Rising medical costs prompt creative solutions
October 29, 2023
KFF Health News reported on small businesses that offer a free (or inexpensive) clinic to their employees. In this context, "small business" appears to mean companies that employ between 200 and 999 workers. The article reports on companies who help set up such clinics, and that these small businesses might share the clinics with other employers -- both of which seem like creative and practical industry approaches.
The small business featured in the article thinks that the effort has been successful at diverting costly emergency room and urgent care visits, while others who have considered doing something similar are skeptical of the value of the employee benefit. The article points out that it can take years before the benefits are apparent. Interestingly, the featured small business offered a monetary incentive to employees to undergo a physical, with the CEO explaining that the region is known for poor health. This idea of rewarding patients for engaging with their health has been around for a while, but does not seem mainstream. It seems likely that there is no single approach that is cost-effective for all employers, but it is encouraging that a benefit that one might think of as exclusively in the domain of large companies is now a possibility for much smaller ones.