In 2021, hospitals were required for the first time to place their prices online. Three hundred services are included in the required posting, everything from cancer screenings to colonoscopies. The idea was to give consumers a better look at what different medical centers charge, so they can make more informed decisions about their care. The reality, as journalists and analysts are finding, is that price transparency rules are revealing a convoluted, complicated billing system that likely won’t do much for everyday shoppers.
Why does this matter to employers? Because employees make care decisions based upon price.
Younger generations, in particular, value information about what a treatment will cost out-of-pocket even more than they do their personal doctor’s recommendation. And employees who forgo care because of costs, real or perceived, will eventually have unwelcome healthcare outcomes. This could mean being forced into expensive urgent care or emergency rooms after hours, worsening health which requires more expensive intervention, and medically-related absences or even an inability to work their job.
All of these outcomes can have repercussions for employers, whether through lost productivity or increased healthcare costs.
To that end, price transparency could have a big benefit for your employees. But if the hospital-released numbers are too much for the average Joe to consume and understand, how can employers provide these prices and help their employees make good health decisions?
Employer-provided health care advocacy is one path to better health for employees. Health care advocates show up for employees in a multitude of ways, helping them understand their health care options, answer questions about plans and providers, even explain diagnoses.
As transparency providers, health care advocates can review coverage for a health care test or procedure, research in-network physicians and facilities, and compare quality and cost among providers. They can explain savings for member choices, educate members about their options, and report back to employers on success rates, reporting on member and plan savings.
Web Benefits Design now offers health care advocates with transparency support which saves the average employee $1400 per request, while saving the average employer $400.
Transparency: for your employees, it’s more than just being offered a price list on a hospital website. Price transparency in the health care industry requires specialized knowledge and understanding of the complex systems at work.
Ready to start offering your employees a better way to understand their health care options? Contact us today.