Key Steps In Developing New Workplace Health Policies

The direct commitment of senior management and the participation of employees in the development of workplace health policies are an essential prerequisite to the successful implementation of policies that are designed to address the real needs of the working community.

The following main steps and/or activities should be considered in the development and implementation of workplace health management at the enterprise level: emaemj.org

· Develop a short policy statement from the employer or senior executive that explicitly states senior management’s commitment to and acceptance of responsibility for the health management strategy within the company.

· Educate managers and workers on the impact of environmental, occupational and lifestyle factors on their health and social well-being and on the economic situation and competing ability of the company to facilitate their participation in health management.

· Determine the role of the medical, nursing, environmental and safety experts and other professionals needed to assist in the implementation of the health management strategy in the company.

· Discuss economic appraisal of existing and projected outcomes to health, safety, and environmental health from the activities of the company.

· Train staff in quality management principles and standards to be used for the workplace health management system. These are the same as those applied to quality assurance in the management of manufacturing, servicing or marketing operations.

· Assure participation of management and employees in the development and implementation of workplace health management systems in the company.

· Develop adequate tools for monitoring and evaluation of health, safety, social, economic and environmental outcomes to determine the impact on well-being of employees and competitiveness of the company.

The number of Health Savings Accounts has been constantly on the rise since these accounts were offered to the public. Both employers looking for ways to continue offering health insurance as a benefit to employees and people seeking their own individual plan have invested in Health Savings Accounts. Why would this one form of health insurance be appealing to both groups?

A Health Savings Account or an HSA is like a personal savings account with three very big differences. First, no matter how you invest the balance, the earnings are not taxable as long as you let the balance grow with tax-free earnings or you withdraw money to pay for healthcare that meets government criteria. You can spend the funds for your kid’s check-up at the dentist, your spouse’s medical massage therapy, or for your own acupuncture treatment. There’s actually a long list of health-related expenses that the federal government allows you to use HSA funds for and any money you don’t spend on health care can keep on growing tax-free to double as a retirement account.

A second big difference between an HSA and a regular savings account is that you can get a tax deduction for your savings. You can deposit up to $3,050 for individual plans or up to $6,150 for family plans and take a tax deduction for the entire amount even without itemizing deductions. It doesn’t matter whether you use the funds for qualified health care or build a retirement fund with it. The tax deduction is still available.

An HSA also differs from a regular savings account in how you can invest the balance. With an HSA, you may buy bonds, mutual funds or stocks if you prefer. Of course, you can also keep your entire HSA in a regular interest-bearing savings account.

Who Should Start an HSA?

The trade association America’s Health Insurance Plans revealed that more than 11.4 million Americans are covered by HSA-eligible health insurance plans. That’s an overall increase of 14 percent this year. The association also found that in the individual market, 2.4 million people got an HSA plan.

This year, preventive care services are required to be covered with no out-of-pocket costs. That has opened the door for many people to take advantage of high-deductible plans offering much lower premiums than typical co-pay insurance. Certain of these high-deductible plans allow the policyholder to open an HSA. The greater coverage provided with high-deductible plans now makes an HSA even more inviting. Lower premiums of high-deductible plans help individuals maintain health insurance while also helping employers continue to offer health insurance coverage as a benefit.

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