pop-zebra-NZ-9RqsE06I-unsplash

Average vs. Median

There is an oft-cited study from Fidelity on healthcare savings needed in retirement for the average couple: $275,000 in today's dollars. This assumes the actuarial tables grant you both around 20 years of runway, you have original Medicare, and you retiree at 65. That comes to $1,100 per month per couple (here I assume the $275,000 you have squirreled away is invested at the same rate of long-term healthcare trend; of course costs are lumpy with much of it perhaps coming in the last 5 years, an ...

jennifer-burk-ECXB0YAZ_zU-unsplash

Health Savings Accounts And Promotion

What companies say and don't say says a lot about what they do. What do vendors say about Health Savings Accounts (the triple-tax savings accounts, or the 401k+ of healthcare) and how they're promoted by the brokers and consultants? These often decide which vendor is chosen amidst the fragmented market for the 20M+ Americans who have these accounts. Optum (UHC): We're No. 1. UMB Financial: “Healthcare solutions that make you look good.” HealthEquity: “Offer your clients a comprehensive, conv ...

isaac-smith-6EnTPvPPL6I-unsplash

Of Synergies and Spreadsheets

When buying anything, whether it's a company choosing a vendor, a suburban soccer mom considering solar panels on a home, investing in stocks, or as a CEO considering an acquisition, the big and easy decisions are what you should focus on, not the slick presentations or the fancy math (or total lack of numbers). Is there a quick back-of-the-envelope ROI? What are the explicit and implicit costs? Since ~90% of health happens outside of intervention settings, you should focus on net value, or what ...

jeremy-lapak-CVvFVQ_-oUg-unsplash

A Wellness Alternative

  If gym memberships are a waste of wellness dollars (see Rand Study and IL Wellness study) , why not give a smaller after-tax amount for people to spend on what they want. One idea is equipment. Give employees $150 to buy running shoes, ski poles, yoga pants, entry fees to races, or new mountain bike tires. It's the ultimate in choice. Yes, some would waste it but dollars are already going down the drain. Employees would appreciate it and have a deeper respect for their company, truly pr ...

sean-benesh-xNL-QO_PfDo-unsplash

Corporate Goodwill

A study published in NBER last month has some interesting implications on workplace wellness programs. While only a one year study, it's unique since it's the only comprehensive randomized controlled trial on wellness. 1) There are diminishing returns on wellness incentives and it is lower than most think (after around $200 there isn't much of an impact). 2) As expected, healthy participants self-select into wellness programs. Spend was close to $1,600 lower for this group but that was not a ...