Presentation to National Business Group on Health analyzes impact of wellness and disease management programs on medical costs
BOSTON, Oct. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --
Employers face a fundamental decision concerning employee health care benefits when health reform-required insurance exchanges take center stage in 2014: Should their companies continue employer-sponsored insurance plans or should they move employees to programs offered through public exchanges? Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, executive vice president and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark told attendees at the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) annual meeting today that if they want to best manage the health and productivity of their employees, they need to continue company-sponsored health plans.
"The decision you make regarding how to manage your employees' health care moving forward is important for your employees and your business," Brennan said. "Do you stay in the driver's seat and proactively manage the health and productivity of your workforce, or do you climb into the back seat and take your chances?"
Brennan, a former professor of medicine, law and public health at Harvard University and who formerly served as president and CEO of Brigham and Women's Physician Organization and chief medical officer of Aetna Inc. before joining CVS Caremark, brings extensive health system experience to the NBGH address.
He reviewed projections from six different analysts on the impact the recently passed Affordable Care Act will have on the health care market. That review included forecasts from the Congressional Budget Office, Rand Corporation, Urban Institute, Goldman Sachs, the Lewin Group, Deutsche Bank and one developed for CVS Caremark. While all the independent projections forecast the nation's uninsured population will drop significantly as a result of the health care reform law, they were not conclusive as to the future of employee-sponsored health plans. Several projections forecast market shrinkage of employee-sponsored health coverage, while others show slight growth.
The heart of the presentation was Brennan's review of research looking at the successes and shortcomings of health and wellness programs in the workplace, and the impact those programs have on medical costs. Brennan said 25 years of peer-reviewed studies show inconsistent results. For example, recent research into health care savings resulting from aggressive smoking cessation and weight loss programs showed employers realizing significant medical cost savings. One study looking at smoking cessation programs projected 10-year savings in excess of $7 billion. However, Brennan said other studies found less dramatic, sometimes mixed results when it comes to medical cost savings.
"I wish the literature was conclusive, but it is not," Brennan said. "What we know is that there are actions and programs that have had a direct impact on employee heath and productivity. It seems clear those of us in the health care industry have to be creative and diligent in developing and administering these programs, because absenteeism and productivity go to the bottom line," Brennan said.
"We found successful programs are run by companies where the leadership fully supports developing a healthy culture. The research shows employers need to use all the tools at their disposal - web, telephone, incentives and face-to-face counseling - to encourage healthy individual behaviors. By aggressively managing employee benefits, we can achieve a healthy and productive workforce and lower medical costs," Brennan concluded.
About CVS Caremark
CVS Caremark is the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States with integrated offerings across the entire spectrum of pharmacy care. We are uniquely positioned to engage plan members in behaviors that improve their health and to lower overall health care costs for health plans, plan sponsors and their members. CVS Caremark is a market leader in mail order pharmacy, retail pharmacy, specialty pharmacy, and retail clinics, and is a leading provider of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. As one of the country's largest pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), we provide access to a network of approximately 65,000 pharmacies, including more than 7,200 CVS/pharmacy® stores that provide unparalleled service and capabilities. Our clinical offerings include our signature Pharmacy Advisor(TM) program as well as innovative generic step therapy and genetic benefit management programs that promote more cost effective and healthier behaviors and improve health care outcomes. General information about CVS Caremark is available through the Company's website at http://info.cvscaremark.com/.
SOURCE CVS Caremark