July 29, 2008

C-Change is ‘Making the Business Case’ for Workplace Cancer Prevention

WASHINGTON, July 29 /PRNewswire/ -- C-Change, a national cancer coalition of key leaders from the government, business and non-profit sectors, is launching an initiative called "Making the Business Case for Cancer Prevention & Early Detection."

The program provides a compelling argument for why companies should assure their employee health insurance policies include coverage for proven cancer prevention and screening services as well as a strategy to educate employees about the importance of these services. Coupled together, these strategies could yield significant cost savings to the employers and save lives. The campaign has been developed in partnership with the Ad Council and Edelman Public Relations, and is targeted to business, non-profit and public sector CEOs, benefits managers and human resource directors though the publications they read and conferences they attend.

The "Making the Business Case" initiative is predicated on the growing evidence that it is far more costly to pay for cancer treatments than it is to provide early detection and prevention measures. Direct medical expenses (health insurance premiums) and indirect costs (lost productivity) related to treating employees with cancer cost employers thousands of dollars every year. Thus, as the population ages, it makes financial sense for employers to play a significant role in the fight against the disease by supporting early detection and prevention in the workplace.

For instance, an actuarial study featured as part of the campaign indicates that it would take an investment of only $2.95 per member per month for the typical employer to reach near full compliance among their employees to cover breast, colorectal and cervical cancer screening, and that this would eventually yield savings of up to $3.75 per member per month in medical care costs.

A campaign white paper kicks-off the program by outlining the benefits of preventive care related to four types of cancer -- breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, and cancers associated with tobacco use. The white paper provides data on cancer prevention and early detection, including potential cost savings to employers in the future by investing in these services today.

"Cancer is a significant burden on society -- the American Cancer Society predicts that in 2008 about 1.5 million new cases will be diagnosed. The data compiled by C-Change shows that in real numbers, it is far more costly to treat cancer than it is to prevent it," said Tom Kean, Executive Director of C-Change. "We are proud to be able to provide strong evidence to employers that investing in cancer prevention and early detection services will promote the health of their employees and at the same time be a cost saver."

Today, the annual healthcare expenditure in the U.S. is $1.9 trillion -- and more than $200 billion of that goes to treating cancer. Data show that 75 percent of all healthcare costs stem from chronic health conditions that can be prevented, yet only a small proportion of that amount is allocated to promoting health and preventing illness. In an era in which health expenditures may soon surpass profits at the typical Fortune 500 company, reigning in health care costs is everyone's job -- including that of business.

What Employers Can Do

Since employers provide health insurance to more than 50 percent (160 million) of Americans through their health plans, employers are well positioned to make a direct impact on efforts that are beginning to win the war on cancer. What can companies do?

   --  Work with health plans to increase coverage for breast, cervical and       colorectal cancer screenings and tobacco cessation programs   --  Encourage employees to get screened for breast, cervical, and       colorectal cancer through employer driven education programs and by       eliminating insurance co-pays and deductibles for these services   --  Implement tobacco-free policies    

"Employers share the responsibility of protecting America's health by supporting healthy actions among their employees, and this initiative demonstrates the real long-term value of these interventions for the company's bottom line," said Martin Murphy, Charter Member of C-Change and Convener of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer. "We hope to see companies large and small adopting these policies in their health benefits programs in order to see measurable changes in health care expenditures in the near future."

"Making the Business Case" By The Numbers

Investing in cancer prevention is a long-term strategy employers should use to reduce costs and ensure a healthier workforce. The "Making the Business Case" white paper, on behalf of C-Change, illustrates how:

   --  Cancer costs burden businesses.   --  Offering prevention and early detection health insurance benefits       reduces both the direct and indirect costs of cancer for employers.   --  Employers can encourage their respective employees to receive cancer       prevention and screening services.    

For a copy of the white paper, or to receive more information, please visit http://www.c-changeprojects.org/MakingTheBusinessCase.

About C-Change

C-Change, a non-profit organization consisting of public, private and nonprofit sectors, is comprised of 130 nationally-recognized leaders from across all sectors of society. Former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush serve as Honorary Chairpersons and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein is Honorary Vice Chair. C-Change's mission is to leverage the resources and expertise of every sector of society to eliminate cancer as a major public health problem at the earliest possible time. For more information on C-Change, please visit http://www.c-changetogether.org/.

    Media Contact:    Beth Conner    312-240-2673    [email protected]  


CONTACT: Beth Conner, +1-312-240-2673, [email protected], forC-Change

Web site: http://www.c-changetogether.org/