Media portrayals of the “current” state of the US healthcare system rely on outdated information, sensationalism, fear-tactics, vagueness, and circumstantial evidence. The information dispensed in this manner can even have a substantive impact on policy initiatives in congress, further exacerbating the misunderstood nature of challenges in our healthcare and benefits climate. Fortunately, current and significantly more reliable data is available.
The healthcare market has cycled in and out of growth phases over the last 25 years – an indication of a market that neither bleeds (as did the airline industry in that period) nor exhaustively extorts (as in the case of pharmaceutical companies). At present the industry is expanding and maturing to meet new, unique market demands.
In these first several years of PPACA implementation, both profits and risks for insurance companies have increased. The paradigm is similar for employers – offering more attractive or flexible benefits make for a more compelling environment in which to recruit talent. But at what cost? The key for consumers, employers, and news personnel is to be mindful of the shifting nature of our healthcare system, and to seek out the most current and balanced information available.
Employers should work in tandem with their insurance advisers to better understand the big picture of healthcare reform and the how it relates to their business. After this critical step, employers must then find effective ways to communicate the costs and benefits available to their employees – and help them make informed decisions. Businesses can no longer wait and see what happens, reacting to healthcare changes instead of anticipating them. Proactive and educated decision-making must be promoted at all levels to develop and sustain workplaces and societies that live well.