4 Ways to Encourage Employee Healthcare Shopping

Many consumers shop around when purchasing a new item for their household, looking for a high-quality product at the lowest price. But when it comes to employee healthcare, which is often much more complex and expensive, consumers generally don’t know how to access the right resources for reliable information about high-value care. This drives up the cost of healthcare for both individuals seeking care and their employers.

The cost of the same procedure at different in-network facilities within the same market can vary as much as 1,000 percent, leading patients to choose a high-cost provider if they don’t know where to look to find high-value care. For example, Shannon, a Healthcare Bluebook member, didn’t realize that the cost of an MRI varied between facilities. She needed an MRI and found that at one facility, the cost was $2,500. She used Healthcare Bluebook to search for a different provider and found one that charged less than $1,000.

Encouraging employees to shop around for healthcare providers can improve patient outcomes and satisfaction while reducing costs, but how can employers encourage their employees to become more active participants in their care? Let’s explore some top ways employers can help employees find high-value healthcare.

Top Ways to Encourage Healthcare Navigation

Providing employee healthcare tools to ensure employees stay happy and healthy is essential. Let’s look at some strategies you can implement to encourage healthcare navigation.

1. Stay in-network.

Medical costs can be significantly less when seeing an in-network provider. In-network providers have contracted rates with insurance companies, which discounts the cost of care. For example, an employee healthcare plan for an in-network provider may pay 80 percent of the cost of care, and the employee would be responsible for 20 percent.

However, with out-of-network providers, the insurance company would pay less than 80 percent—for example, they may pay 60 percent of the cost—and the employee would pay the rest. 

Educating employees about in-network versus out-of-network providers, how providers may accept insurance but still not be in-network, and how to determine if a provider is in-network is essential to help them save a significant amount of money on care.

2. Use price transparency tools.

Healthcare can be confusing, and many people may not realize they can shop around for healthcare and find lower-cost, high-quality providers. By providing price transparency tools such as Bluebook CareConnect™, your employees will have access to a member concierge who will help them find the highest level of care possible at a Fair Price™.

Member concierges work with the member to identify and schedule care with high-value providers and also work with the providers to manage details such as the transfer of medical records. To help ensure the member receives the care they need, they stay connected to them throughout their entire care journey.

3. Provide incentives.

When employees are engaged with their healthcare, they’re more motivated to make healthier decisions. Providing engagement rewards can encourage employees to get more involved in their healthcare. When employees choose a high-value provider, they can receive various incentives, such as wellness points or health savings account (HSA) contributions.

4. Use gamification.

Learning about healthcare benefits isn’t fun to most people, but you can make it fun by incorporating gamification into your suite of benefits. For example, employees are 11 times more likely to shop around for healthcare after playing an interactive game.

Healthcare Bluebook’s Go Green to Get Green rewards program incorporates tools such as interactive games and 90-second quick courses that walk members through the process of shopping for care.

Learn how to choose a healthcare navigation tool that’s right for your company. 

Benefits of Shopping for Healthcare

When employees shop for healthcare, both employers and employees benefit.

Reduce costs.

When employees are equipped with tools that help them make more informed decisions and save money, they’ll be more confident about their choices and experience less financial stress. Additionally, because they’re reducing their healthcare costs, they may be more likely to seek care for conditions they’ve been putting off due to cost.

Many people don’t understand how employee healthcare costs impact employers. For example, workers at self-insured companies may not realize a portion of their medical bills is paid by their employer. If the employee continues to choose high-cost providers, overspending will impact their benefits and potentially affect other desirable perks of their job.

Healthcare costs can also impact a company’s ability to hire the best talent. Job seekers often evaluate the full spectrum of benefits provided, including employee healthcare. If benefits costs are high and the benefit offering isn’t robust, employers might lose out on top job candidates.

Decrease stress.

Health concerns can impact every facet of a person’s life, including how engaged they are with their work. By providing employees with access to solutions that help them receive high-value care and successfully navigate the complex healthcare system, they will likely become more engaged with their work and have peace of mind.

Ready to Explore Your Healthcare Navigation Options?

Choosing a healthcare navigation tool is highly beneficial to your company, but how do you choose the right one? Download our resource, How to Choose a Healthcare Navigation Solution That's Right for Your Organization, to find out what you should consider.

eBook cover of How to Choose a Healthcare Navigation Solution That's Right for Your Organization