I recently attended the Business NH Health Care Summit in Manchester - an event and topic that interests me greatly, thanks to my role as program director of the Granite State College Bachelors degree in Health Care Management. The New England Director of the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Christi Hager, delivered the keynote where she discussed what has transpired since Health Care Reform was introduced and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Many businesses and agencies were represented at the conference and all are grappling with the high cost of health care benefits. Small companies tend to pay 18% more in premiums than larger corporations resulting in them being a third less likely to offer insurance. The State Based Insurance Exchange will make coverage more affordable for small businesses and is slated to be available in 2014.
We learned that New Hampshire has one of the highest quality health care delivery systems in the country and has the highest rate of private insurance coverage at 72%.
A panel consisting of HR representatives from a large corporation and a small business, a physician, the president of NH Hospital Association, a representative from AARP, and someone from Harvard Pilgrim N.E. answered questions and discussed emerging trends. Health care costs have lead to a trend in companies and insurance agencies to promote wellness among their employees. These initiatives range from discounts on health club memberships, sport teams, onsite health professionals, onsite fitness centers, regular safety assessments, smoke-free workplaces, walking clubs, and preventative care, to free health coach consultations from insurance providers. The bottom line is that to control health care costs, companies need to embrace wellness programs.
How do you get started?
- Get connected with your HR department
- Form a wellness committee
- Connect with other business – find out what they’ve done and set benchmarks
- Create the infrastructure to support the initiative and promote cultural transformation
- Develop an action plan – get data- build collaboration
- Get to know your co-workers/employees
- Investigate what support your insurer may provide
- Develop partnership with local pharmacist to assist with education in the workplace
- Go to: http://healthaffairs.org/