How to Work Against Rising Employer-Paid Healthcare Costs
National healthcare costs are rising every year, as you probably already know, and according to the National Business Group on Health, the cost of health benefits is expected to increase by another 5% this year. Rising healthcare costs don’t just affect Americans who pay for private insurance; they also have an impact on employers, especially those with small businesses who must find ways to combat rising costs every year and still keep their employees insured.
When employers look for ways to cut costs as the price of healthcare continues to rise, one of the best options is to embrace ways that help employees become more engaged with their healthcare and offer quality care at lower prices. Here are a few of the ways in which your company can work against rising employer-paid healthcare costs.
1. Healthcare Claims Utilization Analysis and Implemented Targeted Programs
According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, a 2018 survey found that 61% of surveyed employers used healthcare claims utilization analysis to determine whether or not employees were using and benefiting from their healthcare offerings, which, in turn, allowed business managers to determine the main health concerns of their employees. A valid healthcare claims utilization analysis can help employers determine if there is a comprehensive theme among their employees’ healthcare utilization, such as the idea that employees living in rural areas do not take advantage of treatment because of proximity and accessibility problems.
However, examining your entire population of employees can make it difficult to break the issue down into manageable actions. For example, Forbes states that employers can have a huge impact on their company’s healthcare costs over time by targeting a single problem, such as offering a prediabetes program to combat high levels of obesity in the workplace.
2. Educating Employees on Healthcare Spending
According to Integrity Data, informing your employees about healthcare spending can benefit you greatly in the battle against rising costs. Many times, employees don’t realize which options are even available to them, while others may simply use an option because it’s what they or their friends have always used. For example, some employees overuse hospital emergency rooms, visiting the hospital for any ailment. Talking to your employees about other choices, some of which won’t even require them to leave their homes or to pay anything out of pocket, can be a great way to reduce both your costs and theirs.
3. Making Sure Your Broker is Well-Informed
Your healthcare broker should work for you as much as possible; otherwise, what’s the point of having them on the payroll? According to the AMJC, not only should your broker help you choose, purchase, and manage a plan that suits your company, but they should also be informed about changes in the healthcare marketplace every year. If your broker has had you on the same plan for ages without bothering to make any changes, something’s wrong.
4. Encouraging Employees to Practice Preventative Care
Many employees believe that their employers want them to show up at work, even if they’re ill and can only work at half capacity, a misconception that can lead to presenteeism, spreading illnesses, lost productivity, and rising healthcare costs for your business. Encouraging employees to stay home if they feel under the weather can reap a multitude of benefits for your company as a whole and for the overall health of your employees. Also, encourage your employees to help themselves through other employee programs, such as smoking cessation, weight control, and fitness groups. Employees can also seek preventative care through a quick telemedicine consultation.
5. Utilizing and Educating Employees on Telemedicine
Telemedicine is another of the top five ways management can cut healthcare costs for employees and employers, as defined by the IEFBP. In many cases, employees don’t realize how easy it can be to talk to a doctor through their included telemedicine benefit and how those who do can actually bring down overall healthcare costs as a result of becoming more informed. Those who need to follow up a telemedicine conference with a regular doctor’s appointment will, while those who don’t need to be seen won’t. However, many companies that offer telemedicine have employees who don’t understand or even know about this benefit, so educating your employees should be a top priority.
Rising healthcare costs can be a real issue for employers, especially those who run small businesses. But by staying ahead of the curve, keeping your employees informed, and utilizing the latest technology, you can keep everyone insured at a lower cost to you.
Ready to improve on your health plan costs? Contact us to learn how 24/7 access to virtual healthcare can help.