It’s time to make your move to start
your offensive against upward-spiraling
health care costs. As an employer, you can empower your employees to live
healthier, happier lives today and reap an
immeasurable return on your investment
“The ultimate goal of every employer
should be to have healthy employees,” says
Rachel Sapoznik, president and CEO of
Sapoznik Insurance. “Healthy employees
have stronger loyalty, morale, attendance
and productivity. Simply stated, healthy
employees equal a healthy business.”
Smart Business spoke with Sapoznik
about how employers can take a proactive
health care strategy to maintain and, in
some instances, improve the health of their
employees and businesses.
What trends do you see in health care?
Throughout the country, we are seeing a
trend toward patient education and an
emphasis on consumer awareness and
accountability. Work places, realizing the
power of a proactive approach, are offering educational opportunities like health
fairs, stress management workshops,
ergonomics training, nutrition workshops
and health-minded newsletters.
Employers are also creating incentives
for employees that take greater responsibility for their health. Some are going beyond the traditional programs that include
nutrition and smoking-cessation seminars.
Companies can now set up worksite
kiosks that can measure blood pressure
and body fat, and track employee activity
with pedometers worn throughout the day
and uploaded via computer. All of this generates an atmosphere that promotes fitness, gives employees a chance to track
and compare their own progress, and even
qualifies them for rewards and incentives
like store discounts, trips or even cash.
What impact will wellness education have on
As a result of a more proactive focus on
health care through education and employee accountability, employees will become more involved consumers of health care.
This shift toward consumerism will push
employees to understand their health care
situation and take more responsibility for
their actions. The goal is to make employees wiser consumers.
Many people will spend weeks researching a new car before making a purchase.
They’ll compare prices and study which
dealerships will offer the best pricing. The
focus is on making employees realize that
health care decisions affecting them and
their families deserve the same kind of
research and attention. Employers want
their employees to become more involved
participants in the health care process.
What is the benefit of a shift toward consumerism in health care?
Well-informed employees make better
choices when it comes to health care and
lifestyle. Empowered health care consumers will be able to make decisions
based not only on costs but also on the outcomes of specific medical procedures. Employees who choose generic alternatives of
prescription drugs can help contain skyrocketing prescription drug costs. Patients
that can select the hospitals with the best
recovery outcomes can reduce the length of their hospital stay and shorten their
Consumerism provides cost savings to
both employees and employers and a significant return in terms of illness prevention. The positive impact of the medical
expenses that don’t occur due to preventive care are not measurable but represent
real dollar savings for employers and
What role is technology playing in this shift
Technology is playing a huge role in the
shift toward consumerism in health care,
particularly when it comes to tracking and
transparency of costs. This transparency
creates a more consumer-driven approach
by allowing patients to select the service
providers with the best outcomes and documenting the costs for those services.
Carriers are migrating into member ID
cards featuring magnetic strips that record
data in real time. This tracking method
helps identify usage patterns, procedure
outcome results and costs for treatment
across entire networks. In turn, this will
help members become much more effective consumers of health care. Members
can predict what they will need to pay and,
over time, will be able to better manage
their health care budget dollars.
Why is it crucial that employers start taking a
proactive approach right now?
Employees are a company’s number one
asset. By investing in your employees’
health and helping them make wiser health
care decisions, you are benefiting them,
their families and your company.
A push toward education, prevention and
consumerism is the first step in a proactive
solution to reduce your company’s future
costs of health care today.
RACHEL SAPOZNIK is president and CEO of Sapoznik
Insurance. Reach her at [email protected] or (877) 948-8887.