Unhealthy behavior is costing America billions in health care expenditures, and making us less healthy as a people. Many large employers, recognizing the impact on the health of their workers and the companies’ bottom lines, offer financial incentives to their employees to exercise regularly, improve their diets, lose weight and quit smoking, among other things. Many employers cite substantial savings from these programs in their health coverage costs.
In the course of the health reform debate, the issue has arisen: which behaviors or health outcomes should be encouraged, and how large should the incentives be? The House and Senate reform bills differ on this subject. Changes supported by major employers and insurance companies are opposed by many disease advocacy groups and labor unions worried that workers and applicants with chronic conditions will be discriminated against.
What types of prevention models are working for business to keep workers healthier and restrain health costs? Are incentives that reward health outcomes more effective than those rewarding behavior change? Or do such incentives represent hidden charges for preexisting conditions?
To discuss these questions and others, the Alliance for Health Reform and AARP sponsored a December 7 briefing. Panelists were: Karen Pollitz of Georgetown University; Nancy LeaMondof AARP; Nancy Taylor, GreenbergTraurig; and Kathleen Buto of Johnson and Johnson. Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)