Employers Encouraged to Rethink Approach to Medical Costs and Benefits
KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — For employers, benefit offerings have a significant impact on the cost of doing business. Relying on traditional approaches to managing medical costs and measuring benefits is no longer enough.
Lockton, the world’s largest privately held insurance broker, knows employers need to evaluate factors, including costs, health risks, business value, and the healthcare delivery and payment infrastructure to determine the best options for their business.
In a new white paper, Five Trends Changing the Way We Think About Medical Costs and Benefits Value, Lockton Benefit Group’s Chief Medical Officer Ron Leopold, shares five keys to impacting business success through employee health, engagement, productivity and culture:
- Analytics Focus on True Medical Cost Drivers
- Healthcare Delivery Is Transforming
- Well-Being Improves Engagement and Work Performance
- Health and Productivity Are Hard Coded Together
- The Cost of Our Health Is in Our Own Hands
Excerpts from the Five Trends whitepaper:
Trend #1: Analytics Focus on True Medical Cost Driver
When trying to manage costs, employers often focus on addressing gaps in care for chronic conditions like diabetes, coronary artery disease, and hypertension. But high-cost claims analytics, like those performed by Lockton’s Infolock® data intelligence platform, tell a different story.
According to Lockton data of 750 employers and 1.56 million member lives over a two year time period, these are top medical cost drivers:
- Acute and miscellaneous
- Chronic conditions
- Musculoskeletal and trauma
- Maternity and neonatal
Trend #2: Healthcare Delivery Is Transforming
In late 2016, a medical device maker received FDA clearance for a digital stethoscope that pairs with a smartphone
and allows users to examine the ears, throat, skin, heart, lungs, and temperature. That same company also offers a
connected otoscope for ear examinations, a high-resolution camera, and a thermometer that uses the forehead to get a
reading—all through technology, not touch.
Growing in popularity, telemedicine has the incredible ability to connect patients with their doctors via phone, live video
feeds, Skype, and more. Physicians can now conduct digital CT scans without ever touching patients and provide remote monitoring of intensive care units.
Trend #3: Well-Being Improves Engagement and Work Performance
As the discussion around wellness moves from return on investment to value, more and more employers are recognizing true well-being can measurably drive employee engagement, satisfaction, work performance, and even company
Stock values for a portfolio of companies that received high scores in a corporate health and wellness self-assessment appreciated by 235 percent compared with the S&P 500 Index appreciation of 159 percent over a six-year simulation period, according to a 2016 study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
With this understanding, employers are starting to focus on the five pillars of well-being:
- Physical health
- Financial security
- Emotional health
- Job satisfaction
- Social connectedness
Trend #4: Health and Productivity are Hard Coded Together
Is it really any surprise that adding 10 years (from age 30 to 40 for example) and 30 pounds to a worker increases his/her risk for work-related injury by two or three times?
Intuitively, we all understand a healthier working population improves absenteeism, presenteeism, and workforce performance. But recently, we’ve been able to tie actual numbers to this concept, making a business case for
One startling data point: 8 percent of employees who submit short-term disability claims drive in excess of 50 percent of the medical costs of that working population, according to the Integrated Benefits Institute. For many companies, especially those in industries requiring heavier work, focusing on the health of a working population and how it impacts your bottom
line is a competitive strategy.
- Some of the steps progressive companies are taking include:
- Promoting wellness programs through risk and safety efforts.
- Exploring outsourcing of absence management.
- Integrating medical, pharmacy, workers’ compensation, absence, and short term disability/long-term disability data.
Trend #5: The Cost of Our Health Is in Our Own Hands
As Washington, DC debates the political direction and details of the American healthcare system, one thing seems certain—over time, each of us will increasingly be on the line to pay for the healthcare we need.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2016, worker contribution to healthcare was $5,277—up from $2,973 in
2006. That’s a 78 percent increase in 10 years. The marketplace shift in the direction of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) is increasing. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports 29 percent of workers were enrolled in
HDHPs in 2016.
The good news is that employers are better able to mitigate healthcare cost inflation. The bad news is twofold: 1) those costs are being passed on to employees and their families, and 2) there is evidence that greater out-of-pocket costs are having a negative impact on utilization of important preventive and primary care treatments.
Read the entire white paper here.
Lockton Benefit Group’s Health Risk Solutions Practice is led by Chief Medical Officer Ron Leopold, MD, and National Program Manager Heidi Guetzkow. Joined by Health Risk Solutions Consultants in Lockton offices nationwide, their mission is to assist clients in understanding their businesses and reviewing data to determine the right goals and strategies to deploy for a healthier and less costly workforce.
Lockton is a global professional services firm with 6,500 Associates who advise clients on protecting their people, property and reputations. Lockton has grown to become the world’s largest privately held, independent insurance broker by helping clients achieve their business objectives. For eight consecutive years, Business Insurance magazine has recognized Lockton as a “Best Place to Work in Insurance.” For more information, visit www.lockton.com.