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The Human Touch: Using Data Analytics to Integrate Findings And Solutions (Part 2 of 4)

oswaldcompanies February 10, 2016
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Reporting doesn’t help employers offer the most efficient benefits—data analytics does.

But data is nothing without the ability to see correlations, find causes and predict effects. All of this requires a deft hand and knowledgeable professionals.

The Human Touch

Systems and software are marvels when targeting precise needs. But even the best data technology requires a human touch to produce optimal results. You need the human touch to guide you through the torrent of data.

Trained data analysts will look for consequences in behaviors and risks. They will understand and communicate what actionable information can help change the direction of poor claims. They should understand employee benefits—good analysts are also licensed health and life insurance professionals who exhibit the deeper knowledge needed when assessing employers’ needs.

Consider a company with a higher-than-average use of emergency rooms visits. ER visits are more expensive than visiting a primary physician. Data analysis shows that employees with chronic conditions primarily used ER services. These visits could and should have been made to a primary care physician before employees’ health needs became acute.

A data analyst should be an active member of any employee benefits service team. A skilled analyst can mean the difference between changes your employees will appreciate and changes they dislike.

As an example, Oswald Companies was one of two presenting a health benefits solution to a non-profit group. This organization considered benefits a significant part of its employee compensation package, as many non-profits do. Because the group couldn’t afford robust salaries, it focused on affordable benefits to attract and retain the best talent. Now, this client couldn’t absorb a 15% rate increase. The organization needed to reduce the increase to 5% or less. The competing insurance broker advised the client to shift the entire increase to the employees. However, its analyst crunched numbers within a vacuum and came up with a clearly inferior solution that could have and likely would have prompted a talent drain.

The Solution

The better approach proved to be Oswald analysts meeting directly with the employer as part of the service team. They understood how valuable the employer’s plan offerings were to attract and retain employees. As a result, they developed a three-year strategic plan that kept first-year cost increases to employees below 5%. Everyone was happy— except for the broker who lost the account. This is why no amount of data analysis can replace the human touch. It is the final component of a well-constructed benefits program.

This is part 2 of a 4 part series containing excerpts from the Oswald and Assurex Global data analytics whitepaper, Health Plan Secret Weapon: Integrated Data Analytics – Making Sense of Data to Make More Informed Benefit Plan Decisions. View Part 1 here: How Analytics Helps Make Sense of Health Plan Components.

 

Note: This communication is for informational purposes only. Although every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, Oswald makes no guarantees of any kind and cannot be held liable for any outdated or incorrect information. View our communications policy.