When you educate your employees and give them better decision tools, you will see measurable benefits in their increased well-being and in your financial results.
These days we live in an era of increased financial responsibility for employees. We ask them to shoulder a greater burden for group medical plan costs through increased cost sharing by way of higher deductibles, copayments, out-of-pockets and premiums. Survey results report that employees are experiencing financial stress as a result. Is it any wonder? A family of four making $50,000 a year is being asked to handle sky high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs in many cases. Increased stress among your employees will certainly manifest itself through reduced effectiveness and productivity while at work, prolonged absences and reduced morale. Not pretty.
As the plan sponsor, we encourage you to think about helping your workforce by providing mission critical resources and tools to assist them in the purchase of the medical services you provide through your corporate group health plan.
It’s amazing in this day and age that the competitive forces that influence our everyday buying decisions somehow have not found their way to the purchase of medical services. There is a reason for that. In the first place, most people find it aggravating and time-consuming to research the potential price they will pay for physician, surgical or hospital services. There are many options to choose from. What if your community has 50 surgeons that can all perform the same procedure? What will each charge? Quite frankly, we are asking too much of the employee. They can’t possibly have enough time to do the research, and even if they did, their time would be better spent elsewhere. To make matters worse, the information isn’t readily available. You can’t just type in “best price for a by-pass surgery in Tampa Bay” via a Google search and get accurate results.
We talk with employer groups all the time that think provider charges are relatively consistent from one provider to the next as long as the provider is “in-network.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Depending upon the procedure in question, the prices can vary from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands.
Think about this. If your employees are purchasing medical services without any guidance whatsoever, they are probably ending up in many cases using high cost providers. That increases their costs and certainly yours as the employer. Your paid claims end up higher than they should have been, your loss ratio becomes more unfavorable and you get nastier rate adjustments at renewal time. There is a better way.
Let’s put financial savings on the back burner for a minute. Have you profiled your most valuable employees? If you have, you have probably determined that if they are away from work for an extended period of time (or maybe forever) that your organization would impacted negatively. Think about providing your workforce with the resources they need to select the medical providers with the very best medical outcome track records in your area. Surveys show that the medical industry experiences a disproportionate amount of “rework.” This means that procedures have to be redone. If your most valuable employees end up going to a medical provider with poor outcomes, they take on the risk of not having a successful outcome. That’s not good for you or them.
When we share medical outcome data with employer groups, they are shocked to see the variations that exist. One employer commented, “I can’t believe that hospital is legally allowed to perform that procedure!” It’s sad, but true.
If you want to learn about how you can empower your employees and their families with powerful information that can literally change the way they consume medical services, get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to discuss this important resource with you in greater depth.