On average, they will cost employers more than ever in 2011 – $11,176 per each active employee according to data just released in Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health's 16th Annual Survey (Purchasing Value in Health Care).   The projected increase is 8% over 2010 and nearly four times the rate of inflation – ever widening the affordability gap between premiums and wages for employees and the cost of benefits for employers.  Employers are paying 36% more and employees are paying 45% more for their health care than just five years ago.  And the majority of employers (66%) identify continuously declining employee health as the single greatest challenge to providing affordable health care benefits.  But if you think […]

The industry parallels between health and the other major versions of insurance (home, auto, life, etc.) are numerous with one significant difference – up until recently, health insurance was the only major insurance framework where consumers are unable to get credit and rewarded for making good decisions.  Newly established wellness rewards for consumers are a mere trickle in the lifeblood of mainstream employer sponsored plans.  Continuing the path without consumer behavior more central ensures more of the same – escalating unhealthy behavior and related medical and productivity costs.  And it fails to capitalize on the shifting tide of consumer readiness – consumers have never been more ready to participate in a behavior-based solution.  Nor has there been a time where […]

If you are looking for a cost-friendly work-out, try hefting the 700 page report the Surgeon General recently released outlining the physical ravages cigarette smoking has on the human body.  If 700 pages of sobering warnings and repercussions don't inspire behavior change, what can?  Don't underestimate the often untapped power of inspiring positive change through leadership and example.  (It consumes a lot less paper.) It was recently reported President Barack Obama has abstained from lighting up a Marlboro for nearly a year.  An impressive accomplishment when you consider the daily weighted issues facing The White House.  Of all the times for a smoker to give the habit monkey the cold shoulder, this can't be the easiest time for the leader […]

March 1st, 2011

The pandemic is official.  Epidemiologists are even predicting it won't be long before unhealthy weight rivals tobacco use as the world's leading cause of preventable premature death.  If you have any doubt of the severity of the crisis, consider: Globally, 1.3 billion adults and more than 42 million children are overweight or obese Almost half of all US adults are obese Risk of death increases by almost one-third for every five point rise in body mass index (BMI) In the US, every point of BMI above 30 adds $300 in per capita annual medical cost (with additional heightened absenteeism and worker productivity costs) Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, esophageal, colorectal, breast and endometrial cancer and many other illnesses are directly […]

March 2011
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