The Company That Solved Health Care

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The health care crisis in the U.S. has reached epidemic proportions. Companies face skyrocketing costs to insure their workers, and individuals face higher premiums, bigger co-pays, or, in the case of more than 40 percent of all Americans, the inability to afford any insurance at all.

In the midst of the struggle, one mid-sized Midwestern company, led by a former Marine deeply concerned about the care of his co-workers, waged war on health care costs and won. In THE COMPANY THAT SOLVED HEALTH CARE, John B. Torinus tells the compelling tale of how he involved employees in their own health, enabling them to be effective consumers by creating transparency of pricing — something woefully absent from medical care in America. Five years into the reform, Serigraph spends one-third less than the national average to insure its workers. If the U.S. adopted similar reforms, the savings would amount to $800 billion dollars annually, enough to cover the nation’s uninsured several times over.

In January of 2004, Torinus launched a consumer driven health care plan at Serigraph, asking his employees to accept higher deductibles and reasonable co-pays in exchange for incentives that range from a company paid health savings account, to cash bonuses, to paid time off. Three initiatives are at the heart of the plan — consumer responsibility, the return to the use of primary care doctors over specialists, and identifying high centers of value for health care and rewarding workers for using them.

“Our hope,” writes Torinus, “is that our experience will encourage other companies and organizations to empower their employees as informed consumers and responsible patients. Our hope is that Serigraph’s journey toward proactive management of health costs provides a useful road map for taming the beast.”

The book is a road map for companies eager to get their employees involved in managing their own health. Along with Serigraph’s story, Torinus weaves in the real life stories of how reformed health care plans work at his companies and others including Scotts Miracle-Gro, Kohl’s Department Stores, SAS International and Humana.

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