Posts Tagged ‘Howard McLure’

Premiums Rising for 2012 Renewal Period

In the next few months, millions of employees nationwide will receive their annual notifications to renew or amend their employer-provided health coverage. And, for a large portion of them, a hefty premium increase will be part of “what’s changed.” In the 16th annual report, Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care, authored by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), healthcare costs are up almost $800 per employee this year topping more than $11,000 annually. Both employers and employees have seen considerable increases in their health costs in the past five years, with employers paying 36 percent more and employees contributing 45 percent more.

To offset the rising healthcare tab, a majority of large employers are planning to continue raising premiums. An NBGH study found that 53 percent of large firms intended to increase the amount of employee contribution. There are several drivers behind the increased cost ranging from poor employee health habits, to the lack of adequate pricing information. As a result, a majority of employers are stepping up efforts to get their workers to more actively manage their own health and expenses. As we mentioned in a previous blog, employee wellness programs are a component of an overall cost-reduction strategy, but utilization of these programs remains slim. In addition, the Towers Watson/NBGH survey indicated that employer confidence in health plan performance and employee-wellness engagement continues to shrink while uncertainty surrounding the health care reform law continues to grow. Next year looks like a tough one for HR professionals and employees nationwide.

Many Americans found themselves living paycheck to paycheck in 2011, making the expected premium hikes for the 2012 renewal period daunting. There is little doubt that more employees may say yes to lower-premium, high-deductible plans in 2012. Our mission is to ensure that companies who provide these plans have the tools to assist their workers to make smarter, more informed healthcare decisions with their hard-earned paychecks so that we can all live within our budgets.

About to Break the Sound Barrier

Four years ago, Robert Hendrick and I launched change:healthcare.  And so far, it’s been an exciting ride, to say the least.  Our evolution has been phenomenal; and, along the way, we’ve helped a ton of people.

And I’m thrilled that today marks yet another key milestone for our company – as we just announced Howard McLure, the former president of CVS/Caremark Pharmacy Services, as chairman of the board and future CEO.

Howard and I have been talking about this move for quite a while, but a few weeks ago I was finally able to coax him out of retirement to come help us make an even bigger impact in healthcare. He was attracted to change:healthcare because of our innovation and the fact that we’re the only company in this space actually giving healthcare consumers a way to make better decisions about their everyday healthcare purchases, helping reduce employee healthcare costs.

Given his background, it just made sense to me for him to come on board as chairman, and later, assume the CEO title.  His tenure and success at CVS/Caremark, as well as the passion he shares with me to offer consumers true healthcare cost transparency, makes him a perfect fit for our team.  In addition to years of healthcare industry expertise, his impressive history of success with investors, employees and stakeholders, combined with his talent in financial and operational management, will be critical to our aggressive growth plans over the next couple of years.  Of course, his access to significant industry contacts and operational and financial leadership skills to support smart growth won’t hurt, either.

As for me, I’ll now get to do more of what I really love to do… focus on further expanding our product platform, developing strategic opportunities and continuing to advocate nationally for cost transparency, which, as you all know, has been my mantra.  It’s work that I enjoy and will tackle without all the daily minutia of running a company.  I’ll carry the title of chief development officer, although the title of czar (very popular in Washington, DC now) did seem somewhat inviting….

So as change:healthcare continues taking on more clients and helping employees and employers realize greater savings in their healthcare expenditures, you’re going to be hearing a lot more about Howard and our team.  We’ve just fueled up and shifted into warp speed.

Hold on….