Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments (3)

Five Things That Employers Want To Stop Doing

Our survey of employer attitudes about health benefits told us a lot about what employers are doing, and what they want to stop doing.  Here are 5 things employers want to stop doing:

1. Stop paying for bad employee lifestyles. Bad lifestyle choices are big drivers of expense.  Our study shows that employers want to stop being solely responsible for those costs.  More than half (54%) are adopting programs that use incentives — and penalties — to encourage employees to take responsibility for their health.  A study released last week by Watson Wyatt showed similar results.

2. Stop expecting health plans to deliver customized programs. Health plan offerings are popular — there is a nearly 90% adoption rate for core health plan services.  But employers increasingly turn to outside vendors for customized programs to fix bad employee health habits.  Health plans are looked to for value-based insurance designs, with 40% of employers looking to implement VBID or similar programs.

3. Stop paying for programs that don’t work. Fifty-five percent of employers said they were reducing the number of health benefits they offer or focusing on those with a proven ROI.  With 59% saying cost savings are their top priority, it makes sense that they cut costs where they don’t see savings.

4.  Stop confusing employees with too many benefit offerings. Employers have in place 10 or more distinct health benefits, with 60% identifying at least five major programs (EAPs, nurse help lines, health coaching, wellness, etc).  Employers want to implement a single point of contact to navigate their programs, with adoption rates of these services expected to triple in the next 2 years.

5.  Stop thinking bad medical outcomes are because of bad luck. Sixty-five percent of employers said their employees struggle with making the right treatment decisions when sick.  Thirty-five percent said making sure their employees have better quality care was a high priority, with 38% saying they wanted to do more to empower employees to make good health care decisions.

*This blog post was originally published at the See First blog.*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


3 Responses to “Five Things That Employers Want To Stop Doing”

  1. I appreciate all the steps many employers have taken to help their employees with healthcare, but I would like to see health insurance divorced from employment. It's problematic in several ways:

    1.You are stuck in your job if you or a dependent have any sort of pre-existing condition. No individual insurance will take you if you already have something and this may prevent employees from moving to a job that is better suited but doesn't offer the health benefit they need.

    2. If you are in the middle of treatment and lose your job, same kind of problem. Not only is your employment gone, so is your insurance. If the company closes, no COBRA either.

    3. It makes entrepreneurship much more risky. It's hard to go out on your own and start a company. It would be impossible if you were attached to an employer-based health insurance plan. I wonder how much innovation gets stifled by this problem. Perhaps some ideas with big implications for job creation in new sectors have simply died.

    I'll bet companies might not be too sorry to see this issue taken off their plates. It's a big job to choose and administer this benefit. I don't see any problem with them focusing on wellness as it would benefit them in other ways besides insurance costs, but once again, I'd like to see insurance split from employment.

  2. Evan Falchuk says:

    Emily,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

    The idea of de-coupling insurance from employment is appealing, but the trouble is we are a very long way away from having the kind of vibrant individual insurance market you would need to make it work.

    More broadly, I think the right question is what problem are we trying to solve.

    I think we need to help make sure doctors have the time they need with their patients. We systematically undervalue that, and this is a significant driver of health care cost and quality.

    I think we are seeing signs of promising trends in that direction from the employers in our survey.

  3. Evan Falchuk says:

    Emily,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

    The idea of de-coupling insurance from employment is appealing, but the trouble is we are a very long way away from having the kind of vibrant individual insurance market you would need to make it work.

    More broadly, I think the right question is what problem are we trying to solve.

    I think we need to help make sure doctors have the time they need with their patients. We systematically undervalue that, and this is a significant driver of health care cost and quality.

    I think we are seeing signs of promising trends in that direction from the employers in our survey.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »