There are some highly effective groups that have overall better health and welfare than others. These groups have healthier employees and exceed health insurance renewal expectations. With COVID putting unprecedented pressures on Human Resources and People Operations to keep employees engaged, productive and safe, these high performing groups all have a huge advantage. Upon studying what these specific groups do differently, there are three distinct strategies: strong outreach and communication channels, increased wellness screenings, innovative health initiatives.
Ongoing Outreach and Company-wide Communication keeps employees aligned with company strategy, engaged with initiatives, and teaches employees useful information that can increase self-sufficiency for basic requests. When the COVID pandemic struck, many employers had active wellness activities that became underutilized. Many people started working from home, stopped social exercise (recreational sports, gym, etc.), while many others resorted to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise and increased alcohol use. During COVID, the high performing HR professionals conducted weekly virtual meetings to update employees on wellness activities, reward programs, healthy recipes and group exercises like yoga. Groups, such as these, that have ongoing health communications with employees set the expectation upfront with employees that there will be useful information in the emails. In turn, those employees are more likely to read and engage with the emails rather than overlooking them. These groups were able to share a variety of helpful information and resources in these emails, which helped employees problem-solve issues that would otherwise add to the HR professionals’ workload.
Promotion and Access to Wellness and Screenings are underutilized at staggering rates. Out of fear, naivete and various other reasons, many people do not take advantage of free or low cost screenings that can detect medical conditions before they evolve into life threatening costly conditions. Major health conditions can result in large claims that will have a major and direct impact on medical loss ratios resulting in increased medical premiums. During the peak of COVID and even now, many people worry about their safety when going to the doctor for an annual physical or test. What many people don’t know is that there are many resources available including virtual visits, guided self-examinations and facilities that exclusively conduct testing that can mitigate risk of being in a waiting room with other sick people. There are even resources and programs to incentivize these preventive and screening engagement via financial rewards such as gift cards or even reduction to premiums. High performing employers constantly make their employees aware of these resources, even during COVID. By providing constant reminders, access and rewards, high performing employers have high engagement in these programs and can identify underlying medical conditions and provide treatment before they become major health conditions.
Creative Health Insurance Strategies Outside of Traditional Options are engaged by high performing groups. High performing employers have collaborated with health insurance advisors to learn about sustainable self-insuring group health insurance strategies. These strategies can range from basic low risk to more advanced long-term strategies. Some basic forms include HRA’s, Level Funding, Aggregate Accommodation, Captives all the way to more sophisticated true self-insured models. Whether it be a small amount of a newly employer sponsored HRA, a customized health plan with a medical network of choice, open access network solution, third party administration, fully transparent pharmacy benefit management system, International Drug Sourcing, Stop Loss Carrier, Disease Management Program and many other components, there is unlimited creativity and predictable risk tolerance for employers of nearly all shapes and size. High performing employers have engaged in these strategy discussions, identified their issues and are building multiyear plans to keep group health insurance cost within budget while giving employees and their families access to world class healthcare.
Whether you are looking to get a seat at the executive table, looking to improve the employee experience or trying to provide the best group health insurance and health care experience, my team and I at NBG read ready to help any employers strategize on basic to advanced concept that can make you and your company a high performer.
by Brian Lacher, Vice President of Employee Benefits