2012-12-19 11:06:03 -
SALT LAKE CITY, UT -- (Marketwire) -- 12/19/12 -- Viewers of Fox News last weekend may have wondered if they had clicked on the wrong channel. But when host Tom Sullivan interviewed health care industry expert Darrell Moon -- himself a critic of ObamaCare -- the talk was all about how the new health law's wellness program rules can mean big savings for businesses struggling with the skyrocketing cost of employee health care.
This is not a view of ObamaCare that one usually hears on Fox News. But when it comes to the new wellness rules for employers, it appears to be true.
As host Tom Sullivan told his viewers, he invited Darrell Moon -- a widely-published health care thought leader and the CEO of wellness program Orriant -- to appear on his show after reading his provocative article in Forbes magazine: "New ObamaCare Rules Offer Big Gains for Employers." : ctt.marketwire.com/?release=967662&id=2406559&type=1& ..
In the article, Moon showed how an astonishing 86 percent : ctt.marketwire.com/?release=967662&id=2406562&type=1& ..
of all full-time employees in the U.S. are now overweight or suffer from a chronic health condition. This explains why premium costs for employers have risen 113 percent : ctt.marketwire.com/?release=967662&id=2406565&type=1& ..
in the last decade alone.
The new health rules, however, allow companies to encourage employees to join a wellness program by reducing their premium contributions by half or more. Those with blood pressure or other readings higher than accepted standards can continue to receive the reduced premium provided they work with a health coach to try to improve their health. The programs are completely voluntary, and even the least healthy employees can earn the same reward as the healthiest so long as they work consistently with a health coach.
It turns out that simply working with a personal health coach is the secret to improving employee health. A recent study : ctt.marketwire.com/?release=967662&id=2406568&type=1& ..
reported in Chief Executive magazine of four mid-size employers offering Orriant wellness programs found that total annual paid claims dropped to $2,269 per wellness participant compared to $6,187 for non-participants.
Emergency room claims, pharmacy claims, hospital claims -- all showed a sharp drop among wellness program participants versus a steady rise among non-participants.
But as Moon repeatedly stressed to Fox's Sullivan, the key is participation. Unless employees are incentivized to join a wellness program, companies will continue to hemorrhage red ink from constantly-rising health claims and premium costs.
Employers have just one year to get these new wellness program rules in place.
Orriant is a Sandy, Utah-based wellness program provider serving companies nationwide.
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