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Alternatives to cost-shifting: Strategies from our book of business

We consider how employers can manage healthcare spend without passing additional responsibility to employees

25 percent of Americans say the cost of healthcare is the biggest concern facing their family right now, according to a recent Monmouth University poll. That’s up from 15 percent just two years ago. Many companies share a portion of increasing costs with employees in the form of reference-based pricing and high deductibles. These strategies don’t address what drives underlying cost, just who pays for it.

How can employers manage healthcare costs without passing along additional costs to employees? Our book of business offers several proven strategies:

 

A focus on consumer education

For most employees, making sense of their health benefits is a daunting task. However, as employers bear increased financial responsibility for healthcare costs, it pays to know the basics.

Simple ways HR departments can educate employees on their plans include refining open enrollment strategies, anticipating FAQs and ensuring employees have access to one-on-one member support from your administrator or carrier.

Make benefits more approachable with jargon-free communication (try our guide with a printable poster of common healthcare terms) and actionable tips, such as how to know whether to head to the ER or opt for an urgent care facility.  With costs top-of-mind, arm employees with ways they can save before or at the point-of-service, including questions to ask before receiving care.

 

Concierge services that present high-value options to employees before procedures

Prices for health services such as surgeries and imaging vary dramatically, which can leave employers and employees on the hook for inflated doctor and hospital bills. To ease the burden, many employers are turning to price transparency tools and encouraging their employees to “shop for care”.

It’s a sound theory (over 70% of respondents in a recent survey published by HealthAffairs are aware of the price variation, and another study by the Harvard School of Public Health confirms expensive care doesn’t produce better outcomes), but in practice there’s a significant disconnect between the desire to shop for care and making it easy for employees. Few know how to compare costs and even fewer successfully use transparency tools when they’re made available.

Healthgram’s member experience bridges this gap, guiding employees towards high-quality care through trusted, proactive advocacy. One member saved over $20,000 by working with her Advisor before she needed shoulder surgery.

Related resource: See the procedure price variance in your market

 

Detail-driven health plan administration

An underlying commitment to accurately and successfully managing your self-funded plan supports advocacy services and consumer education efforts.

There are many opportunities for savings beyond a network discount, including case rate negotiation, transparent pharmacy arrangements, expert claims review and exploring alternative care options. Aligning with an administrator familiar with these methods increases the effectiveness of any additional cost-savings initiative, and can alleviate employee burden.

More opportunities for cost savings and a better employee experience include convenient care options, such as employer health clinics and personalized health coaching to help employees better manage chronic diseases and lower lifestyle risks.

 


Discover how a better member experience can help you and your employees save on high-quality care. Download a solutions overview.

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