Collectively, employers have done a great deal to improve health outcomes. They’ve pushed for economy as well as quality — a coveted combination — plus a more personalized healthcare experience.
Now, what with market changes the pandemic has wrought, organizations are looking to gain more value from their health benefits, all while enhancing their ability to recruit and retain employees in a tight labor market. It’s a tough balance that requires companies to reset their quality versus cost paradigm and ultimately reinvent for value.
Here’s what you should know about creating the future of employee health and benefits.
What is Meant by Value?
In this context, the term “value” is dynamic, as it encompasses what employees care about as well as the value of care received, plus the value of the organization’s benefit partners.
This is the perception necessary if employers are serious about rebalancing quality and cost.
What Kind of Future is Desired?
You want your people to have quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare that they value, and which drives engagement. You also want a program in which vendors are on the same page and improvements are continuous. Moreover, you want a future where you don’t mind spending to deliver value to your organization. You can achieve all that.
Can Higher Quality Be Delivered at Lower Cost?
It’s an age-old question, really. But it’s one that, considering all the disruption caused by the pandemic, simply must be addressed. And the pressure to do so comes as employees are demanding more, not less, from their employers. It is an employee’s market; unemployment is down, and people are rethinking where and how they wish to work.
However, employers should view the disruption as an opportunity, however accelerated. You must act swiftly to avoid being left behind.
In any case, the answer to the question is 100 percent yes, but you’ll likely need outside help to effectively pull it off.
How Can Higher Quality Be Delivered at Lower Cost?
For several years leading up to the pandemic, employers have been urged to rethink their work environments, how they support their employees, and the kinds of healthcare benefits they offer. Then came 2020, which caused disruption with a capital “D.” Suddenly, companies are navigating a new business environment, while employees seek to find a balance between their work lives and significantly changed personal lives.
But here’s the thing: collectively, employers provide health insurance coverage for more than half the nation’s insured population. That makes you imminently powerful, in terms of influencing change. And healthcare transformation is what’s needed to establish a marketplace that benefits you as well as your people.
This is where value becomes key. If employers are to strike a balance between quality and cost, they must demand improved quality of care, while exerting pressure on increasing costs.
Progress has been made, but more work is needed. If organizations reinvent with a premium on value, they can stitch together a future that provides quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare; personalized solutions for employees and their families that drive engagement; productive relationships with vendors that prioritize your employees’ wellness; and spending that delivers optimal value to you as well as your employees.
In sum, creating the future of employee health and benefits means reimagining the quality versus cost equation. It can for sure be done, but you’re going to need help. We suggest the firm Mercer, which has the deep knowledge and breadth of experience necessary to bring it all together. After all, Mercer does have a Center for Health Innovation, so it understands full well employers’ collective influence in the marketplace. It can bring that understanding to bear on your organization, too.