According to the Old Mutual Actuaries and Consultants 2010 Healthcare Survey employer respondents gave the importance of controlling healthcare costs an 88% rating. This is understandable given the risk of bankruptcy from healthcare costs, a reality borne out in an article by Target News entitled ‘Health care costs are bankrupting employers, employees, surveys find’

The article indicates that Americans are growing increasingly dissatisfied with the health insurance costs of the employer-sponsored health care system according to the annual Health Confidence Survey conducted in the USA, the world’s largest economy. The article goes on to quote a columnist, who stated that,’ We will reach the 'tipping point' very soon. Not only because people are needlessly dying, but because big and small business are being hobbled by astronomical health costs. Rising health care costs have all but slain the American giants of employment, such as General Motors and Ford, both of which are reporting losses due to health care costs. And the similarly serious situation in which individuals find themselves is also highlighted by a World Health Organization 2010 report which stated that, across the world “100 million people a year are pushed into poverty by their medical bills”

As someone who has been working in the healthcare arena for more than two and a half decades now I have witnessed this global crisis in healthcare unfold and get worse over the years with increasing lack of affordability of healthcare being one of its many facets. Another aspect of this immense and tragic crisis is the increasing epidemic of chronic and preventable diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart disease, asthma, anxiety and depression and obesity amongst others. And of course not forgetting the shocking explosion in the number of people suffering, and dying, from cancer. On-going stress, poor nutrition and bad lifestyles are common underlying factors in most of these conditions.

All this illness and disease of course also translates into increasing absenteeism, another major problem for employers. In fact research conducted on absenteeism in this country has shown that it has reached enormously high levels and could be costing the economy as much as R12 billion per year. On average 4.5% of the workforce of South African companies are absent from work each day causing them considerable losses in terms of productivity and the bottom line. In some companies it is as high as 18%. The research has also shown that most companies are resigned to the view that not much can be done about this increasing and loss-creating problem.

This is unfortunate since much can be done to minimize the problem. And key amongst these is ensuring that employees enjoy a high, and even optimal, level of health and wellness since this is vital to optimizing performance, productivity and consequently the bottom line. Healthy and well people are happy people who stay away from work less and are more productive. And a healthy and well workforce translates into a reduction in company costs related to medical aid scheme subsidies, insurance premiums and disability claims. And when people are required to pay less out of their pockets for their medical expenses and enjoy a higher state of health and well-being than that which they are used to, their morale, performance and productivity are boosted.

So how does one actually get people to enjoy the highest level, an optimal level, of health and wellness? The answer is by optimizing each of the ten dimensions of health and wellness which I have identified through my research in this area. Optimization of the ten dimensions is achieved via the Optimal Health and Wellness Academy program which is part of the products and services offerings of the Health, Wellness and Performance Institute. The benefits of optimal health and wellness are many, including amongst others hardly ever or even never getting sick, abundant energy vitality and well-being, increased physical and emotional fitness, enhanced mental functioning and clarity and enhanced performance and productivity.

Now I am aware that many companies have become wary of programs offered to them over the years. This is mainly because of the fact that many of these programs have been disappointing in terms of the results they produce despite the substantial investment made in them by those companies. The primary reason for this is that many of these programs address the problems that they purport to solve only at the superficial, conscious level. However since more than 95% of our lives are controlled by what is programmed into our subconscious minds, including our beliefs, feelings, habits and behaviors, in order for any education and development program to be successful it is imperative that the correct instructions and programs be installed in the subconscious. Programs designed to enhance productivity and performance for example often fail to do so because they do not neutralize subconscious instructions and programs which prevent these goals from being achieved and install new ones which ensure that they are. In this regard the Optimal Health and Wellness Academy program incorporates a subconscious mind reprogramming toolkit which significantly enhances the achievement and maintenance of a state of optimal health and wellness of its participants. In order to maximize the vast potential of human beings, ensuring that the correct instructions and programs are held in the subconscious is non-negotiable.

Start reducing the healthcare costs and absenteeism levels of your company today by investing in the Optimal Health and Wellness Academy program which is designed to assist in alleviating the healthcare crisis in a meaningful way. It helps people achieve results by addressing their health and wellness issues at all levels, including eliminating those subconscious limiting factors which keep them stuck in a cycle of recurrent illness and disease and its negative consequences.

Writing on how the NHI will affect individuals, finance journalist Helena Wasserman indicates that the NHI will bring a much larger focus on preventative medical care and that it is more important than ever for people to take care of themselves and avoid unnecessary health risks. Some of the most common diseases in SA are all preventable. Investing in lifestyle changes now may save them a lot of money later, she says.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Faiez Kirsten is the founder and director of the Health, Wellness and Performance Institute which is a membership-based education and development entity whose mission is to empower individuals and organizations with the knowledge and skills to prevent, reverse and eliminate illness and disease and achieve optimal health, wellness and performance. Achievement of these goals is a significant part of realizing the full potential of any individual or organization. The mission of the institute is achieved via innovative programs which are delivered both on-line and off-line.