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Reducing employer healthcare costs per employee

Each year, employers and employees face the same certainty. They know that the health care costs are bound to increase. The real question is how much.

In 2019, employer healthcare costs per employee were already at record highs, reaching a new milestone of $20,576 — about the cost of an economy car per employee per year.1 In 2020, US employers predicted a 6% increase, and 2021 prices could rise an additional 5.3% unless employers make significant adjustments to manage costs, find alternative systems, or renegotiate contracts.2

The benefits of self-funded plans

With prices that reach new records each year, strategies to reduce healthcare costs are a high priority for most employers. Cost pressure is also driving the rapid trend toward self-insured workplaces for organizations of all sizes. Today, 82% of covered employees at the United States’ largest companies benefit from fully or partially employer-funded insurance plans.3

Self-insuring gives employers more ways to control costs, including savings up to 25% in non-claims expenses.4 Employers can also design plans and benefits tailored to their unique employee group and include wellness and prevention benefits that can deliver additional savings.

How self-insured employers can reduce healthcare costs per employee

Build strategies that mitigate the cost of MSK conditions

MSK issues should be a primary focus of prevention and cost containment strategies for self-insured employers. Here’s why:

  • MSK issues affect more employees than any other single condition type, affecting more than half of all American adults – twice the rate of all heart and lung conditions combined5
  • MSK issues are often chronic and expensive to treat, resulting in direct annual costs of more than $213 billion6
  • MSK issues have a significant impact on the quality of your employees’ life and work, resulting in increased absenteeism and presenteeism. After including these and other indirect costs, the total price tag for MSK issues skyrockets to $874 billion per year.7

These statistics paint a clear picture of the cost-saving opportunities for self-insured employers that can effectively prevent or reduce the impact of MSK issues on their workforce.

Focus MSK strategies around prevention and education

Keeping employees happy and healthy can keep employers healthcare costs per employee low, especially when it comes to MSK issues. Engaging and educating employees around steps they can take to protect their MSK health can make a big difference since 40% of a person’s health is determined by their behavior, while only 10% is the result of medical care.8 Simple lifestyle changes like stretching, at-home exercises, and ergonomic adjustments can help prevent MSK issues from developing in the first place, keeping employees more productive and healthcare costs at bay. The problem is that most HR benefits professionals don’t have the extra time or expertise needed to recommend the right preventive measures to the right employees at the right times. That’s where digital MSK solutions like Keet come in. Keet allows employers to push education, preventive exercises, and reminders directly to employees through an easy-to-use mobile app that engages employees in protecting their own health.

Reroute traditional care pathways

Self-insured employers have the power to build cost structures and benefit programs around care pathways that deliver the best outcomes at the best costs. And more and more data points to the power of a physical-therapy first approach for keeping costs low, getting employees back to work and life more quickly, and ensuring the strongest long-term outcomes for people who suffer from MSK conditions.

The traditional and all too common care pathway for MSK issues starts with a visit to primary care followed by an order for advanced imaging, and ends months later with a lengthy recovery from an expensive surgery, with lots of pain and lost work time in between.

In contrast, starting with physical therapy helps employees shortcut the healing process, avoid invasive and painful surgical procedures, and get back to life and work more efficiently.

A few facts about starting with physical therapy:

Starting with physical therapy rather than an MRI can reduce treatment costs by 72% without compromising clinical outcomes.9

Exercise can reduce the risk of recurring low back pain up to 47%.10

Physical therapy helps patients manage pain and avoid surgery.

Early physical therapy reduces the risks of opioid use.11

In addition to engaging and educating employees, Keet helps you evaluate employees’ needs using APTA-approved tools. If your employees are appropriate for self-management, the app delivers customized exercises and education to prevent their condition from progressing. Keet routes employees who need care to a vetted network of value-based physical therapy providers, shortcutting the traditional MSK care pathway and helping your employees feel better faster.

Reducing employee care costs while improving outcomes with Keet

It’s no wonder that 51% of large employers are looking for digital MSK tools that offer better care to employees while containing costs.12 And Keet is the ideal solution. Keet helps self-insured employers reduce the human and financial toll of MSK conditions by:

Educate and Engage

Educating and engaging employees with a focus on prevention and early intervention.

Take a PT First Approach

Ensuring the appropriate level of care and strongest employee health outcomes through APTA-approved assessments and a physical-therapy first approach.

Managing employee health with Keet.

To learn more about how your company can offer employees the right MSK care at the right time, reach out to Keet today to schedule a demo.