Companies that want to get the most out of the health benefits they provide to employees typically have dual strategies: They want to ensure the highest quality of health benefits possible while controlling costs. But they also want to provide opportunities for every employee to be more proactive around keeping themselves healthy in order to ensure higher productivity and fewer absences due to poor health.
This two-fold approach is smart, but how do you know if it’s working? When you work with LHD Benefit Advisors, you’ll have greater peace of mind because we measure and evaluate health benefits strategy to see what results are being obtained and how those results may be improved even more. If this kind of data-driven, results-driven approach interests you, feel free to call us at 371.751.7049 to learn more about how your company can benefit from our services.
Health Benefits ROI? Yes, It’s a Key Metric.
If there’s one thing you can count on regarding health care, it is this: Costs are not going to suddenly go down. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in 2010, health care costs have been rising an average of 4.3% each year. In the decade prior to the ACA, the average annual cost increase was 6%. In other words, although the rate of the cost increase has slowed, it’s still going up every year.
U.S. companies and organizations pay not only the lion’s share of the cost of those benefits but also absorb the impact of claims, as well as the bottom-line affect the health of their workforce has on employee productivity and engagement. A return on investment (ROI) calculation is completely reasonable given how much is being spent on health benefits. This is why we measure and evaluate health benefits strategy—to show you no uncertain terms if your dollars are being well spent and making a difference.
A Mix of Process and Outcome Measures
Process indicators are great in terms of evaluating how a new initiative is going when you launch it, but it doesn’t guarantee the more important eventual outcomes you want to see. For example, if you launch a new workforce health and wellbeing program offering, tracking how many employees sign up to participate is a process measure. It’s an important one to track so you can see if you need to tweak your communication and outreach strategies about the new initiative. But the reason behind launching the new offering is about more than signups—you want a healthier workforce to be the lasting outcome. The program signups are a leading indicator that may or may not lead to your final desired outcome. Tracking the impact of the program through metrics such as whether or not there are fewer claims among those participating would be the outcome measure to track (among others). It’s always important to distinguish between process measures and outcome measures—both are important, but the final impact on workplace health is the ultimate goal.
Metrics that Make Sense for Your Business
It’s not always easy to draw a straight line between what a business does to enhance worker health and safety to a direct, quantifiable bottom-line metric. In the bigger picture, it’s easy to see where a business that truly values its people excels—better safety performance, strong health benefits programs, solid training program initiatives, and so on. Measuring and tracking is a long-term commitment LHD Benefit Advisors makes with each and every client. We also aggregate our data in order to show how tirelessly we work on behalf of clients to get results that matter. Here are a few examples from both cost savings metrics and workforce health metrics:
- Reduced Rx Expenses: In 2019 we made an important change to our PBM (prescription benefit managers) approach that resulted in a significant 20% reduction in Rx expenses, saving our clients millions of dollars.
- RFP Savings: Collecting bids to find the best alternative isn’t something every business has the time or resources to do, so we do it on behalf of our clients. Over the course of a year we might conduct as many as 250+ RFPs, and in that one-year timeframe saved clients more than $30 million.
- Health Coaching: Members engaged with an LHD health coach reduced concurrent health risk by an average of 6%.
- PMPM Spend: Clients engaged with a Health Coach experience PMPM (cost per member per month) medical spend 1% below the national trend.
- Chronic Health: Clients engaged with a Health Coach experience Diabetes and Blood Pressure improvements 5% above the national trend.
We’ll take the time to make sure you understand the why, what, and how we measure and evaluate health benefits strategy so you’ll be well informed about the impact of your health benefits spending and our cost-saving actions on your behalf.
Our Approach to Measuring and Evaluation: Proactive, not Reactive
You’ve heard it said that hindsight is 20/20, but that doesn’t do a business any good when you need to manage risk and costs in a proactive manner. This is what we aim to do with our health plan analytics, where the goal is to proactively identify risks with claims driver data before they happen.
Data can and should drive better decisions at every step, including benefits strategy, design, subsidization, and delivery. Our evaluation of your health benefits plan performance is against both national trends and your geo-specific location when relevant. This evaluation will identify value gaps for which we can then recommend specific solutions in the form of policies and practices to bridge existing gaps to deliver better results across the spectrum of your efforts to serve your employees while achieving cost savings whenever possible.
For example, for one of our middle-market local clients, our pharmacy and PBM analysis revealed a per-employee cost substantially higher than the industry or geo-local average. Our recommended solution was to peel away their PBM from the health insurance company and instead negotiate a direct PBM contract. The result was better Rx retail and home delivery pricing. When combined with enhanced pharmacy rebates, the client’s Rx cost savings were $250,000 over the three-year contract without any noticeable disruptions to members.
LHD is Fiercely Independent, Client-Focused, Results-Oriented
There’s a new wave of mergers and acquisitions happening in the employer benefits industry reminiscent of one that happened nearly two decades ago. It’s a story that typically doesn’t have a happy ending for businesses that need expert guidance to make the most of benefit plans. The last time this happened, it was banks who got involved. But the banks began forcing agencies to focus more on the bank’s return on equity than the return on investment for clients.
Now it’s private equity and public benefit advisors who are buying their way into the industry. LHD is not interested. We remain fiercely independent because it’s how we get the best results for our clients. In fact, we formed a national non-profit organization two decades ago, United Benefit Advisors (UBA), to support independent employee benefits firms.
Unlike many agencies, we are committed to the highest degree of transparency possible with every client, including not only all the metrics you need for well-informed decision-making, but also our pricing, billing, and service offerings. We walk you through every line of our cost structure to ensure you understand the advantages, opportunities, and potential for growth. You won’t ever feel pressured to spend more than needed to execute a successful, high-performing plan.
The way we work with every client is within a framework of mutual trust and collaboration. Our 50+ employees work tirelessly to assist 200+ clients in making well-informed decisions and recommending solutions that get results. We listen, we learn from the data, and then we act, delivering high-performing health benefits plans year after year. Ready to switch your benefits advisor for the last time? Give LHD the opportunity and the challenge of taking on your health benefits and you’ll realize you’ll have made the right decision. Call us at 371.751.7049 to start the conversation and learn more about our services.