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        4 min read

        7 Ways to Contain Health Plan Costs

        7 Ways to Contain Health Plan Costs

        The US spent $4.5 trillion on health care in 2022, which translates to $13,500 per person.

        Healthcare costs are expected to increase by 6.5% to more than $13,800 per employee in 2023.

        Now more than ever, employers need solutions to contain healthcare costs.

        Though this factor might seem out of your control, benefits account for 30% of employer spending — and employers have options.

        Here are seven ways you can take to save on healthcare while helping employees lead healthier, happier lives.

        1. Connect Your Entire Benefits Ecosystem

        Benefits packages are growing every year, but new solutions to reduce the cost of care are only useful if employees actually use them. When you integrate your benefits into a single, connected ecosystem, you effortlessly ensure your employees understand, value, and get the most out of the benefits you offer.

        A healthcare and benefits navigation location can connect every benefit in your package through a single, centralized platform. For members, this creates a one-stop shop for all things benefits including information on virtual care offerings, point solutions, in-network providers, and mental health resources. All accessible through a convenient benefits wallet, with artificial intelligence (AI) and human healthcare concierge guidance along their care journey. The result? Increased utilization, benefits satisfaction, and cost savings.

        For employers, connecting your benefits ecosystem through a self-service platform will reduce HR administration time and improve utilization of the cost- containment solutions you have in place.

        2. Keep Benefits Top of Mind for Employees

        It’s more important now than ever for HR professionals to assist and encourage employees as they navigate the healthcare system. HR teams are stretched thin and communicating with employees about their benefits on a consistent basis is challenging.

        Benefits programs are often underutilized because members don’t know how or why to use them, and blanket communications aren’t timely or personalized enough to affect member behavior. A centralized benefits navigation platform takes on the burden of benefits communications and engages members year-round, so you never have to lift a finger.

        Customized outreach is simple with a benefits broadcaster tool built into the platform, so you can send custom push notifications and in-app messages straight to your employees’ phones. Update them on open enrollment, announce changes in benefits, highlight underused perks, and more. You can provide benefits information and educational resources to your employees throughout the year, not just during open enrollment.

        3. Do More with Your Benefits Data

        Healthcare navigation platforms leverage data to engage members with appropriate intervention to address their specific health needs. This process is called automated steerage.

        Steerage directs members to virtual and on-site care. Depending on your benefit offerings that could mean directing employees to virtual urgent care, prescription discounts, on-site clinics, or specialty providers such as fertility solutions or cardiometabolic care. HealthJoy clients regularly save hundreds, and sometimes thousands, per employee per year thanks to automated steerage.

        4. Proactively Address Chronic Conditions

        According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many chronic conditions, which account for 90% of the US healthcare spend, can be avoided through appropriate preventive care. Employees who don’t understand their benefits often avoid or delay care which can lead to chronic conditions.

        A healthcare navigation solution can prompt employees to schedule preventive screenings. These screenings identify health concerns (e.g. high blood pressure) before they worsen. Identifying these concerns early allows patients to partner with a healthcare provider to map out a proactive action plan.

        5. Provide & Promote Access to Virtual Care

        Virtual care allows employees to visit a medical provider for immediate care using a smart device (e.g. smartphone or tablet), usually within 15 minutes. This happens without an appointment, travel, or time spent in a waiting room. These medical providers are board-certified and can diagnose, treat and even write prescriptions for about 70% of typical medical visits that happen within the US.

        The majority of vendors provide service 24 hours a day, seven days a week; perfect for those middle-of-the-night visits. Virtual care has been around since the early 2000s. The biggest issue with virtual care until 1-2 years ago was low employee utilization. Now, employees not only utilize these services but expect virtual care options to be a part of their healthcare experience.

        6. Build a Culture of Healthcare Consumerism

        HealthJoy’s 2022 Employee Benefits Insights Report surveyed over 1,500 employees and found that almost half of employees rarely or never consider how the cost of their healthcare choices impact their employer. Educating employees on the role they play in the healthcare ecosystem can help build a sense of accountability.

        Employers also should be promoting transparency tools and bill review services. Most healthcare services are shoppable, and prices for the same service can vary by up to 500% or more. Encouraging employees to use a price transparency tool can lead to significant cost savings. Additionally, providing a service where employees can submit their medical bills for review can lead to savings for you and your members. Many bill review services also can help negotiate on an employee’s behalf and correct billing errors.

        7. Create a Personalized Benefits Experience

        Building a personalized experience can maximize benefits engagement and provide members with proactive navigation and support. But to do this for all members, HR teams need to leverage innovative, digital resources.

        Healthcare navigation platforms use your specific health plan data and individual benefits elections to create a more personalized benefits experience for your employees. This allows members to quickly find information about their benefits and best options for care. And when employees can make smart healthcare decisions with ease, healthcare costs go down — for them, and for your company.

        Driving Engagement to Achieve Cost Savings

        Healthcare is becoming more complex every year, and there isn’t a single solution to solve the problem of rising costs. But building a strong foundation of navigation and support is a smart place to start.

        While point solutions can make a meaningful contribution to lowering costs, without a comprehensive solution that helps drive employee engagement in all your programs, they run the risk of falling flat.

        HealthJoy makes all benefits – regardless of vendor – feel like a single experience for employees. We give HR teams and their partners a space to supercharge their benefit strategies and better control long-term healthcare spend. 

        If you’re interested in learning more about how HealthJoy can bring benefits to life, we’d love to talk


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