What Comes First, the Why, the What, or the How?

Coffee with Cote’ - An unconventional look for healthier outcomes

What comes first, the Why, the What or the How

I hate to beat a dead horse, but boy is coffee expensive! 

It’s funny (not really), but it seems that coffee is priced like gas these days.  I think my college professor (whom I sensed had a bit of wild side and confirmed that he did the day he showed up to class with a black eye) would call that an oligopoly market – similar to gas.  I always admired how he could pull off, with such confidence, wearing a plaid shirt with a poke-a-dot tie.  He literally could go from the left side of the chalk board over to right and switch from writing with his left hand to his right and then move from the right side of the chalk board to the left without missing a beat.  All the while talking at lightning speed and with such confidence - opinionated too (imagine that).  I sense that his opinionated, fast talking, funny dressed ways might have caught up to him one evening at a local pub and thus the black eye.

The problem is coffee is not like gas, right?  Three options for gas, but from one station to the next, not a ton difference in experience.  Today in this “pay at the pump” world, it’s really hard to see why one gas station would charge more than the next.  The challenge is that there is a difference in coffee, not only in taste, but in experience.  Nobody has figured this out better than Starbucks.  It is the Starbucks experience that leads to the endless lines that follow at airports or other highly populated places, while their competitors down the hall have no wait.  I have heard a rumor that Starbucks is looking to put a Starbucks within a Starbucks in the near future.  Well maybe not, but people will wait for their Starbucks coffee, because they have figured out the “Why” when it comes to the “Starbucks experience.”

Here’s the rub.  The “Why” when it comes to healthcare is not as simple as a sharp tasting dark roast, followed by responsive and friendly service.  The reality is the “Why” is a combination of many non-related influences over the years that has led us to a rubix cube of challenges.  Consider this...

·         Obesity, Alcohol & Tobacco represent over 50% of the US nearly $4 Trillion healthcare spending

·         Cars today burn nearly a billion gallons of gas more than 1960 due to our weight gain now v then

·         Sugar drinks equate to 95,000 heart attacks, 26,000 premature deaths and 8,000 strokes a year and impact medical spend by nearly 20 Billion

·         The Majority of Healthcare is paid by third party payers: employer pays the premium, employee uses coverage, provider bills carrier, who sees the bill?

·         70% of HC utilization does not reflect the actual costs – Office Visit, Preventative, Prescription and Chiropractic.

·         ACA further complicates things with a disconnect between driving costs down and carriers’ profits

·         Regardless of employers best efforts to control costs and provide a comprehensive medical plan, healthcare premiums are at an all-time high with personal bankruptcy top culprit being individual’s inability to pay their medical bills even with the fact that over 50% of these occurrences medical coverage was in place. 

Although overwhelming, have faith reader, as future Coffee with Cote’s will deep dive into “What” successful employers are doing to create a positive healthcare worksite movement and promote positive change.  With this it will become clear “How” successful employers have made a successful shift, building an inspiring culture from today’s healthcare users to tomorrow’s healthcare consumers and how to empower employees to feel like they are a big part of the solution, rather than the problem.

More to come…and knowing the “Why” is an important first step.