Value of Employer Provided Health Benefits

I recently heard Michael Critelli, Executive Chairman of Pitney Bowes Inc., talk about what the company has learned about the value of providing quality health benefits and services to their employees.

Because they have a workforce that is divided between their offices and customers facilities, Pitney Bowes has been able to conduct a natural experiment and see how providing access to different health and wellness services can effect their employees and the company’s costs.  What they found was that providing a good quality health benefits package in conjunction with healthy food and exercise options, etc., has reduced health care costs for their employees that work in their own offices compared to employees who work off-site.

I haven’t been able to connect with Mr. Critelli to get more data, but he did state that the saving have been around $2.3:1.  Pitney Bowes careers web-site states, “We recognize that our people are key to our success. Simply speaking, our business growth depends on the talent of our people.”  This sounds like the rhetoric that many companies use, but apparently at some level they actually put their money behind this statement.

Implications for Health Reform
At a time when some are proposing to shift the tax incentives for the purchase of health insurance from the employer to the employee – which would dramatically reduce the percentage of health insurance provided by employers – the experiences of companies like Pitney Bowes should be very informative.  Having grown up in the Insurance Capital of the World, I saw how companies that understand the value of employees health and satisfaction make extensive efforts to promote both.  Only time will tell what direction health reform will take in the US, and whether immediate cost reduction or longer-term health and productivity of the workforce will be the higher priority.

4 thoughts on “Value of Employer Provided Health Benefits

  1. Pingback: The Granularity of Employer Provided Health Benefits | Health Policy and Communications

  2. What would be also very illuminating would be to see how the breakdown split among those in their consumer directed health plans and those not in the plans. Pitney Bowes has been a leader in CDHC for some time and they are one of a new generation of companies that are leading in a potentially unique field of employer-sponsored consumer directed health plans.

  3. Michael, a few comments here which may seem out of place. I read your comments about employee based health care. This is an anachronism in today’s world. Most employees change jobs often, lose their coverage, cannot afford COBRA, have illnesses become disabled either temporarily or permanently. Their insurability changes radically because we still factor rates based upon indemnity and risks. We need true portability and a system we carry around with us no matter where we are. Short periods of unemployment and/or disablity must be bridged by alternate financing. Employers should not be in the middle of all this. Tax credits for patients (if they work), and also tax breaks for providers and hospitals for giving care to the uninsured. It as you know is a very complicated process, especially if you have to compromise to keep one important feature in the plan.
    I think rather than a Universal Payor Plan we need a Universal Standard Regulation applied to insurors with strict guidelines. Competition in the marketplace would be for quality, efficiency not strictly costs . Controlling costs by limiting reimbursement does nothing for processes which are affected by inflation,it just degrades care

  4. Pingback: Wonk Room » Employers: Altering Tax Exclusion For Employer Provided Health Coverage Would Have Negative Impact

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