We all know U.S. health care is broken. For employers the impact is that employee health care benefits are increasingly and outrageously expensive and are quickly eating away at profitability for most firms. So what is your company doing about controlling health care costs – other than waiting for the slow and uncertain process of government to fix it all for you?
Employee health benefits are considered by most employers to be a frustrating but unavoidable cost of doing business. Most employers are simply paying the increases. Many employers have found ways to save by shifting some of the increasing health care costs to employees. The impacted employees are frustrated as a result. That’s why conventional wisdom asserts that, to be an ‘Employer of Choice’, you have to provide rich (read expensive) traditional employer health insurance, requiring very little if anything out-of-pocket from employees.
A Revolutionary Approach
However, surprising new ways of re-structuring employee health benefits are changing this budget item for savvy employers from an increasingly painful cost and employee-relations problem into a cost-saving investment that dynamically benefits both employees and the company.
To understand how employee health benefits are being restructured in these new ways, consider the old familiar concept of Risk Management. According to Wikipedia (the new font of all wisdom!) “Risk Management is the discipline of identifying, monitoring and limiting risks… In businesses, risk management entails organized activity to manage uncertainty and threats and involves people following procedures and using tools in order to ensure conformance with risk-management policies.”
According to the standard ISO/DIS 31000 “cbdinflationcom — Principles and guidelines on implementation”, the process of risk management consists of several steps as follows:
1. Identification of risk in a selected domain of interest.
2. Planning the remainder of the process.
3. Mapping out the following:
- the social scope of risk management
- the identity and objectives of stakeholders
- the basis upon which risks will be evaluated, constraints.
4. Defining a framework for the activity and an agenda for identification.
5. Developing an analysis of risks involved in the process.
6. Mitigation of risks using available technological, human and organizational resources.
Based on results from new best practices in employee health benefits, using these same principles and steps to re-structure your employee health benefits will serve both you and your employees far better than the current standard approach. Traditional ‘health’ benefits are really sickness benefits, focused on providing care after health risks have led to disease. Health risks are rarely if ever even mentioned in traditional health care and wellness plan designs.