Health care advocacy is a growing field, but it’s one employers can sometimes feel nervous about tackling. Some employers don’t feel they should be involved with medical decisions — and they’re right! Health care advocacy offers employers the ability to provide back-up to the benefits they already provide by engaging professional advocates to assist their employees.

Advocates assist employees and their families with the complexities of the health care system. This could mean they answer questions about the basics: how medical benefits work, how to use flexible spending accounts (FSAs), or health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs.) These commonly misunderstood programs are the cornerstone of many benefits programs, but when as many as half of employees don’t understand what benefits they’ve enrolled in, advocates can fill in the gaps.

Advocates also work with employees who are dealing with critical illness in their family. Patients who are struggling with a diagnosis and the treatment/facility options open to them can turn to an advocate to help navigate this difficult moment in their life. The support patients receive leads to better health outcomes and savings on total costs.

Plus, advocates can assist with provider problems, which may include documentation omissions or other reasons for denial of care. Advocates gather the materials necessary to appeal the denial and get to the bottom of the issue.  By coordinating the appeal, they take workload away from the employee during a stressful and confusing time.

And health insurance providers are on board, too. “By helping point people to the right person, we have seen an overall decrease in hospitalizations and emergency room visits, which has translated into better care and lower costs,” a Cigna executive told SHRM in October 2020.

Employers are seeing such good results from adding advocacy to their benefits programs, some are even incentivizing it with bonuses, according to SHRM. The two biggest hills to climb when adding health care advocates to a benefits program are the initial data share with the provider, and communications to employees about the new service.

With WBD’s new health care advocacy program, companies can easily handle both of these implementation obstacles. With data channels integrated through WBD’s benefits administration platform, plus a full suite of communication tools, your company can offer health care advocacy that works — without headaches! Find out more here.

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