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Lower health care costs with strategy to change behavior

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in Employee Benefits Program,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Colleges and universities with the lowest health care costs also have the most productive employees, says a new survey by HR consulting firm Sibson. Here are five lessons all businesses can learn from healthy campuses:

1. Just having a wellness program
won’t lower health care costs. The healthiest organizations have wellness strategies to determine what their employees need and offer programs that target those needs.

2. Don’t bother collecting data
unless you’re going to use it. Healthy workplaces use theirs to compare the actual outcomes of their health-related programs to their desired outcomes, justify programs by showing they are effective, target individual employees for intervention and negotiate better deals with vendors.

3. General health information
isn’t relevant to your employees. They want personalized, interactive, on-demand resources, such as consumer decision-support tools, online personal health statements and electronic medical
records.

4. Managing chronic disease is cheaper than paying for it when it gets out of hand. Diabetes and heart disease are the two most common chronic conditions. How organizations help employees manage those probably indicates the overall return on investment potential of general disease-management programs.

5. Duplicating a program in two parts of an organization does not double the savings. In fact, the opposite is true: Coordinating overlapping services may lower costs. Example: Case management for health care often seeks the lowest-cost treatment without regard to the lost wages, while workers’ compensation often seeks the most aggressive treatment to minimize lost-time claims. Reconcile the two to gain the greatest benefits.

Bottom line: Get your money’s worth out of your wellness and health programs by devising a strategy to coordinate, communicate and measure the outcomes of the effort.

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