For the past two decades, rising healthcare costs and the advent of the digital era has made healthcare options more accessible and pushed the industry toward a more consumer-centric and retail-like model. However, all too often, these solutions are implemented under the guise of healthcare consumerism – but aren’t set up to successfully deliver upon the goal of empowering Americans to get the best value for their healthcare dollars.
- Not all consumer-driven health plans are truly consumeristic. In order to truly empower consumers to take control of their healthcare finances, these plans must be designed to do more than shift costs. A plan design can be coined ‘consumer driven’ without giving the consumer any added value or chance for success. These plans are typically underfunded by the employer and result in an unaffordable cost shift to employees that can quite literally impede consumerism from taking hold in the market.
- Human nature causes employees to be sensitive and even resistant to change. Consumers tend to stick to the familiar and this can result in continuing coverage with an existing plan that doesn’t deliver the best value for their current needs. Employers must be purposely disruptive in their benefit and employee engagement strategies, breaking down objections and barriers, with benefit options that deliver equitable value to their employees.
- Employers may not have the know-how to increase employee engagement on their own. Consumer health and financial fluency is notably low, and according to Alegeus research, more than half of employers are asking for support to help better engage and educate their employees. It is imperative that all benefit solution providers, advisors, health plans and benefit administrators have strategic conversations with employers and provide access to decision support tools and materials they need to empower employees in their healthcare.
Join us as we explore the dark side of healthcare consumerism. We’ll examine what’s working and what’s not – including the specific challenges that result in sub-optimal results for consumers, employers, and benefit providers.
- John Youg
Senior Vice President, Consumerism & Strategy