Employers Take the Reins on Healthcare Delivery

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The healthcare system is about to combust. To avoid that, healthcare needs to be led by employers who are responsible for driving the change they seek in healthcare, said Renya Spak, a partner at Mercer Health and Benefits.

“Can we make this system more efficient and more effective for those paying for the majority of the spending today?” she asked Monday at the Employee Benefit News Benefits Forum & Expo in New Orleans.

“An employer health-driven economy means employers collectively bear the burden of healthcare in our country,” responded Milt Ezzard, vice president of global benefits at Activision Blizzard, the video game publisher of Candy Crush and Call of Duty.

“We’re paying the lion’s share for the care of most Americans in the U.S.,” he said. “In order for that to work, employers need to band together with each other and with good health carriers who can help leverage what an employer needs to have happen.”

The bar for healthcare is so low, there is so much [employers] can do to make a difference, he added.

or example, Ezzard described how Activision Blizzard used to partner with the conventional carriers that offered conventional programs with third-party administration tools to process claims.

But engagement between the insurers and employees was low, he said. In fact, within a year, the carrier made only a total of 17 “connections” with Blizzard employees, and that, Ezzard said, was a “huge failure.”

Employers need to stop waiting for the consultants and insurers, and start driving the improvements themselves, added John Rankin, president of the North Carolina Business Group on Health.

“As employers, large and small, we need to be willing to seek out that technology and drive it without knowing what that ROI is, without knowing there is a return on investment,” he added.

But he cautions that with the plethora of technologies and providers out there, there is still going to be a challenge of integrating all the options.

“What you’ve seen is employers try to do these Band-Aid solutions for disease conditions,” said Rajaie Batniji, co-founder and chief health officer at Collective Health, a provider of workplace health management systems It solves a problem but it creates another. Now instead of going to one place, you might be going to 25 places and have 25 passwords. You’ve suddenly created more complexity in your benefits plan.”

The reason employer are going out there and looking for these best in class platforms is the large carriers haven’t done a very good job of connecting with people, he said. “They haven’t made it a good job to navigate through care.”

Many employers, though, are keeping their eyes on the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan health venture as it unfolds.

None of us know what they’re going to do, but Amazon has the potential to remove some of the middle men, and that’s why companies like Cigna and Aetna are worried, Rankin added.

 

Article first published on Benefit News: https://www.benefitnews.com/news/employers-take-the-reins-on-healthcare-delivery?feed=00000152-18a4-d58e-ad5a-99fc032b0000