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A Helping Hand to Navigate the Landscape of Health Care

oswaldcompanies March 11, 2020

Health care happens to all of us and navigating the landscape can be confusing. Whether it’s an unplanned illness, emergency, planned procedure or test, health insurance plan members face access and care decisions at multiple entry points. A member’s health care journey might start with a primary care doctor, emergency room or urgent care and the choice affects both the employee and the employer. Both want the best price, highest quality and value from the health care benefit.

Choices Impact Employees and Employers

Many employers rely on employee engagement and communication strategy, including one-on-one benefits counseling for employees, to educate employees as they select and enroll in their benefits. During the personalized sessions, licensed, trained counselors work with employees to choose the right benefits. The counselors also answer questions and provide hands-on guidance accessing and downloading tools and resources. As a result, employees and their families are better prepared when health care needs arise.

The personalized interaction:

  • Saves money for both employees and employers by enabling employees to make better benefits decisions throughout their health care journeys
  • Increases employee understanding of and appreciation for benefits offered by the employer
  • Positively positions benefits programs for better workforce attraction and retention

In today’s tight labor market, providing enhanced benefits education, information and resources increases an organization’s ability to attract and retain the right employees and control costs.

Armed with benefits knowledge and resources, plan members make better choices when accessing and utilizing health care benefits.

Logging into Health Care

A mobile app proved especially useful when an employee’s child experienced flu-like symptoms during the holiday season. The usual rest and fluids regimen proved ineffective and, to make matters worse, the family physician was booked solid for weeks. Remembering that telemedicine can be used for routine health issues, the employee launched the telemedicine app and was quickly video chatting with a board-certified physician. The doctor carefully assessed the child’s condition and prescribed appropriate antibiotics. The child recovered within days, the family enjoyed the holiday season and because this alternative health care delivery is less expensive than traditional health care access, the employee and employer saved money.

Prescriptions and Price Tags

As a result of benefits education, most employees know that generic drugs can be as effective and less costly than brand name drugs. They also know that the same prescription drug, brand name or generic, can cost more or less at different pharmacies and use technology to compare costs. The savviest shoppers always ask their health care providers to include a generic on prescription orders.

Armed with this knowledge, one informed employee was stunned when a filled prescription for a common Attention Deficit Disorder drug came with a $235 price tag for a one-month supply. The employee asked the pharmacist if the drug was generic and learned that his health care plan only covered the brand name drug. The employee knew that his prescription included a generic option and that he could compare costs using the cost comparison app that had been loaded on his smartphone during his benefits counseling session. Using the app, he discovered a generic equivalent for $49, the lowest cost available through any pharmacy. Although the cost would be paid out of pocket, the employee understood the significance of the savings. The pharmacist filled the generic, saving the employee $186 that month and $2,232 annually!

For more ways to help you find ways to control benefits costs and engage employees in making the right benefits decisions, contact us here or visit our Employee Benefits page.