The days of trusting your doctor to take care of all of your health care is over.
Between doctors used to Medicare paying everything (which lets them over-prescribe and over-charge) and medications and health insurance cost going through the roof, the only option to save money on health insurance is to engage your employees into make smarter choices.
You need to become partners in this fight!
In my book, we discuss multiple different apps, services, and cost-saving measures that will help you reduce your insurance costs and save your employees some money. See Health-Wealthfor Youfor more information.
The first step in saving money…
Getting your employees to become Engaged Healthcare Consumers.
Being an EHC means your employees know what’s going on with their health. They make informed decisions about medical tests, treatments, and prescriptions, and look outside of the traditional allopathic medicine community for alternative medicines.
It’s about personal responsibility – take care of yourself and your family first!
Imagine being able to talk with a doctor and get all of the options available to you, not just what your insurance will cover. Imagine being able to shop doctors, procedures, and medicine like you would for shoes or a new TV.
As new legislation comes through by executive order and Congress, people will be able to make informed choices and save money. But, like everything else with the government, it’s going to take time to implement, sometimes years.
We want to save money right now.
Start taking these steps to help your employees become Engage Healthcare Consumers. When they see the cost savings, it will be easier to implement bigger and better strategies with their full cooperation. And, some of these will help save you thousands of dollars on your health care costs.
1. Discuss Health Insurance Premiums with your Employees
You and I both know that for every employee you insure, it cost you between $1,100 and $1,500 per month. How much are you having your employees contribute? 5%, 10%?
Chances are, your employees have no idea how much their insurance plans cost. All they’ve seen is the deductions out of their paycheck and the deductible at the office. And those keep going up – creating resentment.
It’s time to be upfront with your employees and let them know the actual cost of their health insurance. Discuss the different plans and the different costs, and you can get your employees on your side.
They may even have suggestions you haven’t thought of yet!
2. Provide Apps & Services Directly
In my book, we discussed several services and apps designed to help people take charge of their medical care.
One of the apps you can provide your employees is called Calm. It helps people with frustrations, emotional upsets, and provides basic counseling. When you provide this app to your employees free of charge, they can engage with low-level counseling that will save hundreds of dollars in insurance costs.
Another option is paying for life coaching, massage therapy, and other holistic medicine out of pocket. Healthy, happy employees work harder and cost less. Providing free 10-minute chair massages from a licensed massage therapist costs significantly less than an insurance claim for a wrenched back.
In 2005, a study showed that back pain sufferersneed $2,580 more in medical care per year and nearly 80% of all people will suffer back pain. Plus, time off, lost labor, and reduced productivity cost you money.
Compare that to a 10-minute chair massage once per week costing $520 per year. It may save you over $2,000 per employee!
3. Discuss Your Employees Health Issues (Legally)
Imagine if you knew your employees had a potential health problem before they caused problems? What if you could make a few minor changes and reduce them taking time off, visiting doctor after doctor, and driving up insurance costs?
It’s illegal to ask about employees medical conditions prior to hiring unless it interferes with their work and safety. It’s also a touchy area legally to discuss it after they’re hired.
But, if you ask them to share with you any medical problems to resolve right now, you may be able to work through some of them, make adjustments, and provide a better working environment. Just be sure to let them know that it is not a requirement they do so.
Pregnant and breast-feeding women have one of the most significant challenges in today’s workplace. The top discrimination lawsuits are from pregnant women over some really ridiculous reasons..
Let’s take for example a woman who is pregnant with her first child. She will see a doctor every couple of weeks, need more frequent bathroom breaks, and may require a different chair to accommodate her growing size and ability to move. For most businesses, that’s a really easy solution and makes you and the new mother happy.
If you start a dialogue with her early on in her pregnancy, you can communicate different services you can offer to help manage her needs during pregnancy long before they become a complication.
By being open and honest about your employee’s needs and what you can do, you avoid bad feelings and potential lawsuits.
4. Provide Options for HSA, Alternative Medicine, and Self-Care
The fastest growing area in healthcare is Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Set to exceed $10 billion in out-of-pocket payments, people are taking full financial responsibility for different healthcare options, like massage, acupuncture, and supplements.
Massage therapy is the largest provider of alternative medicine. It’s also one of the easiest to get and cheapest to provide. As Ken Lee, owners of Kenneth Mark Mobile Massage, who specializes in taking massages to the people homes and offices, says: “Employees love massage day [from their company]. It give them a chance to de-stress, reset, and even just a few minutes in the massage chair can make their day better. A clear headed and refreshed employee returns to work feeling renewed.”
Your various options for self-care go way beyond just massage. You can provide a Health Savings Account for your employees to use for nutritional services, supplements, and other medical expenses not covered by your insurance. Not only is this a benefit for your employees, but it’s also the tax write-off for you.
5. Negotiate with Local Doctors and Hospitals for Direct Pay Care
A growing alternative to traditional insurance is negotiating payments directly with doctors and hospitals. You pay for a certain amount of services or have a set fees for services to pay the doctor directly. By eliminating the headache of insurance paperwork and delayed payments, you can get significantly lower costs.
For one of my clients, we recently negotiated with a large health system to cover basic medical care, routine appointments, and some of the most common surgeries their employees obtained and ended up staying close to $3 million a year in insurance costs.
I don’t think you need to be a large company to save this money. Small businesses of all sizes are negotiating with different providers for services of care. If you would like more information, please call or email me directly.
The top principle of lowering your healthcare costs is getting your employees engaged. This means you need to talk with them and let them know what is going on with their health insurance and various costs. You need to get your employee to take responsibility for their health and work as partners to save money and time.
Engaged Healthcare Consumers are healthier, harder working, and save themselves and you money.