Ways to Lower Your Benefit Costs

A new study of nearly 20,000 patients of all ages shows that the flu vaccine is a statistical success in curbing the often-troublesome, sometimes-dangerous influenza disease. The study, done by CVS Caremark, found that hospital visits related to pneumonia and influenza went down 24% for people who received the immunization. What’s more, overall hospital visits went down nearly 20% among the vaccinated group.

Colder weather is on the way, and flu season, as always, is right behind it. The above evidence shows that the flu vaccine works. With the flu vaccine, you can keep your family healthy and out of the hospital this winter, especially if someone you know suffers from chronic conditions like diabetes, heart failure, or asthma.

Flu vaccinations are inexpensive and easy to come by. The flu season started this month, so now is the time to receive your flu shot if you have not yet. Talk to your HR manager about where you can get a flu vaccination to help insure yourself against a cold that doesn’t need to be so common.


BenefitsVIP.com has some useful insider information that shows just why companies are implementing more wellness programs and urging their employees to lead healthier lives and lifestyles.

A new report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH for short) shows that prevention programs could save the United States over $16 billion in just five years’ time. The average return on investment for healthcare payers, from Medicare to private payers, is over 5 to 1. A $100,000 investment by a company is, on average, saving the company over half a million dollars!

Wellness programs implemented to stop common life-threatening conditions like heart disease and stroke are effective enough to reduce cases five percent in five years. Diabetes-prevention programs, a useful tool in a time when over 24 million Americans suffer from Type II diabetes, reduce cases five percent in only two years!

People are always saying that the cost of healthcare is a tough pill to swallow. The information in this TFAH report shows that living a healthier lifestyle makes that pill easier to take. Employers are heeding this advice. More companies than ever are going to start using disease management and wellness programs.

And it pays to start your path too wellness on your own. You can avoid leg-pulling from your boss by learning how to eat right, getting enough exercise and quitting the habits you know are bad for you. This helps you feel even better; overall it creates an even bigger return on investment, which means there’s more money saved on healthcare to go around for other things!

An article coming out of Philly’s own NBC10 talks about how doctors are passing judgment on health insurers based on how quickly and accurately they are paid for claims.

This reveals that waste exists in just about every deal these carriers make, whether they are dealing with claims (we the liable) or with the healers. Though this report will probably not make anyone shout that a doctor is getting put down by the man, we should all be happy that more inroads are being made into cutting through the excess of business with big healthcare companies.

One way to cut through the mess of claims, of course, is to cut down on claims. Going to checkups and living healthier lifestyles will prevent many illnesses and take a burden off the backs of doctors and
carriers alike. So not only will you be in better shape after taking the hands-on approach to your healthcare, but you’ll get that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from doing altruistic deeds.

If need be, think of big healthcare as a whale – so you can “save the whales!”

In order to lower your healthcare costs and contributions, all employees need to take better care of themselves, go to proper quality doctors, and take prescription medication as prescribed.

As we all know, health insurance costs in the United States continue to grow at a rate far greater than inflation! What you may not know, however, is that the healthcare premiums your employer pays may or will increase dramatically.

As an organization, it has been your employers’ objective to provide employees and their families with affordable, quality health insurance coverage.

We thought it was important that you had a little understating of health insurance premiums. We wanted to share some fact with you so you understand why premiums are so high. It’s not just that the health insurance companies make a lot of money: and it’s no longer a case that doctors and hospitals make that much money. Your employers’ group costs are based on the claims of our employees and their families. The healthier the employee group is, the lower our costs will be. If we really want to lower our healthcare costs and contributions we need to take better care of ourselves, go to proper quality doctors, and take prescription medications as prescribed.

The healthier our group is, the lower our costs will be.

Recently, Corporate Synergies completed a root-cause analysis on a potential clients experience to understand why they were paying high costs for insurance; the results were surprising to upper management:

  • Among their covered employees and their dependents 327 people were NOT taking their medications – important drugs – as they were prescribed.
  • 158 people are taking “duplicate therapy” – two drugs that essentially do the same thing and when taken together, create medical problems for those individuals.
  • 30 people are taking medication prescribed by different physicians that will seriously and adversely impact their health. Two people are taking medication that interacts so badly, it may kill them.
  • Over 20 people in the next two years will have an inpatient cardiovascular event (heart attack) that most likely could be averted today! That’s out of the 87 people that were identified to have cardiovascular disease.
  • At least 420 people have diabetes.

We want you to live long healthy lives with affordable health insurance costs. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please also pass this on to your spouse. It is important that everybody support each other in this endeavor to control claims’ costs and our health.

A whopping three quarters of Americans admit to not always taking their prescription medicines as directed, according to a report by the National Council on Patient Information and Education.  By not taking your medicines as their doctor intended will not help you get better and you may even become worse.  This will impact your out of pocket costs and has a direct correlation to your employee benefit costs.  Patients commonly fail to take their medications as directed, leading to unnecessary hospital admissions and even death, costing the health care system as much as $177 billion a year. Patient adherence to any medical treatment program is necessary in order to achieve high-quality and cost-effective health care.  Don’t be embarrassed to ask for clarification and you should not leave the doctor’s office or pharmacy without knowing the answers to the following questions:

  • How severe is my medical problem?
  • What are my goals to control this medical problem?
  • How often do I need to take this medicine?
  • What are the risks if I do not take my medicine as directed?
  • What are the common side effects and what can I do to control these side effects so I can keep taking the medicine?
  • Are there any prescription or over-the-counter medicines or herbal products that I should avoid?
  • What should I do if I forget to take my medicine?
  • How can I get help if I cannot afford my medicine?
  • Can I save money on my co-pay by getting a “splitable” pill?

Be honest with your doctor.  Discuss any allergies or problems you’ve had with a medication before.  Also, give a rundown of all the medication you’re taking – prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal.  Also, smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol may change the way your medicines work, so inform your doctor on these types of habits.  Give your medications a checkup.  Store your medicines in a cool, dark and dry place, and examine them at least once per year.

  • Look at expiration dates and throw away any medicines past their expiration dates.
  • Throw out medications that have changed color formed a residue or developed a peculiar odor.
  • Throw away any capsules that have opened.
  • Discard any drugs with a missing or unreadable label on the bottle.
  • Never take another person’s prescription.

Is your colleague taking their medicine as prescribed?  Are they getting the preventive care so you don’t have to pay more for your medical benefits?