How to Assess The ROI of a Benefits Package: Time, Access, Cost

| May 15, 2019

How to Assess The ROI of a Benefits Package: Time, Access, Cost

 

Today’s market forces will undoubtedly inspire employers to seek their own health benefits package solutions in the face of increasing health insurance costs–as much as $10,000 per employee[i]. The first step is often to choose self-funded insurance benefits.

Employee access to care, provider incentives, control of employee population health data, and member/patient care experience are chief concerns of self-insured employers. These concerns fall into two categories—those directly related to the employer’s workforce and those indirectly caused by external parties.

If indeed “time is money,” the private sector’s current reliance on the old model of accessing care creates a cycle of chrono and financial waste which results in poor employee experience and health outcomes.

This model of employees taking time off work (assuming they have Paid Time Off or can afford the loss of hourly wages), driving to the nearest location (requiring personal transportation or increased cost and use of public transportation), repeatedly filling out identical forms, and waiting to be seen disrupts unforgiving work/school/parent schedules.

Their PCPs, struggling to maintain EHR reporting standards while meeting morale-killing productivity metrics, can provide only a few minutes of appointment time, most of it with their back to their patient. Unsurprisingly, the Patient-to-Physician relationship has declined in this system, with all parties displeased by the experience.

The time investment this model requires and with it, money, begets another central issue: employee access.

Retaining high-value employees requires a benefits package that sustainably and measurably supports and improves employee health long-term. Superb health insurance benefits are useless if employees lack the time, transportation, or financial resources to utilize them.

A system that requires or extracts too much time and money from employees generally reduces access and utilization, leading to poor and worsening employee health outcomes over time. This is particularly true for Millennials who are willing to opt out of this experience all together with the tap of an app and a visit to an urgent care center; gaining convenience at the cost of the long-term relationship and health improvement gains of the P2P (patient-to-primary care physician) relationship.

Outside the corporation, employers struggle with an opaque, complex health insurance industry filled with large insurers that lack the flexibility required to craft the solution their unique workforce requires.  Employers may miss key insights vital to helping their workforce stay as healthy (and productive) as possible. Assessing the ROI of a benefits package requires measuring:

 

1) the business-critical impact of improved employee population health,

2) if this increased intervention is improving management of chronic care conditions without hospital interventions, and

3) if total-cost-of care per employee is steadily decreasing.

 

Proper population health management requires employer control and access to their companies’ health data to gain the full benefits of the insurance purchased for employees. Without meaningful metrics and reporting, it’s difficult for employers to assess the value of an individual plan over another to make prudent decision for their employees.


[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/08/08/large-employers-say-health-plans-will-cost-more-than-14000-for-an-employee-in-2018/?utm_term=.7b6b417b5cee


Creagh_Milford_DO_MPH_FACOI_Chief Medical Officer of Healthcare Highways

 

CREAGH MILFORD DO, MPH FACOI | Chief Medical Officer, Healthcare Highways Chief Medical Officer of Healthcare Highways, Inc., and a National Academies of Medicine Fellow, Creagh Milford DO, MPH, FACOI has held senior executive positions with FullWell, Mercy Health, Massachusetts General Physician Organization, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Partners Healthcare. He holds a Doctor of Osteopathy from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, and a master’s degree in Health Management and Policy from the Harvard School of Public Health, where he continues to guest lecture. He also held positions with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Department of Health and Human Services.