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A new guide to disease prevention can help employers, and employees, promote good health and save money at the same time.

They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If that’s true (and why not?), then a new trend in employer-driven disease management and prevention may be just the ticket.

The National Business Group on Health, founded over 30 years ago to represent the perspective of large employers on providing solutions to important health care problems, has a new (and free!) Purchaser’s Guide that it hopes will help businesses better map their approach to preventive services.

The purpose is to make information and recommendations about prevention more readily available to employees. The Group also hopes to increase awareness of preventive service “access points” (such as worksite-based immunization programs), and to encourage health plans to promote preventive services. One immediate goal is to give workers incentives for participating in prevention programs and encourage more healthy lifestyles off the job.

They drew information from experts like the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which provided information on 46 clinical preventive services (like health screenings, counseling, and the like) that have proven to be effective.

Because such materials tend to be, well, overly technical, the Group set out to translate the science of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force into layman’s terms. As important, they requires that all of the services and recommendations in the guide must be evidence-based or recommended guidance, and has to:

■ address a serious health threat in terms of illness, death, or quality of life, including risk of disability, and/or

■ address a condition that results in substantial costs for payers.

According to the Group, “research indicates that 75% of all healthcare costs stem from preventable chronic conditions.” I have no reason to doubt this claim, and it certainly makes sense to look for effective, viable ways to trim that down.

With the holidays upon us, including all those great (and fattening) office parties, this seems like a timely reminder that we should also be considering the gift of health.

Henry Stern, LUTCF is an independent insurance agent in Dayton, OH. A licensed Continuing Education instructor for Ohio and Kentucky, he has well over 20 years of experience in “the biz.”  He blogs every day (or so it seems) at InsureBlog

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