Quest Diagnostics (DGX) CEO Steve Rusckowski knows that health care costs are on the rise, and with reports of increases in employer-sponsored premiums next year, the head of one of the world’s largest diagnostics companies hopes to ease the burden for the majority of his employees.
Quest is increasing the insurance premium cost for the top earners and decreasing it for the lower earners, Rusckwoski told Yahoo Finance.
“For 95% of our employees, there will be no increase in their payment. For 5% of those employees, there will be a fee increase, and that’s primarily for the highest paid people at Quest Diagnostics. So real good progress of bending the cost curve for our own employees,” he said.
The move is one of Rusckowski’s final ones as CEO, as he steps down from his role after 10 years at the helm on November 1. He will remain on as executive chairman until March 2023.
Rusckowski said the decision, which will apply to all 60,000 employees, was made after consulting a physician with a health insurance background.
“We started step by step to see what we could do ourselves to bend the cost curve,” he said.
While he is stepping down amid the third year of the pandemic, Rusckowski said the company is still primed and ready to ramp up if case levels rise again.
Testing accounts for a low percentage of the overall health care costs in the country, but accounts for a significant portion of decision-making, Rusckowski said. At no time has that been clearer than during the COVID-19 pandemic, when a test was the key to confirming the level of cases.
“We’re not closing down that capacity, but we’re prepared in the event that it comes back up,” he said.
The company now has the ability to process 300,000 PCR tests per day, across all labs in the U.S. And even as experts warn of a tough few months entering into winter, with concerning variants circulating globally, the current situation is vastly different than it’s been over the course of the pandemic.
“We’ve been at a fraction of that for the last several weeks. We actually have seen the testing volume … come down,” Rusckowski said.
Even so, the testing levels are still substantial compared to pre-pandemic norms. “We thought it would be capped within the year (2020), but it extended itself into ’21, and we continue to have substantial testing,” Rusckwoski said.
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