|By PYRILLIS, RITA|
THE BOTTOM LINES
* The health care system is changing, and employers are leading the way with tools to manage costs and improve worker health.
* Employers must shift their focus from cost cutting to spending wisely on medical services.
* Offering essential medical care, like health screenings, at low or no cost to employees is key.
In 1929 when
But with health care reform unfolding and no end in sight to soaring medical costs, the future of employer-based health plans is unclear. Dramatic changes are under way, and employers are playing a key role in transforming health care delivery. Some are reluctant innovators and others are eager trailblazers, but most have little choice but to roll up their sleeves and look for solutions to a crisis that is threatening their bottom lines and the country's economy. With national health care spending at
While politicians and pundits debate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as the ACA, a growing number of employers are forging their own version of reform one workplace at a time. It's a movement that some call "DIY," or "do-it-yourself," health care reform. "Employers are now in the business of population health management, so, yes, they have a sense of urgency," says
Employers are turning to an array of approaches from disease management programs to on-site clinics, direct primary care, value-based medicine and predictive modeling--and many are seeing dramatic reductions in costs and other improvements.
This approach also helped
"I've been in the benefits business for 30 years, and for the first time I see change among all stakeholders at the same time: carriers, hospitals, employers are experimenting with all different approaches," says benefits consultant
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