Human Resources News & Insights

2 New Places To Uncover Health Savings

Separate studies have uncovered two new things employers should be doing that can start saving them big bucks on healthcare costs.

They are:

1. Helping the aging retire on time

It’s no secret employees are planning to retire later. That may be better for workers’ 401(k)s, but it’s bad news for your health plan.

After analyzing its client data, Lockton Retirement Services found healthcare costs for employees over the age of 65 are more than double that of employees age 45 to 55.

In addition, a National Council on Compensation Insurance study found the average claim costs for older employees hurt in a work-related accident were more than twice as high as claim costs for younger workers ($27,000 v. $12,000 on average).

The solutions: Help employees improve their retirement outlook — whether it’s by reinstating or upping a 401(k) match, or providing more retirement or investment education.

The long-term savings of such programs could vastly outweigh the short-term costs.

2. Provide urgent care education

Trips to the emergency room aren’t cheap. But when employees seek spur-of-the-moment medical treatment, or treatment during odd hours (like early in the morning or late at night), the emergency room is where they often turn.

One reason: They are unaware that they could be using less-expensive urgent care facilities instead.

A new survey conducted by Evive Health, in conjunction with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, found 40% of employees had never used or were familiar with urgent care facilities.

The survey showed many employees are under the impression that urgent care facilities have limited hours, are not convenient and are not equipped with diagnostic equipment — like X-ray machines.

In addition, 37% of the 200 individuals surveyed believed that ERs provide better quality of care. But of those who’ve actually been to an urgent care center, 63% said they’d go back.

The report issued by Evive also pointed to a 2010 study published in Health Affairs that estimated that anywhere from 13.7% to 27.1% of all emergency room visits could take place at an alternate treatment site — like an urgent care facility — potentially saving employers $4.4 billion annually.

Takeaway: If you haven’t done so already, it may be time to educate employees on the use of urgent care facilities, as well as provide them with info on nearby urgent care centers.

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  1. Personally, being 61, an exerciser, a healthy eater, perfect weight, great medical test results, I find all these articles about older people costing more for medical care is annoying. Tell me a 20 year old, who is overweight, eats fried, fatty, high calorie meals, who never excercises, is costing an insurance company less that me (or other healthy “older” people).

  2. Perhaps employers should be looking at health care in another manner. Why can’t employees 65 and over sign up for Medicare Parts A and B, with an offer of supplemental insurance. It would be less expensive for employers as well as their over 65 employees.

  3. Our employees over 65 DO sign up for Medicare. @annoyed….A fat, lazy 20 year old won’t go to the doctor because they haven’t learned to know how to recognize problems that should be addressed or they just don’t have insurance and can’t afford it. That accounts for zero cost and your annual wellness check still costs more.

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