Despite the declarations of politicians, statistics show the cost of health insurance continuing to rise dramatically. Newton’s third law of physics, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” applies in economics as well as physics.
As our government continues to make “free services” available along with reducing payments, the costs are showing up in other areas. Quite simply, insurers are passing along the cost to the person who writes the checks.
“Value-Based Purchasing” (kind-of a reverse version of pay-for-performance) and “Reduced Payments for Hospital Readmissions” are the two most recently implemented behind-the-scenes changes to Medicare that cost hospitals money… and most can’t afford such expenses.
How You Can Reduce Your Expenses
Beyond the common answers, like “make the employees pay more,” and “it’s a cost of doing business,” you might consider what some of the more progressive companies have found:
- Promote a Health-Focused Environment. Providing coffee for employees is nice, but providing exercise opportunities has greater long-term benefits for the investment dollar. Companies with a health-focused proactive culture provide memberships to gyms, some hire personal trainers for their exercise room, and some run “lunchtime exercise” programs that are sure to get the heart pounding. Companies like Cree, Baptist Health, Pepsi, and BD have a great culture and run the best programs with great results like reduced sick-days, reduced healthcare cost, improved productivity – and staff who want to stick around for a long time.
- Promote Healthy Boundaries. Many people like to squeeze the last moment of productivity out of every day. According to recent studies, as reported by Forbes, long work hours can kill you. In fact, a recent Whitehall study has found that overtime work can be a predictor of major depressive episodes. Healthy boundaries, limited overtime, and physical exercise all contribute to maximized productivity and minimized health care expense.
- Promote Breaks and Movement. People are actually healthier and more productive long-term by taking regular breaks, a full lunch break and taking care of personal matters (like phone calls and facebook) during that time. (Have you ever worked with a smoker who could just “crank out the work” even though they were out back ten minutes out of every hour?) Breaks and simply moving around a bit help with keeping healthcare expenditures under control.
Healthy habits and boundaries lead to more satisfied people, who have better relationships, which improves health, reduces health care costs, and reduces days lost to illness.
As you consider your budget & are looking to reduce expenses, let’s consider the health of your environment in conjunction with the health care plan and long-term objectives. Let’s discuss a long-term perspective, rather than just today’s cost.
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