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Review Of 2011 Predictions In The World Of Health Care

How Did My 2011 Predictions Turn Out?

Pretty well, actually.

As predicted last December, there was no big change to health care reform, doctors still didn’t have enough time with their patients, Microsoft (disclosure: Microsoft is a Best Doctors client) made moves to create a “Windows” for electronic health records, and “ACO” became the hot buzzword in health care.  Some state governments started major redesigns of their benefits programs, saving money in the same ways private sector employers do.  Meanwhile, more than ever, private sector employers are penalizing employees who don’t take care of themselves.

Misdiagnosis finally started to be recognized as a public health problem.  At Best Doctors we got a great deal of press coverage in 2011 on this (for a few examples, go here, here, here, here and here).  I will sneak in a 2012 prediction and tell you that you will hear a lot more about this this year, and not just from us.

What did I get wrong? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*

Making Employee Health A Fundamental Part Of Company Culture

Dick Quinn of Quinn’s Commentary has a pithy post about why it’s hard for the government to control healthcare costs. He says:

Nobody complains about the cost of healthcare, rather they complain about their insurance premiums or their payroll deductions for health benefits.

He’s right about what politicians react to. The healthcare reform law is loaded with things that are meant to contain the price of coverage. But I would add two words to his post:

“Nobody who votes complains about the cost of healthcare.”

It’s true: The large employers who pay for much of healthcare in America complain about the cost a lot. But they are doing something about it.

In my work, I have the opportunity to present at events with some of our Fortune 500 clients. (I have one this week with The Home Depot, hosted by the National Business Group on Health. The event information here – you have to be a member of the NBGH to participate). Listening to these customers, you get a good sense of how employers are attacking this problem.

Here are the top three trends I see benefits professionals talking about:

1.  Engagement and Prevention

Doing things to help employees be enthusiastic believers in their company is high on the list of many companies’ strategic objectives. Employee benefits are an important part of that.

A senior benefits leader at a Fortune 100 employer I presented with earlier this year said his company surveyed its employees to see what they wanted in their benefits package. Number 1? That the company’s  benefits show it really cares about their well-being. Benefits professionals see health benefits as an opportunity to engage employees in their jobs. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*

When Individuals Are In Control Of Their Health Care

I’m speaking [today] at the 23rd Annual Benefits Forum and Expo. This is one of the premier events in the health care benefits industry, and it’s a thrill for me to be the opening speaker on the “Health Care” track.

I’m presenting along with Charlie Salter, the VP of Benefits of ConAgra, one of our customers at Best Doctors. The talk Charlie and I will give is called “Real Results: When Individuals are in Control of their Health Care.”

As regular readers know, good things happen when people are in control of their care. They have a chance to make sure they’re not one of the 20 percent of people that end up with an incorrect diagnosis, or the more than 60 percent of people that end up with the wrong treatment. It’s the single most powerful thing you can do to make sure your health care experience is as good as it can possibly be. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*

Healthcare Road Rage

Road and construction projects have stopped all over town, thanks to concerns about future healthcare benefits. From

Construction companies and labor unions are divided over healthcare packages. The unions seek a 15 percent annual benefits increase over three years, while contractors have countered with a 1 percent annual increase.

-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Will Large Employers Dump Healthcare Coverage?

Fortune magazine has made some news recently about the impact of healthcare reform on large employers:

Internal documents recently reviewed by Fortune, originally requested by Congress, show what the bill’s critics predicted, and what its champions dreaded: many large companies are examining a course that was heretofore unthinkable, dumping the healthcare coverage they provide to their workers in exchange for paying penalty fees to the government.

The only trouble? There’s no way these employers are seriously thinking about doing this.

I can understand why the employers would do the math. According to healthcare reform law, penalties for failing to provide health coverage are a small fraction of the cost of that coverage. But as with most everything else in healthcare, there’s much more to it than just a simple math equation. Here’s what I mean. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*

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