In a previous post, I suggested four questions for your CFO or CEO if he or she wants to start to get control over health care costs: https://www.millbrookbenefits.com/four-questions-for-your-ceo-or-cfo/
The final question was this: How much noise are you willing to endure to get to your desired health care cost?
As mentioned in that post, change, and things that are different, can create “noise.” Things that are different aren’t always worse. In fact, the changes we’d propose for health plans could make things better: lower cost with better health care outcomes. If employees understand why such changes are happening and what we expect to improve with these changes, you might be able to prevent or minimize some of the “noise.”
To accomplish this, I’d suggest a different kind of employee meeting. I’ll call it The Health Plan Sustainability Meeting. This meeting would happen before it’s time for open enrollment, and before you have your fully insured renewal rates.
The meeting agenda might look like this:
- Historical review of health plan prices and plan changes over the past 5 years to demonstrate the usual “get less for more” renewals that bring us higher prices or higher deductibles and copayments or both
- Use that average annual increase in cost and corresponding decrease in coverage to project what the plan could look like 3-5 years from today. Be sure to include not only the full cost of the plan, but also project the employees’ cost for the plan 3-5 years out.
- Have an open discussion about why this is unsustainable.
- Discuss some creative strategies that could be employed to start to gain control over the cost while preserving the plan design. There are dozens of strategies, but some simple examples might be asking employees to fill out health questionnaires so you can explore alternate funding, more limited networks, alternate sourcing of prescription drugs, and a medical concierge that could be used to help guide your employees to lower cost, better quality providers.
- Talk about the advantages of exploring creative health plan design: potentially better coverage and/or lower cost, and possibly a plan that the employer will be able to sustain for many years to come.
- Get the employees’ to buy in to the notion that some creativity and change could be beneficial for them as well as the employer.
If you want the employees to be on board, a Health Plan Sustainability Meeting is a great place to start if you’d like to explore some creative solutions for your health plan.
We hope you enjoyed this post. If you’d like more information about creative health plan design, call us at (866) 724-0008 or click the link below.