“To save on health care costs, the first step is to educate employees on how to use it, when to use it, and why to use it,” said Daniel B. Russell Sr., president of Chorus HR Group at the Middle Market Forum on Managing Health Care Costs.
At this Detroit Regional Chamber event on April 17 at the Detroit Golf Club, a keynote speaker and panel of diverse leaders shared insights with regional business leaders on how to save on inflating health care costs.
Atheer Kaddis, vice president of pharmacy services for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan delivered a keynote discussion on trends in the pharmacy market. He focused on some strategies employers and providers can use to save on increasing prescription drug expenditures.
A few examples Kaddis provided include using biosimilars, an almost identical copy of a drug produced by a different company and often available at a lower cost, instead of name brand drugs. Kaddis did advise, however, that the use of biosimilars does require physician involvement before a prescription can be written.
Following this keynote presentation, a panel of experts representing diverse viewpoints on health care provided their tips for saving on health care costs.
Joining the panel was Michelle Costa, regional HR director of North/South America for SMR Automotive Systems USA Inc.; Dr. Stephenie Lucas, medical director of the Diabetes Treatment Center; and Daniel B. Russell Sr., president of Chorus HR Group. This panel was moderated by Bob Riney, president of healthcare operations and chief operating officer of Henry Ford Health Systems.
Key strategies that were shared during this discussion:
- Get in front of your employees and have discussions with them on their benefits. If they don’t know what benefits are available to them, they won’t use them.
- Develop innovative approaches for your company that show that you truly stand behind supporting a healthy workplace. For example, Henry Ford Health Systems provides support to current employees who smoke to help them quit.
- Be transparent with your employees about the costs you accumulate managing their health care.
- Educate employees on virtual care as an easier, faster option for receiving care on certain conditions. Riney shared that when patients can schedule their own appointments, there is less than a 1% no-show rate, versus a 20-30% no-show rate when a doctor schedules an appointment for patients.
- Empower patients to take their health into their own hands. Connect employees with organizations or spaces in the community where they can receive the support they need.
- Live the healthy lifestyle you are encouraging your employees to live. Encourage standing or walking meetings and provide healthy snacks to employees.