The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

Posted September 20, 2012 by

Wellness Programs Reduce Medical Costs, Increase Productivity, and Reduce Absenteeism

Amy Kaminski of Compdata SurveysIn 2012, roughly two-thirds of manufacturing and distribution industry employers experienced increases to their medical insurance premiums, according to the 2012 Compensation Data Manufacturing & Distribution survey results. The average increase reported by these organizations was 10.2 percent, down from 11 percent reported in 2011. Despite the drop in the average premium increase, manufacturing and distribution organizations still contribute 10.5 percent of their total payroll costs toward providing medical insurance to their employees. Employers everywhere are looking for ways to curtail rising healthcare costs and as a result, many are turning to wellness programs.

For years, wellness programs have consisted of traditional options such as weight management, tobacco cessation programs or offering flu shots and immunizations. But over the last few years, some wellness options have shown a more accelerated rate of use. Biometric screenings, which measure an individual’s blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), cholesterol and blood glucose in an effort to identify risk factors, are a good example of this trend. In 2009, biometric screenings were offered at only 17.4 percent of manufacturing and distribution organizations surveyed, compared to 44.2 percent in 2012. Physical fitness facility access, on-site health clinics and offering rewards and incentives have also increased over the last few years. (more…)

Posted June 29, 2012 by

Is Michele Bachmann Correct That Obamacare Will Cause Millions of Lost Jobs?

Congressman Michele BachmannMinnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R) predictably was more than a little disappointed at yesterday’s ruling  by the U.S. Supreme Court that the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (a/k/a Obamacare) was constitutional. Bachmann has consistently been one of the leading advocates against the law in general and its individual mandate in particular.

Although the law and its individual mandate were both initially formulated by her Republican Party and the right wing Heritage Foundation, Bachmann was quoted yesterday as saying, “Obamacare represents the largest expansion of entitlement spending and a playground of left-wing social engineering in our country’s history and must be stopped. Now, the only way to save the country from Obamacare’s budget-busting government takeover of health care is to completely repeal it. I disagree with the court’s ruling and expansion of government power under the commerce clause. Government should never have the right to tell Americans what they must purchase.” She continued, “Under President Obama’s signature legislation, health care costs continue to skyrocket, and up to 20 million Americans could lose their employer-based coverage.”

Although I could never see myself voting for Bachmann, I am willing to take her at her word when she says that she’s been told by many employers that they plan to stop providing health insurance coverage to their employees because they expect those costs to skyrocket under Obamacare. But let’s be realistic about which employers she’s talking with and their motivations for making those statements. Realistically, the bulk of the employers who are going to have access to Bachmann are going to be Republicans and philosophically opposed to Obamacare. Fair enough. But let’s also be realistic about the motivations which drive their business decisions. Most, I suspect, operate their businesses to maximize their profitability and that means keeping their best employees.

I’m not surprised that these Republican business owners believe that they will need to drop health insurance coverage given that the Court just announced that Obamacare is constitutional. But saying they’re going to drop health insurance coverage is a lot easier than actually dropping it when actually dropping it will mean that they will lose many of their best employees and will also be unable to recruit new ones. I have no doubt that some business owners will need to drop their coverage, some won’t need to but will choose to, some will need to layoff employees, and some will choose to layoff employees. But I also have no doubt that many business owners will now be able to afford to provide health insurance to their employees and that tens of millions of Americans will now be able to afford health insurance or obtain insurance which doesn’t exempt their pre-existing conditions. Many who are toiling away in jobs they hate simply to get health insurance will be liberated and many of those will start their own businesses, work as contractors, and otherwise find meaningful, rewarding work.

Business owners rarely make business decisions based upon their ideological beliefs. They may believe that Obamacare is a bad thing for the country and they may be proven correct. I doubt they will, but it could happen. But you can be sure that the vast majority of business owners will be rational when it comes to deciding weeks or months from now whether to drop their health insurance coverage or layoff employees. The vast majority won’t as eliminating coverage or employees will harm their profitability far more than any increased costs they may suffer under Obamacare. And for those business owners who drop coverage or employees because of their political beliefs and despite what they should know is best for their business, well, then they’ll be helping in another way. They’ll be helping by proving that Darwin was right.