Phil Hauck's TEC Blog

Monday, May 16, 2011

Humana CEO: We Need To Get Our Employees Healthier, Fitter!

In a recent Fortune magazine interview, Humana CEO Michael McCallister said that finessing health insurance has reached its limit. Now, "we've focused our future on the idea of health, wellness and well-being because we know that's where this has to go next.
"As large employers sit down and think about their health costs ... they're really going to have to step up and address the underlying health of their employees, not only because of costs but also from the standpoint of productivity and absenteeism."
On Small Employers: They've "done the math on the future. They'll have to confront decisions based on the culture of their company and the importance of this benefit to their employees. But I can tell you the pressure and the bias will be to drop it (group health insurance)."
On Humana's Future Emphasis: "This idea around helping people get to a better spot from the standpoint of well-being is what's going to drive us, and we think that's a business for us. We're even trying to change the language -- instead of ROI ... Return on Well-being. We're trying to find ways to motivate behavior change. We're going to bring in incentives and rewards and a lot of things from the rest of the economy to get people to think differently -- about their interaction with the system and the way they take care of themselves."
Humana recently bought a company called Concentra, which operates worksite wellness at 200 locations, plus urgent care and some primary care. "I study my own population (35,000 employees and their families) in terms of their body mass index, their weight, smoking rates, and all that. We still have a lot of work to do. This is hard work because it really, fundamentally, requires a change in how people think."
More of his insights:
• On ObamaCare: "The biggest takeaway from the bill is, it doesn't do much fundamentally to help with the underlying problem, which is that costs are too high and are rising too fast."
• 'In health care, we not only tolerate bad service and bad products, we pay for them every single day without knowing any better. We've got a third party payment system where the payer is in a different froom from the seller and the buyer, and it sets up a perfect storm for inflation."
• "We're not taking care of ourselves. We're becoming an obese nation, leading to diabetes and other chronic illnesses. A lot of medical spending is tied to five chronic illnesses (diabetes, strokes, heart disease, pulmonary conditions, and hypertension), all of which are preventable. People don't really connect the dots when they think about why health care costs are going up."
• "30% of our kids are overweight or obese already, so we have another tranche of folks coming along who are going to suffer the same thing."

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