Health Cost

Note to business owners: keep your employees healthy! Look for at least one third of firms to try wellness incentives – cash or credits for healthier behavior. Healthy workers are more productive by far. Warning, wellness programs must allow a path to incentives for workers who can’t meet goals for medical reasons.

Some employers will go the opposite direction tacking on a penalty surcharge $50 to $100 a month for workers who use tobacco and/or only hire nonsmokers. 29 states bar firms from discrimination against smokers.

New approaches are in store as well for those who are ill or are injured.
The share of companies using evidence-based care will double in 2012 from 11% this year.

There will be an emphasis on where certain procedures are performed.

One thing is for certain: workers will pay more to cover their dependents. Someone with 5 children may contribute more for their insurance than someone with just one or two; to help offset the cost of covering the kids until age 26.

HR persons: Note a stepped-up push to improve health care for minority employees, in light of studies showing large disparities, even among workers with equal benefits. African-American women, for example, are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women, partly because they don’t get screened as often.
Expect higher co-pays for brands when genetics are available.

The cost of coverage will still go up, but not as quickly.

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