Companies are expressing a growing interest in helping their employees care for elderly or disabled loved ones, according to the Northeast Business Group on Health. With lost productivity and turnover from caregiving costing U.S. employers $38 billion per year, members of the employer-led coalition are trying out new approaches to address caregivers' needs, including expanding partnerships with providers and implementing more flexible leave policies, according to a report released this month by the business group and AARP. CBS Corp., Goldman Sachs, consulting group EY, Northwell Health and other major employers based in the New York City area participated in a roundtable discussion about their caregiver benefits that helped inform the report. One of the biggest challenges employers face is reaching out to a new generation of caregivers, said Dr. Jeremy Nobel, medical director of NEBGH and one of the authors of the report. Millennials now make up 25% of caregivers, according to a 2015 AARP report. "In that population, caregiving is not something people talk about every day," said Nobel. On the plus side, he said, there are more and more digital tools that millennials may find appealing to help with such tasks as monitoring relatives at home and managing their meals, rides and other logistics. "One of the challenges is a lot of the digital providers are not that familiar with contracting with employers," said Nobel. "They are typically more in a direct-to-consumer business model." Employers could also leverage their purchasing power to make paid caregiving more affordable and easier to manage for employees, he added. CBS, for example, subsidizes services for employees through Bright Horizons, which offers families "backup" care for children and elders when other arrangements have fallen through. CBS is also among the companies leveraging existing benefits to address the needs of caregivers by making services such as its Health Advocate program available to employees' parents and in-laws. "The ROI argument is that whatever it costs to put the mind of the caregiver at ease and put the loved one in high-quality care will also put the employer's mind at ease and build employee loyalty," said Nobel. NEBGH is in the early stages of its investigation, said Nobel. The group plans to release more specific findings and recommendations by the third quarter of this year. —C.L.
A new report from the Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) says that offering benefits and services to caregivers has big payoffs for both workers and employers. According to the report, caregiver benefits have the potential to increase productivity by lessening burdens on care providers, decrease caregivers’ healthcare costs through subsidies and attract and retain talent who are, or might soon become, caregivers.
Over the next few decades, the elderly population is expected to double, meaning more adults will be serving as caretakers to elderly relatives. A new report from the Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) outlines how employees serving as caregivers often don’t perform as well at work, and how companies can provide more benefits to these employes to try and curb negative outcomes.
The Republicans' Affordable Care Act replacement includes plenty for employers to like. The so-called Cadillac tax on generous employer-sponsored coverage would be delayed to 2025, and the mandate that companies with 50 or more employees must offer affordable coverage would be eliminated, which will be cheered by employers in that range who don't want to offer insurance. "That will likely be a relief for those companies," said Laurel Pickering, president and chief executive of the Northeast Business Group on Health. But Kathryn Wylde, president and chief executive of the Partnership for New York City, another business organization, cautioned that the conversion of Medicaid to a per-capita financing system could strain New York state's budget so much that employers might feel the pain. "There's some private sector relief, but a major public sector impact," she said. "In New York that usually means we raise taxes. Seldom does the state scale back benefits that they've already promised people." In other words, while New York business owners might benefit from the repeal of ACA-created taxes on health insurance and people earning more than $250,000 a year, those gains could be erased if state and local governments raise taxes to support Medicaid expansion.
When an employee or family member is diagnosed with cancer, they face anxieties and fears about the financial, emotional and practical implications of this life-changing finding. A new report from the Northeast Business Group on Health offers employers guidance on how to help patients get higher value clinical care for the dollars spent on treatment.
Cancer is a notoriously complex illness to deal with, but employers can ease some of the burden on workers with the disease by clearly communicating what benefits and resources are available and helping them understand all their options, according to a recent report from the Northeast Business Group on Health. Guidance from human resources departments is particularly helpful when employees with cancer are navigating how health benefits apply to sites of medical care, such as how specific medical practices handle palliative care or second opinions, Jeremy Nobel, physician and executive director of the NEBGH’s Solutions Center, told Bloomberg BNA Nov. 7. Additionally, employers must make sure workers have access to high quality care as easily as possible so that they can make choices in the best interests of themselves and their families, he said.
Employers can be proactive about providing higher quality cancer care for employees and their families, reports the Northeast Business Group on Health. The agency’s report, High Value Cancer Care: Guidance for Employers, tells employers to send workers to websites promoting quality cancer care, advise them to get second opinions and educate them about the benefits of getting early treatment for serious illnesses.
Laurel Pickering, president and chief executive of the Northeast Business Group on Health, which represents employers, attributed the more rapid growth in employers' costs to higher costs of care in New York and rising drug costs.
To combat escalating health care costs, local employers are shifting expenses to employees through high-deductible plans, and investing more in health management programs that aim to keep workers' chronic illnesses in check, Pickering said.
Laurel Pickering, president and chief executive of the Northeast Business Group on Health, which represents employers, attributed the more rapid growth in employers' costs to higher costs of care in New York and rising drug costs. To combat escalating health care costs, local employers are shifting more costs to employees through high-deductible health plans, and they're investing more in health management programs that aim to keep workers' chronic illnesses in check, she said.
Meanwhile, the Northeast Business Group on Health, an employer-led coalition, will deploy its $225,000 grant for its Safe birth NY program to help women in New York City and on Long Island make more informed decisions in choosing where to give birth by creating an online scorecard that utilizes maternal-quality data. For example, a woman's risk for a C-section varies widely, depending on where she delivers her baby, according to the grant application.