Employees will shoulder a greater portion of 2010 health care costs according to recent reports from two major consulting companies, Towers Perrin and Hewitt Associates.
Increases in employee health care costs are outpacing wage increases, making health care even less affordable. Employers are addressing this issue with initiatives in disease management and wellness. Towers Perrin found that the companies who were successful in managing their workers health decreased annual per-employee costs by as much as $1,800. With the increase in employers focusing on population health management strategies, more data will emerge enabling us to refine these dollar figures and better inform employer DM and wellness investment strategies. I believe companies should look beyond medical costs alone and also at the impact of health benefit programs on employee productivity and overall well-being. Well-planned measurement now (surveys, gaps in care tracking, etc.) is an important step toward ensuring effective future health benefit programs in the future.
The good news is that the number of employers targeting problematic health conditions has increased 50% from just one year ago, according to Hewitt. Towers Perrin reports that over 50% of all employers will offer wellness programs within the next three years, up from 30% now.