Like many employers, you’re likely in a bit of a bind because, in this super-tight labor market, you need to offer attractive benefits to attract and retain talent, but you also need to contain healthcare costs that continue to spiral upward. To make your way forward clearer, what you need are analytics tools and data-driven strategies that can help you objectively evaluate and manage the quality, costs, and outcomes of your healthcare benefits. Here’s why.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, a quarter of healthcare spending in this country is deemed wasteful. That’s an awful lot. What’s more, while high-cost insurance claimants account for just 1.2 percent of total members, they cost 29 times the average employee or member. That must be brought under control.
Why is Data Needed?
Like most households, organizations have budgets. Most employers have a finite amount of money they can spend on healthcare. Thus, they must make decisions, sound decisions, at that. That means that such decisions must be based on data. These stats can help you predict healthcare performance and assess program effectiveness, which ultimately leads to healthier, happier employees.
Trends in Employee Benefits Costs, Design, and Strategies
The leading global health consultant each year puts out a survey of U.S. employers that spotlights trends in how they’re handling healthcare. In its most recent survey, which had more than 1,700 respondents, it was noted that health benefits costs rose 6.3 percent last year during the pandemic. It was also noted that benefits utilization will likely be up this year due to “catch up” care after pandemic lockdowns, claims for “long COVID,” the high cost of new and novel medicines, and inflationary health care prices.
Other key survey results:
- Health inequities. Close to half of all organizations that have at least 500 employees, and around two-thirds of those with at least 20,000 employees, reported that, over the next 3-5 years, health equity and the social determinants of health will be a top priority.
- Behavioral health. Among those larger employers, heightening access to behavioral healthcare was rated as important or very important. For smaller companies, doing so is the top priority.
- Virtual healthcare. To improve healthcare without extra costs, more organizations are exploring virtual healthcare such as telemedicine, which got a large boost among larger organizations during the worst of the pandemic.
There are many approaches when it comes to healthcare benefits and data, technology, and healthcare data analytics. What the global benefits consultant Mercer does is employ data-management strategies that dovetail with program analyzation.
More specifically, Mercer helps clients:
- Pinpoint cost drivers including high-cost claims, specialized medicines, and chronic conditions
- Find effective interventions such as engagement and outreach as well as opportunities for improvement – based on employees’ needs and personas.
- Get in front of high-risk care management trends by anticipating healthcare expenditures and performance.
- Continually monitor, assess, and make improvements that are based on data-based solutions that illuminate your path.
In sum, there are real benefits to using insight-driven healthcare benefits strategies. The emphasis, of course, is on “insights.” There’s simply no replacing data when it comes to such decisions, especially now, when things are evolving so quickly, and the need to attract and recruit the talent is urgent.
If you need help, we’ve found that Mercer has an expansive community of health and benefits consultants, the financial and data expertise, and the innovation to see you all the way through. Move quickly, though, so that you don’t get left behind.