Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work

An article was recently posted on entitled "Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work." The article confirms what we already know and promote at Herbruck Alder “Wellness Works." At Herbruck Alder we realize that one wellness solution does not fit all organizations. If you would like to learn more about a customized wellness program though Herbruck Alder Health Advocates please contact us at 216-623-2600 or

Click here to view article.

Chris Herbruck,

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

National Health Reform cont.

I’ve reserved my comments of late wanting to give our elected officials the opportunity to legislate national health reform based upon our stated needs -- better access and lower cost.

Based upon what I have read in various articles and have heard from various “news” programs, the legislators seem to have lost their way. If quality is to remain, costs are best controlled with competition, not price controls. A public option is, in my opinion, more likely to discourage the marketplace and looks more like a Trojan Horse for a single payer system.
Here are a few suggestions to provide access to all and yet keep costs within reach:

  1. Open markets. Repeal laws that require insured plans to be controlled by each state. Large self-funded employers have special treatment which avoids state law through a “national” exemption called ERISA. Give the same exemption to all plans.

  2. Enroll all those who are presently eligible into Medicare and Medicaid, and work on reducing the fraud in these government-run programs.

  3. Level the tax playing field. Just as premiums paid for Employer-Sponsored plans are tax deductible, premiums for individual plans should be tax-deductible as well.

  4. Enact tort reform to lower the cost of doing business for health providers. Fewer tests will be ordered for defensive reasons.

  5. Repeal laws which mandate coverage for a growing number of services. Simplify the process to enable people to purchase core services and add additional coverage as riders.

  6. Make costs transparent. Help consumers understand choices and cost of services.

  7. Require guarantee issue of coverage, including coverage for pre-existing conditions. Allow a rate-up based upon current health status and proof of prior coverage to provide incentives for people to keep coverage in place and encourage healthy lifestyles.

I’ve read some good articles recently which make sense. It seems that Whole Foods, a national grocery store chain, has it right. They provide full-time employees a high deductible health plan and fund a portion of the deductible through a Health Savings Account. As a result, employees have access to health insurance; the plan design covers preventive services that are not subject to the deductible; and because of the high deductible, the premiums are low and employees are encouraged to use the program wisely. The Health Savings Account encourages thrift – save money for when you become sick. Because the account is owned by the employee, the employee chooses how and when to spend the money. Unused HSA funds remain in the employees’ accounts year after year. Whole Foods reports their costs are as much as 50% lower than the national average. Thus, they are already achieving lower costs.

Health reform is a complicated issue with many facets and is laced with emotion. Surveys say that most people like their present arrangements. Can we please focus the reform on access and ideas that will reduce cost or at least slow the rate of growth?

- Mark Alder, President, Herbruck Alder - -