Facts on the Cost of Health Insurance and Health Care Part 1

August 26th, 2009 by admin

By several measures, health care spending continues to rise at a rapid rate and forcing businesses and families to cut back on operations and household expenses respectively.

In 2008, total national health expenditures were expected to rise 6.9 percent — two times the rate of inflation.1 Total spending was $2.4 TRILLION in 2007, or $7900 per person1. Total health care spending represented 17 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

U.S. health care spending is expected to increase at similar levels for the next decade reaching $4.3 TRILLION in 2017, or 20 percent of GDP.1

In 2008, employer health insurance premiums increased by 5.0 percent – two times the rate of inflation. The annual premium for an employer health plan covering a family of four averaged nearly $12,700. The annual premium for single coverage averaged over $4,700.2

Experts agree that our health care system is riddled with inefficiencies, excessive administrative expenses, inflated prices, poor management, and inappropriate care, waste and fraud. These problems significantly increase the cost of medical care and health insurance for employers and workers and affect the security of families.

National Health Care Spending

  • In 2008, health care spending in the United States reached $2.4 trillion, and was projected to reach $3.1 trillion in 2012.1 Health care spending is projected to reach $4.3 trillion by 2016.1
  • Health care spending is 4.3 times the amount spent on national defense.3
  • In 2008, the United States will spend 17 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care. It is projected that the percentage will reach 20 percent by 2017.1
  • Although nearly 46 million Americans are uninsured, the United States spends more on health care than other industrialized nations, and those countries provide health insurance to all their citizens.3
  • Health care spending accounted for 10.9 percent of the GDP in Switzerland, 10.7 percent in Germany, 9.7 percent in Canada and 9.5 percent in France, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.4

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Employer-sponsored healthcare premiums could double in 10 years

August 21st, 2009 by admin

A recent report produced by the Commonwealth Fund found that over the past decade, insurance premiums have been growing much more quickly than income in the United States, so much so that employer-sponsored health coverage for families increased by 119 percent between 1999 and 2008. An even scarier finding: The report determined that rates could jump by 94 percent in the coming decade–to $23,842 per family.

The states with the highest premium costs for families–just over $13,500–included Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Hampshire. Idaho, Iowa and Hawaii were all at the lower end of the spectrum, averaging $11,000 per family.

The report found that currently, 18 states have premium rates that are equal to or greater than 18 percent of the average income for a household. These types of increases are not sustainable for families or employers.

With health spending projected to double in the next ten years if we stay on our current path, middle and lower income families are at high risk of losing their coverage.

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How to Get Employees On Board For a Change

August 19th, 2009 by admin

1.       Motivate Your People. Statistics state about 97 percent of people resist change. Change upsets their daily routines and makes them nervous. The first things is to inspire your employees one at a time to buy into your change plan. Be willing to work alongside your front-line supervisors, work with employees in small groups or be available for one-on-one meetings to explain how the change benefits the organization and the individual. Be patient with employees as they adapt to their new circumstances.

2.      Be Specific. Help each employee team member understand his or her new role in the company.

3.      Use Multiple Channels of Communication. Use every communication tool at your disposal including : internal newsletters/memos, e-mail blasts, division meetings and possibly even a blog.

4.      Listen. In order for employees to buy into change, they have to share in it. Invite and listen to team members’ suggestions. Let the employees show you how they feel they can align their jobs to your needs. After all, who knows a job better than the employee doing it? While this isn’t an “everyone gets a vote in the final decision, it is “everyone’s involved” consensus team building.

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Focus on Employee Current Skills

August 11th, 2009 by admin

Focus your employees on their strengths. Encourage them to do what they are best at. Most importantly, accept they have weaknesses. If one person isn’t good at a specific task, ask someone else to do that task instead. If you can’t take away that part of their job, help them improve enough so it doesn’t hinder their strengths. Depending on the task or skill that is needed it is possible to cross train or have the employee take a class or course to save time from taking another employee away from their duties. Wasted time is wasted money.

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Burnout

August 8th, 2009 by admin

Are you, your employees and managers feeling battered, unsettled and unhappy?
 
Workers are being asked to do so much more with less time to complete the tasks.  Many employees face the threats of their work hours being reduced, pay cuts, benefit cuts, or even layoffs.  These factors can contribute to employee burnout. How is your company struggling to maintain morale?  Is your company keeping employees motivated during one of the worst motivating times in recent history due to the financial crises across the world?
 
Despite these workplace distractions, you need your employees will remain productive. Are you keeping your managers focused on growing your business?  How do you keep doing business in such an unusual business climate?
 
The major key is to recognize the early warning signs of declining motivation and plummeting morale, then respond quickly with practical solutions to help your employees and your business bounce back. Have you thought of ways to succeed at this?
 
Employee loyalty is at an all time low and even if your workforce is loyal and motivated, how do you sustain it? Any qualified owner or manager will tell you that morale can crash from one month to the next.
 
How do great companies create strong morale and reap the benefits of breakthrough productivity, high product quality, world-class customer service and low turnover?

Is it primarily driven by market success? No.

 High salaries? No.

A single charismatic leader? No.

There is not a simple shortcut or solution to achieving high morale and avoiding burnout. And usually one person cannot always make it happen by themselves. Companies with fabulous morale do a whole lot of things right from the beginning. There are many simple tasks that can be done to keep your employees more content so that they perform a better outcome at their position. Lean thinking is not about just cutting expenses. What are you doing for your employees or even yourself to stay motivated if you are a one person company?

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