How Safeway Is Cutting Health-Care Costs - WSJ.com:
".... The key to achieving these savings is health-care plans that reward healthy behavior. As a self-insured employer, Safeway designed just such a plan in 2005....The results have been remarkable. During this four-year period, we have kept our per capita health-care costs flat (that includes both the employee and the employer portion), while most American companies' costs have increased 38% over the same four years.
... 70% of all health-care costs are the direct result of behavior....74% of all costs are confined to four chronic conditions (cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity). Furthermore, 80% of cardiovascular disease and diabetes is preventable, 60% of cancers are preventable, and more than 90% of obesity is preventable.
...Safeway has done nothing more than borrow from the well-tested automobile insurance model. For decades, driving behavior has been correlated with accident risk and has therefore translated into premium differences among drivers...have pronounced differences in premiums that reflect each covered member's behaviors....focused on tobacco usage, healthy weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels."
Of course we have to worry about those costs that are not the direct result of behavior, but if we can manage this large chunk, we will be better able to afford (and handle) those costs and help those with the problems.
PLEASE READ IT, PASS IT ON. It is our best example of using disease and injury prevention to reduce health care costs that I have seen. It very well may be out best hope to end the run away health care costs.