Q&A with Aon's John Zern: Rising Health Care Costs and Addressing Health Holistically

John Zern
John Zern is Aon's CEO of Global Health Solutions & CEO, North America: Commercial Risk and Health Solutions. For close to 30 years, John has driven business strategies for corporate clients across all industries and geographies. During this time, he has worked with hundreds of employers from middle market businesses to Fortune 500 corporations to help them achieve a healthy workplace and drive bottom line results.

While general inflation rates might still be modest in most of the world, employers across the globe can expect their employee medical costs to increase at a pace dramatically above that of local inflation in 2019.  According to Aon’s 2019 Global Medical Trend Rates Report, the global average increase in employer medical costs will be nearly triple the average rate of inflation in the year ahead.

John Zern, Aon’s CEO of Global Health Solutions & CEO, North America: Commercial Risk and Health Solutions, shares his perspective on the complexity of health care, increasing costs, and the growth in wellbeing programs. 





How are increasing health care costs impacting organizations?

From varying regulations to differing delivery systems, the global health care landscape is complex. What is consistent in almost every region: health care costs are rising faster than wage increases – at rates that are outpacing inflation.  We’re seeing employers’ health care costs consume a disproportionate share of total rewards budgets. At the same time, populations are becoming less healthy and those impacts are felt by employers: from lost productivity to increased premiums – poor health affects balance sheets.

What is driving interest in corporate wellbeing programs?

Increasingly, organizations are realizing that health is not just physical. A combination of factors – including emotional, social and financial – can affect an individual’s wellbeing. To best manage the long-term impacts of poor health, including shorter-term cost containment through to longer-term behavioral change, organizations across the world are looking at wellbeing programs that aim to educate, motivate and support various elements across an individual’s health.