We’ve all seen the reports. Health care costs are expected to rise again. Mercer predicts an increase of 4.4% in 2021, but notes that we must keep in mind the many unknowns facing employer plan sponsors next year, such as COVID-related costs (potentially including vaccines) and delayed or cancelled care.
It’s time to control what we can. Admittedly, the health insurance industry has given employers limited strategies to overcome the cost challenge in a positive way. The classic choice has been to increase employee contributions or to narrow the network. We’re at a point in history where there has to be a better way. And now, perhaps more than ever, health benefits are critically important.
It’s not enough for people to have coverage if deductibles, coinsurance, narrow networks or cost uncertainty make them avoid going to the doctor. That is not a benefit. Health insurance should give people the power to choose what is best for their individual needs. It’s time to bring employees a better health care experience.
A modern approach
Traditional health insurance tries to be “one-size-fits-all”—but it doesn’t work. The world of today demands more, and employees deserve better. They need the personalization, flexibility and certainty they have in other areas of their lives. When people have the freedom and tools to see their treatment options and exact costs, they buy more effective, efficient care—and that makes health care more affordable for everyone.
The power of illuminating choices and prices
Today, employees have no advanced visibility or control over how their health care choices impact their pocketbook or their employers’ bottom lines. They don’t have the information needed to navigate care decisions like they do for most purchases in their daily lives.
Imagine people being able to search for their conditions on a health plan app or website to see the different treatment options and providers available to them (and exact prices). They could make more informed choices that are right for their unique circumstances. Modern health insurance design has made this possible today.
In fact, our data shows that people are more likely to choose surgical alternatives and less expensive sites of care when cost differences that expose value are presented side-by-side. It’s transformational when people know the breadth of their options and that surgeries aren’t always the best path forward (which prices should reflect).
Consider knee pain as an example. It’s logical to put more subsidy into physical therapy, chiropractic care and therapeutic injections—and less subsidy into knee arthroscopy (a surgical intervention with significant cost variation and debated rates of efficacy). But often, people don’t even know they have these non-invasive or less-invasive options. Ultimately, if it’s decided that someone should undergo a knee arthroscopy, their health plan should help them find providers who have good outcomes and prices (all from the palm of their hand, like shopping for a new computer).
Buying better unlocks richer health benefit opportunities
When people are able to make informed choices and buy better, health benefits become more affordable for everyone. At Bind, we’re creating a future where our members and employer customers can not only save money and reduce waste—but improve health. When more waste is eliminated, more money is available to reduce the cost-sharing burden and offer a better benefit that can help improve health.
Sustainable saving can enable employers to improve subsidization for things they know are important to their unique employee population. For example, it could mean:
- Improving access to and lowering the cost of mental health resources and therapy
- Making the cost of childbirth more affordable
- Lowering the cost of treatments or medications known to be particularly effective in treating certain conditions within at-risk populations
- Putting more subsidy into chronic and emergent conditions where care avoidance can often be dangerous and lead to higher costs down the road
Better health care decision-making can pay huge dividends—the possibilities are endless.
Seize the opportunity for change
The health insurance industry hasn’t served employers or employees well. But the time for change has come. We not only have the data and technology to make change—we have the determination. 2021 can be the year we – consumers, employers, clinicians, the health insurance industry – start forging new paths and take control of health care. We have the power. It’s time to use it.
To learn more about the impact of better health insurance design, watch “Bind Personalized Health Plan Outperforms Industry Benchmarks for Total Cost” (webinar).
Shawn Wagoner is the Chief Revenue Officer at Bind, leading the sales, underwriting and customer relationship teams. He believes the health insurance industry can do far more to help employers bring a better benefit to their employees. He’s on a mission to do just that with Bind.
Bind redesigned health insurance to give employers the opportunity to offer a sustainable, attractive health benefit — without compromising coverage or quality. Members can see treatment options and compare costs before making a decision. Bind personalized health plans deliver the freedom to choose — and the information to choose wisely. Learn more at yourbind.com.