Q: Do health plans that focus on reducing costs by getting employees to be more engaged really work?
A: As healthcare costs continue to rise and Healthcare Reform changes are sure to impact employer costs, a continued focus will be on mitigating premium through plan design, awareness and comprehensive wellness programs.
Plan design can absolutely have a huge affect on the utilization of the plan. For some time now, Consumer Driven Health Plans have been the “fix” in controlling costs. The idea being that people are more personally committed in spending their healthcare dollars more effectively therefore reducing much of the unnecessary care being done in our healthcare system. Now, we are introducing plans that will incent employees through copays or reduction in premium to embrace and follow a healthier lifestyle. Efforts will focus on smoking or tobacco use; body mass index, diabetes, or gastrointestinal and orthopedic disorders; and blood pressure. About three-fourths of medical costs are tied to chronic
conditions like diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and cancer, which can be caused or influenced by lifestyles.
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