Aug 6, 201202:09 PMBlog: Working Benefits
An Uncommon Solution for Rising Costs
Last week Commonwealth North sponsored a luncheon on the topic of “Private Sector Solutions to the Cost of Care.” It featured four speakers from large Alaskan employers who talked about their strategies and ideas to keep the cost of health care low. One idea in particular was intriguing, effective and commonly underutilized both by employers who fail to offer it or know it’s available and by the employees themselves, who don’t understand, remember or have a reason to care. That solution was an advocacy program.
An advocacy program helps individuals resolve claim issues, coordinate care, locate physicians, answer questions about prescriptions, compare costs for services, and more. While these programs have a price tag associated with it, the program can be a great assistance to employees and ultimately affect the employer’s bottom line through increased productivity and decreased expenses. One example given was an employee who had knee surgery in Utah rather than Alaska because of the extreme price difference. That kind of cost variation makes a big impact to an employer’s bottom line at renewal time. The whole thing, including the initial research, was coordinated through their advocacy program at no additional cost.
If you do consider putting an advocacy program in place, it’s important to educate and remind employees about it. As with all benefits, we undervalue and forget them…unless needed or we’re told.
In the end, we all still seem to be looking for the silver bullet, but a program like this can make a big difference at a small price. Have you tried an advocacy program? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.