Press Release: Insurance Alone Won’t Make for a Healthier America. Stronger Commitment to Prevention Still Needed
September 23, 2010 / Uncategorized
Today, Washington enacted six major provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) as the first step in rolling out the new healthcare reform legislation. Yet despite expanding coverage to millions of previously uninsured Americans, unless we tackle the root causes of preventable chronic disease, businesses and individuals will still be burdened by rising healthcare cost.
More than 75 percent of the nearly $2 trillion healthcare costs impacting businesses and their employees today stem from preventable chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer. The good news is chronic diseases are largely preventable with healthy lifestyle choices — getting enough physical activity, a healthful diet, and avoiding tobacco.
The PPACA expands provisions beyond those in existing HIPAA wellness program regulations, which allow employers to offer incentives to employees who participate in employee health programs, such as differentiating up to 20 percent of healthcare insurance premiums. The PPACA increases this differential to 30 percent in 2014, and may even rise as high as 50 percent in some cases. The policies and provisions exist. Now, more employers need to take steps to implement them in their organizations. Taking advantage of these provisions early on, in combination with a prevention-focused, technology-based employee health program, lets employers improve employee health, gain mechanisms to measure and manage their healthcare cost-savings strategies, and tap into funding strategies to create cost-neutral programs.