Garden State employers focus on wellness to help control care costs

Smoking cessation programs helps lower health care costs.

With Affordable Care Act fines for non-complying businesses set to begin in 2015, a large number of employers are seeking novel ways of managing their health care costs. More affordable coverage options can be found in the form of high-deductible plans, but these options can often frustrate workers with high-out-of-pocket costs. As a result, employers are increasingly looking for more options to keep their costs low. 

For organizations in New Jersey, this means an increase in wellness initiatives aimed at improving preventative care, according to the Asbury Park Press. These initiatives can include smoking cessation classes, nutrition counseling, blood pressure and cholesterol monitors and other efforts to help employees remain more invested in their health. 

"I wouldn't say it's widespread yet, but there's absolutely a progression of employees accepting that wellness programs — and participating in them — are more a part of health benefits delivery today," Jim O'Connor, the president of employee benefits for CBIZ, a consulting firm, told the source. 

O'Connor's organization offers its employees subsidized gym memberships, and even gift-cards for taking an active role in their own care, such as visiting a primary care physician.

Under the new rules of the Affordable Care Act, employers with at least 100 full-time employees working at least 30 hours a week are required to offer health insurance. Smaller organizations, with 50 to 99 employees, have until next year to offer the same. 

Hopefully, the renewed focus on preventative care will help lower treatment costs in the state. When treatment costs exceed a patient's ability to pay, care facilities can encounter difficulty with health insurance claims follow-up. Health insurance claims management professionals are encouraged to explore accounts receivable outsourcing to improve cash flow.