Employers are focusing efforts on how healthcare is delivered and paid for according to the Large Employers’ 2018 Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey released by the National Business Group on Health on August 8. The 22nd Annual Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey by Willis Towers Watson released a week earlier had similar findings. That survey reported that employers will focus on cost management strategies that slow the rising cost of healthcare and improving member health.
The Business Group on Health survey projects that total healthcare costs this year will be $13,482 per employee, and will rise to $14,156 in 2018. Employers will cover nearly 70% of those costs, while employees will pay for about 30%, or about $4,400.
Both surveys outline the strategies that employers plan to implement:
Julie Stone, a national health care practice leader at Willis Towers Watson, said that employers plan to expand their use of analytics over the next 3 years. While she didn’t go into further detail, I have some tips for employers to consider to get the most insight from their data.
Many employers offer more than one health plan, have multiple locations across the country, and offer carve out programs, like pharmacy benefits, to control costs. These variances create numerous silos of data, making it nearly impossible to get to get a true look at how your programs are performing.
To be successful and get the most comprehensive view, you must integrate the data across all programs—medical, Rx, vision, dental, biometrics/wellness, workers’ compensation, absence, disability, and others. Integration will give you never before seen insight, such as:
When you use a third party vendor to integrate your data, make sure the vendor will accept your historical data. Analyzing at least 3 years of historical data will establish a solid baseline so you have something to measure your changes against.
Most vendors provide static reports, which aren’t much more comprehensive than the reports you’re getting now. You and your benefit advisor need better access to your data to perform a deep dive into the issues impacting your programs. You can quickly get answers to your questions and put the knowledge to work to make more strategic decisions and implement targeted interventions.
You and your executives will establish key performance indicators to track the metrics that matter to you. You should find a vendor that offers customizable reporting, not a standard set of dashboards and reports that don’t measure the benefit program metrics you care about.
Having insight into your benefits and human capital program performance will help you design programs that fit your population and address the real cost drivers you’re facing.