One of the more interesting questions/discussions we had at the November CEOtoCEO Breakfast was in regard to choosing your health care professionals. I have to admit, this was a surprise to me and I don’t think I was alone.
A part of the discussion was around “distance to your doctor” or hospital. It was pretty common that most chose this because of location, not because of the hospital – at least the location was the primary driver. This makes intuitive sense to me and it did to the other CEOs in the room. However, what surprised me was how people choose their doctors.
Most people at the breakfast reported choosing health care professional via WORD-OF-MOUTH. That is not a typo – this was the primary way physicians were chosen. Not based on their credentials, not based on education and not based on the hospital where they practice. No, it was what others have to say about them.
Does any of this sound familiar? Does your business operate in pretty much the same way? This is directly linked to how most people choose other professionals – based on what others say about you. So when we think of the medical field, there are some really scary similarities to how other businesses are run as well – something to think about…
Many in the group asked to be sent the link to the Premium Designation site which provides some background on methodology used to evaluate providers as well as the ability to look up providers by a number of attributes specialty, location, language etc. Investigate this site if you would like more “facts” in addition to the “word-of-mouth” you are already getting.
When I decided to schedule David Hansen, CEO of United Healthcare, to be a speaker at the CEOtoCEO breakfast in November I knew we would get a lot of questions from CEOs about better ways to manage health insurance costs. We weren’t disappointed.
This has been a topic I hear about all the time when meeting with CEOs and so we decided to hit it head on in our breakfast series. In the beginning, I was concerned that David might get barraged by all kinds of politically charged questions – especially with all the talk about Obama’s Health Care Reform campaign. To my surprise, this wasn’t the hot topic.
The hot topic was about what a CEO can do to better manage health care costs. Having the right questions is essential to determining the right answers. David posed five questions that leaders should answer which will lead to better-cost management strategies.
- Who makes decisions in choosing your benefits and communication strategy and are they asking the right questions?
- Do I have the best broker and are they asking how we can actively manage healthcare costs?
- Do I have a 3 – 5 year written strategic plan to manage my healthcare costs?
- Your company’s historical claims experience is considered in future premium increases in Washington – both self funded and fully insured premiums are impacted!
- Do I have an incentive based system that rewards employees and dependent families for choosing the best physicians, leading healthy lifestyles, and managing their/our healthcare costs?
Last week we had a great opportunity to learn the “ins” and “outs” of health care costs from an expert in the area. David Hansen, CEO of United Healthcare was our featured speaker and had everyone captivated by the presentation and discussion. His opening question set the tone for the event – what does it cost to stay at the Fairmont Hotel in Seattle for a day and for a day in a local hospital?
As you can imagine, the answers were all over the board. We had a number of people in attendance that were also very connected to the healthcare arena as well and the answers were still very diverse. This was just one of the many interesting discussion points.
So to answer the question, most agreed that the Fairmont would cost around $400 a night and the range was pretty close from all those who contributed. However, the answers for the day in a hospital ranged from $3,500 to $12,000. The amazing part – they were all CORRECT! Depending on the location, it can be anywhere in that range. The question isn’t “do your employees know where the closest hospital is located?” Of course they do. The real question is “do they know where the most affordable hospitals are located? That is the key question.
If you weren’t able to attend this interesting and controversial session, check out my next few postings for some additional details you might find interesting.
One of the biggest issues I hear about in my interactions with CEOs and Business Owners is “What can I do to reduce my health care costs?” Since one of the main purposes of the CEOtoCEO breakfasts is to bring relevant topics to help businesses run better, I thought we should tackle this subject head on.
In doing so, I have invited David Hansen, the CEO of United Health Care for the Northwest Region to come speak at our next breakfast on November 18th. If you have any interest at all in reducing your health care spending, I would encourage you to come listen to David and see what advice he has to offer you.
I know one area he is going to discuss is a new online resource that is helping businesses of all sizes improve health outcomes and reduce costs by enabling employees to identify and access medical care at the best performing physicians and hospitals. Hopefully he will also discuss so-called “premium designation” resources and other strategies to improve health care outcomes and reduce costs. Being in the industry for over two decades, David has some great perspectives.
I hope you get a chance to meet him on Wednesday. If you don’t and you would like to ask him a question, you can leave a comment below and we can get your questions answered.