As the health care landscape becomes increasingly complex, it is becoming harder for employees to get the right care at the right time for the best cost. And costs for the employer continue to escalate. Enter: the health care concierge.
These services can come in various shapes and sizes, but they all work on some level to provide advocacy for individual employees and assist them in navigating the complexities of their health care coverage. The results can be positive for both businesses and employees.
Benefits for employees
By phone, email, text and chat, a health care concierge can more fully engage employees in managing their own health care by:
- Helping them understand how their health plan works
- Assisting them with selecting providers based on cost, quality, location and other factors
- Educating them on their choices
- Assisting with making appointments
- Helping them make better use of existing tools related to claims management, cost transparency and provider selection
- Walking them through their prescription options
- Coordinating care among multiple providers
Benefits for the business
Experience shows that concierge services can benefit your business by:
- Reducing claims. In fact, some services base their charges on actual claims reduction. We’ve seen savings of up to 15%.
- Decreasing benefits workload. The concierge can handle a high percentage of your current employee call volume by greatly reducing the amount of individual hand-holding from your internal staff.
- Increasing employee engagement. When employees have a personal advocate, they tend to make better health care decisions, experience lower costs themselves, achieve better health outcomes and feel more satisfied with their benefits. That can translate into higher engagement levels and lower turnover costs.
You can contract with an independent health care concierge or use one provided by your carrier.
Independent services, such as Accolade, Quantum Health and PatientPal, provide a “patient advocate” for every employee, regardless of claims experience. Employees can accept or reject the offer for assistance. These services work best for self-funded plans with 500 or more lives. They can charge a monthly fee per employee or structure their charges based on a percentage of the actual savings they help you achieve. The Miller Group can help you analyze how you might benefit from one of these services.
Carrier-provided concierge services are typically part of the “value added” package priced into your rates. They also may give you the option to purchase a more robust service at a per-employee charge. These services typically target a certain annual claim size – say $50,000 and higher. They often reach out to employees with specific conditions, such as cancer, diabetes and orthopedic issues, or those with high medication costs.
Keys to success
Like many benefits programs, this one will not work if it’s not well communicated. Before you dive in, make sure you have frequent, consistent and coordinated communication covered on all fronts – from the concierge service provider, from your HR department and from other employee communication sources.
Concierge services are not a quick fix; it takes a while for employees to get used to them and begin reaping the full benefits. But they have the potential to become a major driver of cost savings.