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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Corporate Wellness Programs: Are They a Wise Investment for Employers?

With the permission of TLNT and Jeremy Sharp I am reposting a terrific article that lends clarification regarding the new GINA regulations issued in November 2010, ADA and HIPAA compliance for wellness programs. TLNT is a HR blog about “The Business of HR,” with news, insight, and topical information from experts and thought leaders in HR, talent management, and all areas related to HR and managing a workforce. Jeremy Sharp, a partner at Walter & Haverfield in Cleveland, concentrates his practice primarily in the field of employee benefits and executive compensation. He also has experience handling related legal issues involving taxation, labor and employment law, school law and health care reform. You can contact him at jsharp@walterhav.com.

 Corporate Wellness Programs: Are They a Wise Investment for Employers?

Swine Flu Employee Education

Below are links to a variety of swine flu educational resources that will help you stay on top of the situation. They include:

The CDC has offered recommendations for everyday actions people can take to protect themselves from this new strain of flu.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
    • Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
    • If you get sick, the CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Wellness Programs in Health Coverage in the Group Market

The attached document below contains final rules governing the provisions prohibiting discrimination based on a health factor for group health plans and issuers of health insurance coverage offered in connection with a group health plan.

 

These final regulations apply for plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2007.

 Final Regs 

 

 

Expediting Employee Behavior Change by Implementing the Right Incentives

Bill Simms sits down with Wellness Council of America’s President, Dr. David Hunnicutt, to discuss what works best when it comes to developing and implementing employee incentive based wellness campaigns.   This interview discusses the importance of financial incentives in building employee participation.   

 

Click here to read the interview

Taking Stock of Wellness Programs

Kathryn Fitch and Bruce Pyenson of the Milliman Group author an article “Taking Stock of Wellness Programs” that encourages employers to go back to the basics of evaluating health and wellness programs.  They describe how many employers offer wellness programs and they look at the utility of ROI and wellness programs. 

 

This is a must read for all that currently have and or developing a wellness program.

 

Taking Stock of Wellness Programs”  

 

 I discovered this article on the,  “The Friday Wellness Wrap Up”  by Fiona Gathright, the President of  Corporate Wellness Solutions.

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