The late comedy legend Joan Rivers used the catchphrase “Can we talk?” in discussing various topics. She explained her use of the phrase, saying “I always try to be very honest. My humor is truly stripping everything. Bam!” she explained. She went on to describe her approach: “Let’s stop the nonsense”.
One area of Corporate America that could use a similar approach is the area of employee benefits. Insurance companies and consultants would like to talk trends, utilization, probabilities and the like, but what is missing from the conversation is the person. Not “employees” but the individual person. How the person thinks, what she fears, how and what she will choose and why. Are the needs of millennials the same as pre-retirees? No.
Would you like to transform your benefit offering into a competitive advantage?
To do this, you must structure the benefits so that she spends the benefit dollar like it was her dollar. If she makes a wise decision with her insurance card – she keeps the saved dollars. But how does she know the wise decision?
You provide a medical concierge for her… a friend in the healthcare industry. This “friend” will help her find the most cost-effective place to receive that MRI, or the tier-1 drug alternative for her plan. Or help her with a confusing medical charge that was supposed to be covered 100%.
She does not know the best plan to choose. It is so confusing! You know the best choice for her based on the cost and worst-case scenarios. But she fears the unknown or wants the “devil she knows”, so the decision is to automatically select the inefficient plan for her and the company.
But even with a medical concierge to help her, she may not have the savings needed to select the best plan for her and her family in case of an unexpected medical bill and the higher deductible.
These are real problems but problems that have solutions.
By incorporating decision-support tools that do not use intimidating industry jargon, ones that walk her through some customized “what-if” scenarios, she can see the recommended plan based on payroll cost, worst-case “out-of-pocket” costs, company subsidies into any medical account, and her likely claims. This doesn’t guarantee the best choice will be made but knowledge is power.
A real problem for most Americans is cash-flow. Plans with simple copays solve the cash-flow issue. However, these are very expensive plans and most inefficient for many.
We have grown addicted to copays that were introduced with Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Couple this addiction with a lack of savings, and a higher deductible is dangerous for someone living paycheck to paycheck. However, by incorporating an “FSA-like” account that is not a “Use-It-Or-Lose-It” account, but rather a “Use-It-Or-Save-It” account, the “What-If?” cash-flow issue is removed.
The consumer mindset is here. It’s individual. It’s personal. It’s powerful. It can be a competitive advantage for your company. Are you thinking “my employees won’t understand”, “that’s too much work”, “it won’t work here” or “my broker showed me that”?
That’s a problem that has a real solution. “Can We Talk?”