With enrollment in consumer-directed health plans (CDHP) continuing to rise — according to various reports, enrollment has more than doubled since 2008 — it’s important that the companies offering these plans take steps to ensure they will succeed.
Below are three areas where companies need to strategically take action.
Increase Educational Efforts
One of the key goals behind these employer-sponsored health benefit programs must be to educate employees. This effort should include:
- Exposing the true costs of medical services
- Sharing relevant resources from government initiatives and carriers
- Demonstrating how employees can be more responsible for their decisions
To truly enable employees to take more control of their healthcare, employers should develop and execute communication strategies that highlight the various Benefit plan options that may be available.
Also, employers need to do more than provide a stack of educational materials when CDHPs are initially presented. There really needs to be an on-going effort to provide employees with materials throughout the year that will help them to become better and more efficient users of health care services.
Provide Online and Mobile-Friendly Tools
There is no doubt that people are going online for seemingly everything nowadays. Whether they are looking for how-to-guides, commentary, videos, etc., they are heading to the web to find it. As the number of smartphone and tablet owners continue to rise, so too will the numbers of people conducting research online.
Thus, employers need to adapt how they present information regarding benefits and healthcare to their employees.
Here are a few specific online decision support tools that could have an impact:
- Cost Calculators
- Health Information Portals
- Health Assessments
Also, while we may be tempted to develop “flashy” tools, we need to be aware that a growing number of people will access them on their mobile devices.
Design and Promote Effective Wellness Programs
One statistic that should catch everyone’s attention is this: “Workplace wellness programs can reduce medical costs by more than 18% for the average worker.”. That claim comes from a report published by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Yes, consumer-driven health plans will certainly work best when items such as wellness programs are also introduced.
While this may initially mean dealing with opposition to another expense for the company, the long-term benefits to employee well-being and the employer’s health care costs may certainly be worth it.
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