endpoints. To optimize digital initiatives, we are pushing computing outward from centralized or cloud-based servers to these endpoints, to leverage their growing capability and to empower our end users. It’s true that many critical enterprise assets and resources remain behind your credit union’s network firewalls; but access to these resources is needed for endpoint applications and devices to deliver on their promise to end users – employees, members and more.More endpoints, more risks, more lossesAs described by John Aisien, CEO of Blue Cedar, “the growing number of devices and applications presents significant security challenges. Cybercriminals understand well the growing number and power of endpoint devices, and their vulnerabilities. Attackers are exploiting weaknesses in devices, apps, networks, back-end servers and other assets, even gaining access to corporate IT resources or bringing down systems and halting business.” Malware, hacks and data or infrastructure breaches are derailing digital initiatives, violating customer and user privacy, exposing enterprise assets and undermining brand trust.Mr. Aisien tells us “to mitigate these risks, enterprises are fighting back by implementing access controls, user authentication, device status monitoring, data protection and other security measures but, in the face of these actions and investments in security solutions and services, malicious malware attacks continue to grow and continue to do significant damage.” And financial services organizations lead the way in the size and severity of attacks directed at them, with more to come. If all the work being done and dollars being spent isn’t successfully securing our endpoints and protecting our investments in our digital transformation initiatives, what are we to do?To secure the endpoint, one must secure the application running on it“The true security perimeter is actually enforced by each application running on an endpoint,” according to TJ Tajalli, CEO at OnSystem Logic. And it is within “each application’s memory, including those applications implementing the various functions of all modern operating systems of today, where data is manipulated as directed by the application’s instructions inside its memory.”     The credit union technology leaders I’ve spoken with would agree when Mr. Tajalli says “today’s endpoint security defenses have been built around observation and potential enforcement of visible operations OUTSIDE of the applications. This is true regardless of the technology being used by state-of-the-art endpoint security products. However, ALL attacks, including ransomware, data theft, data modifications, endpoint software and data destruction, etc., run inside known applications or benign looking applications without being noticed by current endpoint security products — until it is too late.”  All of this leads to the conclusion that “despite billions of dollars spent on endpoint security the endpoints are truly not safer than before.”App-centric security is the forward step we must takeGiven the growth of both managed and unmanaged endpoints, including bring-your-own-device (“BYOD”) scenarios, credit unions must look beyond current endpoint security solutions.  Not only are these solutions failing to provide the “certainty” needed by our organizations as we work to digitally transform them, but these solutions too often impact negatively the end user experience we fight so hard to improve.Unfortunately for all of us, it appears current endpoint security products have largely given up on trying to stop the execution of unwanted code and have instead moved toward POTENTIALLY detecting and responding, but only after the damage has been done. None of us should accept this as the best that we can buy or the best that we can deploy.How to deploy app-centric securityI have come to understand that in most applications, there are operations that have a security impact on the application. One such operation that impacts all applications is the ability to change its data into executable code. Most applications don’t use this operation; however, it is the most destructive and effective method attackers use to take full control of applications. Controlling self-modification is the first and most important universal problem that must be solved. Another example of an important universal operation to control is the ability of the application to create and/or manipulate other processes. In addition to the universally important operations to control, selecting other operations to control is based on the functionality of an application. For example, a database server’s critical operations include directly manipulating backend data files, its privilege implementation mechanism, etc. In practice, important security operations are seldom used within an application. Learning which part of an application uses those operations during its normal operation is what is required. So, this is doable. In fact, it’s being done. There are firms pursuing and delivering solutions to this problem. They need our attention. And if we are going to succeed at digital transformation, we need their solutions. If you agree and have ideas to share or questions to ask, feel free to ask me.last_img read more

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