Health IT

Here are the 8 human behaviors that employers must address to reduce healthcare costs

As healthcare reform begins to be implemented nationwide, most employers are expected to continue to remain plan sponsors instead of getting out of the business of providing health benefits to employees in lieu of a fine.

That’s according to a new report by Aon Hewitt  that surveyed 1,800 U.S. employers covering about 15 million employees with a combined annual health expenditure of $120 billion. But the expense trajectory – in the last six years, expenditures on employee health has skyrocketed increasing by 40 percent to an average of $8,000 per employee is unsustainable. The report recommends that there are eight human behaviors that must be contained to bend the cost curve.

They are:

  • Poor Diet
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Lack of Health Screening
  • Poor Stress Management
  • Poor Standard of Care
  • Insufficient Sleep
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption
These eight behaviors contribute to 15 chronic conditions that contribute to more than 65 percent of an employer’s healthcare expenditure. Those conditions include diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension, back pain, obsesity and cancer
Perhaps acknowledging that an average employer will likely not be able to influence many of those eight human behaviors, the Aon Hewitt report notes that “even if employers are able to meaningfully impact as few as three of the behaviors, they can see a savings of as much as $700 per employee per year.”
So how are employers trying to address these behaviors?
  • 76 percent of employers are offering disease or condition management programs
  • 48 percent of employers are implementing a company-wide health and wellness policy
  • 61 percent of employers are rewarding or punishing employees to encourage them to show sustained behavior change
  • 82 percent are offering resources and tools to employees to raise their awareness of health status and risk


[Photo Credit: Freedigitalphotos user renjith krishnan]

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