That’s what some employers are now telling their people.
What is happening to the cost of health care for employers these days? As you might expect, the cost is going up for all concerned:
Take a look at the chart on the right that appeared in a USA Today article on 4-2-12 (See link below). Since 2007, the total cost per employee has risen from $8597 to $11,664—a 36% increase.
Employees paying more. Ever so gradually, the employees are being required to pay a greater portion of the total. From 2007 to 2012, their share grew by 40%—while the employer’s share went up 34%.
But this is no bargain for anyone. The employer is still paying a whopping $8900 per employee—76% of the total bill. The employer share is now over $400 more than the total cost per employee just five years ago.
What about promoting health? As with the cost of health care in general, the obvious answer is still being ignored—our “system” is not teaching anyone how to promote health. The majority of the population still has no clue that “we’re eating the wrong food” and that it’s driving disease and costs of historic proportions. We outlined the “big picture” problem in our book’s Introduction:
In the United States and other Western countries, obesity and diabetes are running rampant, while heart disease and cancer maintain their position as our top killers—and the top drivers of our health-care costs. These out-of-control costs are choking our economy to death, prompting elected officials in the United States to frequently discuss health-care cost as the single biggest problem facing our nation.
In 1960, the cost of health care in the Unites States was 5.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). In less than fifty years, it tripled to 16 percent, and U.S. officials now project that it will double again to 31 percent within the next twenty-five years. This cost is simply unsustainable, and we all know it, but we haven’t yet figured out what can be done to address the problem.
Employers are finally getting wise. As outlined in the USA Today article, they are beginning to provide financial incentives for employees who score well on the various health screening tests. From the article:
Once a year, employees of the Swiss Village Retirement Community in Berne, Ind., have a checkup that will help determine how much they pay for health coverage. Those who don’t smoke, aren’t obese and whose blood pressure and cholesterol fall below specific levels get to shave as much as $2,000 off their annual health insurance deductibles.
Proponents say such plans offer people a financial incentive to make healthier choices and manage chronic conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, which are driving up health care costs in the USA. Even so, studies of the effect of such policies on lifestyle changes are inconclusive. And advocates for people with chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, fear that tying premium costs directly to test results could lead to discrimination.
The obvious answer. As outlined in my “Whole Foods CEO” blog yesterday, the obvious solution is for employers to aggressively teach all of their employees how to take charge of their own health. And that takes leadership—the kind of leadership being provided by CEO John Mackey of Whole Foods Market.
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.