Of all the different expenses a business must pay, employee health care continues to be one of the highest. While there's the direct cost of contributions toward employee health care coverage that most employers make, there's also the indirect cost of sick workers.
Health care is especially difficult to cover during a time of rising health care costs. According to the Milliman Medical Index, the typical health care plan offered by employers for a family of four will average $28,166 in 2018—an increase of more than $3,000 since 2016. In most cases, employers and employees both contribute to the total cost of these plans.
As costs continue to rise, employers must find ways to combat the high price of health care while helping employees stay healthy. Here are six effective ways to do just that.
1. Increase accessibility
When you make primary care more accessible for your employees, you enable them to handle possible health problems quickly and routinely. before more severe (and more expensive) care is needed.
2. Create a system for disease management
Even if good health practices are prescribed by physicians and other medical professionals, this doesn't mean they're always followed. Create programs that remind people to schedule check-ups, take their medications and maintain good health. An ounce of prevention can help avoid expensive health care problems down the road.
3. Provide guidance and support
Make sure your HR department provides employees with the guidance and support they need to navigate confusing health care systems and to understand their options, coverages and costs. Employees can then become more empowered about their health—saving you on health care costs.
4. Institute lifestyle-management solutions
It's no secret that factors like lack of exercise, obesity and smoking lead to increased chances of disease and expensive medical bills. You can reduce these costs over the long-term by encouraging employees to participate in action-oriented programs that will help them change unhealthy behaviors. Such programs include stress management, weight loss or quitting smoking.
5. Review results
If you have lifestyle or wellness programs in place, it's important to know how they are performing. Measure employee weight loss, levels of activity and other selected health statistics to ensure your program is effective. If the results aren't significant, then try something else.
6. Focus on education
Why wait for medical problems to arise when they can be avoided in the first place? By empowering and engaging your workers with useful information about their health, you can give them the tools they need to care for their well-being.
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