Insightful Aon Employee Health Risk Management Knowledge Capital

“(I)t will take an integrated point of view with better-aligned interests to bring sustainable solutions to all these constituents in the health care equation…organizations are looking for ways to change the way these benefits are offered by shifting more accountability to employees, helping employees change their behaviors and lowering the risk of rising costs and volatility on their bottom line.  As the sponsor of health coverage, employers are an essential connection point between health care consumers, providers, and insurers. As such, their role in transforming the health care system is critical, even as our definitions of health and its value evolve.  Part of the answer for employers lies in separating health from insurance coverage.  Employers are increasing their involvement in, and support for, services and programs that encourage and support physical and mental well-being, while also pushing health plans to provide better advocacy, coaching, absence management, and patient support to those who are ill.

In the future, many employers may focus their role to that of financier and facilitator.  This new perspective impacts how businesses look at every aspect of their health and health benefit strategies, including the ways they can leverage data and partnerships to reshape their role, empower consumers, support patients, and minimize costs…

The ways we pay for care are transforming as well.  As the industry focus shifts to delivering higher-quality care at a lower cost, pay-for-performance models are transforming the revenue models of hospitals and health systems from fee-for-service to payment for outcomes.

Consumer interest is growing for transparency in both price and quality, and this is a thriving growth area for both traditional care organizations and new entrants.  Recently Medicare announced that it will start providing detailed information about what it pays individual physicians, despite long-standing resistance from the American Medical Association and other industry groups.  With health care costs at their highest levels already, there is no new money to add to the system.  That means cost-related changes will create winners and losers within the health care system.  For example, if primary care physicians start getting paid for delivery of health improvement, the specialists and hospitals that used to treat the same patients for chronic conditions will see a decline over time.  Medicare and the major health plans are all approaching the payment question differently. But since providers cannot deliver care differently based on the payer, one model will ultimately win out. In the near term, though, this uncertainty creates significant financial risk, especially for hospitals and large health systems. It will require new industry approaches to risk mitigation and insurance…

Broadening our definition of health beyond insurance is imperative.  Employers are now spending more time and resources to focus on creating a healthy culture and positive experience for employees. Employers are helping employees navigate the new health ecosystem more effectively and contributing not only to health insurance but also to overall well-being.  While well-being may be the new catchphrase, it is strongly linked to health and performance.

Aon recently completed a detailed analysis for a large global company and found that employees with strong overall well-being were nearly six times more likely to be engaged in their jobs than those at risk for adverse health conditions.  Our engagement research shows that an engagement score improvement of even 10 percent can yield up to 27 percent growth in total operating income.

Engaged employees also have 46 percent fewer unhealthy days as a result of physical or mental illness and are 39 percent less likely to be diagnosed with a new disease in the next year.  As a result, organizations need to view health as a continuous cycle, with different experiences, and therefore different needs, for individuals at different points on the cycle…” –

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