November 30, 2017 | Written by: Watson Health
Categorized: Blog Post | Value-Based Care
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When it comes to healthcare benefits, your employees may be creatures of habit. Research shows that 90 percent of consumers keep the same benefits year after year, even though their needs may have changed1.
As open enrollment periods are coming to an end, it may be a good time to evaluate how you can help your employees make better, more personalized decisions about their healthcare coverage to get the best-fit plans for their situations next year.
Consider how one Midwest-based university tackled the issue.
The university wanted to improve staff satisfaction with overall healthcare benefits and increase participation in tax savings plans in its employee population of 12,000-plus. After reviewing its enrollment process, the university discovered that while employees had access to quite a bit of information about benefits, they didn’t necessarily understand how to break down the options and select the plan that best meets their needs.
So, the university made some changes to provide personalized decision support and better engage employees in the benefits selection process. Their successful (see graphic) initiative provides several steps that other employers may want to consider, too.
1. Enable employees to easily estimate total costs
How much will it cost me? In many cases, that’s the big question employees want answered. To make it easy for employees to review and compare costs, the university implemented an online tool that incorporates employees’ personal data to provide estimates of their total cash outlay for each plan offered.
2. Forecast medical expenses for the upcoming year
The web-based tool analyzes employees’ recent medical and prescription drug claims to calculate their potential healthcare costs for the next year — taking into account any changes to coverage or potential new services added during the online estimation process.
3. Make it easy to understand the implications of changing plans
To help employees better understand what changing to a new plan means, the online tool provides simple ways to compare important factors such as premiums, out-of-pocket expenses and available credits.
4. Reach out to employees
Instead of relying on employees to access the online tool on their own, the university mailed individualized letters to employees’ homes. Each letter provided an estimate of the costs of each option for the recipient, and directed employees to the web portal for more detailed information and to make final selections.
The university exceeded its goals for guiding employees to best-fit plans, and realized the following results in the first year of using the tool:
If you’d like more information on how our client achieved this remarkable result, please reach out to us. You can also read the full case study here.