5 Keys to Sustainable Savings Part 1: Reduce Your Health Spend
In our last blog, we discussed how financial wellness produces sustainable savings for employers by reducing their overall healthcare costs. This topic is timely. We are at a crucial juncture in healthcare; the marketplace is in flux and employers are struggling to fund the rising cost of employee health benefits.
Over the next two months we’ll take an in depth look at the 5 keys to financial wellness and sustainable savings. These keys, in action, offer real solutions.
Reducing Your Health Spend
The first key to sustainable savings is the reduction of your company’s health spend. This doesn’t mean cutting back on benefits or employee coverage. Reducing your health spend means finding the wasted dollars within your employees use of health benefits. Wasted dollars are additional costs that add no value to the health of your employees.
This waste can be eliminated through employee alignment, empowerment, and accountability. In other words, employers provide resources and tools that drive employees to make better-informed, cost-saving healthcare choices. While these behavioral changes take time, driving consumerism (those better decisions in action) creates long-term, sustainable results for both the employer and their employees.
3 Ways to Eliminate Waste
There are three areas of waste that employers can directly address through the alignment, empowerment and accountability of their employees. They are:
1. Employees Track their Own Deductible
While health plans do track employee deductibles, there can be a claims lag of up to 120 days. That means the medical bill from a provider may not processed and visible in the system for up to 120 days.
An employee, Connie has an outpatient procedure in January
Her husband, using the same family health plan, has a health issue in February
Both providers might ask for the full deductible amount upfront. The husband’s doctor may not be able to see that the deductible has already been paid in full because of the insurance claims’ lag and if the husband is unaware that his wife already paid, the family ends up paying twice.
If employees are not keeping track of the amount they have paid towards their deductible, they might overpay and end up chasing those dollars later.
There are tools available independent from health plans that help employees track their deductibles more accurately. Request information about the HooPayz Track Your Deductible tool.
2. Employees Should Review Medical Bills Before Paying
80% of medical bills contain errors. Unfortunately, because of their complexity, the task of reviewing these bills before paying can seem daunting to employees.
There are common billing errors that are easy to spot. Teaching employees the steps to basic medical bill review is invaluable; it is a skillset they can use to consistently save themselves and you, their employer, money.
In some cases, a more extensive review is needed. There are several options on the market. Billing specialists compare medical bills and their corresponding EOBs (Explanation of Benefits) to ensure that the employees have been billed correctly and their benefits have been applied.
3. Negotiate a Discount on Medical Bills
Many providers and facilities are willing to discount their services and bills. Having an advocate to negotiate on your employees’ behalf will ensure twofold savings: the employees aren’t using company time and resources to reconcile bills and the advocate is able to save real, immediate dollars with the application of a discount.
Take for example, a HooPayz member’s recent experience. The member requested a bill review for an inpatient knee surgery. It turned out that portions of the medical bill had been coded incorrectly. As a result, the hospital agreed to discount the bill by $1000 (cutting the deductible down by 50%)! Those are real, out-of-pocket savings.
Have a question or insights about the reduction of health spend? Comment below – we’d love to hear from you! If you’re interested in our services, contact us for a free demo.