2012 Trends Survey: Billions Wasted on Unnecessary Medical Costs
A report released this year by Express Scripts has found that the greatest contributor to the more than $300 billion 2011 medical costs are modifiable health risks - just poor decision making.
The 5th Annual "9 Trends in Rx Plan Management" states that behavior driven decisions have three times the impact on healthcare costs than healthcare reform, new medications, and electronic medical records - combined.
The survey was sent to 318 individual organizations that include government, employer, union, and non-profit groups. The health plans they manage range from just 500 lives to over 50,000; sharing a common concern of engagement of members in decreasing the lifestyle choices that are currently plaguing our nation.
While only 58% of the organizations surveyed report that they currently use a wellness plan, 81% claim that they intend to offer one in the next two years to combat this obvious crisis.
"The carrot or the stick?" Respondents say that financial incentives have worked better than penalties as a way to influence member behavior. "A noteable exception, union groups are twice as likely as non-profit and government respondents to use disincentives."
Strategies that have worked to influence member behavior:
- Offering financial incentives for participation - 47%
- Using penatlies or disincentives to discourage certain behaviors - 18%
- Offering financial incentives for preferred outcomes - 11%
- None - 9%
- Offering non-financial incentives for participation - 6%
The conclusion is clear - as we resurface from the financial recession, America's health problems are still prominent and it's time to really do something about it. We must all take a step back and realize that it's our responsibility to create a workplace culture of health.