Health benefits and the ins and outs of the health care system have always been difficult to understand. And they’re about to become even more complicated and confusing.
Although this trend toward private exchanges encourages employees to be more attentive about their health and more conscientious about their costs, it also has a potential downside. Research shows that too much choice can be confusing and result in employees selecting health plans that may not adequately meet their health needs or protect them financially.
The good news is that employers are beginning to realize that when employees make smart health choices, everyone wins. And when you’ve seen one private exchange, you’ve seen one private exchange – they’re all different. That’s why if employers are considering private exchanges, it’s so critical to make sure employees have access to personalized support – especially since they’ll now have more options. This will help them better understand their benefit choices, what they’re getting into, and help ensure they’re getting full advantage of their health services.
During the enrollment process, employees need a combination of high-tech and high-touch services. This starts with an intuitive “consumer” shopping experience featuring personalized decision-support tools powered by analytics. For example, information about a family’s shopping habits can be used to predict their involvement with health spending and guide recommendations for an appropriate plan.
Ideally, employers would complement and augment these online tools with personalized, one-on-one support services. GlidePath, for example, has a contact center with licensed enrollment advisors who work commission-free and are dedicated solely to helping employees find the right plan at the right price. A recent survey found that 94 percent of enrollees found these advisors helpful.
Employees’ need for benefits support doesn’t end at enrollment. Any HR Manager can attest to this. Helping employees after enrollment can be even more important, especially for those who have chosen a more consumer directed health plan, or those with chronic or recurring health issues. Concierge style health advocacy programs staffed by registered nurses and other credentialed advisors can assist employees by:
- Clarifying benefits
- Providing guidance for navigating the health system
- Resolving insurance claims
- Helping to coordinate care
- Answering clinical questions related to test results
- Scheduling appointments with hard-to-reach specialists
The Health Advocate program offered through GlidePath provides health care education and coaching by trained advocates. According to the 2014 Southeast Michigan Mid-Market Group Benefits Survey, 14 percent of employers offered health advocacy programs and an additional 18 percent were considering them for 2015.
The bottom line? Employers who provide personalized support both before and after plan enrollment will increase their chances of having happier and healthier employees.
More than 50 Michigan employers and 12,000 people now use GlidePath, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s private health care exchange. GlidePath offers companies an innovative way to manage spending and risk. It can transform the way you finance your company’s health insurance coverage. With GlidePath, you can determine your company’s health benefits budget and simplify the administrative work that goes along with offering health benefits. For more information or to request a quote, visit GlidePathBenefits.com.