More Employers Offer Disease-Management Programs, Survey Finds
A growing number of employers are establishing disease-management and wellness programs in an effort to reduce long-term health care costs, according to a survey of 207 companies by Aon, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. More than 40% of companies surveyed had disease-management or wellness programs in place, and about 20% were considering such programs, the survey found.
The programs monitor patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease, with the aim of reducing long-term health care costs through reducing the need for emergency department visits and hospitalizations. The programs track patients' treatments and educate them on how to manage their conditions. It is not clear how successful the programs have been at reducing costs, the Journal Sentinel reports.
Brian Jensen, a benefits practice leader for Aon, said, "You try to manage [employees'] health now so they don't become a chronic case down the road."
Bruce Peterson, a senior benefits consultant at Virchow Krause, said, "As an employer, you can't look at this as a year-to-year thing. You need to have a three- to five-year strategy" (Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/20).