National Alliance Health Action Briefs
National Alliance Health is pleased to continue this series of Action Briefs developed to support the critical role purchasers and purchaser-led coalitions play as change agents in improving health and health care in employee populations and the community at large. Each Action Brief centers on a specific topic of interest highlighting why employers should care; using eValue8 data to better explain the role of health plans around the issue; and providing action steps and strategies employers can take to improve health and health care delivery.
Heart disease accounts for one of three deaths in the United States each year. Over 30 million US adults have a type of heart disease caused by buildup in the arteries, known as atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.Fortunately, risk factors for ASCVD can be lowered/changed, by treating cholesterol, quitting tobacco, managing comorbid conditions such as diabetes, and taking prescribed medications.
COMPLICATIONS OF DIABETES: HYPOGLYCEMIA (LOW BLOOD SUGAR)
U.S., 29.1 million people (9.3% of the population) have diabetes and 86 million
(37% of the population) have prediabetes. Furthermore, diabetes accounted for
$245 billion in direct and indirect costs. As a result, strategies for managing
low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and other complications from diabetes is vital.
Employers can play a key role in improving the health and well-being of their
|STEM THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC: (2015 UPDATE)|
More than one-third of U.S. adults and approximately 17% of children and adolescents are obese (a body mass index over 30). Employers must act now to mitigate the cause for overwhelming health care costs and loss of productivity associated with obesity. Employers can play a key role in improving the health and well-being of their workforce.
|December 2014: Prostate Cancer|
Among American men, prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death, exceeded only by lung cancer. In 2010, medical costs associated with prostate cancer were estimated at $12 billion - the fifth highest cost for any cancer site - with total cancer costs in the United States amounting to nearly $125 billion. The significant financial burden of cancer, compounded with the emotional strain of diagnosis and treatment, can create a complex situation for employers. This Action Brief outlines the scope of prostate cancer as well as how health plans are addressing the issues based on data from eValue8. Lastly, the brief highlights actions employers can take to educate its workforce about screening options and improve quality of life while reducing treatment costs for those facing a prostate cancer diagnosis.
|September 2014: Breast Cancer|
Among American women, breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death, exceeded only by lung cancer. In 2010, medical costs associated with female breast cancer were estimated at $16.5 billion - the highest cost for any cancer site - with total cancer costs in the United States amounting to nearly $125 billion. The significant financial burden of cancer, compounded with the emotional strain of diagnosis and treatment, can create a complex situation for employers. This Action Brief outlines the scope of breast cancer as well as how health plans are addressing the issues based on data from eValue8. Lastly, the brief highlights actions employers can take to improve breast cancer prevention strategies and to better support workers and dependents facing breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
|August 2014 - Value-based Purchasing: Pharmaceutical Management|
In 2012, health care spending in the United States reached $2.8 trillion, with pharmaceutical costs representing more than $263 billion or 9% of overall costs. Given the rise in medical expenditures, purchasers employers, unions, and governmental entities are seeking strategies to optimize employee health while managing health care costs, including drug spend. Purchasers can apply the strategies of value-based purchasing to add quality to what has been a price-only focus, thus allowing a measure of value the amount of health gained per health care dollar spent. This Action Brief outlines the scope of value-based purchasing for pharmaceuticals as well as how health plans are addressing the issues based on data from eValue8, a purchaser resource for tracking health plan performance to improve health outcomes and control costs for purchasers and consumers. Lastly, the brief highlights the merits and potential risks of current and emerging pharmaceutical purchasing strategies for purchasers and consumers.
|April 2014: Oncology|
Cancer costs were estimated at approximately $264 billion in 2010 - $125 billion for direct medical costs and $139 billion for indirect costs associated with lost productivity. Additionally, cancer is the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 85, accounting for one in every four deaths. The significant financial burden of cancer, compounded with the emotional strain of diagnosis and treatment, can create a complex situation for employers.
|January 2014 - Specialty Pharmacy|
Most commonly used in the treatment of chronic or life threatening conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and cancer, specialty drugs represent the fastest growing sector of pharmacy spending today. Although specialty medications currently account for only 1% of all prescriptions, they represent about 20% of today's drug costs. Industry experts predict that by 2020, specialty drug spend will more than quadruple, reaching approximately $402 billion a year and presenting tremendous cost challenges for employers.
|November 2013: Depression
An estimated one in 14 U.S. adults report struggling with depression. Considering its significant impact on the workplace the economic burden of depressed employees is estimated at $83 billion per year more companies are tackling mental health issues and making investments to support healthier, more productive employees. This Action Brief outlines the scope of depression; how health plans are addressing the issues based on data from eValue8, a resource used by purchasers to track health plan performance; and actions employers can take to engage and support their workforce around mental health issues, including awareness, diagnosis, and treatment options.
|July 2013: Prediabetes
Nearly 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes, and an estimated 1 in 3 have prediabetes. With direct and indirect diabetes costs estimated at $245 billion annually, employers are increasingly engaged in diabetes care, control, and prevention efforts. If prediabetes is addressed, it prevents or delays the onset of type 2 diabetes, reducing such costs. This Action Brief outlines the scope of prediabetes; how health plans are addressing the issues based on data from eValue8, a resource used by purchasers to track health plan performance; and actions employers can take to engage and support their workforce in improving health, preventing type 2 diabetes, reducing risk factors, and better controlling existing conditions.
|April 2013: Community Health
According to the County Health Rankings, an annual breakdown of the health of counties in every state, there are a multitude of factors that influence health, including where people live, learn, work, and play. Improving the health of a community should be everyone's business, and employers play a critical role in helping to build healthy communities and promote a healthy population. This Action Brief outlines the scope of community health; how health plans are addressing the issues based on data from eValue8 - a resource used by purchasers to track health plan performance - and actions employers can take to partner with others and invest in the health of a community through sustainable and evidence-based interventions.
|February 2013: Investing in Maternal Health|
New mothers make up the fastest growing segment of the U.S. workforce. As many employers are faced with increased, pregnancy-related costs, now more than ever employers must focus on maternal health. It is important to remember that maternal health encompasses preconception, pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. This Action Brief outlines the business case for improved maternal health as well as how health plans are supporting this population based on data from eValue8 a resource used by purchasers to assess health plan performance. Lastly, the brief offers evidence-based resources and actions employers can take to implement a maternal health strategy in the workplace.
|January 2013: The Importance of Supporting Child Health
In 2010, roughly one quarter of the U.S. population was under the age of 18. Considering that over half (55%) of this population is covered by employer-sponsored health insurance, it is critically important for employers to focus on wellness and prevention initiatives not only for adult workers but also for dependent children. This Action Brief outlines the business case for improved child health as well as how health plans are supporting the health of children based on data from eValue8 a resource used by purchasers to assess health plan performance. Lastly, the brief offers evidence-based resources and actions employers can take to implement a family health strategy in the workplace.
|September 2012 - COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an important issue affecting employee health and productivity at work. Its also costing employers three times more than what they spend on employees without COPD. About 70% of the 12 million people with diagnosed COPD and 12 million people with impaired lung function are under age 65. Its also a major driver of AVOIDABLE health care costs. In 2010 the U.S. spent $29.5 billion in direct health care expenditures, with additional costs not captured in claims due to under-diagnosis and misdiagnosis. This Action Brief outlines the scope and costs of COPD; how health plans are addressing the issue based on data from eValue8 a resource used by purchasers to track health plan performance and actions employers can take to improve health and lower costs of their COPD population.
This Action Brief was developed in partnership with the COPD Foundation and the DRIVE4COPD Campaign.
|July 2012 - Shared Decision Making
Shared decision making means patients and providers collectively making health care decisions that are:
informed by evidence-based options,
weighed by potential benefits and risks, and
considerate of the overall preferences of the patient
Particularly important when multiple treatment options exists without a clear "best" option, shared decision making relies heavily on decision aids - tools designed to engage patients in the decision making process and ensure that options are clear and guidance is balanced.
To read more about Shared Decision Making, visit our HealthSmart page.
May 2012 - Price Transparency
In February 2012, the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) held a meeting of the National Health Leadership Council (NHLC) in San Francisco, CA. The meeting focused on the need for business coalitions, employers, and health plans to promote health care price transparency to employees and others as part of a comprehensive strategy to control costs and improve quality. Based on the presentations and discussions at the meeting, this NBCH Action Brief reviews factors that drive the need for greater price transparency and outlines actions employers can take in this area.
In 2010, the United States spent $2.6 trillion in health care expenditures with private employers footing the bill for nearly $743 billion (21%) of the costs. Despite continued frustration with rising health care costs in a seemingly unsustainable system, innovative payers and purchasers have identified a promising strategy that critically transforms the way health care services are chosen and paid for, with the goal of ultimately improving health and lowering costs. Value-based insurance design (V-BID) comprehensively addresses the way health benefits are both structured as well as utilized by employees.
|March 2012 - Patient-Centered Medical Homes
The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is an important strategy within larger efforts to revamp the way care is delivered and paid for. By centering an individual's health care experience around strong primary care, PCMH seeks to bring order to a health care system that is dangerously fragmented.
|February 2012 - Diabetes: Costs and Opportunities
Diabetes is epidemic. Over eight percent of the U.S. workforce suffers from this disease, and a quarter of them aren't even aware that they have this condition. The number of diabetes patients is rapidly rising considering that 79 million adults over 20 years of age have pre-diabetes.
For appropriate candidates, bariatric surgery (e.g., gastric bypass and gastric banding) has proven to be one of the most effective and long lasting treatments for morbid obesity and the resolution of comorbidities, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea. An estimated 220,000 people in the United States had the surgery in 2008 alone, and more employers are considering the value of bariatric surgery for their eligible employees.
About one-third of U.S. adults1 and approximately 17% of children and adolescents are obese2 (a body mass index or BMI over 30). Employers must act now to mitigate the cause for overwhelming health care costs and loss of productivity associated with obesity. Employers can play a key role in improving the health and well-being of their workforce.
|September 2011 - Hospital Patient Safety
Hospital-acquired conditions, readmissions and serious reportable events are significant issues impacting employee health and the health care claims costs incurred by employers. For example, $30 billion is lost annually due to avoidable costs such as longer hospital stays. Employers can play a key role in improving patient safety and reducing preventable occurrences.