Smart Business Solutions - HR

Probing Benefits Information Can Drive Employer Strategies

A robust benefits plan, that augments traditional reimbursementand insurance features, can continually satisfy and surpriseemployees. That's true for employers too

Written by By Manulife

A robust benefits plan, that augments traditional reimbursementand insurance features, can continually satisfy and surpriseemployees. That’s true for employers too.

Companies don’t always realizehow plans, and benefits providers, cansave on costs and spur broader actionaround healthy employees.

Did you know?

Services such as a preferred pharmacy network can result in the lowest possible drug expenses.

Consider medication. Services suchas a preferred pharmacy network can result in the lowest possible drugexpenses, says Suzanne Nagy, directorof integrated care management at BayshoreHealthCare in Mississauga, Ont.

Such advantageous pricing offersdirect savings. Other savings comefrom closely managing the more complexneeds of plan members. If employeesrequire specialty drugs, “case managementsaves money and time, whileimproving outcomes,” says Nagy.

Besides probing thebreadth of how benefits providers cansave, employers witha large enough staffpopulation can viewproviders as a source of critical data.For example, a risk-assessment tool canilluminate modifiable health risks, says Mira Jelic, co-founder of Novus Health,a Canadian health and wellness providerbased in Toronto. Employers canthen use the analytics to design wellnessinitiatives that address identified health priorities.

Other basic information aboutplan usage can be mined for similarpurposes. Drug utilization data canspeak volumes. If a high percentage ofemployees are on blood pressure meds,for instance, that can trigger the decisionto offer healthy lifestyle programs.

Nagy says that while individualinformation is kept confidential, theaggregate drug information can besliced and diced by age, gender, location,costs and number of claims. “Themore data you have, the more you can customize services at the employeelevel,” she says.

Likewise, the aggregate data fromEAPs can tell a story to employers.Sean Slater, executive vice president,sales and marketing, at HomewoodHealth in Guelph, Ont., says such datacan raise the profile of issues facing employees, from anxiety and depression,to nutrition and relationships.

Such data can, again, lead to employersoffering certain lifestyle or worklife balance programs. Or it can drivegreater promotion among employees ofthe EAP itself.

“Look for benefits advisors who havethat value proposition of providing that insight and analysis,” says Jay Quinn,president of Lane Quinn Benefit Consultantsin Calgary. The informationis out there. Drawing added insightsfrom benefits is a matter of tappinginto them.

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com