By: Bryan M. Dunton
Many people use the beginning of a new year as a reason to better themselves physically and emotionally, often setting goals for themselves in the process. After the pandemic of 2020 altering everyone’s plans, there’s sure to be a renewed dedication to personal goals this year. When deciding what types of personal goals to accomplish, it is important to ask yourself why these specific things are so important to you. Why do you want this change? How will it help you emotionally or physically? What’s stopping you from achieving it and how can you move beyond those obstacles?
Year after year, one of the most prominent goals is to be healthier. Two Years Ago, for example, 28% of people resolved to lose weight, 54% wanted to eat healthier, and 59% wanted to exercise more. Certainly, these are great goals to set for yourself, especially in the wake of 2020, when many people were locked down in their homes for extended periods of time and many of our favorite activities were closed. Some employers have taken a very proactive approach in encouraging their employees to be active despite the conditions created by the pandemic. Over the summer and early fall of 2020, Phia Group employees participated in a three-month long virtual race from our Canton, MA headquarters to Progressive Field (CEO Adam Russo is a huge Cleveland sports fan) as a way to get teammates moving and have some cross-department fun while many worked remotely.
Employers can make a positive difference in the health and wellness of their employees by providing the tools to become educated consumers of healthcare. Here at the Phia Group, we encourage employees to be healthy and provide them with the information and tools to do so. This includes both mental wellness as well as physical health through services such as direct primary care. We believe in educating employees about being proactive in self-care and how it factors into cost-containment for their own health expenses and that of the health plan itself. Phia often holds informational meetings for employees to discuss existing and new services being offered to maximize our opportunities for quality care at an affordable price. We have found that providing that targeted education and promoting the atmosphere of being consumers of healthcare, has led to significant cost savings for the plan.
While resolving to lose weight, eat healthier, and exercise more are important goals in the effort to having a healthy new year, we should also resolve to be educated about out health and healthcare and in so doing become consumers in the healthcare industry.
As always, we are happy to discuss these and the multiple other programs we use to contain costs with any employer who seeks to introduce similar methods to their health plans.
With an eye towards the new year, there is a strong desire for most of us that it will be different than how 2020 turned out. We hope that you take time to set some achievable goals for your own personal health and self-care this year. Here’s to 2021!
By: Jen McCormick, Esq.
COVID-19 has impacted most aspects of our lives, and the lives of our families. From a healthcare perspective, we want to do all we can to protect our families from the virus. In most cases this means that households where both parents work outside the home and children attend school or daycare are now all confined to their homes… every day. We do this in hopes of keeping the children and ourselves safe. Being confined to our homes, however, can be challenging in many ways.
For families where being home is the exception over the rule this has been an adjustment. We are forced to redefine our roles as co-workers, parents, and spouses to find the perfect work-home balance, all while at home. Dealing with this new normal is hard, and certainly pays a toll on our mental health. Mindful of this extra stress for many, plans and employers should consider additional ways to help.
Consider ways the parent can use their health plan, for example, does the employer health plan cover telehealth? Is this available for mental health as well? The option to contact a doctor over the phone would make receiving care easier for many. A waiver of the copay or deductible would make this even more attractive, and likely provide many benefits for the individual, their family, and work productivity.
Another consideration would be how employers are actively trying to stay engaged by using video chat features, hosting virtual happy hours, or playing virtual games. By setting up meetups it’s a way to remain connected while still maintaining distance. No effort is unnoticed in this particularly challenging time and even a ‘how are you doing’ could make a big difference for a struggling parent.
By: Adam Russo, Esq.
The fact that Trump’s healthcare bill failed is big news and now everyone in Washington and in the media is trying to place blame on someone, whether it’s president Trump, Speaker Ryan, the Freedom Caucus or the Democrats. The reality is that this bill would not have worked and I believe that no bill passed in the next few years will work either and the reason is simple. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are willing to truly lower the overall cost of healthcare. The only way that we can have a successful health plan for all Americans is by fighting the root of the problem – the ridiculously high priced hospital and other facility bills and the huge sticker prices on specialty drugs.
There is an easy solution – force the hospitals to justify their charges and negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies on what they can charge. However, the politicians in Washington will never do it because these two entities are the reason they are in DC in the first place. They fund the campaigns, they feed the lobbyists, they are the biggest employers in most representatives’ districts. They will never push them or fight them or even question them because they need them. If you are a politician and the largest employer in your district that employs the most people is the hospital, then are you really going to criticize their practices? Hell, no! Until this changes, we will see the same games being played as they are now. That’s why we are here at The Phia Group, because we are not afraid to criticize, to fight, to question and to ensure that our clients can offer their employees the best health care coverage at the lowest prices possible.