5 Tips to Reduce Healthcare Costs During Open Enrollment
During fall open enrollment, most employers rely on technology to introduce new healthcare plans and benefits. Technology has proven to be a beneficial tool in cutting healthcare expenses while also allowing employees to receive a more personalized and interactive experience. Open enrollment is the perfect time to help employees become savvy healthcare consumers and reduce the cost of healthcare expenses. Use these tips to reduce expenses:
Understand all the health data. With so much data available, employers need to make sure they have the tools to analyze the information that is available. Employers can use online resources to cull data and examine medical and prescription claims, demographics and clinical well-being information. By producing an analytics-driven roadmap, employers can develop customized wellness programs that address the health issues facing their population. A well-developed well-being program can drive healthy behavior change and lower healthcare expenses.
Make health insurance plans user friendly. According to one UnitedHealthcare survey, more than 75 percent of employees have a difficult time understanding basic health insurance terms and only six percent of respondents were able to define: ‘plan premium’, ‘deductible’, ‘co-insurance’, and ‘out-of-pocket maximum.’ Employers can simplify the open enrollment experience by selecting easy-to-use online platforms that are user friendly and allow employees to select health plans that best match their personal health and finance preferences.
Support healthy choices. Throughout the year, use wellness programs that support healthy choices such as smoking cessation, weight loss or exercise. Not only do increased activity levels benefit the health of employees, there are premium renewal discounts available based on the aggregate results of employee exercise. Many employers offer wellness programs that rely on the use of wearable devices to best measure activity levels.
Encourage comparison shopping. In the same UnitedHealthcare survey, more than one-third of respondents used the internet or mobile apps to evaluate healthcare plans. When employees compare the various plans, the cost savings can be beneficial to both the employee and employer. Some companies offer financial incentives, like monetary gift cards, to encourage employees to use available technology to compare costs before enrolling.
Offer medical and ancillary benefits. Employees are not only researching the best health plan that has their network of doctors, pharmacies and hospitals, but they also are looking for ancillary coverage such as vision and dental. While some employers may take a pass on these plans, offering this type of coverage as part of an employee’s benefits package may maximize the company’s healthcare savings. Including both medical and ancillary benefits allows for a deeper analysis of data and can be helpful to employers who want to be proactive about helping their employees manage chronic conditions or those facing health concerns such as heart disease or diabetes. Benefit News