Insurance: Health

Part of the responsibility of a family business consultant is to assist in identifying problems that should be referred to other professionals. My specialty is in business management, but in my 25 years advising family companies I have often come across a business problem, or a people problem, that turned out to be a health problem, requiring the attention of a physician.

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While manufacturers across the country are losing money because of yearly increases in worker's compensation claims, a Massachusetts-based makerof men's suits named Grieco Brothersis saving a bundle. The average numberof compensation claims filed by Grieco'sworkers has declined from 73 in 1987 toonly 15 in 1989. During that period, thenumber of days lost due to workers' accidents dropped from 1,769 to 452. Thecompany now spends far less than itused to on insurance premiums.

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Last year health insurance premiums for business rose 20.4 percent. To hold the line, more and more companies, large and small, are auditing their health care bills. It can be done by outsiders or with selfauditing programs that offer incentives to employees who catch hospital billing errors. Savings can reach 24 percent of a typical hospital bill.

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Honey Siegel is quick to tell you how lucky she is. Her 90-year-old mother, who lives with her, required emergency homecare after falling and breaking her arm, and then soon again after fracturing her hip. Both times Honey called an experienced eldercare consulting group retained for just such occasions by her employer, Fel-Pro Inc. of Skokie, Illinois. The consultant put her in touch with an emergency home healthcare service for the elderly which looked after her mother when Honey could not.

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Not long ago, a woman and her husband's brother came to Ed Storti for help. The San Pedro, California, counselor is an interventionist. It is his job to convince drug and alcohol addicts to enter treatment programs.

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