Every once in a blue moon I think its interesting to get an outsider’s perspective of things. In this case, let’s talk about our healthcare system. At the moment I’ve got this article in mind. In short, it’s a bit of a comical analysis of a few British people trying to use the American healthcare system. Jokes aside, their biggest concern is how bureaucratic and confusing our system is. And let’s think about that for a minute. I think we’re all aware that getting healthcare can be tricky, but we’re used to it, so we often don’t do anything about it. Our system is confusing and frankly hard to use sometimes. After all there are a lot of players in this game, and we don’t always know who to turn to.
With that in mind, we’re presented with a set of obstacles when we’ve got an employee benefits plan. A few of the things that come to mind: we have to keep costs down this year, make sure costs don’t go up next year, help employees understand their benefits and make sure that they all can afford them.
So that’s the picture I’ve painted. Now let’s look at the more relevant material: What can we do about it? And if you’re so bold, what kinds of things can a benefit solution (an independent company that you hire outside of your health insurance) do for your employees?
- Combine everything into one place – I’m going to be very high level here and just look at the big stuff. If you can find a service that brings all of your benefits information into one place, you’re off to a good start. If you can take that one step further and find a product that puts it into one “voice”, you’re doing even better. What do I mean by one voice? I mean that you can find products that house, explain, and allow you to use different benefits on their site. This makes life much easier.
- Provide one communications platform – ok so this is a bit trickier, but its aimed at improving people’s benefits literacy (check out our article on that) so that they have a better idea of what they’re doing when getting care. People can only retain a certain amount of information, and you can communicate each element of your benefits plan in one single voice, your chances of having an impact are improved greatly.
- Train people on the most important programs – people get training on almost everything they do. But nobody trains people how to use their benefits. One of the best ways to combat confusion in the healthcare space is to provide some usable training. And the best part- people actually want to learn how to get better care. Finding a benefits program that takes benefits literacy seriously should be at the top of your list.
- Give people better solutions – ok so this is a tricky one. One of your biggest goals should be to get better products in front of your people to help them get care easier. Introduce things like telehealth or a second opinion service. Better yet if you can give them a portal to access their benefits in one place. Better solutions drive outcomes. It’s that simple.