WASHINGTON — The Dayton Hudson Corp., Minneapolis, cut its health care costs for workers in the Twin Cities by 10 percent last year, and Fred Hamacher, vice president of compensation and benefits, says its managed care program should be examined by Congress and the White House.
“There needs to be reform,” Hamacher said in a telephone interview, “but we need to let the marketplace work.”
Hamacher plans to bring DH’s story to Capitol Hill this year in an attempt to influence the health care debate. He is chairman of a year-old Twin Cities health care coalition, called the Business HealthCare Action Group, that includes 14 major employers with more than 125,000 area workers. Dayton Hudson has about 10,000 employees participating in the program. Other participants include General Mills, Honeywell, Pillsbury and Supervalu.
Under the coalition’s program, employers buy health care for their workers and dependents directly from selected clinics, hospitals and medical centers. Quality standards, services and costs have been negotiated by the coalition. Workers and employers share the premium costs, with the percentage of participation varying by company.
DH contributes about 70 percent of its workers’ costs in the program, Hamacher said.
Coalition director Steve Wetzell said the coalition is providing health care at 40 percent below average national costs.
“We’re just trying to demonstrate the right way to provide health care,” Wetzell said. “The program is ideal for areas where a company has many employees, but would not work for many retailers who have small stores in rural areas because they wouldn’t have enough clout to negotiate with providers.”