Employers should be the true catalyst for healthcare reform
12th August 2011 · 0 Comments
There’s still a lot of confusion when it comes to the impending healthcare reform and exactly what the effects are going to be on the system. One thing is for certain though–the legislation only addresses issues around access and not cost containment.
Healthcare spending on an annual basis continues to rise at nearly 10 percent, and I believe that most employers have accepted that this is the trend with very little that they can do about it. Many have instituted wellness programs, installed fitness centers, and provided better access to healthy food choices for their employees. They encourage the use of retail clinics for basic care, and some have even built on-site clinics for that purpose.
All of these initiatives are positive and overall, they do help to lower the demand for care (and produce a more productive work force). But it’s not enough in terms of truly gaining a handle on the costs.
Despite these best efforts, healthcare costs continue to spiral, and it should be a wake-up call, especially for employers with self-funded plans. They are the ones that are uniquely positioned to lead reform in the healthcare system because they have the ability and the motive.
It’s hard to believe that companies will negotiate to the penny for the amount that they will spend on pencils and pens, but when it comes to healthcare, they just write the checks–because that’s what it costs, right?
Because most self-insured employers have historically outsourced the design and administration of health plans to third parties, they have lost much of their ability to negotiate pricing–but that trend is changing. Many self-insured employers don’t realize that there are ways to bypass their health plans and negotiate directly with providers on specific procedures. And since over half of the health plans in the United States are provided by self-insured employers, together they have the buying power to drive real change in how such plans are designed and administered.
Employer Direct Healthcare provides a platform for self-funded employers to negotiate directly with providers for planned medical procedures on a nationwide scale and also allows them to collaborate with other employers to truly exert their influence on the system.
This new business model injects competition back into the system creating greater efficiency, lower costs, and better innovation from the healthcare system as a whole. Everyone will benefit as a result.