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Closing the gap between health benefits cost and employee satisfaction

How employers can offer competitive benefits without risking the bottom line.

Employer-sponsored health benefits remain both a top company investment and an essential recruiting tool. Yet despite being the second highest company expense and the most-valued benefit for employees, only 31 percent of employees report being “very satisfied” with offerings.

Reasons for the disconnect include a lack of employee support and innovative strategies to control costs. Employers traditionally trusted insurance carriers to lead the way in these areas, but as costs continue to rise, employers are taking the opportunity to close the gap between offering competitive benefits and managing costs themselves.

Large and mid-size companies are doing so by helping employees obtain better care at lower costs through independent medical expertise and technology. They’re gaining visibility into what’s driving costs in their workforces, reducing burden on human resources teams and replacing a confusing and impersonal experience with a concierge approach based on trust. A deeper dive into their strategies and how other employers can follow suit:


Discover areas of unmanaged costs and poor employee experience.

Healthcare benefits are important to employees, and providing them is critical in order to retain top talent. Cutting back on benefits isn’t the answer; they have to work smarter.

It starts with gaining unobstructed visibility into what’s driving cost and turning those insights into customized clinical outreach strategies. For example, identifying the need for condition-specific outreach for those with uncontrolled diabetes, or communications focused on appropriate emergency room usage.

Another strategy is making sure employees get the medical care they need at a fair price. Many employers are surprised to learn that prices for common medical procedures like CT scans and surgeries can vary in their markets by over 1000%, and the most expensive doctor is not always the doctor with the best outcomes. Leading employers start by making this information clear, accessible and actionable to employees through a trusted advocate who can guide employees towards fair-price facilities.

Technology helps provide this type of cost-saving care. Predictive data that can tell when MRI claim could mean future surgery accelerates the point of intervention to maximize cost avoidance and improve patient outcomes. In one example, an employer saved over $20,000 on shoulder surgery.

Start by discovering how much costs vary in your ZIP code with a custom financial analysis.


Free up valuable HR hours with education and advocacy.

As many as two in five insured Americans do not have a good understanding of the services covered under their healthcare plans. And when employees need answers, they turn to HR.

Partnering with a health plan administrator that can provide accurate and timely member support can alleviate the burden on HR teams. Employees should know exactly who to contact and be able to get answers quickly and easily directly from your administrator. That frees up your team to return to recruitment and workforce strategy.

Start by understanding your plan’s current employee engagement metrics. Understanding where employees are struggling the most can give you a strong idea of what to look for when seeking out new solutions.


Help employees make the best healthcare decisions for themselves and their families.

Employees might value their healthcare benefits, but most are unhappy with their experience when they need to use them. For many employees facing an illness, navigating the confusing healthcare system is simply another source of stress: just one-quarter of health plan members report receiving guidance. This can lead to poor health outcomes and the need for more intrusive and expensive treatments down the road.

A new approach develops a trusted partnership with each employee. Employers closing the experience gap provide a single point of contact where employees can get personalized guidance into choosing the right providers and understanding their benefits.

Not only does this give employees the information they need to make wise financial decisions, but plans that are integrated and put employees at the center outperform traditional health plans in member satisfaction according to a J.D. Power survey.

Employers can start by identifying current gaps in their member experience. Work with your HR team to discover your workforce’s most common frustrations in navigating their benefits and areas where they could need more support. When evaluating plan administrators or carriers, ask what the experience looks like from the member’s point-of-view and ensure the process helps you achieve your goals.


At Healthgram, we’re helping employers discover ways to spend less and provide competitive benefits. Find out how we can help your company. 


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