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How can employers help their employees become better healthcare consumers and thus reduce healthcare claims costs?

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How can employers help their employees become better healthcare consumers and thus reduce healthcare claims costs?

1/23/2016 10:14 PM EST

Here's an excerpt from my most recent blog. Improving population health, reducing short term healthcare claims costs and decreasing long term risks to preventable chronic illnesses are key actions to help deal with the chaos of healthcare costs. Telemedicine among other new emerging benefits are good steps in the right direction...

Here's what I think:

Experts agree that part of the solution to reducing employee healthcare claims costs and improving general population health is to help employees become better healthcare consumers. Telemedicine benefits are a part of the formula....

...for enabling employees to have round-the-clock access to board-certified physicians who can give employees direction on what steps they need to take to deal with a short-term healthcare concern. The idea is that this can reduce direct costs of going to urgent care, emergency rooms and scheduling increasingly expensive and time-consuming doctors visits.

I think that telemedicine has great value on multiple fronts in the "war on healthcare costs terrorism". It is a key solution for short term information access when questions of appropriate healthcare actions need to dealt with. And it is one that is growing in popularity as employer-sponsored and individual health insurance plans continue to experience higher deductibles, higher co-pays, lower co-insurance, higher out-of-pocket maximums and confusion on what to do from a healthcare consumption perspective.

In addition to short term information access, employers need to help their employees become better healthcare consumers in other ways such as with quarterly healthcare consumer education workshops-teaching them how to use resources such as the Internet to improve decisions on moderate timeframe issues. Finally, employers should sponsor engaging and action oriented workplace wellness programs as a way to help motivate and inform employees and dependents on how and why leading healthier lifestyles is an effective long-term deterrent to preventable chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, certain forms of cancer, heart disease and emotional illnesses.

1. 1/23/2016 10:17 PM EST

Wow! I couldn't agree more. Perhaps one of the "benefits" to the dramatic increases in recent times in the exposure that employees have to "first dollar" healthcare costs is that it serves to incentivize them to become better healthcare consumers!

2. 9/15/2016 4:02 PM EDT

After having the benefit of almost nine months to think about this key question, and to re-read my earlier forum/discussion entry, and to read the thinking from experts and researchers. I have surmised that there may be a few, or many, key commonalities that all people/employees respond to that would give them the courage and motivation to become better healthcare consumers. No silver bullets for sure, but maybe some common things that all can respond to.

Here's my short list:

  • Make it fun and offer incentives, the bigger the better and make them positive if you can
  • Have the leaders participate, let them show that it's important enough for them to lead on this too
  • Let the people take some ownership in the program-let them get a chance to lead
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate....and then communicate some more
  • Make it "social", offer creative challenges, make it "mobile" and "gamify" it (competition works...)
  • Let it connect to the work...try not to make it a separate effort if at all possible
3. 3/6/2017 7:28 AM EST

Check out my Blog post today on the group's Blog tab!

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