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Designing benefits for employee productivity and retention with Dr. Bapu Jena

In this episode of The Benefits Playbook, host Sasha Yamaguchi and guest Dr. Bapu Jena explore the economics of health benefit design.

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The Benefits Playbook is a podcast covering all things employee healthcare, brought to you by Collective Health. Each episode features an in-depth conversation between Sasha Yamaguchi, Commercial Leader at Collective Health, and an expert in the health benefits industry.

In the third episode of The Benefits Playbook, host Sasha Yamaguchi interviews Dr. Bapu Jena, a distinguished economist, physician, and Harvard Medical School professor. Dr. Jena is the Joseph P. Newhouse Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, a physician in the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

Dr. Jena’s research explores the intricate relationship between healthcare and economics, including the economics of physician behavior, the impact of medical malpractice, and the economics of healthcare productivity and innovation. He also hosts the Freakonomics, MD podcast and recently coauthored the book Random Acts of Medicine, in which he uses natural experiments to shed light on “the hidden side of healthcare” and the forces that shape public health. 

In his conversation with Sasha, Bapu discusses some of the most interesting findings from his book, plus explains how to find a good doctor and design a high-quality employer-sponsored health benefits program.

“Organizations think mostly about the healthcare spending bucket. But I think an interesting line of questioning is, how does how you design your health benefits affect what you do as a company, how productive your workers are, how likely you are to retain them? I think that is an avenue of inquiry that has received less attention than it probably should.”

– Dr. Bapu Jena

Here are some more highlights from their conversation: 

  • A deep dive into the relationship between healthcare and economics
  • Good spend versus bad spend when building benefits plan designs
  • Challenges providers and payers will face as healthcare evolves  
  • Bapu shares his favorite healthcare story

Listen to the full episode above, or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Read the episode transcript here.

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