In these first years of the 21st Century employers everywhere are stricken with runaway health costs. Productivity lost to sick leave and ever-higher health insurance premiums trouble even the giants. The complex affliction is all but incurable, but it can be managed ergonomically with wellness programs. If the pain in the pocket grows unbearable, more employers might be persuaded to try the prevention alternative.
Health costs are frequently described as unsustainable.
In the United States, according to the 17th annual Towers Perrin Health Care Cost Survey released in September, employees are paying 64 percent more for health care than they spent five years ago and employer costs have risen 78 percent in the same period.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare researcher Ken Tallis reported in the same month that out-of-pocket healthcare costs in her country have more than doubled in the past decade, despite state and federal funding reaching an all-time high.
Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is also suffering. An article in the Observer newspaper on October 2 complained that “spending on the NHS has all but doubled since 1997, but improvements have been patchy.”
In Canada the Dominion Bond Rating Service Ltd. warned in October that rising health care costs pose a growing threat to provincial finances and governments. The service predicted health costs would grow again in 2005 by 5.1 per cent – more than double the increase for anticipated government revenues.
Everything suggests other countries are experiencing the same kind of pain.
Managing the Pain
Two ergonomists interviewed recently by The Ergonomics Report
This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2005-10-05.