July 28 2021

3 tips for a benefits strategy that keeps costs down

By Accolade

Header-3Tips

Healthcare is expensive — everyone knows this, whether you’re an employee paying for a name brand prescription or an employer reviewing annual healthcare expenditures. But a lot of healthcare costs are due to waste. Somewhere between  $760 billion to $935 billion is wasted in total annual healthcare costs  in the U.S., according to PubMed.gov. That means companies continue to pay more than they should for quality healthcare.  

Even with technological advances such as preventative care home screening, virtual care options and access to electronic health data, unnecessary costs continue to exist. So how can you make the most of these advances while keeping costs down? By developing a benefits strategy that supports both your people and your bottom line. Here are three ways to help you accomplish that:  

Recognize the complexities of healthcare 

We all know that healthcare is complex. We also know the system is broken. The promise of digital access to personal health data was meant to make compliance with treatment plans easier and reduce redundant tests or procedures. But patient data remains fragmented and low in value with less than 15% of U.S. adults having proficient health literacy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

However, there are solutions that help people understand their healthcare benefits.  Healthcare navigation  is one of the most effective tools. When your employees have guides that can advocate for the right care, they can make smarter decisions and avoid unnecessary costs. You can help find the right solutions to get them — and your organization — where they need to be. 

Identify your organization’s primary healthcare cost drivers  

HR leaders have access to powerful data . You can use it to figure out where your organization spends the most, strategize where you could save and decide where to divert more resources. Your organization’s industry and employee population will help determine which healthcare cost drivers are most relevant to you. For example, the primary cost drivers of an outdoor recreational company with a young employee population may be musculoskeletal treatments or maternity management — as opposed to hypertension or diabetes in a company with an older employee demographic.  

You can identify the relevant healthcare cost drivers by gathering community-wide data in healthcare quality, experience and cost of care. Doing so will help contextualize your own data and understand the variation of care provided in your market. Here are some ways you can collect the information you’ll need for developing an appropriate benefits strategy: 

  • Conduct surveys within your employee population 

  • Hold a town hall 

  • Talk with other HR/benefits leaders 

  • Do secondary research, such as national or regional survey data analysis 

A thorough analysis of what healthcare issues your employees are facing, the effectiveness of your current healthcare plan and options for solutions are valuable insights for HR professionals and c-suite executives alike.  

Get the CEO and CFO onboard 

Giving your employees access to quality healthcare is a task that demands full support from all corners of your organization. Aim to secure lasting support and funding for a comprehensive benefits program from your CEO and CFO from the very start. To do so, show them the added value that digital point solutions offer and the cost savings that are a direct result of personalized healthcare advocacy.  

In an independent study conducted by Aon, employers who have Accolade as a healthcare advocacy partner saw an annual  healthcare cost trend  of 0% compared to 8.3% in the market control group within the first year of implementation. Among the success stories that make that statistic possible are a company that went from spending $590 per employee per year above the market control in claims costs to $432 below market control in the first year.  

Present these numbers to your organization to demonstrate the types of cost reductions you can experience. This will be key to giving your C-suite the tools to make an informed decision when they evaluate the right healthcare solutions for your people.  

Partners in healthcare 

Accolade can give you the tools to build a healthcare strategy that appeals to your organization’s leaders and supports your people’s wellbeing. Our dedicated Frontline Care Team of registered nurses and Health Assistants can help your employees live their healthiest lives by getting them the right care, at the right time.  Learn more  about how we can assist you as you develop your benefits strategy — you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get started.