Do Your Employees Spend Wisely?
6 Ways to Help Your Staff Become Savvy Healthcare Consumers in 2021
It’s important to educate your employees on ways they can take control of how much they spend on healthcare. Help your employees make better healthcare decisions with these best practices.
1. Clearly communicate benefit options
Employees can better control their out-of-pocket costs by carefully reviewing their health insurance plan options and choosing the one that best fits their needs. Explain scenarios for each plan so employees can determine where they best fit.
For example, if any employee has many medical problems or recurring medication, he or she may want to pay a higher premium for more coverage and a lower deductible. If an employee is generally healthy and rarely needs to visit the doctor, a high deductible plan (HDHP) with lower monthly premiums might be the most cost-effective option.
2. Encourage employees to advocate for their health
Patients often accept their doctors’ advice without truly understanding what treatment alternatives are available, and what — if any — differences there are in cost and effectiveness among those alternatives. Encourage your employees to ask a few simple questions to help decide what treatment plan is best for their health and wallet.
- How much will my treatment cost?
- Can I be treated another way that is equally effective, but less costly?
- What are the risks?
- What are the side effects?
3. Provide education about prescription drugs
Many incorrectly think there is a significant difference between generic and brand name prescription drugs. However, generic drugs are only approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if they have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand name drug.
Generic drugs may contain different inactive ingredients, but the primary difference between generic and brand name medications lies in the name of the drug and the cost. Generic drugs cost less, but still provide the same health benefits as name brand drugs.
Encourage employees to ask if a generic equivalent is available the next time their doctor writes a prescription.
4. Provide a list of in-network providers when possible
Seeing doctors who are in an insurance plan’s network is typically much less expensive than out-of-network healthcare providers. Ensure your employees know that when they choose a plan, they should make sure they have access to the doctors and hospitals they want to visit when they need care.
5. Explain the benefit of outpatient care
Outpatient care is often a less expensive alternative to inpatient care, and it does not necessarily sacrifice the quality of care.
For example, if an employee needs to have surgery, they should ask the doctor if laboratory tests can be done in a clinic rather than a hospital. In addition, the surgery itself can sometimes be performed in a clinic or an outpatient surgical facility, giving them the ability to recover in the comfort of their own home instead of in a hospital. If outpatient care is a reasonable alternative for the specific care needed, it can help save an out-of-pocket expense.
6. Remind employees to review benefits and bills
Review insurance coverage with employees so they understand what costs they are responsible for, especially regarding medical care and medications. Inform employees on what to look for in their bills to ensure they are charged correctly. Errors can occur in medical billing codes and in coverage, so taking a few minutes to read through the bill could save money by catching potentially costly mistakes.