It’s important for a company to evaluate if an integrated health care model is right for their organization. There are three planning stages that companies should follow:
- Defining a vision for integrated health care.
- Assessing costs and potential risks.
- Creating a formal plan.
Once those three steps are completed, employers will have a better understanding of how to match an integrated benefits model with their workforce’s needs. And once an employer decides to move forward with the process, the implementation step begins — but it can be tricky.
A 2015 SourceMedia Research/Employee Benefit News survey on this topic took a deeper dive into the four main steps in the implementation process that employers go through when enacting an integrated program.
1. Evaluating Carriers
According to the survey, this phase is relatively easy for employers. Only 14 percent said this step was challenging, while 71 percent say that benefits administrators are the primary stakeholders in this step. As with other portions of the survey, nearly half (49 percent) of employers will use benefits consultants as a key resource for selecting their insurance carrier. The same percentage will use benefits brokers or advisers, and 24 percent will use business consultants (Figure 1).
2. Technological Investment
One challenge for employers is selecting the right software and technology resources to help support an integrated health care program. One third of employers find this step difficult, and as a result, only 25 percent have completed this piece of the process. What employers want versus what their budgets allow can sometimes prevent them from getting the best tools. Also, employers have to consider software that could work across multiple workplace locations within the company.
3. Actual Implementation (Going Live)
This next phase was easier for employers. Only 17 percent surveyed said they found the actual implementation to be challenging once the benefits administration and technology was in place.
4. Notifying and Educating Employees
Thirty percent reported this as a very challenging stage. Due to the variety of demographics, the complexity of the material, and tough discussions on changes or shifts in benefits, employers must search for the right way to communicate implementation of the program. Employers should talk to their benefits consultants and insurance carriers for input on crafting key messaging to their employees.
For more information on implementation of integrated health benefits and future steps after implementation has been achieved, review this Integrated Health Care Journey white paper.
Jason Kinzy is a marketing manager at Anthem, Inc. and is responsible for the promotion of Anthem’s specialty business (dental, vision, voluntary, life and disability plans) to members, employers and brokers. He has 20 years of health care marketing communications experience.