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When it comes to health care, most people don’t shop around and compare prices. A survey from a health care artificial intelligence company revealed that 64% of Americans have never tried to find the price of a health care service.
Shopping around for health care can result in costs savings for both the employer and employee. Here are some strategies employers can use to encourage employees to shop for high-value health care, which can help lower the organization’s health costs.
Education is one of the first steps an employer can take to help encourage employees to shop around for health care. Employers can help employees understand price variation and explain how best to shop around. According to Healthcare Bluebook data, U.S. health prices vary an average of 650% for the same procedure in the same market. The location or facility usually influences the cost, not the provider. Employers can demonstrate how to compare prices based on various facilities or providers.
Price transparency for health care services has been increasing, which can help employees with comparison shopping. New rules require hospitals to post prices online for certain services and procedures. And next year, insurers must share their negotiated prices with the public.
Provide Transparency Tools
Employers should connect with their benefits partners to see what resources and tools are readily available to employees. These user-friendly tools can help employees break down pricing. State-sponsored resources may also have tools to help consumers compare hospitals, other facilities, or providers.
To increase utilization, employers must explain the value of comparison shopping and how it can impact the employee and the organization’s financial health. If high health costs are left unchecked, employees may experience reduced benefits or increased employee cost sharing.
Employers can also reward employees for certain consumer behaviors. Incentives could also be rewarded for using employer-provided transparency tools to comparison shop for services and procedures.
Incentives could be cash incentives or wellness program points. For example, points could be redeemed for HSA contributions or reduced cost sharing. Employers should determine their needs and figure out what is most engaging and motivating to their employees.
Health care costs are going to continue to rise. Employers will need to take a proactive approach to reduce these costs. They have an opportunity to make employees feel empowered and take charge of their health and actively comparison shop for quality health care at the best price. Download the bulletin for more details.
National Insurance Services is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Readers are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the readers’ business activities.