Leverage Collaboration, Data, and Technology to Drive Down Healthcare Costs

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How can credit unions continue delivering robust and competitive employee benefits when the trajectory of healthcare costs is rising at such a steep pace? Here are three tips to help get us in the right direction. Collaboration. Data. Technology.

Collaboration
When it comes to purchasing health insurance for your employees, size and scale matter. The more employees on the plan, the more predictable the outcomes will be for insurance underwriters – equating to lower costs. When multiple credit unions collaborate to purchase insurance together, the risk of high-cost claims is further spread out – equating to lower costs.

Tip #1

Work with your trusted system of credit union providers to build a collaborative healthcare model exclusive to credit unions. These solutions exist, and they have proven to save credit unions hundreds of thousands of dollars through volume-based negotiated medical insurance premiums.

Insurance captives, for example, allow credit unions to collaboratively purchase insurance more efficiently and at lower costs through their unique funding models. Transitioning to a self-insured funding model is more viable through an insurance captive. Plus, captives are more flexible when it comes to carrier options and plan designs.

Association Health Plans (AHP) are another proven model when it comes to groups of credit unions collaborating to lower medical insurance costs. Although AHPs require trusted expert resources to evaluate, build, and launch; they do exist in several states and credit unions have experienced successful results.  

Data
Credit unions need better access to healthcare claims data to prove to the insurance carriers that we are a healthy population and an attractive risk for underwriters.

Tip #2

Use this statistic: 23%

Our CUSO’s latest medical claims analytics report shows that credit unions’ per-employee-per-year (PEPY) medical claims costs are 23% less than other industries we evaluated. Are we as credit unions really 23% healthier than other industries?

Our data says YES

When we compare our credit union employee claims against other industries (both white and blue collar), our participating credit union employees perform 23% “better” than the average employee across other industries. Even when compared to other financial services employees, credit union employees still outperform their peers when it comes to gross PEPY medical claim costs.

Technology
Technology can help HR departments reduce friction when delivering benefits to our most important assets – our employees.

Tip #3

Offer your employees a robust telemedicine app

Telemedicine refers to the delivery of health services such as doctor visits via communication networks and is the practice of medicine using technology. This might include an initial consultation with a physician who can then provide a prescription or schedule an in-person visit if needed.

Telemedicine services increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a McKinsey and Co. survey, 46% of U.S. consumers were using telehealth to replace canceled healthcare visits. That is up from only 11% in 2019. This explosion in telehealth adoption could mean up to $250 billion of current U.S. healthcare spending stemming from virtual healthcare. Most patients and doctors who have used telehealth like it and will probably be more likely to broadly adopt it post-pandemic.

Importantly, telehealth data analytics are now disclosing trends that have further boosted interest in digital health, such as demographic disparities, population growth, inefficient healthcare systems, expanding mental health services, and ways to improve connectivity. Telehealth is also generating savings and efficiency over traditional doctor visits, allowing insurance and telecommunications companies to benefit and, hopefully, better control future cost increases.

There are several telemedicine apps available, but we recommend you find a provider that offers more than just the telehealth features. Combining a benefits card wallet, patient and billing advocacy, doctor look-up features, and plan design and deductible status all within a telemedicine app will provide your employees with the most efficient technology to drive down your healthcare costs.

Conclusion
Medical insurance costs are expected to double over the next decade. To change the course of healthcare costs, credit unions need to do something different and better. The power of cooperation continues to be a core reason for our success as a movement. A collaborative healthcare model is our best strategy to combat the rising costs of medical insurance and employee benefits.

Exclusive webinar:
Leveraging Data, Technology, and Collaboration to Drive Down Healthcare Costs
Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. PT

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Article by InterLutions, a credit union service organization (CUSO) focused on providing innovative business solutions to advance the credit union movement.