I frequently come across interesting information that, while not lending itself to a full blog post, is still worth sharing. This post is part of a periodic series in which I summarize this information and provide links for those who want to learn more.
• Ever wonder how much it costs to have a workforce that is in poor health? According to the non-profit Integrated Benefits Institute, the answer is quite a lot: $576 billion in annual lost productivity to be exact.
Let’s break down that number a bit:
$117 billion = Wage replacement, including incidental absence due to illness, workers’ compensation, short-term disability and long-term disability
$232 billion = Medical and pharmacy costs, including workers’ compensation, employee group health medical treatments, employee group health pharmacy treatments
$227 billion = Lost productivity from absence due to illness and presenteeism (being at work but not performing at the usual level because of illness or poor health)
• This won’t bring much solace to Green Bay Packers fans but the core issue in the NFL’s referee lockout was a familiar one for many CFOs—retirement plans. More specifically, like many employers, the NFL wanted to replace the referees’ traditional defined benefit pension plan with a 401(k) plan.
In the end, the NFL had to agree to keep existing pensions for current referees (at least for now) and defer 401(k) participation for new officials as they come on board. If nothing else, the NFL’s experience should make CFOs glad that their companies’ labor disputes generally are not played out on national television..
• The Atlantic likens the evolving health care system in which everyone has access to care to being an air traveler. Warning: This might give frequent business travelers a headache.
• The Health Care Cost Institute has released its 2011 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report, which shows a 4.6% per capita cost increase among individuals with employer-sponsored health insurance. Rising prices is the main reason for this increase as prices increased in all major health care categories—hospital stays, outpatient care, procedures and prescriptions. Outpatient care prices are rising the fastest.
There is some good news as spending for prescription drugs increased just 1% to $773 per capita. This can be traced to a 13% decline in the use of brand name prescriptions and a 7.2% in the cost of generic and a 3.4% increase in the use of generics.
One trend worth tracking is a significant increase in spending on health care for children, which increased 7.7% or more than twice the rate of spending for the 19-44 and 55-64 age groups.