The burden of America’s costly healthcare system has driven up annual costs for both employers and workers
(Providence, RI) September 9, 2015— The American healthcare system is the most expensive in the world. In fact, the U.S. spends 50% more on healthcare than does any other country.1 Despite these staggering costs, American healthcare continues to lag behind much of the developed world.3
The economic burden of a bloated and ineffective healthcare system is felt by all Americans and worker contribution to employee backed health insurance programs have increased 93% over the last decade. (2) Due to a combination of expensive prescription treatments and unhealthy lifestyles, American employers, unable to foot the costs of higher premiums, are shifting increasingly large portions of the burden onto workers. Under the current healthcare paradigm, the median American family spends over 23% of their annual income on healthcare. 2
Despite new laws, including the Affordable Care Act, being implemented to help reform the healthcare system, costs continue to rise for workers and employers alike. Per medical director of the Centers for Integrative Medicine and Healing (www.cimh.com) (CIMH), Dr. Sztykowski, the increase in healthcare costs is tied directly to an overreliance on costly prescription medication and unhealthy lifestyle choices. Dr. Sztykowski has chaired multiple integrative medical association boards across the U.S. and has worked tirelessly with legislatures, both nationally and abroad, to improve standards of medical care. He states that companies need to take a more proactive stance to their employees’ healthcare by striving to create a “culture of wellness” at the workplace.
Culture of wellness
This culture of wellness can be seen as a comprehensive wellness program that rewards employees for exercise, sets monthly wellness goals and promotes healthy lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking. Key to the success of wellness programs is participation. While not mandatory, wellness programs should provide tangible incentives to those who join and actively work toward individual and collective goals. Additionally, participation has been shown to increase when management also participates in the program.
From a financial standpoint, programs which improve employee health represent direct savings for the employer. Quite simply, fewer insurance claims equates to lower premiums and many companies who have implemented wellness programs report considerable returns on their investment. For instance, for every dollar invested in wellness programs, Coors and Citibank report returns of $6.15 and $4.56 respectively. Well implemented wellness plans have been seen to save employers nearly $3000 per employee each year. Even in companies with relatively few employees, these savings add up fast. Savings can be redistributed into the company and used to help foster continued capital growth.
Not only are wellness programs effective in reducing healthcare costs, but they also improve productivity and workplace morale. As a final bonus, companies who have saved money through wellness programs are able to restructure their healthcare plans to provide better coverage options at a lower costs to employees.
“A person’s health (or lack thereof) impacts everything about his personal and professional life,” says Dr. Sztykowski. “Quite simply, healthy employees are productive employees, and productive employees are an asset to your company.”
For more information about CIMH and integrative medicine, please visit www.cimh.com.
Established in 1990, the Centers for Integrative Medicine and Healing (CIMH) is the nation’s leading and most advanced integrative medicine clinic. Integrative medicine combines centuries-old Oriental medicine modalities with current Western diagnostics. Located in Providence, Rhode Island, CIMH has a 97% success rate and thousands of satisfied patients. CIMH is headed by Medical Director Dr. Tad Sztykowski, and staffed with an elite team of doctor-specialists. The CIMH website hosts an abundance of useful information, including a Virtual Symptom IndicatorTM that allows users to communicate interactively with CIMH doctors and care managers about their areas of concern. Please refer to www.cimh.com for further information.
1“Checkup Time Chronic Disease and Wellness in America: Measuring the Economic Burden in a Changing Nation,” Milken Institute, January 2014; accessed August 13, 2015. assets1c.milkeninstitute.org/assets/Publication/ResearchReport/PDF/Checkup-Time-Chronic-Disease-and-Wellness-in-America.pdf
2“Workers are Spending More of Their Income on Employer Health Insurance,” Kimberly Leonard, December 2014; accesses August 29, 2015. usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2014/12/09/workers-are-spending-more-of-their-income-on-employer-health-insurance
3“Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally;” The Commonwealth Fund; accessed August 11, 2015. commonwealthfund.org/publications/fund-reports/2014/jun/mirror-mirror