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Dr Bruce Sherman Explains Why Employers Should Consider Population Health in Benefit Design

Population health models that include social determinants of health can help employers design more strategic benefits that will provide an effective solution for all individuals who receive that insurance, said Bruce Sherman, MD, chief medical officer of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions.


Population health models that include social determinants of health can help employers design more strategic benefits that will provide an effective solution for all individuals who receive that insurance, said Bruce Sherman, MD, chief medical officer of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions.

Transcript

In what ways can a population health management model contribute to lower healthcare costs for employers?

I think employers have to look at population health as a primary means to manage healthcare costs, and that population health model has to encompass more than simply looking at healthcare utilization and cost, but really has to get at some of the more fundamental foundational issues that include social determinants of health, which has been in the domain of public health researchers but not so much in the realm of employers.

We are, I think, beginning to appreciate now that the preponderance of individuals earn substantially less than $50,000 a year and take home even less, so the risk of underinsurance is high for those employers that offer insurance. We know that in a recent study that employer-sponsored insurance is actually more costly to low-income individuals than what may be available to those individuals through state insurance exchanges, and as such employers may not be doing themselves any favors with a one-size-fits-all benefit design, so when it comes to population health they have to think more strategically about the broad base of individuals for whom they are providing insurance, to ensure that they are providing an effective solution for everyone in that population.

 
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