Saturday, October 10, 2009

Shifting health care costs

According to a recent story on BusinessWeek, the heavy costs of health care are shifting more towards employees. Employers will need to pay more to provide health insurance, but the burden will increase significantly more for employees. I suppose it will also really depend on how much your employer currently pays. Will your company start paying a smaller percentage of your health insurance premiums?

According to the story titled, "Health Costs: Steeper Still," we have seen employers' health care costs rise 149% since 2000. 175 million people are covered by private employers.

Perhaps the role of wellness and disease management programs will need to be re-evaluated. If a public option becomes available, I wonder if that will also include some type of wellness program. What percentage of health plans will offer formal wellness and disease management programs in 3 years? What about in 5 years?

Technology is making it more easy for patients to learn ways to improve their health and wellness. There are many personal health record (PHR) services that are freely available. Consumers can get educated about certain diseases by reading articles on reputable websites. There are web-based health programs that can guide patients to live a healthier lifestyle. Advances in mobile technology are also contributing to health and wellness initiatives.

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