With all the news about potential health care reform in the U.S., many publications are looking more closely at the issue - and some surveys have been released looking at where medical costs are going in the next year, and how employers are dealing with the continued increases.
A recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers says that medical costs continued to grow in late 2008 and early 2009; growth in costs for 2010 is expected to be 9%, slightly lower than in previous years. Employers in the survey said they were ready to push more of these costs for health care to workers, and expect workers to take more responsibility for managing their health in 2010.
An article at Knowledge@Wharton looks at "One Way to Lower Health Costs." The author says: Pay employees to be healthy. The key, however, is to design incentive plans properly. According to the article:
"Some employers have tried to implement P4P4P (Pay for Performance for Patients) approaches, but they often design programs that miss the mark, according to Volpp. For example, an incentive program that offers employees $250 off their health insurance premium at the end of the year if they go to the gym once a week will probably fall flat. In the first place, a $250 discount off an insurance premium doesn't feel the same as a $250 check in hand. Second, people tend to focus on the present, so a small pay-off at the end of a calendar year won't be enough to inspire a couch potato to go to the gym in the dark of winter. 'Those types of incentives are very poorly designed,' Volpp said. 'How the incentive is actually delivered is really important.' "