Rates today for PLATINUM plans can be $1100-1400 a month-----$20,000 annual rates will occur very quickly.
These rates will go far higher during coming decade.
The other side of health care/medical costs is that TAXATION------US tax system has not taxed EDUCATION OR HEALTH CARE because it has been considered a PUBLIC SERVICE. That is now changing as public health is eliminated and replaced by global private health systems. Below we see how even our state taxes exempted health/medical-----and below that we see UNITED KINGDOM having once a NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM everyone loved ---now almost completely PRIVATIZED creating a VAT structure for TAXING HEALTH AND MEDICAL SERVICES AND PRODUCTS.
'While Pennsylvania's sales tax generally applies to most transactions, certain items have special treatment in many states when it comes to sales taxes. This page describes the taxability of medical goods and services in Pennsylvania, including medical devices, medical services and medicines. To learn more, see a full list of taxable and tax-exempt items in Pennsylvania.
Sales of medical devices are exempt from the sales tax in Pennsylvania.
Sales of medical services are exempt from the sales tax in Pennsylvania.
Sales of medicines are exempt from the sales tax in Pennsylvania'.
What appears to be first to be taxed is of course PREVENTATIVE OR WELLNESS HEALTH AND MEDICAL CARE. The goal is to bring these VAT TAXES to all categories of health and medical care. DOCTORS once being public health officials are now COGS in a global corporate health system and will be charged with taxation on each kind of service and product. If our US 99% of WE THE PEOPLE think today's US tax system is COMPLICATED----just wait until they have a VAT for each and every product and service we encounter.
Below is a VAT structure being installed in EURO---UK ZONES.
VAT Treatment of Medical Services
This document should be read in conjunction with Paragraphs 2(3) and 2(7) of Schedule 1 to the Value-Added Tax Consolidation Act 2010 (VATCA 2010).
Tax and Duty Manual
VAT – Treatment of Medical Services
List of Taxable Services (not exhaustive)
Fee charged for access to medical records
[* ] Clinical Biochemist Services
Procedures that are not qualifying medical procedures
Eating Distress Counselling and
Certificates (For Visa applications)
Holistic Therapy Services
Neuro Linguistics Programme
Laser Treatment for Cosmetic Purposes
Medical Reports for Statutory Purposes
e.g. fitness to drive certificates, fitness reports on prospective
[* ] Medical
Work absence advice programmes for employers
DOCTORS now considered employees of global corporate health systems will be tied to calculating and paying that VAT as a lower-level ----lower TIER supply chain business. While it is made to sound doctors can avoid many of VAT -----and this article makes it sound as if doctors have a way of recovering VAT paid for this or that service---as we said, recovering VAT pre-paid is difficult to impossible.
WHAT ARE THE global corporate TIER 1 TIER 2 of health and medicine? That would global PHARMA------global medical R AND D patenting corporations. PRODUCERS AND SUPPLIERS paying no or little tax------everyone else down goods and services chain paying LOTS OF VAT TAX.
Supposedly, AFFORDABLE CARE ACT and this CORPORATE TAX REFORM were making this system more EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT----making tax code easier.
Health/medicine as education once NOT TAXED now having a VAT regime of taxation being developed here in US ------
VAT for Doctors explained: Registration, exemption and benefits
24 May 2016
The majority of the services provided by doctors’ practices are VAT free.
Good news one would think; no need to charge VAT and no need to deal with VAT returns and inspections.
However, there is one often repeated question from practices…
“How can we reclaim the VAT we are charged?”
The first point to make is that if a practice only makes exempt supplies (of medical services) it is not permitted to register for VAT and consequently cannot recover any input tax.
Therefore we must look at the types of supplies that a practice may make that are taxable (at the standard or zero rate).
If any of these supplies are made it is possible to VAT register regardless of the value of them.
Of course, if taxable supplies are made, the value of which exceeds the current turnover limit of £79,000 pa, registration is mandatory.
Examples of services and goods which may be taxable are:
- Drugs, medicines or appliances that are dispensed by doctors to patients for self-administration
- Dispensing drugs against an NHS prescription is zero-rated
- Drugs dispensed against private prescriptions are standard-rated
- Signing passport applications
- Medico legal services that are predominately legal rather than medical – for example negotiating on behalf of a client or appearing in court in the capacity of an advocate
- Clinical trials or market research services for drug companies that do not involve the care or assessment of a patient
- Paternity testing
- Certain rental of rooms
- Providing professional witness evidence
- Any services which are not in respect of; the protection, maintenance or restoration of health of a patient
So what does VAT registration mean?
Once you join the “VAT Club” you will be required to file a VAT return on a monthly of quarterly basis.
You may have to issue certain documentation to patients/organisations to whom you make VATable supplies. You may need to charge VAT at 20% on some services.
You will be able to reclaim VAT charged to you on purchases and other expenditure subject to partial exemption rules (see below). You will have to keep records in a certain way and your accounting system needs to be able to process specific information.
Because doctors usually provide services which attract varying VAT treatment, a practice will be required to attribute VAT incurred on expenditure (input tax) to each of these categories. Generally speaking, only VAT incurred in respect of zero-rated and standard-rated services may be recovered.
In addition, there will always be input tax which is not attributable to any specific service and is “overhead” eg; property costs, professional fees, telephones etc.
There is a set way in which the recoverable portion of this VAT is calculated. VAT registered entities which make both taxable and exempt supplies are deemed “partly exempt” and must carry out calculations on every VAT return.
Once the calculations described above have been carried out, the resultant amount of input tax which relates to exempt supplies is compared to the de-minimis limits (broadly; £625 per month VAT and not more than 50% of all input tax).
If the figure is below these limits, all VAT incurred is recoverable regardless of what activities the practice is involved in.
VAT registration in summary
- Recovery of input tax; the cost of which is not claimable in any other way
- Potentially, recovery of VAT on items such as property, refurbishment and other expenditure that would have been unavailable prior to VAT registration
- Only a small amount of VAT is likely to be chargeable by a practice
- May provide opportunities for pre-registration VAT claims
- Increased administration, paperwork and staff time
- Exposure to VAT penalties and interest
- May require VAT to be added to some services provided which were hitherto VAT free
- Likely that only an element of input tax is recoverable as a result of partial exemption
- Uncertainty on the VAT position of certain services due to current EC cases
- Potential increased costs to the practice in respect of professional fees
Labor union CADILLAC health plans were gutted in AFFORDABLE CARE ACT but far-right wing global banking CLINTON/OBAMA neo-liberals PRETENDED to protect union members by playing with SUBSIDIES knowing these would be eliminated. Trans Pacific Trade Pact not only installed VAT but requires all SUBSIDIES be eliminated. OBAMA was a raging TTP player so never intended these labor union health plan protections.
'Good to know that the unions and other White House allies ended up with the Cadillac (plan), eh'?
Remember when ACA was giving US 99% WE THE PEOPLE so many choices saying this much better than public health institutions in each community handing all our health and medical needs?
Just as GLOBAL CORPORATE TIER 1 AND TIER 2 producer and supplier manufacturing chain has consolidated all manufacturing activities----so too with these PHONY BALONEY tiers in health care plans disappear.
Comparing Exchange Plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum ...www.medicoverage.com/health-insurance-blog/news/...
The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare, has four new health insurance plans which set the standard of care, named Bronze Plan, Silver Plan, Gold Plan, and Platinum Plan*. All plans must offer the same ObamaCare essential benefits, however individual providers and states may offer extended or additional benefits.
Below we see an article from 2017 just before this current CORPORATE TAX REFORM ended mandated health insurance and subsidies. Yes, the SILVER will become more and more expensive pushing more and more people off that TIER -----opening the door to simply offering PLATINUM AND GOLD.
'Bronze $6,950/$35 -
Partner Network: UPMC Health Plan
Coverage Period: Beginning on or after 01/01/2017
Summary of Coverage:
What this Plan Covers & What it Costs
All coverage levels
Silver health care rates would increase if subsidies disappear
By Christine Stuarti, ctnewsjunkie.com
Published 2:37 pm EDT, Friday, September 1, 2017
Access Health’s former storefront in New Britain is where residents used to go to enroll. The store no longer exists
HARTFORD >> One carrier would have to hike its silver plan rates by 52.2 percent and the other would have to hike them by 43.3 percent for one plan and 43.9 percent for another.
That’s if Republican President Donald Trump eliminates the Obamacare subsidies.
That’s if Republican President Donald Trump eliminates the Obamacare subsidies.
In supplemental rate filings, ConnectiCare Benefits said it would have to hike its silver plan rate 52.2 percent. Anthem Health Plans, which offers two silver plans, would have to hike one 43.3 percent and the other 43.9 percent.
The uncertainty about what’s going to happen with the cost-sharing reductions prompted Connecticut insurance regulators to ask ConnectiCare Benefits and Anthem Health Plans to resubmit their rates assuming the subsidies would disappear.
There are around 48,000 Connecticut consumers who benefit from the cost-sharing reduction subsidies, which are paid to insurance carriers to help lower the cost of deductibles, co-insurance, and co-payments for low-income individuals who purchase silver plans.
ConnectiCare Benefits said in their filing that if they had to spread the cost of the unfunded subsidy across all silver plans offered on the exchange then they would have to increase the premiums substantially.
They assumed that certain members would opt for Bronze plans or even Gold plans, while others would find more attractive options off the exchange.
However, if the number of people in the silver pool is reduced, then there will be fewer people to share the cost.
Here we see in 2016 just a few years after all those state health systems were installed to handle all those TIERS of health insurance plans talking about eliminating BRONZE-----talking about SILVER being made too expensive for most people and families.
The model already has fallen far short of sustainability, notes Stephen Green at PJ Media. Bailing out of the bronze plans will make that situation worse:
Hmmmmmm, we thought all these CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA policies were about CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY-----evidence-based medicine----and they could even get the insurance platform straight.
Bronze plans to disappear from ObamaCare exchanges?
Ed MorrisseyPosted at 6:41 pm on May 6, 2016
And when they do, so will many consumers. The trade journal Inside Health Policy warns that insurers might drop plans that qualify for the lowest cost tier in the ObamaCare exchanges and instead focus on the silver level, thanks to an effort by CMS to shore up the financial models of larger insurers.
When that happens, Leslie Small writes at Fierce Health Payer, expect an exodus of low-risk consumers who may be unmotivated to pay for an expensive plan they neither need nor will use:
One problem, according to the article, is risk adjustment–as CMS data indicate bronze is the only metal level for which insurers of all sizes in the individual and group markets had to pay into the program. Federal officials are considering some changes to the risk adjustment program, which some say unfairly penalizes smaller insurers.
Already, filings show a CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield subsidiary in Virginia will transform its bronze plans into silver-level plans for 2017, according to Inside Health Policy, and experts tell the publication this could set a troubling precedent for the industry.
If insurers do drop their bronze plans, it would have the effect of further destabilizing the marketplace, according to Sean Mullin, a senior director at Leavitt Partners. That’s because such enrollees, which tend to be lower-risk and want the cheapest plans, will likely leave the marketplace altogether, further depleting the exchanges’ share of healthier enrollees.
The model already has fallen far short of sustainability, notes Stephen Green at PJ Media. Bailing out of the bronze plans will make that situation worse:
In order to achieve solvency, the ObamaCare exchanges require 40% of their customers to be young and healthy enough to pay large sums over time into the markets without taking out much in benefits. That way there’s enough money in the coverage pool to pay for older and sicker customers. However, currently only about 28% of ObamaCare customers are young and healthy enough to keep the system afloat. …
Comparatively inexpensive Bronze plans are one way to get younger and healthier people paying into the system — but for the Young & Healthy, those plans are too expensive to buy (even with subsidies) and too expensive to use (due to sky-high copays and deductibles). For many, already it’s cheaper just to pay the penalty-tax-thing for non-coverage and take their chances — which for the Y&H is usually a safe bet.
As noted before, the proper insurance model for the Y&H would be a low-cost hospitalization/catastrophic-level insurance plan with HSAs for any out-of-pocket costs. Thanks to the combination of high deductibles and the mandate to pay for comprehensive coverage, the Y&H end up stuck with a plan that is, in practical use, high-cost catastrophic coverage with thousands more due in deductibles before the benefits pay out at all. If insurers bail out of the bronze level, then these Y&H will have to pay even higher premiums. It’s smarter for them to pay the penalty and then work the system to get coverage if they become seriously ill or injured.
Even if they don’t bail out of the bronze level, the premiums will skyrocket … again.
Insurers in Oregon and Virginia are warning of double-digit premium increases, and the low-cost alternative in New Hampshire wants in on that action too:
Oregon’s largest individual market insurer has filed for an average 29.6% rate hike for 2017 policies sold on and off the ObamaCare exchange.
Providence Health, which saw enrollment nearly quadruple in 2016 to 100,900, grabbing 40% of the market, blamed the increase partly on next year’s phase-out of ObamaCare’s temporary reinsurance program, which covers some of the bills of the costliest patients. …
Overall, Oregon insurers are seeking an average 27% premium hike, as calculated by ObamaCare enrollment tracker ACASignups.net, weighted based on 2016 enrollment.
Oregon is just the second state to make public initial rate requests filed by all insurers for 2017. Participants in Virginia’s market are seeking an average 17.9% hike, including a 15.8% increase requested by Anthem (ANTM) for its 180,000 members in ObamaCare-compliant plans.
In New Hampshire, Minuteman Health, the lowest-cost and second-largest exchange participant, has requested a 45.2% premium hike.
So much for bending cost curves downward, eh? With the third-place tier going away, I’m tempted to use a Glengarry Glen Ross reference here, except that “always be closing” has such a different meaning here. And the steak knives are basically already in the backs of consumers in the ObamaCare exchanges anyway. Downward cost curves are for closers (NSFW):
Good to know that the unions and other White House allies ended up with the Cadillac (plan), eh?
What AFFORDABLE CARE ACT did to our US public health system is privatize and create outsourced networks of FAKE NON-PROFITS called community-based facilities. This was the same PAY-TO-PLAY routing of Federal health care funding to 5% freemason/Greek players/pols to PRETEND to be operating a business while pocketing the money. There were SOME real community-based facilities ------but this was all PRETENDING as MOVING FORWARD ONE WORLD INTERNATIONAL LABOR ORGANIZATION/UNITED NATIONS health care for all-----has no community-based facilities.
What is replacing these community facilities are those global corporate campus WELLNESS/FITNESS centers.
REAL left social progressive SHOUTED AND KNEW these structures were FAKE----were TEMPORARY to pretend US broad access public health care was still being addressed----as did those FAKE RELIGIOUS health facilities----
EVERYONE KNOWS------SURVIVAL OF FITTEST ----FAR-RIGHT WING GLOBAL CORPORATE FASCISM DOES NOT HAVE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL
We KNOW there will be no health care for seniors----we KNOW there will be no health care for poor and working class-----we KNOW that US 99% of WE THE PEOPLE will be third world impoverished.
CATHOLIC CHARITIES------OLD WORLD KINGS KNIGHTS OF MALTA ---THE HOSPITALLERS-----ARE 100% BEHIND ONE WORLD ONE UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL LABOR ORGANIZATION -------HEALTH CARE FOR ALL
All of what used to be the best in world history US PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM is being dismantled and handed to global NGOs tied to global 1%.
State health care
Illinois community-based facilities say future of services is bleak
- LINDSEY SALVATELLI Capitol News Illinois
- May 18, 2019
Dr. Peter Smith, medical director of Almost Home Kids, and Sister Catherine Ryan, on behalf of Maryville Academy and Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, testify during a House Appropriations-Human Services Committee about the importance of continuing services for children with complex needs. The hearing was Thursday at the Capitol in Springfield.
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois falls short in providing the funding and worker compensation to keep the health care services industry stable, advocates representing various organizations from around the state said this week.
Of the state’s 102 counties, 85 are designated as “health professional shortage areas,” Sara Howe, CEO for the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health, said during a House Appropriations-Human Service Committee meeting Thursday at the Capitol.
Howe said Illinois is a “detox desert” with limited facilities, a national ranking of fifth for adult binge drinking, and hospitalization rates for adults with serious mental disorders that are 1.5 times higher than the national average.
While requests for substance abuse and mental health services have increased, organizations that provide them have been underfunded for at least a decade, she added.
“At the same time, the rates for mental health and substance use disorders have remained stagnant with only sporadic, inconsistent and negligible increases that have not kept pace with the cost of providing quality, evidenced-based services,” Howe said.
Rep. Robyn Gabel, a Democrat from Evanston, sponsored HB 2717 to increase by 10 percent the funding for community-based substance abuse center grants available through the Department of Human Services (to $9.2 million) and for certified community mental health centers (to $19.3 million).
Howe said those appropriations would be “a down payment to reverse the damage we’ve seen,” but the actual amount needed to bring funding back in pace with cost is most likely higher.
The budget impasse from 2015 to 2017 led to some closures of state facilities providing substance abuse care, she said. Additionally, funding for preventive services programs was slashed from $7 million to $1 million.
“The agencies themselves that are gone are not coming back,” Howe said. “Most of them, their services have not been picked up in other communities.”
And the instability caused by underfunding has led to a reduced workforce, especially along the borders where workers travel to nearby states.
Supporting children and the elderly
Several organizations that provide services for the elderly and children hold a common position on funding: They need more money simply to maintain the services provided.
Sister Catherine Ryan, on behalf of Maryville Academy as well as Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, and Dr. Peter Smith, medical director of Almost Home Kids, gave testimony about services provided to children with complex needs and representing “stressed” populations. Most receive insurance through the state.
Ryan said without alternative programs, children would otherwise be hospitalized, incurring a cost to Illinois’ checkbook exceeding $3,000 per day for neonatal care or for a stay in a pediatric intensive care unit.
The reimbursement for service through insurance amounts to $683 a day, she added, when the actual cost of services is $950. House Bill 2714, also sponsored by Gabel, would allow alternative, transitional facilities like the ones Ryan and Smith represent to receive a reimbursement of $950.
No one anticipates a premature birth, or that their child will be the victim of gun violence or childhood cancer, but providing such services through alternative care is “cost-saving” and “the right thing to do,” Smith said.
“These families, as you’d imagine, are some of the families under the most stressed and difficult time of their lives in our communities,” Smith said. “Many of these families did not expect to be in these populations, to be parents of children with medical complexity.”
Organizations that provide in-home services for the elderly are also seeking an increase in funding.
House Bill 2776, sponsored by Rep. Jaime M. Andrade, a Democrat from Chicago, would increase in-home workers’ reimbursement rates from the state to $19.96 per hour for workers at a minimum hourly wage of $12, and to $21.64 per hour for those at a $13 minimum hourly wage.
Home care aide Cathy Everett said she left her $35-an-hour career four years ago after battling breast cancer and watching her father struggle to assist her mother after a dementia diagnosis.
She knew the career switch would result in a pay cut, which was $10 an hour, but she said she didn’t think it would amount to an unlivable wage.
“I knew I had to focus my time and energy on helping seniors live their remaining years where they want and desire to be, and that’s in their own homes,” Everett said. “... I didn’t enter this industry thinking I’d get rich, but I can’t believe that for all we do, home care aides don’t earn a liveable wage.”
Dennis Mondero, executive director of the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, said it’s difficult hiring and keeping home care aides in the Chicago suburbs because they know they can earn more working in the city.
“Potential employees could make more money working at Target,” he said.
Stephanie Johnson, with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, said without a funding increase, her organization’s community care program will need to lay off 700 people, which would end its program to care for the elderly on the south and southwest sides of Chicago.
Same for Mondero, who said his organization must consider laying off more than 200 if reimbursement rates don’t increase, leaving more than 500 seniors without services.
Johnson said the state would save money by paying more for human services instead of waiting for bills from nursing homes.
Marta Pereyra, executive director of Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly, said it’s five times more expensive for a senior to stay and be cared for in a facility than in their homes — in-home care costs average $1,200 monthly, compared to $5,000 to $6,000 at nursing homes.
What is replacing COMMUNITY-BASED HEALTH FACILITIES is exactly what we discussed several years ago when AFFORDABLE CARE ACT was being installed. Global corporations are creating their own 'HEALTH' subsidiaries pretending all this is part of PUBLIC HEALTH structures we used to have in our US communities. What it actually is----is a SHEDDING of corporate health plans-----SHEDDING of all labor/employment health/injury compensation structures -----and handing all avenues of health MEASUREMENT--------to the global corporation employing that GLOBAL LABOR POOL worker.
Below we see lots of talk about INDIVIDUALIZING ------CUSTOMIZING health care and wellness ----at the same time CONSOLIDATION------PRICE ------are key to eliminating health and medical costs for global corporations.
'Businesses should consider offering a value plan option with a limited network'
What this means for your business
- Price is key
- Make room for advocates
- Consolidation is not enough
Demonstrating value is critical
Healthcare providers, drug companies and payers should develop plans to address the ongoing and intensifying focus on prices from consumers, lawmakers and the media. This could mean developing more affordable options, embracing true price transparency or demonstrating the provided service’s value.
- Providers: To remain competitive, providers need to demonstrate value by delivering consistent outcomes at predictable prices and offering easy access to services in the right care setting.
- Pharmaceutical and life sciences: Companies should consider differentiating themselves by using clinical decision making tools and other value-added services such as companion diagnostics to offer personalized treatments to patients.
- Payers and employers: Businesses should consider offering a value plan option with a limited network, focusing on quality and customer satisfaction. It should also feature pricing transparency tools to demonstrate savings and value.
Of course what is already apparent----corporations will use these WELLNESS CORPORATE HEALTH facilities to weed out employees in that goal of SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.
'While offering more vegetables in the employee cafeteria is great, the overall impact of most wellness programs on actual wellness is so small that “I think there’s something else going on,” says Spicer, a professor at City University in London'.
INDEED----there is SOMETHING ELSE GOING ON.
A new book argues that all those step-counter competitions and weight loss classes may be doing more harm than good.
By Laura Vanderkam'
All of those hundreds of billions of dollars in Federal health and human services health and medical care tied to MEDICAID---MEDICARE-----and our local community health and mental health institutions are now being handed to CORPORATE WELLNESS PROGRAMS.
As the tiers of health insurance plans DISAPPEAR----no BRONZE---NO SILVER-----no MEDICARE OR MEDICAID-------the 99% of US WE THE PEOPLE and new to US immigrants-----will get PREVENTATIVE AND WELLNESS ONLY.
Those global 1% and their 2% able to pay tens of thousands of dollars each year for a PLATINUM PLAN-----will get what was our ORDINARY US PUBLIC HEALTH ACCESS.
- workplace evolution
Vacation plans that employees actually use, help paying off debt, and taking care of loved ones.
By Gwen Moran
Corporate wellness programs are a nearly $8 billion industry in the U.S. and are expected to grow at a clip of nearly 7.8% through 2021. The Global Wellness Institute puts that number at $40 billion worldwide, even though only roughly 9% of the 3 billion-plus global workforce has access to workplace wellness programs at their jobs.
As the industry grows, technology, data, and increased insight into what encourages employees to stay healthy is shaping the future of corporate wellness programs, says Edward Buckley, founder of Peerfit, which connects employers and fitness centers. Often viewed skeptically as agenda-driven ways for employers to drive down their health care costs, Buckley and others believe that a few key trends will elevate wellness programs in the eyes of employees and, ultimately, make them more integrated into employees’ lives. Here are four that are shaping the future of wellness programs.
Even More Data Integration
The biggest driver of wellness programs will be data integration, says Buckley. Software platforms, wearables, and other data sources have the potential to deliver important insights into the wellness program options that make a difference and are important to employees, he says. And the wellness market is moving to capitalize on that opportunity. “When you look at really big health insurance companies all of a sudden starting to fund and gobble up digital health startups, that’s a big sign to me that the first thing you’re going to see from wellness is this age of digital health,” he says.
Buckley predicts that in five years, data-driven incentives will be the norm, based on employees’ locations and personal preferences. Data will tell employees about incentives to use certain features automatically—walk 10,000 steps a day and reduce your health insurance premium, for example. Wearables will track certain aspects, while others will be driven by employee need. Some employee engagement platforms, such as YouEarnedIt, integrate wellness incentives with other employee engagement activities so workers can earn points that can be redeemed for prizes. This type of gamification also increases the amount of data that employers and third parties have to work with.
Addressing Financial Need
In recent years, wellness programs have included some basic financial education in their offerings. But expect forward-thinking programs to move beyond webinars and lunch-and-learns about how to save for retirement or college education, says Laurie A. Brednich, founder of benefit provider marketplace HR Company Store. In addition to basic education, she believes that companies will use the data available to them to tailor financial offerings. When employees are in debt or otherwise experiencing financial issues, the stress can reduce their effectiveness in the workplace, increase absenteeism, and ultimately lead to poor health habits or illness.
Brednich sees companies offering assistance with debt reduction, more individualized assistance in planning for retirement and health care costs in retirement, and otherwise helping employees achieve a sustainable financial future. “For example, if you have a lot of people taking 401(k) loans and hardship withdrawals for non-housing reasons, that tells you that they’re having financial issues,” she says. Companies need to figure out how to use such data to offer tailored financial solutions to help employees overcome their financial challenges, she says. At the same time, they need to protect employees’ privacy, so having highly trained staff and processes that are vetted by legal counsel and HR personnel is important.
Making Life Easier (And More Fun)With an aging population, more employees may be dually caring for children and aging parents. Brednich predicts that employers--especially larger companies—will offer more help with child and elder care. “By helping them address those situations, whether it’s mental or financial, it will, in the long run, impact their medical costs and spending for years to come,” she says.
There is also a growing body of research that reinforces that vacation is essential for wellness, so there is an emerging trend to create incentives for employees to take time off. While “unlimited vacation” was touted for a while, some companies found that employees took less time off with that policy.
Instead, Brednich says more companies will encourage and even enforce employee vacation time. She points to new tools like vacation savings accounts that can help employees save for and plan their vacations while using integrated social media components to interact with fellow vacation planners. Bottom line: Addressing both the immediate stressors and encouraging employees to find ways to decompress on their own will both be priorities for wellness programs into the future.
Joyce Odidison, founder of Interpersonal Wellness Services, Inc., a leadership and life coaching training institute, says that when she speaks to organizations about their wellness programs, there are often an overwhelming number of options. “I say, ‘Tell me about your wellness program,’ and they say, ‘Well, we have 150 different things that people can choose from,'” she says. How can employees know about all of them? After a while, they lose interest because they don’t have the time to research everything available to them.
Data, combined with increased insight into the benefits employees need and use, will streamline programs and help them be more effective, which can increase their credibility, Odidison says. At the same time, that data will help organizations create more holistic approaches to wellness. That will include everything from occupational to emotional and physical wellness, driven by a process that will recommend options to employees who exhibit signs of needing them, ultimately increasing adoption and helping employees get the help they need, she says.