The drumbeat to universal coverage continues to gain volume, decibel by decibel. A survey by the respected Midwest Group on Health found that while employers continue to be concerned about reducing health care costs, there is a growing emphasis and action on improving workforce health, creating incentives to change employee behavior and adoption of consumer driven approaches.
Among the findings form the survey::
· 95% of employers agree that there is a link between an employee’s health and their productivity
· 77% of employers agree that using drugs proven effective for a condition will reduce other services for that condition
· 60% of employers believe employees would change to better performing providers if they understood how quality varies and affects outcomes
· 70% of employers believe they should not pay hospitals or be billed for services provided due to preventable medical errors or infections, not related to the admission of a patient
In a related article from the BCBS Association, several employers – including Intuit and BB&T Banking – were profiled to illustrate how some companies are becoming more involved in day to day healthcare, and are seeing real financial returns as a result. The companies are measuring key health indicators, bringing in health coaches to work with employees, and creating financial incentives for the employee for reaching certain goals. This is a clear shift from the so-called “consumer directed health plans”, which are typically nothing more than a complete cost shift from the employer to employee.
The take-away? Think: Value, value, value. We accept that good health is good business, so now we want to do what leads to good health, and skip the rest.