You probably won’t be surprised to hear that the top goal of employers using an integrated health care structure is cost savings. However, according to a 2015 research study by the SourceMedia Research Group and Employee Benefits News, it’s not all about the money. Other top employer objectives include greater employee satisfaction and retention, as well as improved employee health (see below):
As they gain experience with integrated health care, employers recognize that the model has much to offer them beyond cost savings, and they begin to place greater emphasis on benefits such as increased employee wellness, higher productivity and simpler benefits administration.
A case in point is Jostens, a leading marketing- and publishing-services enterprise for the education market. Lisa Triplett, the company’s Health and Welfare Manager, acknowledges that the opportunity to substantially reduce its health care spending was the prime attraction when Jostens first considered switching to an integrated health plan. But as Jostens began moving down that path, it quickly realized that it could improve employee satisfaction while significantly reducing disability claims and absenteeism by offering employees a variety of disease-management and wellness programs.
To get the most out of an integrated health benefits plan and ease the transition from a more traditional plan, here are some best practices that you, as employers, can follow. When you design your integrated plan, keep in mind that every employer is unique and has a different set of business conditions. This means that, as you put your plan together, you should take into account:
- Your organization’s culture and business priorities.
- The costs associated with making the transition and implementing an integrated model.
- The motivations of senior managers who will champion this new program.
- The skill sets and experience of advisers you’ll use to craft and implement an integrated model.
Once you have settled on a plan design and are ready to make the leap to full health-benefit integration, consider a phased implementation. Working with either a carrier or a consultant, evaluate your current benefits package to determine which benefits can be most readily integrated. Taking this low-hanging-fruit approach will yield the quickest results and the greatest return on investment.
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.