Employee Health Clinics: A Creative Solution to Climbing Costs

Written by: Lorrie Howard, Horizon Point Consulting

Healthcare costs have risen an average of five to seven percent each year for the last five years. With costs steadily increasing, employers are starting to look for creative solutions to combat this steady climb in costs. One solution many employers have adopted is Employee Health Clinics.

What is an employee health clinic?

It is when an employer or group of employers work with local health care providers to create a health clinic specifically for use by their employees and dependents. The employer usually pays a monthly fee per employee, often between about $50 to $100. Some employers opt to charge employees a small copay for visits between about $5 and $15; much less than they would pay through their health insurance provider to see a doctor. In addition, the employer usually pays or splits the cost of lab work and prescription fees with the employee and those services are obtained by the health clinic at wholesale rates.

How can an employee benefit from an employer health clinic?

As noted above, visits to the employee health clinic are often at no cost or low cost to the employee and their dependents, including lab work and prescriptions. Clinics are usually set up onsite at the employer or in a nearby location. This helps to minimize the time away from work needed to seek medical care, thus encouraging employees to seek care when needed. Many employer health clinics also provide wellness care and have staff on-call after hours.

How can an employer benefit from establishing a health clinic?

By creating the convenience of an onsite or nearby health clinic, employees are more likely to seek medical treatment because they don’t need to take time off to do so. Clinics are often open before and after work hours and/or have staff on-call after hours. For an employer, this helps reduce absenteeism and increase productivity. Preventative care offered by the clinics can help to further reduce these problems for an employer, as well as also help to reduce the number of major health care claims to their primary insurance provider. This allows employers to cut their overall healthcare costs by reducing the annual premiums paid to the insurance company.

Employer health clinics can also help to manage minor worker’s compensation injuries and illnesses, working closely with the employer to get employees back to work faster and determine light duty assignments available when needed. This helps to reduce an employer’s overall worker’s compensation claims.

Many health clinics also provide wellness education including biometric testing, flu shots, and wellness seminars.

Employer health clinics are usually staffed with nurse practitioners or physician assistants, which helps to control the costs incurred to run the clinic. Some clinics have a full-time or part-time physician on staff or on-call as needed.

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