The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 was a very contentious moment in recent American history. While some have hailed it as a solution for improving medical coverage, others have criticized it for increasing the cost of doing business for employers by requiring such benefits be offered if a business is a certain size.

Regardless of how individuals or businesses feel about it, the ACA is law and continues to require companies to adapt. PEO companies can help them make the necessary adjustments.

One way employers can make this transition smooth is by encouraging employees to take a preventative approach toward their care, as reported by HR Professionals magazine.

Money is a motivator
John Denery, a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters and the Society for Human Resource Management, told the news source that, as the cost of health care benefits continues to rise, employers would serve themselves well by getting workers to take advantage of annual health screens. This way, they can identify health problems – such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer – sooner rather than later, when they are likely to be advanced and more costly to treat. In some cases, workers will need incentives to adopt this strategy.

"What really motivates [employees] is money," Denery told HR Professionals magazine. "That's positively or negatively. So either financially incenting them to do something or charging them more if they do not do something. So you may have one employer who says if you do this I will give you $250 or another employer who says if you do not do this I am going to charge you 15 percent more. There are multiple ways of going about it."

In any case, employers need to make sure to communicate their message effectively to their workforce.

Aside from promoting advanced health screenings, employers need to encourage more cost-efficient spending in medicine. One way to go about this is using pricing transparency so workers can know how much certain medical procedures cost with specific providers.

What is the burden of chronic disease in the U.S.?
Many of the problems that can be identified at annual health screenings are chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 percent of medical spending dollars in the nation go toward chronic disease management. Specifically, in 2010 alone, cancer cost $157 billion, while heart disease and stroke cost $315.4 billion. In 2012, diagnosed cases of diabetes cost the nation $245 billion, including $69 billion in lost productivity.