From putting in a high deductible health plan to educating your employees on how to reduce their own personal healthcare costs, there’s a lot that you can do bring your annual spend down.
All managers and company leaders know the pains of rising health insurance cost. Like clockwork, you expect that your next year will be more expensive that your previous year. And it’s horrible.
This is because your health insurance has been managed the same way for decades. Health technologies progress, you can even video chat with a doctor. But our management and brokering styles remain largely the same as they were when cars had carburetors and your TV didn’t have a remote.
What We’ve Always Done
- Threaten your insurance carrier – If you don’t reduce our premiums we’ll go to someone else that will! We try to get out of working with our carriers if they decide to raise our costs. And why shouldn’t we?
- Change our coverage – There have been a number of plan designs that we’ve tried in the past. In the 90’s we liked switching our networks. In the 2000’s we wanted to engage with PPO’s and HMO’s (still, more networks). More recently we’ve switched to higher deductible plans, with the idea being that we can make consumers out of ourselves if we raise our deductible up.
- Change brokers – Health insurance brokers are competitive – They bring new ideas to the table and contract with different companies to give themselves a unique selling point. They also have leverage with insurance companies to give you nice rates.
- Self-Fund our plans – This one’s a bit less common, but a lot of companies cut the insurance company out altogether to reduce health insurance cost. Just purchase a re-insurance plan if things go catastrophically wrong and pay for everything from the corporate fund.
- Introduce “wellness” – If everybody eats 2 bananas and runs 4 miles a week, our insurance costs will go down in 33 years. Need I say more?
What you should have noticed – Everything has to do with insurance, not your medical care. We’ve become experts at playing the system and getting whatever we can from the powers that be. We make our brokers call in favors and get the big companies to reduce our rates.
What the future looks like
- Expect health literacy from your company – People don’t know how to use the healthcare system – its complicated. Nobody is there to guide them and we rely on the doctors to tell us what we need to know. Firms are quickly adopting health literacy strategies to help give people leverage.
- Healthcare technology will change things – Consumer technology has changed almost every facet of our lives, and healthcare is next on the list, albeit we’ve been slow to get on that train.
- People will seek price transparency – Technology has improved our access to finding out what things cost. People are starting to look the cost of their medications before they buy them. Expect to see more price transparency coming from doctors and clinics.
- People will be more empowered – It wasn’t long ago that we had to turn to books to research everything. Medical information is becoming more consumer-centric and tailored for people to understand. People aren’t going to diagnose themselves, but they will ave access to better information to take care of themselves after a procedure.
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