Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Corporations Could Do Well By Doing Good

Covering employees' drug expenses keeps them healthier and at work

If employers would pay more for their employees' prescription and nonprescription medicines, workers and companies could spend less on health care. It might sound like a radical idea -- spending more for drugs now to save money later -- but the concept is simple: Employers would have more productive workers who would require medical care less often and need fewer days off if employers pay for the medicines that keep employees healthy. [...] Pitney Bowes Inc., for instance, has saved more than $1 million each year since it cut co-pays for diabetes, hypertension and asthma drugs. The city of Asheville, N.C., reduced the average annual cost of care for its diabetic workers by $2,000 per person as soon as it started paying the whole cost of diabetes drugs. After the success with diabetes, the city added hypertension and asthma programs and saw similar positive results. And both employers report that the programs have cut employee use of sick time and short-term disability. [...] The Asheville Project continues to report financial savings and greater worker productivity, said Miall, who now works as a consultant with the American Pharmacists Association helping employers around the country replicate the Asheville Project. "It's a no-brainer," said Mahoney, who receives regular calls from employers interested in duplicating the Pitney Bowes' co-pay model. "But it's surprising how difficult it was to get the idea across."
The biggest factor is whether CEOs can start seeing employee benefits as an investment, not as an expense.
Exactly. And it isn't even a question of waiting for the long-term advantages to kick in; the savings start showing up almost immediately
If we had corporate CEOs that thought about more than next quarter's earnings, our economy wouldn't be in the mess that its in.

These guys don't want to build strong, healthy, long-term corporations. They want as much money as possible in as short of time as possible.

It's been going on for a long time - at least since the 80's - and I don't expect it to get better anytime soon.
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