2022 Trends: High-Cost Drivers & How You Can Help Clients
by Caroline Boyland April 21, 2022
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As the 2021 plan year comes to an end, and you are sitting in utilization meetings with your clients and their medical carriers, we’re starting to see some trends emerge…particularly around high-cost drivers.
Let’s look at some of these trends and how you can look to tech to help alleviate costs for clients.
This Year’s High-Cost Drivers
Among the top drivers of healthcare costs this past year are:
- Musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries
- High-risk pregnancies
- Mental health
These conditions typically result in more visits to the doctor, extended hospital stays, and frequent use of medications. Employers aren’t the only ones who absorb the cost of high-cost drivers; it also hits carriers and plans members.
The Pandemic Effect
In 2020, when there was a drop in hospital visits due to COVID-19 restrictions and concerns about exposure, hospitals increased the amount billed per visit. The result further exacerbated already rising healthcare costs for both employers and carriers. And another pandemic side effect? Many individuals avoided routine doctor visits over the past 2 years due to exposure concerns, and for many, this led to the worsening of existing health conditions or the lack of detection of newly developed conditions.
All this to say, healthcare costs continue to rise nationwide, and employers are increasingly asking how they can address these issues. It has become an area where employers are looking to brokers for cost-effective solutions that will reduce their burden and promote an overall healthier workforce— physically, mentally, and financially.
When it comes to helping employers, brokers can look to technology. Employers are in need of a comprehensive platform that presents and suggests the benefits that employees need through intelligent, AI driven decision support.
Think: an employee is planning a pregnancy, so during enrollment their decision support platform suggests the best prenatal healthcare options to them for their health and finances. Or, an employee is living with diabetes, the technology should be able to suggest to them a plan that can best help them manage their care, suggest the cheapest pharmacy to pick up their prescriptions, and help them find in-network care.
Enrollment is a stressful time of year for employees, and this is only exasperated for employees with preexisting conditions. Employers need technology that offers everything benefits in one place, so employees can find their typical health, dental, and vision plans, right alongside any additional voluntary products and point solutions that can help them manage their healthcare.
A Solution To Reduced Costs and Increase in Employee Engagement
As a broker, you know the importance of providing your clients with the tools to understand their benefits. In the next few years, the need for this will continue to grow as employees become increasingly invested in taking care of their mental well-being and personal health.
For your clients, these high-cost drivers are leading them to pay more than they should be for benefits. For their employees, there are gaps in their coverage that can cause them to overpay out of pocket for care or go without it altogether.
The solution to this problem comes down to personalization and education. When employees understand how their benefits work, they know what coverage is best for them and how much they need to pay on average (or avoid paying at all). One modern digital intervention tool that can help you with this is Nayya. Nayya is a decision support tool that provides an engaging employee experience. It helps to reduce costs and increase employee engagement by empowering employees with personalized education and increasing consumer trust in the benefits they choose.
Brokers can help employers reduce costs and improve employee health by ensuring they are well-informed on the top cost drivers for their group and by introducing technology that can help carriers, employers, and employees save money. A tool like Nayya can help everyone save on health costs and give consumers more control over their healthcare.
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