Businessolver Blog

Conquering the Challenge of Controlling Health Costs While Increasing Voluntary Benefits

Conquering the Challenge of Controlling Health Costs While Increasing Voluntary Benefits
Posted on Thursday, December 10, 2015 by Businessolver Team

A recent article in SHRM’s online magazine made the argument that in 2016, an increasing number of employers will introduce consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs), putting the burden for cost savings on employees, and will roll out more creative and customized voluntary benefits.

This trend shouldn’t come as a surprise. And while most large companies in the United States have completed annual benefits enrollment for 2016, it’s crucial to look ahead to make sure employees make the best use of their benefits.

Employers of all sizes and in all industries are already starting to expand their benefits portfolio to include one form or another of a CDHP. And we’re not saying that only because we’ve seen it with our own clients. Mercer’s recent National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans recently announced it found the same trend.

An increasing number of our clients have also started adding more voluntary benefits for their employees to choose from — and more of our benefits-consultant partners are offering non-core benefits in their menus of insurance products. Again, don’t just take our word for this. Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health recently reported that based on their annual survey on healthcare costs, the number of employers offering customized, voluntary benefits will rise from 34 percent today to 70 percent by 2018.

As a result, Stephen Miller, SHRM online editor/manager, shared that benefits professionals will need to “communicate — effectively — with employees and the C-suite about all these offerings and changes.” For starters, as organizations continue to adopt strategies to defend against rising healthcare costs, they’ll need to continue promoting healthcare consumerism. Employers also need to be sure that employees have all of the information they need to make wise choices in how they use benefits during the year.

For example, employees need tools that go beyond listing the cost of procedures and include information about affordable alternatives that their healthcare plans cover or providers that can offer services at a lower fee.

At Businessolver, we’re all about communication — between you and us, and between you and your employees. And because we know HR, we know that when it comes to connecting with your employees, personalized messaging is key. We offer multiple delivery options for benefits communication delivery using our employee benefits communication and fulfillment solutions.

We understand that employees are easily frustrated by the insurance-buying process. We know that the tools they’re getting today for decision support and health insurance recommendations aren’t providing the kind of support they really need. We also know that despite all of their bells and whistles, despite their slick user interfaces and references to consumer-like experiences, most of today’s benefits technology systems, decision support tools and insurance recommendation tools fail to support employees in ways that are meaningful, authentic, and substantive.

MyChoice℠ by Businessolver is able to factor in the financial, physical and emotional side of the benefit selection process to create a personalized strategy that helps drive decision making.

Employees also want tools for fitness and health monitoring. Deloitte’s 2015 Survey of U.S. Health Care Consumers showed that from 2013 to 2015, consumers’ use of technology to measure fitness and health improvement goals has grown from 17 percent to 28 percent. Use is highest among Millennials, at 45 percent of that group.

Our HealthTrackerSM is wellness aggregator technology within the benefits platform that employees already log into and use to track their compliance and participation with wellness program rules. HealthTracker ties in a variety of inputs, including imported files from health risk assessment vendors, doctors, corporate programs, and employee input for both the employee and their dependents.

At the end of the day, this is clear: employers will continue to look for ways to keep health costs down, and companies that want to hire and retain top performers will do everything they can to help employees make wise benefit choices — starting with their elections and continuing with their use during the benefits year.