Every year, employer sponsored healthcare costs are rising with no signs of slowing in the future. Therefore, it's vital to learn how to control what you can when it comes to the cost of your employees' healthcare. Follow these 4 steps to take control of your company's healthcare costs this year instead of allowing them to control your bottom line.
1. Establish a Culture of Health and Wellness
Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and heart disease have continued to increase and are responsible for 85% of modern day health care costs. The risk to develop these and other deadly illnesses massively increases when people regularly make poor health choices and live an unhealthy lifestyle.
Educating employees on the risks of unhealthy behavior and empowering them with tools and options to make healthy choices can have many benefits including increasing workplace productivity and helping to drive down healthcare costs for your employees and your company.
While your culture will impact your employees' health, your employees' health will also impact your culture. Learn how one impacts the other.
2. Offer Telehealth & Virtual Visit Services
One major issue with employees that don't have enough access to their providers, either because of an overcrowded network or overpriced insurance, is they tend to ignore health concerns untilthey are too severe to be ignored any longer. This often leads to spontaneous, expensive visits to urgent care or emergency rooms.
One option to solve this issue is to make providers available wherever your employees may go by offering telehealth or virtual visit services. These services allow employees to discuss concerns with a provider while in the office or on the go and cost a fraction of what an urgent care visit costs.
Salus Telehealth reported that most virtual visits cost under $50, while a primary care visit averages around $112, and a single emergency room visit can be as much as $1,450 or more, so the savings could add up quickly if your employees utilize this service regularly to stay on top of their healthcare concerns and needs.
3. Take Control of Prescription Costs
Finding ways to control prescription costs is one of the most important and perplexing issues in modern day employer sponsored healthcare. According to SHRM, prescription drug benefits used to be considered a side cost to overall employee health benefits. Now, they are one of the top three most expensive essential health benefits. Prescription costs also continue to grow more rapidly than any other health care expenditure.
There are many angles or strategies you could use to gain control over your prescription costs, here are a couple to get you started.
Fully understand your costs
All too often, companies don't pay close enough attention to the specific details within their prescription benefits plan. This leads to paying potentially preventable costs for that lack of awareness. Paying attention can allow you to catch costly outliers such as price spikes early in order to make changes and mitigate the impact of those deviations.
Incentivize the utilization of generic drugs
Brand name drugs in high demand are a major driver of the upward trend in prescription pricing. Whenever a generic option exists for a popular, expensive medication, employees should be encouraged to switch as it will not only save your company money but the employee as well. You could incentivize this by making the co-pay lower for generic drugs, or in some cases, eliminating a co-pay altogether by covering the full cost of the medication which is a fraction of the cost you cover for the brand name.
4. Implement an Onsite Clinic
Onsite or near-site clinics are one of the most effective ways to take full control over your healthcare costs. Implementing an onsite clinic will have some upfront cost and take a bit of time, but will allow you to gain control over all aspects of employee healthcare and you should begin to see ROI within the first couple of years.
Onsite clinics are another strategy that allow you to make healthcare more available to your employees which, in turn, allows them to better maintain their health and wellness. Healthier employees drives your costs down and has fringe benefits such as higher productivity and increased job and company culture satisfaction.