This is a good time for organizations and employees to do a little fall cleaning and run through a healthcare checklist to make sure they are aware of the most current HSA/FSA benefit information. Continue reading
Getting geared up for open enrollment? Organizations everywhere are reviewing benefit offerings and preparing their process for this annual fall ritual. Employers are seeking to balance their healthcare spend with providing the support their diverse workforce needs.
A key strategy that remains popular with organizations is offering consumer directed health plans (CDHP). These plans are often paired with a health savings account or a flexible spending account. The percentage of employees enrolling in HDHPs has been increasing steadily over the past five years. Driving the trend, is the savings employees see with the average monthly paycheck deduction for individual-only coverage in a HDHP at about $90, compared to $140 for a PPO plan.
Even though school’s out, employers might want to consider giving employees a test over the summer. Prior to open enrollment, employers can use this time to assess their employees’ readiness for and engagement in their health program. Getting a better understanding of how committed employees are to maintaining their personal health, search for a doctor online, ask about the cost of a procedure, understand key insurance terms, etc. will help determine their level of healthcare consumerism.
According to a 2016 Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) study, 73% of people who experience rising health care costs found that their best defense is to try to take better care of themselves. Research has also shown that high consumer engagement correlates to better health status and cost consciousness.
Organizations can use a brief questionnaire to measure their workforce’s level of engagement in several areas to determine what tools they need to better enable and support them in their healthcare efforts. Additionally, it provides companies with benchmarking data that they can use internally as well as externally against other organizations’ employee populations.
Benefit Magazine touched on this topic in a “Grades Aren’t Just for Providers” June article. Measurement tools provide a way for organizations to refine their strategy and execution. The article offers three ways of using measurement data to increase employee motivation and employees’ healthcare consumerism skill sets.
Deploy the Right Consumer Tools
Everyone has a different starting point of their understanding and use of healthcare. Vendors provide all different type of tools to help guide individuals through the enrollment process through to finding a provider. Using engagement data to help deploy the right type of tool, which in some cases may even be making available a health care advocacy counselor for one-one help, can produce more confident decision-making across the company.
Additionally, developing the right set of tools to help employees reach their personal best health can be achieved by using engagement scores to determine which products/tools to use with various groups. For example, for employees with chronic conditions a digital health tool that prompts them to monitor their condition and sends an update to their physician can produce better health outcomes through this type of management system.
Personalize Healthcare Information & Communication
An employer that measures engagement now has the ability to fill-in the gaps and meet employees’ specific needs with tailored communication.
Low engagement scores might suggest that these employees would benefit from frequent, yet short clips of information through video, print and email to encourage awareness and motivation. While highly engaged employees need specific direction and are ready for example, of the details about who to compare costs and quality of knee surgery at three local facilities.
Utilize Financial Strategies
Employees’ attitudes and abilities to participate in various healthcare programs will help steer employers toward their workforce achieving these desired outcomes. The move to HDHPs has created the need to focus on engagement efforts that center around understanding current and future healthcare costs.
Employees will need the right incentive to move beyond their comfort zone and talk about price with their provider, which can greatly impact their out-of-pocket costs. Financial incentives can also be strategically aligned to guide employees through the participation of a range of educational and wellness program activities. Again, engagement scores can inform organization’s where, how and what to incentivize with various groups of employees to encourage reasonable healthy behaviors and participation.
Source: Benefits Magazine. Grades Aren’t Just for Providers: Measuring Consumerism to Improve Health Care Strategy. June 2017. PP 42-47.
Many companies today implement wellness programs to help create a healthy culture at work. To establish an environment that promotes its workforce’s wellbeing on many levels. It’s an important goal for organizations to strive for beyond just healthcare cost containment.
Yes, poor health takes approximately $576 billion annually out of the U.S. economy, according to Integrated Benefits Institute data. With 39 percent of that being attributed to lost productivity due to absenteeism and presenteeism. While absences due to illness are more easily trackable, it’s presenteeism that can have a bigger impact on a company’s bottomline.
What is Presenteeism?
The term presenteeism is a concept that companies need to effectively manage. It’s the state of showing up for work, but not performing to full capacity.
The reasons might be due to stress, boredom, relationship issues, and also not feeling well. While survey data from a 2016 Global Corporate Challenge found that on average employees only took four sick days a year, they also reported being unproductive on the job an average of 57 days annually. That’s costing employers 11 weeks per worker of “missed” work.
Prevent Presenteeism; Create a Culture of Wellness
That’s why an organization’s commitment to wellness at work can have a positive impact for employees and employers. Wellness initiatives aimed at boosting a staff’s health and by extension morale and job satisfaction can range in cost, giving employers the ability to budget and implement initiatives as they see fit.
There are several initiatives that businesses can consider as outlined in the top workplace-wellness trends by the Corporate Health & Wellness Association:
- Lifestyle Management – Provide flu shots, sleep-management programs, cholesterol screenings, and telehealth visits to help make getting and staying healthy easy.
- Weight-loss Programs – Offer a range of solutions if possible, from gym memberships to yoga classes, and weight loss memberships to healthy snacks in the lunchroom.
- Redesign Workspaces – Provide adjustable sit-stand desks or treadmill desks, ergonomic chairs and headsets, and Fitbit trackers to encourage movement throughout the day.
- Smoking-cessation Programs – Ban smoking in the office and offer smoking-cessation classes to help employees kick the habit permanently.
- Stress Management Programs – Offer guidance and instruction in activities like meditation, personal finance, elder care, and parenting.
Source: Business West. Move Along. May 2017. PP32-35.
Learn More: Top Wellness Priorities in 2017 [Infographic]
Telehealth services remain one of the hottest new benefits being offered by employers. It provides a fast and convenient way for employees to seek non-emergency care. Virtual care offers a method of delivering healthcare services that allow employees to save time and money. Continue reading