I'm sporting the two badge look this week as it is my first week in my new job and the last week at my old job. I'm going through "oohing" and "ahhing" at all the shiny cool new stuff at my new job and saying good riddance to all my pain points at my old job.
One observation I've noticed is my new client is committed to the health of their employees. Some of the perks are as follows: defibrillators on every floor, on site gym, a martial arts studio, on site massages, and fresh fruit in the break rooms. Additionally, I learned that the company gives people 4 hours of PTO if they use the gym a certain amount of time within a quarter. If they meet a yearly goal they get an extra 8 hours. That's 3 days of vacation for working out. FTEs are permitted to use some of their work time to work out. I'm impressed by the company's commitment to their employees health and well being. I'm also glad they let contractors like me use their facilites. They won't let me bill for it though, bummer.
That's really cool. The people here seem a lot healthier than at my old job.
At my old job, we had at least three people die this year and a lot of people just don't look very healthy.
The company tried to address this by holding a health awareness day where people could get free blood tests and take free mandatory online health surveys. No onsite anything. If you want fruit, go buy some in the cafeteria. What do you think this is a fortune 134 company?
For a health industry company, they also don't do a very good job with health benefits. The company encourages its employees to elect for a consumer 'empowerment' plan. I think my friend Dale Mensch has it right when he opines that when the corporate types use the word empower they really mean disenfranchise.
The empowerment plan scared the hell out of me. Sure, the company gave my family a $2,000 allowance for the year, but once you use that up, you're basically on your own until you hit the catastrophic part of the policy. Colleagues of mine who have had medical emergencies found themselves owing tens of thousands of dollars.
We just don't have room in our finances to handle something like that. Who would?
I think that a consumer driven health plan isn't the perfect solution. It gets sold with the halcion memories of our parents paying cash for our trips to the doctor. Weren't those days great? You didn't have people going into the emergency room for a cold or calling an ambulence for a bee sting or any of the other poor decisions people made when they had no out of pocket expenses for their health care.
Consumer driven care does force people to make choices, what it also does is discourage people from seeking care. There's the 100% preventable coverage part, but it isn't as good as it sounds.
Under a consumer plan I can get a physical free of charge. If I were to mention that my back is bothering me, that's considered treatment and everything relating to my back is not covered under the preventative--a few tests and a big chunk of that $2000 allowance is gone.
A few burns through an allowance and people won't seek care that may improve the quality of their lives. People don't make great decisions when it comes to weighing their health and money. Every time they seek care they have to be wondering whether the trip will devastate their finances.
Life is stressful enough. People shouldn't need to worry about their health and the cost of their health care.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
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Posted by Paul Wiedel at 7:23 AM