Controlling Your Business Health Care Costs:

Solve The Problem, Educate Employees

 

Employers Managing Healthcare

If you own a company or manage a company benefit plan, you know that renewals are never fun.

Did you know that your employees can help you LOWER your annual renewals?

It can be a team effort!  Your employees can help you control costs!  The first step toward cost control is education and awareness.  Until they know the rules, however, they can't help you to help them! Your health insurance broker shops and negotiates your health insurance each year.  They may also be able (on a limited basis due to HIPPA regulations) to manage some help with claim issues.

A HEALTH INSURANCE EDUCATION ADVOCATE CAN SAVE YOU MONEY

Your broker does not control the content on your claim history; that history is created by the employees covered by the health insurance.  As your employees use their benefits, this data is recorded and when your broker goes to negotiate your rates, this history is used to determine your rate increases.

WHAT DO I DO?

Your employees drive your rates, but they don't know how they are driving the rates.

Your employees use the benefits with no idea of the impact they will have next year at your time of renewal.

Most employees, and lets face it, most consumers don't really know how this whole health insurance thing works.

MY JOB is to educate your employees on how THEIR choices and behaviors impact their bottom line and ultimately the company’s bottom line.

HOW DO I DO THIS?

Over the course of the next year, we will have educational webinars and/or in person meetings.  In order for this to work, your employees must attend these 1 hour meetings.  We can do it over lunch - but it must happen.

Each employee gets a book and a workbook and is taught how to uncover the costs associated with each decision they make (HINT: co-pays cloak that information and so do EOBs - Explanation of Benefits).

WHY DO WE NEED TO DO IT NOW?

Let's say you spend $500,000 each year on health insurance premiums.  A reasonable renewal increase, with no change to buying behavior, might be 10%. So, next year, you might get away with only paying $50,000 more for the same plan you have this year.

The cost to implement this program varies by number of participants.  If you have 100 employees on your current health plan, the cost would be $2,950 for the year. If your employees understand how to make more cost effective choices during the course of the year, there is a better chance that your renewal rates will be lower.  In addition, if you have to add a deductible to your plan, they will understand the need, the drivers, and be far more likely to embrace the plan and engage in their health care.

EVERYBODY WINS

Check if this is  you!

Educated consumers spend less money on health care.

Instead of attempting to manage a problem that gets larger over time, we are providing a solution by educating your employees on how their daily health care choices impact their annual premium costs. Educated Decision Makers spend less money, are healthier and are more satisfied with their health insurance plans and choices.

Employers and Human Resource Professionals:Which of these scenarios describes YOU? (Check all that apply.)

My employees have difficulty understanding our health insurance now – making any changes would confuse them even more.

We offer enrollment meetings and educational meetings but our employees rarely attend.

I am considering dropping our health insurance plan in favor of letting my employees participate in the new “exchange” insurance.

My broker is a friend and partner in this business and we follow his direction. We have saved a lot of money as a company using a Health Reimbursement Arrangement.

Managing COBRA and staying compliant with the law is cumbersome, time consuming and frankly, makes me wish I never offered health insurance in the first place.

I am savvy about health insurance and sick of all the smoke and mirrors in the industry.

We offer top notch benefits because we employ the type of employee who demands and expects that type of coverage.

We pay the majority of the employee’s premium and consider health insurance a benefit that keeps my quality employees motivated and happy.

No matter how much we pay in premiums, it seems that we still have to pay more when we seek medical attention.  In short, we just keep paying more and it is simply not fair.

We are engaged in our health care and know that education about health problems and treatment options, the difference in provider services and following doctors’ orders means that we are healthy and should pay lower health insurance premiums.

We use on-line services, enrollment tools and medical algorithms to manage our healthcare choices.

We offer a wellness program at work.

We offer access to a Patient Advocate for our employees and their families. Our employees are not likely to have savings or financial resources to cover unexpected medical costs and don’t really understand their health insurance.

 

How many did you check? A few? None? Several?

As an employer or the liaison for your companys’ health insurance, you know that the trend in health insurance is toward a concept of consumerism. However, consumerism means different things to different people.  And, it may mean a different thing to every person you speak with.  In the book, Don’t Buy THAT Health Insurance: Become an Educated Health Care Consumer, there is a chapter called, “Using Language Against You”.  I often explain to my clients, you will need to put Webster’s dictionary aside and learn what the insurance companies mean by the words that they use.  Only then will you understand your plan. 

Similarly, there is no universal understanding of consumerism. When we talk about consumerism in health care, it might mean that the consumer decides which doctor he wishes to see.  Or, it might mean the consumer asks to have his prescription filled generically so that he can save money.  Consumer driven health care might be referring to a high deductible health plan or it might be a discussion about shifting the cost of premiums and care onto the consumer.  

Whatever consumerism means to any of us, the one thing that is certain is that the consumer is getting involved in their own health care. 

For the employer, this consumer involvement is a good thing.  How you manage consumerism, cater to it, help it, or forecast it, working with consumerism can be very difficult.  That’s where we come in. We give you a road map to understand what your broker understands and the tools to help your employees navigate this increasingly difficult healthcare game.  

Unlike your broker, HealthCare Insurance Education is a finite resource that is designed to work with your employees to engage them in their own consumerism.

It’s Time for A Second Opinion!

second opinion

We provide solutions to your health care consumerism problems.  Our solutions are educational and will benefit your employees now and into the future.

Behavior Shifting – Individuals become accountable for their own health status and the selection of the products, services and providers they use.

Consumer-Centric Price Sensitivity – Patients are involved in the decision making about their own medicines, tests and therapy choices and the costs associated with those choices.

Self Advocating – Educated consumers make better choices for themselves and for their families at a far lesser cost than their less knowledgeable counterparts.

A Second Opinion Can Save Your Company Thousands

A Second Opinion is just that - another professional's observation, thoughts and perspective. If you have been with the same broker for a long time, just like people who have used the same doctor for a long time, it is often valuable going outside your comfort zone and getting a second opinion. Many brokers are wonderful, take excellent care of their clients and are worth their weight in gold. If that is how you feel and our evidence based research confirms your feelings, then you can remain on your course. Unfortunately, not all people are created the same.

Some people resist change and others grow comfortable and lazy and may not keep up with all the changes in health care law. If you suspect this to be the case, we are happy to offer a second opinion and look at your current health care offerings and/or the renewal options you are considering. We offer educational tools that enable your employees to understand even the most cumbersome insurance concepts.

Second Opinion Products and Services Come in all Sizes and Prices!

Options:

 

Things You Should Know About the Affordable Care Act

There are 32 million people in the United States who don’t have health insurance. They may not be able to get it because of pre-existing conditions, they may not be able to afford it, they may have chosen not buy health insurance and 1 in 4 uninsured is an illegal immigrant.

Many uninsured people use the emergency room as their primary care MD which is an enormous financial drain on our health care system.

Effective 2012, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny or drop sick children from coverage.

Effective 2012, parents can keep their dependent children on the health insurance until they are 26 years old.

Compliant plans will have to offer minimum standards of coverage and annual and lifetime coverage caps are eliminated.

Learn More About the Affordable Care Act

We love what we do! If you’d like to learn about Health Care Insurance Education and how we can transform how you feel about insurance, we’d love to hear from you!

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Katherine Woodfield, MBA

Katherine Woodfield, MBA
Author, Broker, 20 year veteran of the Health Care Industry and Author of “Don’t Buy THAT Health Insurance: Become an Educated Health Care Consumer

Your Healthcare Consumer Advocate

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