Most employers with 200 or more employees indicated they intend to continue offering health benefits, but they are likely to shift cost increases to employees and might move to consumer-directed, high-deductible plans coupled with a health savings account, a Midwest Business Group on Health survey found.
Fifty-seven percent of business owners employing 10 to 500 people said health care costs are a primary concern in making business decisions, a survey found. "Looming uncertainty" on health care reform is the most troubling, and more employers are implementing health and wellness programs to help curb costs, the survey of 604 business owners found.
More state and local governments are reducing employees' health care benefits and raising employee contributions to manage costs. Employees are protesting the changes. "We've taken wage freezes and made other sacrifices specifically to protect our health benefits," said Dan Homan, president of Iowa's largest public employee union.
Gaining more customers shouldn't be complicated or time consuming, writes Geoffrey James, who describes eight simple activities that can help win over new clients. Contact at least one current customer each day to ask for possible referrals, validate and purge prospect lists, and always follow through on commitments, James writes. James also advises keeping up with news about competitors, making marketing messages concise and learning to recognize signs that a potential customer is not interested.
AHIP President Karen Ignagni also discussed the proposal in a Newsmaker session with USA TODAY. "This is a major step, and it changes everything about how the market works," she said. Read a live blog of the session.