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Fixin' Healthcare

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Transformation Of Healthcare- Try It, You'll Like It

Most large companies are self-insured. This gives them incentive and flexibility to initiate activities intended to decrease health care cost and improve health status. Many companies are achieving early success by designing health programs based upon prevention and disease management.

Two years ago the supermarket company, Safeway, Inc., recognized that 50 to 60 percent of health care costs are driven by behavior. They decided to design and implement a health care plan that rewards good behavior. The Safeway plan brings together most of the best practices for encouraging employees to pursue healthy behavior. Health coverage costs for employees enrolled in the new plan fell 11 percent in the first year of operation (2006).

Unions have resisted health plans with cost-sharing features but the international president of the United Food and Commericial credits Safeway with trying to do more than just shift costs to workers. "This is more about the way health care is delivered and particularly about the behavior of individuals. [It] might not be the solution, but it's a different look that has the possibility of working."

What needs to be done may not be rocket science, but implementation to achieve sustained success is more than rocket science. It would beeeeee transforming.

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