Are you facing some intimidating renewals over the next few months?
We all know deductibles are rising, out-of-pocket costs are increasing, physician networks are shrinking, and prescription pricing and tiers can change overnight. These are real challenges, but formulating an innovative solution on tougher cases can also deliver a real thrill for the broker who goes the extra mile.
Today, I’m sharing the story of one such renewal and how this group took healthcare consumerism to a new level with their employees.
This particular renewal involves a business that specializes in insurance for niche markets (environmental liability, energy contractors insurance, product manufacturing insurance, etc.). What did this mean for their health insurance broker and HR Director? Not only would they be acutely and intimately aware of their existing employee benefits, but potentially more critical of new ideas.
Like every group, this company’s medical premiums continued to increase and they needed another option.
Their plan? Take their sole offering of a very inclusive fully-insured PPO and offer an alternative…
1. a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA) – this removed the first-dollar benefits (copays) to push the employees toward being more responsible for their own health care choices.
2. a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) – this alleviated some of the out-of-pocket burden the employees would be taking.
3. freshbenies – this provided access to care at no additional cost and gave employees tools to help them navigate their new consumerism-driven world.
So, how’d it go? The enrollment meetings focused on explaining how the shift away from the PPO plan could be enticing. As expected, many initially scoffed at the idea of an HSA, “I need to pay for everything AND pay the premium?”
But, once we fully explained how freshbenies would help eliminate in-person doctor visits and how they’d have access to specialist doctors at their fingertips, the mood started to change. Then, they learned how an advocate would work with them one-on-one to…
• provide education on what their new HSA plan would cover
• find providers who are in-network
• research pricing on needed procedures or tests
• provide expert bill review and negotiation
• help with about a dozen other services.
By the time we shared how the freshbenies prescription savings tool could help them find pricing at their local pharmacies, the new benefits program suddenly seemed more palatable. The employees understood how these benefits could help them save hundreds to thousands on their families’ healthcare, as well as time and frustration.
You may be thinking, “That all sounds good, but how’d it really play out?”
The group installed these strategic solutions on December 1, 2016. Together, after only 7 months, the employer and members have saved over $17,000 from this one change the broker enacted. Plus, the group is on track to realize over 160% telehealth utilization and 37% advocacy utilization this year with freshbenies!
On paper, this renewal was definitely intimidating. But, when consultants strive to think outside of the box and coordinate a unique bundle of benefits that work well in tandem, it’s not only better for their clients, it also differentiates the consultant from their competition.
Now it’s your turn! What unique, strategic approaches have you taken with your groups in the past? What’s something new you’re going to try this year? I’d love to read your comments below or email me at email@example.com.