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8 ways to help employees cut their own health care costs

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in Employee Benefits Program,HR Management,Human Resources

Use in HR Weekly -- 6/12/07

Shifting some health care costs to employees can help control an organization’s ballooning expenses, but it doesn’t make employees healthier or reduce their need for services.

Help your organization progress down the path toward employee engagement by using these eight tips from the Principal Financial Group:

  1. Create a culture of wellness. Offering on-site health screenings and weight-loss programs, or rewarding employees for their healthy behaviors, can whittle health care costs.
  2. Develop a baseline. Conduct initial health screenings to develop a baseline for metrics like cholesterol, blood pressure and weight so you can evaluate the program’s effectiveness by tracking the data. Screenings also can catch serious health problems.
  3. Manage employee diseases. Chronically ill employees who receive personal, ongoing guidance from a health adviser or coach tend to understand their illnesses better and are more apt to take control of their conditions.
  4. Work with new employees. Arranging one-on-one meetings between new hires and a member of the HR staff can help employees select the right health care plan for their needs and ensure a proper introduction to the organization’s “culture of wellness.”
  5. Communicate with employees about health care costs. Most don’t have any idea how much your organization pays for their health care benefits— or how their health affects the cost of the plan.
  6. Meet regularly with your broker and medical insurance carrier. Frequent reviews of the plan can help you keep tabs on costs, identify problems early and enlist your carrier’s help with new wellness efforts.
  7. Cover preventive care. It’s usually cheaper to prevent an illness than to cure one.
  8. Tailor plans to the needs of employees. Employees’ needs change as they age, start families and approach retirement. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to health coverage. 

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