Employers: the key to healthcare costs is not the government or the carriers, it’s your employees
Call me an optimist, or a pessimist, but regardless of the outcome of the SJC ruling on PPACA, little will change in the current healthcare delivery system. Yes, some employers may punt to the exchanges, some will subsidize an individual market purchase, and some will cancel coverage, but most employers will continue to bear the burden of medical costs that have been far too expensive for too many reasons. Whether it is struck down, upheld, or tweaked, PPACA has done, and will do nothing to control the cost of healthcare. Carriers have also failed at controlling claim costs and will continue to fail in an existing or post PPACA environment.
So what’s the solution? It’s your employees. Of course it is.
They are spending 90% of the money in the healthcare system on medical care. It’s your employees who need the care, choose the location, buy the care and then chose to work hard or not work hard on preventable outcomes.
- Over 20% of your employees haven’t seen a doctor in over two years, that includes the free physicals they are guaranteed.
- 40% of your employees are not compliant with colonoscopy screenings.
- 30% are not compliant with breast cancer screenings.
- 70% of chronic diseases are preventable and reversible if addressed early.
- Wellness plans, poorly implemented, mostly reward the healthy. Fitness freaks do not need pedometers, show offs.
As an employer, you keep paying the bill, and expect nothing in return. You wait for claims, and hope for health. Employers would never allow this level of noncompliance or abuse of investment in other aspects of the business. Think of your corporate penalties for losing a laptop, abusing an expense account, or making personal overseas calls on the company dime. Where’s the penalty for using the ER as your doctor’s office? How about ignoring the warning signs of heart disease or diabetes?
In some markets, employers are effectively engaging their employees in basic health maintenance. The results are incredible. It’s not about carrots and sticks, it’s about helping people make a commitment to getting healthy. Employers have made a huge commitment to their employees’ health and well-being. Employees should be expected to do the same.
About the Author
Christopher Nadeau is a Principal at William Gallagher Associates (WGA) and head of the Employee Benefits Group. Mr. Nadeau counsels his department to develop and redesign employee benefits programs to match the corporate philosophy, long-term needs and objectives of their clients. He is also an industry leader on Healthcare reform and the cost impact and administrative burden on employers.