Great communication is a key to success. The Bravo Connection is our monthly newsletter that is focused on keeping you informed about important and relevant topics in the outcomes-based wellness industry. Insights are offered through an editorial by Bravo’s Founder and CEO Jim Pshock, who remains on the forefront of changes and trends in the industry. Subscribe to the Bravo Connection today!
Employers looking to trim employee health costs have a growing problem on their hands — and around their waists: employee obesity. A recent Mayo Clinic study revealed obese employees cost their employer almost $600 a year more than employees with other unhealthy habits, primarily smoking.
Smokers’ healthcare costs are $1,275 higher than non-smokers.
Obese people's healthcare costs are $1,850 higher than healthy weight individuals.
Morbidly obese individuals cost an extra $5,500 per year.
Effective appeals administration is a vital part of the success and compliance of any result-based wellness program. Bravo administers appeals and provides alternatives if it is medically inadvisable or unreasonably difficult due to a medical condition for a participant to meet a goal. In many cases, employers also allow alternatives in the absence of a medical issue. The key is to get each participant’s attention and help them manage what they should be able to control. We work with each individual and their own healthcare provider to determine a progress-based goal that is reasonable for them.
Why are progress goals such an important part of any results-based wellness program?
Progress goals can easily be integrated into your existing wellness program, and are a part of the Bravo recommended three year plan of participation, progress and results if you are looking to implement a new wellness program. The key is good communication with your participants to make sure they understand what a progress goal is and how it can benefit them as they work towards a healthier lifestyle and lower healthcare costs.
Celebrating my 20th year in the health insurance business this year, I continue to marvel at how the more things change, the more they stay the same. It seems that every time there is a creative breakthrough in health plan design there is an escalation in treatment costs or a new therapy that devours any plan savings generated by aggressive measures. While we are overjoyed that a new treatment may have saved a life or offered the hope of a better quality of life for a member, we battle year after year to find a way to negate the cost of healthcare trending 5 times the rate of inflation. At the end of the day, we’re back to cost-shifting. “Here’s a little bit less coverage for a little bit more money.” Sound familiar?
Undoubtedly any organization considering launching a results-based wellness program gives serious deliberation time to the question “How are my employees going to react to this?” There is no question that the allure of reducing health benefit costs by 8 – 12% is significant, particularly in today’s economic environment – but really… can you survive telling your employees that if they are obese and/or they smoke – they are going to pay more than their skinny tobacco free co-worker? Many benefits professionals tremble at the very thought of it! Truthfully, every organization needs to carefully think through this issue. Here are a few items to be aware of as you consider the pros and cons for a successful wellness incentive program: