Report Highlights Employers' Efforts To Reduce Health Care Costs

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Summaries of several efforts by employers to reduce healthinsurance costs appear below.

  • Employee health: "Enterprising employers are investing\tin the health of their employees and realizing less acute care,\tdisability and lower general health care costs," with such\tinvestments also likely to promote "better employee morale and\tretention rates," the Miami\tHerald reports. "Senior level executives are role\tmodels for their programs, because without a corporate culture that\tvalues good health and actively promotes it, few employees are\tlikely to take ownership of their health issues," according to\tthe Herald (Cole, Miami Herald, 12/31/07).

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    Health plans: This year is "likely to see an expansion\tin health plans that cater to individuals who can't afford their\temployer-sponsored insurance; an employer-driven focus on fitness\tand healthy lifestyles in the workplace; and consolidations among\thealth care companies" as part of an effort to reduce costs,\taccording to experts, the Denver\tPost reports. In addition, U.S. residents this year "can\texpect to see the emergence of philosophies for reforming health\tcare in this country" from presidential candidates,\t"particularly for the millions who have no insurance"\t(Rouse, Denver Post, 12/29/07).

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  • Smoking: An increased number of employers have begun to ban\tsmoking on their properties and promote smoking cessation programs\tas part of an effort to reduce health insurance costs, the Orlando\tSentinel reports. In addition, some employers have\tconsidered an increase in health insurance premiums for employees\twho smoke (Wessel, Orlando Sentinel, 12/24/07).

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  • Wellness programs: An increased number of employers have\tbegun "looking to control health costs by implementing creative\twellness programs that reward employees for improving their health,"\tthe Wichita Eagle\treports. According to experts, health insurance costs for employers\tdoubled from 1990 to 2001 and likely will double a second time by\t2012. Experts maintain that popular wellness programs can\tsignificantly reduce health insurance costs for employers. The Eagle\tprofiles a wellness program offered by Stinson\tMorrison Hecker -- a regional law firm with 780 employees and\theadquarters in Kansas City, Mo. -- in which workers who participate\tcan receive between $75 and $250 annually (Atwater, Wichita\tEagle, 1/3).

Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily Health Policy Report, search the archives, andsign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report ispublished for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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