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.
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.
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…)
I want you to think very deeply about the last time your company went through your annual health insurance renewal. The massive rate increases, the sleepless nights.
Believe it or not, one of our biggest hurdles in making impactful change is getting people to understand why they should care about their healthcare and about their care process. Realistically, we know what our goals are: save money and get better care. This is the case for both those paying for (employers and individuals) and those receiving (the patients) the care. The issue at hand is this: most people don’t want to engage. And you know what? That’s ok, and it’s not their fault. Healthcare is complicated and, frankly, not designed with the user in mind. And we shouldn’t feel unprepared just because we aren’t a doctor ourselves.(more…)
Here at Trig we’re all about consumer education. That being said, we get a lot of pushback when we talk about things like “education” or “learning”, almost as if this is simply an unnecessary step in the care process (it is a process, you know). It’s as if we are actively taking ourselves out of the equation, and leaving the decisions to the sole discretion of the doctor. Now you may be thinking, “yeah, they went to med school, and I didn’t”. And you’re right, you probably didn’t go to medical school. But you also didn’t go to mechanic school, or get your degree in I.T. (ok, maybe you did), but you still work with those professionals and shop around for price for fixing whatever symptom your computer or car is having. So why not do that with your body?
If I could tell you one thing, and one thing only to make your healthcare experience better [cheaper], it would be this – when it comes to medical treatments, be sure. I could end the article there, but I’m long winded.