Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Concern Strong Health Care Costs Still out of Control

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Concern Strong Health Care Costs Still out of Control

Article excerpt

This may come as no surprise to chief executive officers here, but the latest health poll commissioned by a Connecticut-based firm reveals a strong belief in the ranks of senior management across the country that health care costs still are out of control.

What may be surprising, however, is that only about one-third (34 percent) of those polled saw health care costs as a "very serious" problem for their companies. And barely over half (52 percent) of them thought the problem was even "fairly serious."

At first glance, the responses sound contradictory, appearing to say as much about the financial health of the companies as anything else. But there is more than meets the eye.

The survey was the second produced by Corporate Health Strategies, whose business specialty is health cost management.

In the first one last spring, 100 benefits managers at some of the nation's largest firms were polled. They, too, felt costs were out of control, or nearly so. This poll put the questions to a like number of chief executive officers, chief financial officers and other senior level executives, and was done to ferret out areas of disagreement between the two groups.

While certain differences were found, Health Strategies reported, happily, that benefits managers and senior management nonetheless operate, generally, on the same wave length.

About 60 percent of the executives agreed that the private sector has done a poor job in managing health care costs, a figure roughly approximating the views of the benefits managers. Despite this jaundiced view of their own performances, they strongly oppose grovernment solutions.

Seventy percent in the top management group disagreed with the notion that government intervention is needed now. By a more lopsided margin (91 percent to 6 percent), they rejected all forms of mandated employer health insurance as a remedy for uninsured or under-insured workers.

What they want most, the survey disclosed, is a "much more proactive" insurance industry assisting employer-clients in the task of holding down costs. …

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