The rising cost of healthcare and potential legislative changes are causing employers a lot of concerns. That’s why Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana partnered with Greater New Orleans, Inc. and the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce to host the second annual Business to Business Forum on Healthcare Solutions (B2B Health Forum) at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.
This daylong event gave Louisiana business owners a chance to meet with subject matter experts and learn more about potential changes to healthcare reform, how to rein in the rising costs from prescription drugs, applying Big Data concepts to healthcare and developing worksite wellness programs, among other topics. There was no cost to attend the event; it was put on as a free service from the hosting organizations.
“We know a lot of Louisiana business owners are trying to plan as best they can for every possible future while continuing to navigate within our current system,” said Dr. I. Steven Udvarhelyi, Blue Cross president and CEO. “There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s not always easy for businesses, particularly small businesses, to get access to leading experts in the field. The B2B health forum is a way we can provide that service to the employer community.”
The forum featured a series of small breakout sessions and two main sessions, including a keynote address on improving healthcare through innovations such as the Apple Watch by Dr. Richard Milani, Ochsner Health System. Attendees also had the chance to submit questions to a panel comprised of Dr. Milani, Dr. Corey Hebert, Tulane University and WDSU, and Dr. Vindell Washington, Blue Cross chief medical officer.
Michael Hecht, president & CEO of GNO, Inc., addressed high healthcare costs as an issue for economic development for our state as part of his opening remarks at the forum.
“Personnel benefits costs are typically the second-largest expense for businesses,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “For us in Louisiana, managing these costs is not just an issue of doing what’s right for our employees, but of also ensuring that our state remains a great place to do business. This forum is an excellent opportunity for Louisiana businesses to get current information on changes to healthcare policy, and then understand all of their options for offering strong benefits that remain affordable.”
The New Orleans Chamber joined as a sponsoring partner of the event this year, in response to members’ concerns. In planning for the 2017 summit, chamber president & CEO, Ben Johnson, went to his members to find out what types of issues they were most interested in.
“The unpredictability of healthcare costs is a huge concern for our members,” said Johnson. “Due to anticipated proposed legislation changes, small businesses are unable to determine future costs and budget accordingly. The value of this conference is to enable employers to stay informed.”
The information presented at today’s forum will be posted to the event website, www.bcbsla.com/b2bhealthforum, where these materials can be downloaded and distributed on an ongoing basis.