August 2013

This newsletter is a short and breezy one as I'm spending most of my hours helping clients ready themselves and their employees for annual enrollment. You'll find some great reads and an invitation to a special CoHealth Checkup with Dee Edington and Matthew Woessner, a Penn State professor who's getting a lot of attention for his call to arms against the university's newly communicated $100-a-month wellness surcharge.

Woessner's stand emphasizes once again the importance of communication, particularly as employers jump to high-deductible health plans and take other major steps to bend the cost curve: introducing narrow networks or reference pricing, shifting to wellness penalties and surcharges, changing eligibility requirements for coverage, communicating health care reform.

I hope you're securing the time and resources to plan, develop and deliver not only AE but year-round communications. As you and I both know, study after study shows the connection between communication and employer satisfaction and underscores the importance of effective communication and appropriate utilization.

If you're troubleshooting your communication strategy and want to bounce around ideas, holler.


The Causes and Costs of Absenteeism in the Workplace "While employers expect workers to miss a certain number of workdays each year, excessive absences can equate to decreased productivity and can have a major effect on company finances, morale and other factors. This article looks at the causes of absenteeism, the costs of lost productivity and what employers can do to reduce absenteeism rates in the workplace." (Forbes)

The Real Genius of Bloomberg's Plan to Convince You to Take the Stairs "With articles about the health risks of sitting all day popping up daily and the forthcoming impact of the Affordable Care Act weighing heavily on both employees and employers, Bloomberg's stairs initiative adds a timely thrust to the ongoing healthy design efforts in New York City. And this time, there's potential to make a bigger splash than popularizing stairs alone." (The Atlantic Cities)

Wellness Startups Tap into Market with Money to Spend: Employers "There are barriers for any company that attempts to modify the way people get health care, but convincing customers to come along for the ride is an especially significant hurdle. In short, pure consumer plays in health care are historically hard to get going. As a result, many startups are skipping the direct-to-consumer push, and are instead using employers as a distribution channel for products that manage and improve health." (MedCity News)

Information that's accessible, scannable and actionable is the gold standard. On free-range communication, I wrote about design principles you can take to the bank—and your benefits website. You'll find 4 tips for making your communications hum and your employees happy.

The American Heart Association's pilot of Hotseat was covered by Employee Benefit News. Look for more EBN coverage of the final pilot results in the fall.

I'm excited to announce a special CoHealth Checkup with Dee Edington and Penn State professor Matthew Woessner. They join us for a discussion on the shift away from incentives and toward penalties to encourage healthy actions.

Dee Edington is the founder and chairman of Edington Associates, LLC, the founder of and professor at the University of Michigan Health Management Research Center, and the well-known and well-respected author of books such as Zero Trends: Health as a Serious Economic Strategy. Matthew Woessner is getting attention for his call to arms against Penn State's new "Take Care of Your Health" initiative, an initiative that encourages employees to avoid a $100 a month surcharge by completing a health assessment and getting an annual exam and biometric screening.

Listen Live: Wednesday, August 14, 8:30 am EDT, 818.572.4923
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Review the full 2013 CoHealth Checkup calendar.

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