A similar phrase may come to mind as you think of health care management…which is different from yesterday…and completely different from what it will be tomorrow. Like Health Care Reform, managing health care is constantly on the move and my favorite childhood phrase of “It isn’t my fault” or “I didn’t know” will not be IRS compliant.
With every challenge comes an opportunity, and many of us have yet to see the opportunity in Health Care Reform…understandably. However, promoting consumer driven health care is a huge opportunity for all of us—imploring consumers to engage and be smart shoppers. Why shouldn’t I “disengage” once I hit my deductible? Why should I visit “MRI’s R’ Us” rather than “Show me the $ Medical Center” to get an MRI? Cost differentiation of that particular procedure could be in excess of $1,200—take it to the bank!
Employers and employees alike need to ask, “Where does my opportunity in Health Care Reform lie?” Does my opportunity lie in the public or private exchange? Perhaps you are in the 30% of employers who would gain economically from dropping employer-sponsored coverage—even if you completely compensated employees for the change through other benefit offerings or higher salaries. I believe that employers will not have to provide 100 percent of the value of the lost insurance. McKinsey & Company’s study of more than 1,300 employers across industries, geographies, and employer sizes found that contrary to what many employers assume, more than 85 percent of employees would remain at their jobs even if their employer stopped offering employer-sponsored coverage, although about 60 percent would expect increased compensation. And what do those employees do with that extra compensation? Approximately 70 percent of employees select a less expensive health plan when given a subsidy and the opportunity to choose their own plan.
Regardless of the continued delays and all the uncertainty, we can be poised for the road ahead. Opportunity in health care reform surrounds us all. What is your role? How are you going capitalize? As an employer, your competitive advantage in the marketplace is relying on your ability to understand and create solutions for your existing and upcoming talent. As a consumer, health care reform is going to positively impact your personal economy and how you value coverage—enjoy the ride!
Vice President, Willis of Tennessee