Most of us know the importance of having a great health plan. In fact, employees expect it. But what’s painfully obvious is that health care is not becoming more affordable. And definitely not less complicated! Even the best plans struggle to effectively address the overall health of employees by ensuring they get the right care at the time…at a fair price.
While the phrase “integrated care” sounds complicated, it really isn’t. America’s Health Insurance Plans says it’s “about creating a seamless, connected health care ecosystem that includes patients, their doctors, and health insurance providers that results in higher-quality care, a healthier, more productive workforce, and a more satisfying overall experience.” In other words, integrated care means treating the whole person to drive better clinical, financial, and social results.
In this post, we discuss five reasons why employers must modernize their health care benefits with an integrated care solution. Also, we discuss the advantages for both employers and employees.
1. Better Employee Engagement
We’ve been told, and we all know it’s true — we have to pay better attention to our health. For some, this comes naturally, and the path to good health is clear. For others, it’s not as easy.
When it comes to making sense of our health care system, available benefits, and what to do, information is confusing and difficult to navigate. As a result, employees may not make the best decisions. And if it’s too complicated to find the right doctor, the most affordable care, or the best hospital, they may give up entirely. Therefore, they aren’t getting the care they need or they’re getting hit with large out-of-pocket expenses.
Traditional wellness programs aren’t designed to tackle this problem. They’re designed to engage people who are healthy and well-informed. As such, they dismiss a large portion of employees who truly need help. Employers see this in limited participation rates.
Integrated health solutions use an employee’s own information to personalize a whole-person health journey that drives the best outcomes. Information like health screenings, biometric results, and claims data are all used to interpret what is most important to each person, making it easier, and more likely to engage each employee.
2. Better Outcomes
Our current health care system is centered around volume versus value. But, receiving more care doesn’t mean better care. As a matter of fact, it could mean the complete opposite. We need to compare costs to the outcomes. Ultimately, better care leads to better outcomes. Better outcomes lead to cost savings. Employees are less likely to need higher, more expensive, and more extensive levels of care. They experience better value, too.
Better outcomes are achieved when interventions take into consideration the whole person and include care by the best providers. A 2019 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association showed integrated care resulted in:
- Fewer ER visits
- Lower hospital readmission rates
- Fewer doctor visits
- Better chronic disease management
When a medical advocacy program is included as part of an integrated care solution (and it always should be), care advocates guide those needing care to “in-network” and participating health care professionals. They also make suggestions based on previous outcomes and experience. Receiving care from those providers with the best outcomes reduces the need for follow-up and continuing care.
3. Smarter Decisions
We can all think of a time after leaving an exam room that we retraced the information just relayed to us and didn’t feel very confident. Our health care providers do their best to communicate things like diagnoses, tests, procedures, next steps, and available options. However, without having a Ph.D., it can be hard to understand.
An integrated care solution can help in a couple of ways.
First, it connects every aspect of care, giving one complete view of an employee’s health. With this insight, care advocates help employees determine the best course of action. They confirm diagnoses, request second opinions, review treatment options, and identify the highest-quality providers for the best care. In addition, when the employee needs help, they advocate on their behalf.
Second, employees are empowered to take control of their own health because they’re given the tools and resources to become better educated. When employees feel more empowered, they’re more compliant with recommendations and they experience better outcomes.
4. Higher Quality of Care
How are employees finding high-quality doctors? A quick internet search? Maybe they take advice from a family member or friend. Or do they just look for who’s closest to them?
Integrated care solutions focus on ensuring employees receive the highest quality of care, at a fair price. For example, we utilize licensed clinicians to research the highest-rated in-network doctors and facilities available. They refer to the best providers based on our strict quality standards. In fact, fewer than 20% of specialists meet our criteria. By advocating for the highest quality care, better and faster outcomes can be expected, getting employees back to good health quickly.
5. Cost Savings
While there are many ways to combat rising health care costs, the use of an integrated care solution combines many methods into one easily manageable approach.
When you improve employee health, you see lower health care costs. You also see lower absenteeism and employee turnover. Additionally, according to the American Mental Wellness Association, healthy, happy employees can increase productivity by 12%-20%.
And let’s not forget about medications. Prescription costs are often a large portion of overall health care expenses. Costs can be lowered by evaluating brand to generic equivalents or by finding rebates and new sources not available to the general public.
Additional savings also come in the form of lessening the burden on HR departments. By seamlessly integrating health benefits and providing guidance by care advocates, HR won’t spend time fielding questions from employees. They also won’t spend time managing multiple vendors and piecing together data for reports.
In summary, integrated care solutions are becoming an integral part of employee benefits packages for companies that are looking to improve overall employee health while saving money. If you’d like to learn more about how SentryHealth can elevate employee benefits, contact us today.