Disability Services Group
661 Highland Avenue
Suite 103
Needham, MA 02494
P: 781-400-5055
F: 781-400-5152

Professional Benefit Communication

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports the cost of benefits nationally represents over 30% of payroll. Considering the significant investment of time and expenditure of company dollars, we believe in the professional communication of Employee Benefits. Employees need to understand the value of their benefits. Employers should receive credit for providing high quality coverage's to valued employees. Our Professional Benefit Communication Process is available to all clients of the Disability Services Group.

Be a Wise Health Care Consumer
The American Medical Association Foundation's research established that the level of health literacy becomes the strongest predictor of one's health, moreso then any other single factor. We can equate poor health with poor healthcare literacy so we need to learn how to navigate the system better than we have.

In the Institute of Medicine's report "Health Literacy": A Prescription to end Confusion", it's estimated that almost half the population has difficulty simply understanding and using health information. The U.S. healthcare system can be a complex system to understand. The intricacies of our complex health care system are not taught at the high school nor college levels. If employers took the lead and championed the cause of better healthcare education, "runaway" healthcare costs would diminish.

An ideal representative example of the need for better employee healthcare education is an evaluation of the number of physician visits and emergency room visits annually. Over one 12 month period, there were 241 million (25%) unnecessary visits to a doctor's office. At an average cost of $121/visit, that's over $29 Trillion dollars of healthcare "wastage".

In addition, with an average of $560/visit; there were 63 million unnecessary visits to the emergency room. Another $35 trillion dollars of healthcare "wastage'.

Our employee education process is designed to help employees become wiser health care consumers.

Wellness Programs Evolve
The American Medical Association recently reported that 25 cents of every health care dollar is for the treatment of diseases or disabilities from potentially changeable behaviors. Most of this expense is borne by the rest of society. Louis Sullivan, former secretary of health and human services, reports that every person in the U.S. pays $221 annually for the health expenses of smokers alone.

Today employers are actively recruiting employees into their wellness programs. They reward employees for adopting and living healthy lifestyles. The most effective wellness programs target long-term changes in employees' behavior, including losing weight, quitting smoking, annual screening tests (e.g. mammograms) & managing diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Rewards often take the form of monetary incentives, a reduction in premiums or co-payments, flex credits, etc. While cash and gift certificates are the most popular incentives, paid time off can be another powerful motivator.

The CEO of supermarket chain Safeway reported that their wellness program had kept the company's per-capita health care costs flat during a four year period. Most American company's costs increased 38 percent during the same time frame.

The Department of Health and Human Services has come to the Wellness Rescue. To help small businesses provide comprehensive workplace wellness programs, the Patient Protection Care Act (PPACA) created a grant program. $200 Million was appropriated for a five-year period, starting in 2011. Grants administered by the Department of Health and Human Services will be awarded to "eligible" employers for providing their employees with access to workplace wellness initiatives.

The goal of wellness programs is early intervention - to change behavior of those struggling with common but dangerous health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart failure and coronary artery disease. Postcards remind patients that they're due for a blood test or checkup. Nurses or other medical professionals, affiliated with health insurers call to help ensure patients are following recommended treatments. An employee deemed to be at risk of a heart attack would receive a letter or call with recommendations for behavioral changes.

Disability Counseling Service
Our Disability Counseling Service provides a "team support" and comfort that employees greatly appreciate when faced with the emotional upset and financial consequences of a long term disability. Becoming disabled is the worst imaginable time to be dealing with disability claim issues. Employees appreciate and value when we become their advocate.

HR & Benefits Library
Restraints imposed by Federal and State legislation will require significant knowledge of benefit design and funding alternatives. We take on the responsibility of helping clients stay in compliance with "behind the scenes" services. Full service clients have access to our client website. It is a web-based Employee Benefit and Human Resources information source that we call our "HR & Benefits Library".