When is enough enough with inadequate health benefits?
It’s easy to resist change during a pandemic. With so many new and unexpected challenges confronting each of us, the status quo can feel comfortable. This explains why some might argue now is the wrong time for employers to change their health benefit. That perspective is fine if the status quo is addressing rising costs and consumer frustration and not leaving employers to choose between staying on budget or shifting more cost to their employees. But often, this is not the case.
So, when do we say enough is enough? Perhaps this global health crisis is exactly the time to demand something better? Perhaps right now is actually the ideal time to challenge the status quo and embrace change. Aren’t we to a point where doing nothing is far worse than doing something?
If we want real change, we need a different health insurance experience
If health insurance continues to be hampered with barriers like deductibles and co-insurance, and isn’t designed to align cost with clinical effectiveness or put more dollars toward treatment options or providers that offer the best possible health outcomes, why do we expect a different experience?
To bend the cost curve for both employers and employees, we need a health insurance experience that provides the tools needed to see treatment path options across many conditions in real time, as well as cost and quality comparisons. We need to remove unnecessary affordability barriers, like deductibles and co-insurance. The original intent of which was to drive better health care consumerism by making people initially fund 100 percent of their health care costs.
But it is impossible to be a better health care consumer without access to prices in advance of making health care decisions. And many people don’t feel comfortable going to the doctor and seeking treatment when they must wait weeks, if not months, for the medical bills to arrive to determine (or try to determine) what the cost will be. Many people in this situation simply skip or postpone care. That is not a health benefit.
Ask yourself a simple question: Would we, as consumers, allow this lack of information in any other part of our consumer lives? Would we shop for our groceries without knowing the costs and quality of our choices? Would we buy a car without knowing how much it costs and how it will likely perform?
And yet, from an industry rich in data, we continue to accept a lack of transparency and price certainty. It doesn’t have to be this way. The data, technology and machine learning capabilities needed to learn about an individual, build context about what they need, and deliver tools to help them make informed health care choices, that are right for them, already exists.
The time is now
When employees are empowered by a health insurance experience that creates an intuitive fit between their health benefit and the way they actually use health care, employers are afforded the opportunity to sustainably lower health care costs and increase employee satisfaction.
We should all expect to know the exact cost of care upfront and the ability to price shop and save. We should be able to see cost differences and quality ratings side-by-side to understand value and identify our best option—before we book an appointment or fill a prescription.
The time to stand up and demand something different is right now! Utah-based GBS Benefits CEO Rick Fielding did just that. “I’ve been searching for 35 years to help our clients address the tremendous waste and high cost in health care.” Fielding found a solution for his clients in Bind Benefits. GBS and Bind, a personalized health plan, are working together to bring sustainable, attractive health benefits to Utah employers and employees because—enough was enough.