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The Great Resignation…the shift to remote working….2022 was a demanding year for many employers. While some were up to the challenge, many are looking to 2023 to really dig in and give employees what they want. And while we’re in the thick of open enrollment, it’s never too late to consider ways to enhance benefits, including offering care advocacy.

Speaking of giving employees what they want—what do they want, anyway?

A 2022 Gallup poll asked more than 13,000 workers what they expect when considering a job. Here are the top-six answers, starting with what’s most important:

  1. A significant increase in income or benefits
  2. Greater work-life balance and better personal wellbeing
  3. The ability to do what they do best
  4. Greater stability and job security
  5. COVID-19 vaccination policies that align with my beliefs
  6. The organization is diverse and inclusive of all types of people

When looking at this list, it’s clear that employees seek a better experience in and outside of work. One way to offer a better experience is through affordable, quality healthcare. And one way to ensure affordable, quality healthcare is through care advocacy.

In this blog post, we examine important ways care advocacy can improve the healthcare experience, helping your clients exceed employee expectations in 2023 and beyond.

Make the most out of what you’ve got.

Simply put, care advocacy maximizes health and wellbeing benefits that are already in place. Through a combination of data and expertise from care advocates, people make better decisions about the kind of care they get, where they get it, and how much it will cost them.

Take Emma for example. Emma lives in Dallas, Texas. She has a great health plan with a large network of providers in her area. When it comes time to find a new PCP, she does what most people do. She goes online to her health plan website and searches for doctors in her area. She picks out a few names that sound interesting and then Googles them, trying to figure out “who’s the best.” Based on the online reviews, and recommendations from a couple of co-workers, she finds her new PCP.

While there’s nothing wrong with Emma’s process of selecting a doctor (we’ve all done it), imagine if she had a Nurse Advocate helping her. Here’s how the scenario would be re-imagined if she had SentryHealth as a care advocacy partner.

Before Emma even looks at the provider directory for her health plan, she contacts her Nurse Advocate for guidance. The Nurse Advocate talks with her about her current medical conditions, goals, preferences, and more. Then, the Nurse Advocate gets to work finding the best doctor. Looking at our cost and quality provider database, she analyzes which doctors in Emma’s network offer the highest quality care. She then pulls it all together—combining that data with the information Emma gave her, along with her clinical experience—to find the best doctor for Emma.

There was no change to Emma’s health plan. There was no use of out-of-network providers or benefits. Emma just benefited from a smarter way of getting the right healthcare at the right time.

Save money without sacrificing quality.

Healthcare is a huge expense for employees, and many people struggle to keep up. In fact, one in ten adults has medical debt, with millions of people owing more than $10,000. Employers are feeling it too. Family premiums have increased more than 20% over the last five years and almost 50% in the previous ten years.

And we can’t forget about healthcare quality! Your clients and their employees shouldn’t have to sacrifice quality for lower costs. In fact, it’s been shown time and time again that healthcare costs are not strongly related to quality. That means that even though Dr. Smith charges $28,000 for knee surgery, and Dr. Randall charges $20,000, Dr. Smith isn’t necessarily a better surgeon. It could simply mean that Dr. Smith is more expensive. Or it could mean that Dr. Smith’s patients experience more complications and require more follow-up care.

The beauty of care advocacy is that it saves money while ensuring high-quality care. This results in people getting high-value healthcare, or, “the best care for the patient, with the optimal result for the circumstances, delivered at the right price.”

Let’s talk about Emma again. Emma was running a 5k and broke her ankle. She went to see her PCP, who told her that she needed to see a specialist. She contacted her SentryHealth Nurse Advocate for help. The Nurse Advocate once again collected information about Emma’s medical needs, preferences, etc. She then recommended that Emma see a specialist who had extensive experience in his field, no malpractice issues, and low complication rates with no readmissions. Additionally, his rates were 6% lower than other providers in the same town. In this scenario, Emma would receive high-value care, getting her back to running in no time.

If Emma hadn’t had care advocacy help, she would have searched the internet for a specialist. She would have confirmed his availability, found out where his office was located, and booked the appointment. But how would she know he’s the best doctor for her? She wouldn’t. It’s possible that he specialized in hand and wrist surgeries, not foot and ankle. Or maybe he had a pending malpractice suit for negligence. Plus, he’s 18% more expensive than other providers in town. These are the things the average person won’t know without having help from a Nurse Advocate.

Examine your health benefits.

So now that you have a better idea why care advocacy is beneficial to your clients and their employees, what’s the next step? Find out more about what your clients and their employees need. Post-open enrollment is a great time to get feedback on benefits. Ask yourselves:

  • Does the current health benefits package meet every employee’s needs?
  • Do the benefits encourage smart decision-making about healthcare?
  • Are employee costs minimized when possible?
  • Are employees satisfied with the health benefits offered in terms of cost and options?

If you and your clients answer “no” to any of the above, then it’s time to re-evaluate your benefits, vendors, and partners. Together, take a closer look at what’s being offered and figure out if there are areas that need improvement, unmet needs, missed opportunities, or more. Often, you’ll find that care advocacy can fill in a lot of gaps!

For most employers, benefits decisions have already been made for 2023. But care advocacy can be added to benefits packages at any time.

It is a great value-add that practically pays for itself. In fact, at SentryHealth, through our care concierge, precertification, and case management services, we can reduce PMPY by more than 14% in year one and an additional 13% in the second year. That’s a total cost savings of nearly 28% in just two years!

We’d love to talk with you about how our care advocacy can achieve these same results with your clients. Reach out to us to schedule a call today.

The SentryHealth difference.

SentryHealth is leading the charge in employee health and wellbeing. Integrating smart technology with personalized guidance from Registered Nurse Advocates, we empower employees to make more informed decisions while guiding them to quality, affordable care. The result is greater engagement, higher satisfaction, better outcomes, and lower costs.