Talking to your employees about health care is huge opportunity to connect with and support them and share your philosophy. Too many CEOs miss this opportunity by viewing health care as an “employee benefit” and necessary evil and delegate anything to do with it to HR or worse yet they outsource it.
Health care is such a personal topic it’s an ideal opportunity to talk with employees and share common needs, desires and concerns.
As a country, we can’t afford to spend what we do on health care. Yet, who is going to say enough and where is do we start? Business leaders have a huge role to play in the solution to this national problem and to support the employees for which they are stewards.
Yesterday, I heard a friend, HMO pioneer, author and healthcare industry consultant, Steve Hyde give some simple and effective solutions to runaway health care costs. His ideas help business owners and managers stay ahead of what’s coming in 2014 under health care reform.
The main principle Hyde talked about was increasing the awareness of what people spend on health care. The only way to do this is eliminate the low-deductible, low co-pay insurance programs most businesses offer (and contribute some or all the premium for) their employees. If you are self-employed and have a similar plan-drop it.
In its place, Hyde recomends offering a high-deductible policy and a companion Health Savings Account. Businesses. Such a strategy will yield big savings in the form of lower premiums. Instead of pocketing the savings Hyde recommends funding employees’ HSAs. This will give them money to pay for the increased out-of-pockets that come with high-deductible plans. What I love about this strategy is that because employees are paying cash for all but major expenses (what insurance is really for anyway) they will become more engaged consumers of health care services. A more savvy buyer forces efficiencies in the market.
If business leaders make this policy shift now it will prepare employees for what is coming in a few years. When high-deductible/HSAs become the standard, many people will be unprepared because they will have a high deductible and a zero balance in their new HSA. This will be just one of the things people will have to adjust to as the health care problem is addressed.
Next I’ll talk about incentives to stay healthy – another great way to care for your employees.