Last week, there was troubling news: People are having to use social media fundraising sites to pay their medical bills, to the tune of $650 million annually.
Health care costs under the United States’ profit-based system are three times those in other developed nations. That’s because health care here is designed to provide the most care — not necessarily the best care or preventive care.
And Americans are responding to the crisis of rising costs by turning to social media applications for help. One in three GoFundMe requests is for medical expenses, studies show. GoFundMe claims to be the No. 1 source for online medical fundraising.
It is an unreasonable and unsustainable way to pay for medical care — and it’s a sad indictment of our system.
So what works? Health and wellness plans, sponsored by employers, are part of the solution, experts say.
Unhealthy lifestyles — smoking, eating junk food and not enough exercise — are responsible for most chronic diseases, causing 70 percent of all deaths and up to 75 percent of health care costs. Limiting those factors can change and improve health, medical outcomes and lower insurance rates.
Because the current system is designed to treat illness, not promote health, workplaces have to step up and address the gap. And many businesses in Colorado Springs have done just that — they bike together, go on walking meetings, host healthy lunch-and-learns and provide a variety of information that gets employees interested and excited about moving more and eating better — and throwing away that pack of cigarettes for good.
We celebrate those companies — and we’ll encourage workers around Colorado Springs to exercise and learn more about health and wellness at the annual 6035 Healthy Lifestyles awards and expo on Aug. 23 on the grounds of the Pioneers Museum. The Expo is interactive — so leave the tie at home and wear your workout clothes. We’ll have “adult recess” every 15 minutes, some yoga and lots of giveaways. Stay for lunch and learn which companies are the healthiest! Sign up at csbj.com/events.
But we also understand that businesses are facing increasing health insurance costs — and that’s inhibiting growth, wages and the ability to hire the best workers. We want to help businesses find the best way to make sure their employees are taken care of and that they’re getting the most for their insurance premiums. That’s why we are partnering with Kaiser Permanente to discuss how businesses can save money on health insurance, the regulatory environment and the best way to start health and wellness programs. That’s Sept. 27 at the Garden of the Gods Collection. It’ll start at 11:30 a.m. and you’ll leave with answers to your most pressing health insurance questions.
Business and health care go hand-in-hand. Help make your workplace more productive — and come celebrate and learn with the Business Journal.