For the past three or four years, I’ve had in-depth conversations with a multitude of cost-containing healthcare solutions that create predictably good outcomes for employer-sponsored health plans. Many of these solutions are helping employees change the way they purchase the healthcare services they need reducing consumer frustration while putting money back in their pocket.
Utilizing these services would seem like a slam dunk, right? Ironically, most cost-containment solutions I chat with are struggling in one way, shape, or form. How can that be? Build the right health plan and employees magically become effective consumers, right? Well, it’s not that simple. Employees still don’t know how to make effective decisions on their own.
As technology continues to paint the healthcare landscape, employees have access to more navigation tools than ever before. Want access to a doctor over the phone? There are solutions for that. Want to access to 2nd opinions and price/quality data for an upcoming outpatient procedure? There are solutions for that.
Want access to medications at significantly reduced prices? There are solutions for that. (If you’re an employer reading this and the thought of “there are solutions for this stuff?” just popped into your head, it’s time to evaluate your broker relationship.) Today, employees can make effective and accurate healthcare decisions with a couple of clicks on their smartphone so why are we still struggling with utilization?
Improving Healthcare Utilization
Here’s the problem. When healthcare “happens” to your employees, they’re not going to stop to think about which tool or app they should be using, at that moment, to make the right decision. Still, it’s here where most effective cost-containment solutions quickly become ineffective. Utilization suffers when employees are required to engage the solution on their own.
Now, give employees multiple solutions to address the various channels of the healthcare supply chain and confusion reigns. You’ve got to get back to the basics. You have to make it easy for your employees to make accurate and effective decisions inside the healthcare system. Folks, these cost-containment solutions work.
They give your organization the opportunity to significantly reduce insurance costs while improving the level of care your employees receive, something no insurance company or PPO network can provide. What your health plan needs is a patient advocate. Give your employees access to someone (or an entire team) who can help them use the game-changing solutions you’ve built into your health plan. Give your employees the convenience of having to call one number for help.
Have someone reach out to them and hold their hand throughout the healthcare journey. If you think you’re insurance company is already doing this for you, I’ve got a unicorn to sell you. You must give your employees the confidence knowing that making the right decision is easy. You see, building a health plan that creates outcomes is not that hard.
When you stop accepting the predictably bad outcomes your current health plan is creating and start focusing on how your employees interact with the healthcare supply chain, your health plan becomes an asset instead of a gut-wrenching liability. You’ll realize that it’s no longer about the insurance carrier or the network access it provides.
Focusing on the healthcare experience creates predictably positive outcomes for your employees and your organization’s checkbook. However, utilizing the cost-containing healthcare strategies you’ve implemented must be easy and convenient.
A patient advocate becomes the glue that wraps the perfect health plan together. One number. One call. It really can be that simple.