Transparency Helps Employees Become Better Health Care Consumers


| 3 min read

Online information such as product details, reviews and cost comparisons have revolutionized the consumer decision-making process. In fact, it’s never been faster or easier to comparison shop for just about anything. Except, of course, for health care. Which is a heckuva lot more important than finding that perfect power tool or pair of designer shoes! Fortunately, things are changing, thanks to greater information transparency throughout health care. Some insurance carriers and other organizations, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, now publish information on the cost of various health procedures and quality of providers and facilities. Transparency is especially critical when it comes to consumer-directed health plans, whose success depends on getting employees to think and act like purchasers of any other kind of product or service. For this to happen, employees need:
  1. A financial incentive to make the right decisions.
  2. The ability to easily access, understand and use information to help them make smart choices about choosing and using a health plan.
A CDH plan will take care of the No. 1 requirement. With a higher deductible and a spending account, it gives each employee an incentive to personally manage out-of-pocket expenses. The second requirement, however, has been far more challenging. But it is now being addressed by private health insurance exchanges, which not only offer more information transparency but also user-friendly tools to engage employees and help them understand:
  • The dollar amount their employer is contributing to their health insurance.
  • The full price tags of various plans and benefit options.
  • Decision support when choosing their coverage.
  • The process which requires a more active shopping mentality for employees
  • The details of how their plan works and the status of their personal health accounts.
Ideally, employee engagement and awareness is the springboard for positive behavior changes such as choosing low-cost, high-quality providers. Transparency has another benefit: Employees are more likely to appreciate what employers pay for their health benefits and stick around longer. A National Business Group on Health survey found that 62% of employees didn’t know how much their employers contributed to their health benefits. In contrast, 94% of those enrolled through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s GlidePath private exchange indicated they understood their employer’s health benefits contribution. More than 40 Michigan employers with 25,000 members now use the GlidePath private exchange, which offers an assortment of up to 10 different benefits options for employees. For more information or to request a quote, visit GlidePath Rising benefit costs is a challenge for all companies. GlidePath from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network offers your mid-size company an innovative way to manage spending and risk. It can transform the way you finance your company's health insurance coverage. With GlidePath's defined-contribution solution, you can determine your company's health benefit budget and simplify the administrative work that goes along with offering health benefits.
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association