How to Plan for Future Cost Increases

I want to pose a question: Why do health insurance premiums go up? For quite a few reasons: people get more sick, procedures cost more money, medication costs rise… The list goes on. But I want you to consider this fact for a moment – Over the past 13 years salaries have risen at a rate of 43%. Pretty good, right? Now consider that over the same time period, insurance rates have risen 180%. That is a serious chunk of money going towards health insurance premiums. And it doesn’t seem to be getting any better (sad face).

The good news is that I’ve got a few ideas on how you can help to prevent future increases. There’s no such thing as a simple fix when it comes to healthcare costs (just look at every American election for the last 25 years), but there are steps that your company can take to help combat some of the real issues.

1.       Increase your deductible

Ok, so this one has been explored before (by me, and by many others). The problem is that most people screw up the implementation. In order to introduce the idea of “consumerism” to healthcare, you need to give people the tools and education to succeed. Simply charging them more doesn’t count, and will probably land a few angry people in your office. What can you do? 2 things – lower your coinsurance and out-of-pocket costs, and read on. We’ll dig further into it.

2.       Fund a savings account

You’ve got to help people pay for that higher deductible right? What better way to do it than to use HRA accounts. You can use HSAs as well, but it’s easier to let your plan costs run wild. When people have a health account to fall back on, they aren’t as worried about going bankrupt. Don’t think that’s an issue? Most people have less than $1,000 to spend on medical expenses. Most high deductible plans (especially for family) are far more expensive than that. Check out more on HSA vs HRA accounts here.

3.       Introduce hardship loans

I know, this one sounds weird. But think about that last statistic mentioned above. Your employees are probably living closer to the edge than you thought. Health insurance is really here for your protection, and you don’t want anybody to go bankrupt. These loans can help people avoid dire circumstances and afford your higher deductible plan. Even if you don’t have a high deductible, this can still be a beneficial option to ease future stresses.

4.       Teach your employees how to shop for care

This is one that we’re big believers in. We’ve got articles o’plenty when it comes to teaching people how to “buy” healthcare. Why? Because healthcare is expensive for a reason. Most people don’t know about the ridiculous amount of wrong procedures given, or that there are “levels” of care (think ER vs. Minute Clinic). Want to learn more about this? Check out our article on cost reduction.