Changing the Conversation: Health vs. Healthcare

The statistics are foreboding: since 1980, growth in healthcare spending has outpaced all other consumer spending by a factor of nearly three, while increasing from 5% to 18% of GDP. Looking just 3 years ahead, this figure is projected to reach at least 22%.  Despite so much of the national conversation focused on managing “healthcare”, employers remain confronted with:

  • Healthcare renewal costs that are unsustainable
  • Plan design changes that have reduced benefits
  • Employee dissatisfaction with reduced benefits and increased costs

To understand why a shift in the national conversation from healthcare to health is necessary, one needs only to consider the implications of the data provided by our medical professionals:

  • Nearly 75% of Americans are overweight, and 33%  qualify as obese
  • Cardiovascular disease and stroke are now the leading cause of death
  • 17.5 million Americans will be afflicted with diabetes, and 25.1 million with cardiovascular disease
  • 1 in 3 children born after 2000 will develop diabetes by age 50
  • 29% of adults with high blood pressure are undiagnosed
  • 70% of all claim costs are the direct results of behavior
  • 74% of all claims are confined to four chronic conditions: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity

For those business owners seeking real solutions to rising healthcare costs, we propose the need to change the conversation on how to improve the health of those who are employed.

Understanding that the cost of improving health is far lower than the healthcare costs associated with combating increased disease, companies must learn how to build a culture of health improvement and engage employees and families in order to achieve sustainability in healthcare costs. To do so, employers can take a “measures-based approach” to identify risk within the employee population, develop strategies to facilitate positive change among high risk individuals, and strategies to keep the healthy population healthy.

By learning and adopting new strategies that emphasize and reward employees and their families to embrace healthy lifestyle choices, employers can help employees and their families become far more efficient healthcare consumers, and move towards a zero trend health plan (for our next discussion).

Thomson Reuters Health Care Spending Index: Insurance Costs Climb 4.0% for Q3 2011 

Is Obesity an Infectious Disease?

Changing the Conversation: Health vs. Healthcare, is an editorial series designed to advance the health improvement model as a business strategy, supported by medical research, academic and corporate case studies. Scott Bradley is a Sr. Vice President with Cook, Hall & Hyde, Inc., a health and welfare advocate supporting middle market employers to design, implement and manage employee health improvement and insurance programs.     

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Governor Patterson’s Budget Proposal Threatens NYS Hospitals

The Governor’s proposal would significantly increase the tax burden on hospitals, nursing homes, and home care providers at a time when they are already struggling to remain afloat. It would also cut an additional 20% from the indigent care pool, further weakening the already fragile health care safety net for New York’s most vulnerable populations. 

New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation—a public provider of an extraordinary volume of uncompensated care to low income, uninsured populations—stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars under the Governor’s plan, and, as a result, forecasts a deficit of $1 billion for its upcoming fiscal year.

To get specific information on how your local hospital will be impacted by these proposed changes go to http://helpyourhospital.org .  Please spread the word and share with your family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.  If you share this message with just ten people, together we can convince state legislators to reject Governor Paterson’s proposed health care provider taxes and cuts.

Thank you for taking the time to protect your community and support New York’s hospitals, nursing homes, and home health care providers.

Money Saving Tips on Brand Name Medications

The next time your doctor prescribes a name brand medication it may be worth checking online or with your local pharmacy to see if there is any special money saving offers available.  Many of these brand name drugs have their own dedicated websites that will provide  specific information to obtain savings.  

Provided below is a SAMPLE of medications that have special money saving offers.  This is not an all inclusive listing, so if you do not see a particular medication listed you may want to research the medication online.

Check here to see the sample Brand Name money savings list.

Stores Offering Free Antibiotics and Updated $4 Generic Drug Deals

NJ Prescription Drug Price Registry

The NJ Prescription Drug Registry will help consumers compare retail prices charged by pharmacies for the most frequently prescribed prescription drugs. By comparing prices here, consumers can see what a pharmacy has reported to the state that it charged for a specific Rx. You will find that prices for the exact medication will be different from pharmacy to pharmacy and from town to town. To use this registry click here, this link will also be on the right side of my blog titled NJ Prescription Drug Registry. New York and Connecticut have a similar site called Prescription Drug Prices in New York State and CT Attorney General’s Prescription Drug Page.

 

 

Watson/NBGH Study: Employers still smitten on CDHPs

By 2009, nearly 55% of U.S. corporations plan on offering a consumer-directed health plan, reports Watson Wyatt and the National Business Group on Health.   For Lydell C. Bridgeford’s full story click here  

Innovative, Integrated Approaches to HSA’s and HRA’s Yield Optimum Results

This article I wrote discusses the innovative and integrated CDHC options that offer solutions to the steadily increasing healthcare costs in America. 

Click Here for article

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