Ok, time for some real talk. Over the last couple of years there’s been a lot of analysis, alterations and a reframing of the way that we look at healthcare from the employer perspective. Obamacare has forced us to step back and ask ourselves what level of benefits we should really be offering to employees. Do we go for the “Full Monty” and offer amazing benefits with the hopes that we can attract great people? Or do we pursue a more barebones approach and offer what Obamacare requires us to offer? What I’m getting at is this: What do we expect to get back from our investment? What is the “ROI” for offering benefits? And Most importantly, do we need ROI to justify having health insurance?
Health Literacy. It’s an oft discussed topic and its one that we mention pretty much all the time. Health literacy has been linked directly with patients care outcomes, and, unsurprisingly, poor health literacy translates to poor treatment outcomes. With the mass shift in health plans towards high deductible plans, there’s a lot of pressure on the consumer to pay attention to what they’re doing. And key to this strategy is understanding how to be successful in a “consumerist” environment. Simply put, without understanding how to use the care system (and identify simple terms like deductible and copay), it becomes hard to get cost effective healthcare
Having spent 30 years in the health benefits industry, I can honestly say that one of the most common and consistent complaints that I’ve heard from customers is that their employees find their benefits confusing. Pretty much across the board. Think about it, of course they find their benefits confusing, there are a myriad of forms thrown at them every year, they probably don’t understand why or how their premiums really change each year, and they aren’t really given the tools to figure it out. Up until now, our mantra has pretty much been “just figure it out”. Got a problem? Go to the same doctor that you’ve always seen. Need a new doctor? Try to get a recommendation or something. And if you’ve been given a bill that looks a bit hefty, just deal with it.
Telemedecine is something that we’re constantly talking about. Not because it’s the end-all be-all of healthcare, or because it can replace your doctor, but because it’s simply underutilized. Telemedicine can remove a ton of the roadblocks and challenges that people experience that often prevent them from seeing the doctor in a timely manner. Things like having to get time off work or waiting to get your children in after school are pretty much non-existent.
With all this talk about high deductible health plans and increased consumerism in healthcare, we are often left wondering if it all really works. Can we really do something about the rising care costs? Can we really expect people to shop for healthcare like they shop for cars and other consumer goods?
If you’re a follower of our stuff, you may have noticed that we talk about “convenience care” quite a lot. Its something that we believe in and can get pretty fired up about (don’t judge, some people like celebrities, some people like health-tech startups). Its occurred to me that we should really do an article that focuses more squarely on convenience care and why you should care about it. But before we get to that, lets just look at providing a definition of convenience care so that we can get on the same page.
It is often said that the relationship between the doctor and the patient is the foundation of the American medical system. Consider your typical Americana small town circa 1950’s. One stoplight on Main Street, everybody knows everybody, and high school football is the main attraction. You know what I mean. In this scenario, I can tell you exactly who the 3 most important people in town are. The mayor, the priest, and the doctor. Why? Because these are the people that are the most trusted and are the cornerstone figures in people’s lives.
They say that the best things in life are free. And when it comes to healthcare, that’s no exception. If you haven’t heard, preventive care is free – as in, covered by your insurance. And since we’ve already used one adage, let’s use another: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Well this time there is. Preventive care really is free, because your insurance company doesn’t want you to get sicker and have extortionately high claims. Makes sense, right? In terms of healthcare, what’s good for your insurance company is often good for you – not being sick. As always, it’s good to check with your insurance company before you get anything done to make sure that everything is within your network and is specifically covered.
Think about your health insurance for a moment. Would you be able to tell me exactly where your insurance ends and your actual healthcare begins? Believe it or not (and you may be a part of this group,) most Americans don’t really understand the difference between healthcare and health insurance. Most people would group them together and assume that it’s all part of one big package. Let’s take a look at why the two can be confusingly intertwined:
Every once in a blue moon I think its interesting to get an outsider’s perspective of things. In this case, let’s talk about our healthcare system. At the moment I’ve got this article in mind. In short, it’s a bit of a comical analysis of a few British people trying to use the American healthcare system. Jokes aside, their biggest concern is how bureaucratic and confusing our system is. And let’s think about that for a minute. I think we’re all aware that getting healthcare can be tricky, but we’re used to it, so we often don’t do anything about it. Our system is confusing and frankly hard to use sometimes. After all there are a lot of players in this game, and we don’t always know who to turn to.(more…)