by Emily Mullin and Ben Fischer, Washington Business Journal
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The lingering effects of the recession coupled with soaring insurance premiums have hit businesses hard.
To make up for rising health care costs, many businesses have cut benefits or increased co-pays, but some experts say new technology could help companies trim health care costs without resorting to those measures.
Managing health expenses is just another business strategy, like marketing, sales or advertising, said George Pantos, executive director of the Health Care Performance Management Institute.
Pantos said health care management software analyzes health claims data that include things like how often employees visit the doctor or hospital and what kind of prescriptions they use.
“Once you have that profile, it’s possible to develop a strategy to allow the employer to take action to intervene,” he said.
That might include wellness programs, education and disease management initiatives.
Pantos said one of the most significant health care expenses for a business is prescription medicines. By using an analyzing software program, employers can see what kinds of medicines their employees are using and find alternatives or generic brands to cut costs.
The Peterson Cos., a Fairfax, Va.-based real estate developer in Maryland and Virginia, uses a software program by Bethesda’s WellNet Health Care to manage prescription drug costs.
Janice Algie, director of human resources for the Peterson Cos., said even though more employees are getting prescriptions, the overall cost to the company hasn’t increased since the firm started using software two years ago. The company has more than 150 employees.
“It does give you a very good futuristic view of people in your plan who may be considered high risk,” she said.
Heightened demand for corralling health care costs has boosted business for companies like WellNet. The 16-year-old firm projects more than $97 million in revenue for 2010.
To read the full article, visit the Baltimore Business Journal.
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