While everyone else’s healthcare costs are rising, Chrysler’s managed to avoid those increases. The best part: You can steal the automaker’s cost control tactics for use in your organization.

In 2011, Chrysler avoided healthcare cost increases for the vast majority of its 13,000 salaried workers in the U.S. after its healthcare spending jumped 9% the year before, according to The Detroit News.

Three secrets to its success that are worth considering:

1. Free flu shots

In an ongoing effort to emphasize what it calls a “culture of health,” the automaker gave free flu shots to roughly 10,000 salaried workers.

Adding to the culture of health were offerings at its fitness centers, company health clinic and pharmacy. In addition, Chrysler pushed healthy items at its cafeteria.

2. Health assessment requirements

Participants in the company’s PPO health plan (about 70% of its salaried workers) were required to get an annual physical by March 30, 2011 or see their out-of-pocket expenses skyrocket.

An employee’s deductible for in-network care would jump from $1,000 for family coverage to $3,400 if he/she and their spouse didn’t get physicals.

The physicals had to include biometric, blood sugar, tobacco use, BMI and blood pressure tests.

Result: 90% of PPO participants and their spouses got physicals last year.

3. Action plans

Following their physicals, health plan participants and their spouses received tailored action plans to help them tackle existing health issues before they became more serious — and more costly.

A Chrysler spokesperson said the key to keeping costs down was establishing a better relationship between health plan participants and their primary care physicians to improve employees’ health.

Physicals to hourly workers

Another move that may help Chrysler keep healthcare costs down in the future: As part of the last labor deal the company struck with the United Auto Workers union, it’s giving new hourly workers free annual physicals.

That may help hourly workers catch and alleviate medical conditions before they become serious, which in turn would benefit Chrysler’s health plan should those workers later qualify for enrollment.

Source: “Chrysler: Health costs under control,” by David Shepardson, The Detroit News, 4/17/12.


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