Skip to comments.How Safeway Is Cutting Health-Care Costs
Posted on 06/12/2009 10:24:38 AM PDT by Ooh-Ah
Market-based solutions can reduce the national health-care bill by 40%.
Effective health-care reform must meet two objectives: 1) It must secure coverage for all Americans, and 2) it must dramatically lower the cost of health care. Health-care spending has outpaced the rise in all other consumer spending by nearly a factor of three since 1980, increasing to 18% of GDP in 2009 from 9% of GDP. This disturbing trend will not change regardless of who pays these costs -- government or the private sector -- unless we can find a way to improve the health of our citizens. Failure to do so will make American companies less competitive in the global marketplace, increase taxes, and undermine our economy.
At Safeway we believe that well-designed health-care reform, utilizing market-based solutions, can ultimately reduce our nation's health-care bill by 40%. The key to achieving these savings is health-care plans that reward healthy behavior. As a self-insured employer, Safeway designed just such a plan in 2005 and has made continuous improvements each year. The results have been remarkable. During this four-year period, we have kept our per capita health-care costs flat (that includes both the employee and the employer portion), while most American companies' costs have increased 38% over the same four years.
Safeway's plan capitalizes on two key insights gained in 2005. The first is that 70% of all health-care costs are the direct result of behavior. The second insight, which is well understood by the providers of health care, is that 74% of all costs are confined to four chronic conditions (cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity). Furthermore, 80% of cardiovascular disease and diabetes is preventable, 60% of cancers are preventable, and more than 90% of obesity is preventable.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Health stamps are the answer. The infrastructure is already in place.
“The first is that 70% of all health-care costs are the direct result of behavior. The second insight, which is well understood by the providers of health care, is that 74% of all costs are confined to four chronic conditions (cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity). Furthermore, 80% of cardiovascular disease and diabetes is preventable, 60% of cancers are preventable, and more than 90% of obesity is preventable.”
But let the government suggest this and the crap hits the fan.
And probably 98% of AIDS is preventable.
Good points in general, but the behavioral issue is tricky. How one gets by this is the tough part. I’m a soldier and I have strict height/weight and physical fitness standards. I have to pass a semi-annual physical training test and I must keep my body fat percentage below a certain level depending on my age. I have a urinalysis test at least twice a year checking my system for illegal drugs. Yes, I do all this because I’m ordered to, but the government is paying my salary. The way I see it they get to dictate the standards.
If a private insurance company and or employer wanted to do this- would there be lawsuits? Can an employer dictate how much you can weigh and how in-shape you need to be? I say if they’re paying for your healthcare benefits and paying your salary then they have this right. They should be able to choose healthy people to work for them.
Yes, I know - what about discrimination? What about the handicapped? What if your child is born with a birth defect...I get it. The military certainly discriminates. Why can’t other industries?
The article makes good points about prevention.
get government completely out of the system
Safeway is using a carrot. Government is all stick.
I think the difference is having a choice and having the government force it down your throat.
So, is safeway going to stop selling all the crap that aide’s in the development of obesity? Are they going to only sell heart healthy foods? I doubt it.
The difference is that covered employees get rebates of their premiums for being Good Kids, not denied coverage because they are Bad Kids.
We’re all going to die someday no matter what we do. These statistics make it look like we can live forever if we just do, or don’t do some things.
Some do it now. The ones I'm familiar with charge less for insurance if you choose to, basically, stay in shape. They charge you more if you decide to be a couch potato. I don't have a problem with that.
So did they keep the fat people, or fire them?
Of course they would.
Americans have been conditioned to believe that their medical care should be paid for by someone else. When it isn't, something's not right with the universe.
Try talking to your doctor about paying him in cash some time. You'll find that the prices are much different.
When I was twenty-five and in perfect health, that's exactly what I did. I worked for an employer who offered a cafeteria plan, and you got back any unspent benefit dollars. I took the catastrophic plan in case I got hit by a truck, and didn't see a doctor for several years. Now that I'm older and less healthy, I have the Real Insurance.
“Try talking to your doctor about paying him in cash some time. You’ll find that the prices are much different. “
Doctors may be one story, but hospitals are another. When my wife had her stroke I saw before insurance bills of something like $80K and settlements with insurance of around $20K. If I had not had insurance, we would have been well past broke.
Did you read the whole article? People who choose to live unhealthy lifestyles pay more for insurance, but nobody got fired and nobody got denied coverage.
They’re not dictating employee behavior, just charging less for healthier people, and letting a third party do most of the assessing without actually sharing the full results with the company (they only get the pass-fail results not the actual numbers). It’s really how insurance (all insurance) should be, if it’s provable you take more risks you should pay more money.
that still seems to put the employer into the Lifestyle Nanny business, which I am not a fan of....
Surprised that Safeway is getting away with this. I understood that their stores were all unionized.
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