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Calculating Healthcare Savings for Employers and Employees

By Daniel J. Birach, President, HEALTHWORKS Division, Carolinas HealthCare System

With employer healthcare costs steadily on the rise, companies across the country are examining which steps can be taken to reduce expenses. A handful of key choices — including addressing chronic health conditions among employees and providing access to optimal medical care resources — can have a substantial impact on an employer’s bottom line without simply shifting the additional cost to employees.

Healthcare in the workplace is not just about premiums and encouraging employees to exercise. It is about arming employers with the tools and strategies to provide the best possible care to their employees. Employers have to research and negotiate multiple plan options based on their fluctuating employee base, develop programs that address a wide variety of mental and physical challenges, and do so while addressing significant cost increases every year.

As employers address the root of rising healthcare costs, some employees will see changes to their company benefits package. These adjustments can mean substantial savings for both the employer and employee.

Dollars and Sense

There are financial benefits to addressing the source of employee health problems. These are a few examples of the savings found by employers who took a proactive approach to healthcare with HEALTHWORKS.

  • A local municipality engaged its workforce in regular health screenings and coaching. As a result:
    • Employees lowered glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
    • Avoidable ER visits decreased.
    • The average waist circumference of the workforce was reduced.
    • For every dollar spent, the employer enjoyed $1.15-2.57 in benefits, as a result of improving the health of their employees.
  • A large manufacturer in the region provided access to care for 1,264 employees through on-site health clinics, along with medical screenings and chronic care management.
    • Medical claims were reduced by 17%.
    • Key health markers, such as HgA1c, cholesterol and blood pressure all dropped.
    • The company saved $1.8 million annually.

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Benefits to Employees

These types of cost-saving measures are a win-win for both employer and employee. While the business saves on expenses, employees get assistance addressing their own health issues in an efficient, personalized environment.

  • One-on-one health coaching provides each employee with a partner to help address, treat and monitor chronic issues that their primary care physician may not be able to track with such frequency. By forging personal relationships in a one-on-one environment, it becomes easier to establish direct accountability.
  • On-site care clinics and pharmacies make it a breeze to see a medical expert, eliminating the need to travel across town in the middle of the day for a checkup, or wait in line at the pharmacy after work for a prescription.
  • Regular health screenings make it easier to diagnose health conditions before they intensify, as well as treat and monitor illnesses once they occur.
  • Tying participation in these programs to financial incentives lets employees share in the cost savings.

Building A Culture of Health

Employers need to help ensure their employees are engaged by building a culture of health with resources and communications that engage their workforce. Some key items for engaging employees include:

  • Instituting health-promoting policies such as no smoking at the worksite and offering healthy foods at company meetings.
  • Identifying employee health champions to help spread the message and encourage the program’s reach.
  • Leading by example in a visible and sincere way by encouraging employees to participate in on-site wellness programs.

To find out more information about how company wellness benefits an employer’s bottom line, click here to download the HEALTHWORKS Healthcare ROI Infographic.

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