For employers doing everything they can to hold the line on company health care costs, here’s a sobering thought: You may be paying more for employee healthcare than you think.
That’s because the quality of care your employees receive impacts recovery time, which in turn affects sick days and productivity. So much so that your company could be missing out on substantial savings with the wrong health plan. In fact, one organization discovered more than a $1 million difference between two plans.
Healthcare Affects Productivity
Kevin Klein, Manager, Strategic Customer Engagement at Kaiser Permanente, explains further. “Employees are going to get sick. That’s a given. And the severity of their illness will impact their productivity at work, either in terms of missing work for doctors’ appointments or sick days (absenteeism) or just not being as productive as usual while at work (presenteeism).
“The quality of care employees receive plays a big part in determining how susceptible they are to illness and how quickly they recover. A health plan’s philosophy of care has a significant financial bearing on a company’s bottom line. There’s even a cost calculator that can estimate how much.”
Compare Health Plans’ Impact on Employee Productivity
Employers can compare health plans head to head to see how they financially impact employee absenteeism, sick days, and productivity. Comparisons are produced by a special cost calculator via the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
“We use the calculator to help large companies in Washington state get a better sense of hidden health care costs,” says Klein. “There are hundreds of health plans available for comparison. Given their employee populations, employers can examine plans and see the workdays missed due to seven common chronic conditions, and what the corresponding financial impact is.”
A Case in Point: Huge Savings for One Washington Client
By way of example, one Washington state organization compared a local PPO plan with a Group Health (now Kaiser Permanente) HMO plan . The results were staggering.
“It’s one thing to say that Kaiser Permanente’s approach to preventive care and chronic disease management can save companies money,” says Klein. “It’s quite another to have that verified by an independent calculation.”