Over the next 8 months, CME will be looking at factors that are causing your medical spending to increase and what you can do to combat this.

Does your company have a plan to control or stop the increasing healthcare cost trend for the year? Are there factors within your control that are causing medical costs to increase at that rate? This paper will focus on eight factors that increase the cost of your medical spending and provide you an alternative idea for controlling those factors. We will look at hard dollar savings and soft dollar savings both of which contribute to your bottom line. Before we get started, let’s look at several questions concerning the people who work for you that you depend on to be productive.

  • Do your employees and their families use the retail market when searching for quality health care?
  • Are prescription costs hurting your company and the employees?
  • Do your employees take medicine properly?
  • What percentage of employees has a chronic illness of which they are not aware?
  • How much work time is missed when employees go to the doctor?
  • Do your employees come to work when they are sick?
  • Do your employees have a Primary Care Physician who manages their chronic conditions?
  • What percentage of your employees smoke or do not have an exercise routine?

Do your employees and their families use the retail market when searching for quality health care?

One of the largest economic drivers for increasing trends in healthcare spending is the cost of claims that are being filed by your employees and their families. This factor breaks down into hard dollars and soft dollars. The hard dollar example includes your employees who are using the emergency room for acute health care which is costing your company $600-1000 per visit not including the cost of tests, labs, and medication. The emergency room is a valuable asset for people who have emergency needs but using it because you do not have a primary care physician is expensive. Another hard dollar example of this issue comes from adult office visits or physicals in the retail market which costs between $120-230 per visit and also does not include the cost of tests, labs and medication.

The high soft dollar cost comes from the amount of time your employee spends to go see a doctor. The time sitting in a doctor’s office can range from 30 minutes to several hours. Take that time plus the amount of time to get to and from the doctor office and multiply that by the average hourly salary in your business and you can come up with a productivity cost for employees to go to the doctor.

The solution for this problem lies in having a dedicated on-site primary care center at a central location where employees can access it quickly and easily without spending considerable time going to and waiting for the doctor. The scheduling of appointments is also a factor and we recommend using 20 minute single scheduled blocks for doctor visits so that employees can have time with the doctor or nurse practitioner and the office is not overbooked. The clinic also reduces the cost of going to the doctor to $80-100 per visit by giving you control of doctors and nurses hours. These two solutions will provide an accessible alternative to the retail market which will save money and time for both your business and your employees.