PERSONNEL MATTERS: Health plan culture overhauls on rise

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By Jerry Geisel, Crain News Service

CHICAGO (June 16, 2014) — A majority of employers say they are considering redesigning their healthcare plans to give richer benefits to employees who take action to spot medical problems early before they become serious and more expensive to treat, according to a new survey.

Just over 60 percent of employers responding to an Aon Hewitt survey, released June 11, said they plan to give access to richer plan designs to employees who complete tasks such as a health risk questionnaires or biometric screenings. Only 20 percent of employers now offer such a feature, according to Aon Hewitt.

“Gating strategies are becoming an increasingly attractive incentive technique among employers as they look to improve the health of their employee population,” said Jim Winkler, Aon Hewitt’s chief innovation officer of health and benefits in Norwalk, Conn.

“For example, employers may offer a high-deductible plan to its entire workforce but make a richer PPO option available to employees who complete a health risk questionnaire or biometric screening,” he said.

The survey also found that 68 percent of employers plan to adopt reference pricing. Under that approach, employers set a cap on coverage for certain medical services where costs vary widely with no discernible difference in quality. Just 10 percent of employers now use such an approach.

In addition, 42 percent of employers say they are considering only offering high-deductible healthcare plans, compared with just 15 percent doing so today, while 72 percent say they are considering reducing premium subsidies for employees’ dependents.

The survey is based on the responses of more than 1,230 employers.

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This report appeared on the businessinsurance.com, the website of Business Insurance magazine, a Chicago-based sister publication of Tire Business.

 

 

 

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