Headline: The Future of Healthcare is Completely Sane
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Here’s the sad truth: (1) Healthcare costs in the US continue to rise and (2) the quality of care we receive is subpar to other first-world countries. For some insane reason, year after year, when it comes time to renew their healthcare programs, companies across the nation simply rubber-stamp the policies they have, accept the increases, and settle for low-quality care. This is crazy.
For most companies, healthcare is the third largest expense after payroll, and while executives manage other budget items down to the hundredths of a percent, most don’t push back when their group health premiums rise 5% to 30% every year. This is completely absurd.
Even those who decide to switch insurers can’t be sure they’re getting a good deal. Any “discounts” they are offered are just small reductions of the already inflated prices. Even worse is they sell you on the rationale that they’re creating “savings” for you by lowering your rate increase. You’re told that instead of 12%, they’ll cut it to 7%, thus delivering a 5% savings. Huh? Savings are created when less money is spent. If your rate goes up by the discounted 7% rate, you’re still spending more than in the past year. It’s simple math, yet companies continue to buy into the insanity.
Many companies maintain this status quo because, well, it’s the status quo. Big companies feel comfortable being backed by big insurance agencies, despite the ever-rising cost and lackluster care. Smaller businesses, on the other hand, feel they need to offer enticing benefits to attract the talent they need to grow — and what looks better on paper than an insurance provider with a national footprint and a gigantic provider network?
However, what looks good on paper is not necessarily what’s best for employees, employers, or the bottom line. There are smarter, less expensive options that offer higher quality care. There are well-known strategies that few companies take advantage of today. Thankfully, the times are changing. The president of General Motors North America famously announced in 2004 that GM spent more on healthcare than steel. It took the automaker over 12 years to figure out a solution to their healthcare spend problem.
Today, healthcare advisors armed with the right knowledge and tools can access and analyze insurance financial reports to gain a full understanding of a company’s healthcare usage and costs. They can identify opportunities to create savings, help negotiate better, less expensive healthcare plans, and provide guidance on making the move to a self-funded plan.
Companies don’t have to accept the status quo anymore — we don’t have to accept this insane system of healthcare delivery in the U.S. Armed with the information they need and a clear understanding of their options, companies can gain control over their healthcare costs while ensuring employees higher quality of care.