As many of us expect, the New Year will bring both tremendous challenges and opportunities for all of us both personally and professionally. Employers continue to face the major challenge of controlling the cost of their health insurance and other employee benefit programs. Organizations that can best get a handle on the cost of their employee benefit programs have an excellent opportunity to gain an advantage over their competition.
What are some practical ways to control the cost of your health insurance? Here are a few suggestions:
1) Investigate all of your traditional and consumer directed health plan options. Many companies are easing into consumer directed plans by offering them as part of a “dual choice" program.
2) Out of network benefits. If your PPO network has adequate access to network providers, plan designs that strongly encourage the use of preferred providers save premium and claim dollars while the insured still gets the needed care at a discounted rate.
3) Prescription drug coverage. Rx plans that encourage the use of generics and require mandatory mail order for maintenance medications are an efficient use of your benefit dollars.
4) Encourage wellness. What is the old saying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of gain.
5) Consumerism. Access to the tools necessary to be a “good" healthcare consumer will allow individuals to get the best care at the best price.
If you do not have time to personally handle the suggestions made above, consider enlisting the services of an independent insurance broker that specializes in designing and evaluating health plan options. A good insurance broker should be able to save you time, money, and ultimately serve as a trusted resource for plan recommendations now and in the future.
Michael Ertel is the President of Ertel & Company ( http://www.ertelandcompany.com ) and has over 15 years of experience in the health insurance business. He is the founder of http://www.MedicalInsuranceNow.com which is an internet based service that assists individuals, families, and small business owners by providing side by side comparisons of health insurance alternatives and the convenience of applying for health coverage online.