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Helping Your Employees Stretch Their Healthcare Dollar

March 21, 2016

Health care cost imageHealthcare costs continue to skyrocket for both employers and employees.  In fact, the rise in health insurance deductibles has outpaced the average increase in a worker’s wages over the last five years. And despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employer-sponsored health care for the 170 million Americans who get coverage from their employer is facing significant challenges.


With the planned consolidations of many of the United States’ largest health insurers, control over healthcare and spiraling medical costs feels out of reach to many and is causing people to forego care, even when they need it.

So how can you make sure your employees are getting the most out of their healthcare coverage?  Here are five tips to communicate to your employees to help them stretch every healthcare dollar:


  • Understand Your Coverage – Take the time to ensure you understand the healthcare plan you’re in, from the cost difference between utilizing out-of-network and in-network providers to whether you need a referral to see a specialist.  And know what your costs are for everything from an office visit co-payment to a trip to the emergency room in advance to avoid any shocks. 
  • When In Doubt, Ask – Don’t know if that procedure your doctor advised will be covered or not?  Ask your physician’s office to provide the billing code or check your insurance coverage ahead of time to make sure your claim won’t be rejected.  In some instances, certain tests and medical procedures may require a preauthorization in which your doctor explains the need, which you’d want to know before having them done to avoid a rejected claim and huge bill. 
  • Be Smart About Prescription Drugs – One of the fastest rising areas of healthcare costs is prescription drugs, which can be expensive even with healthcare coverage.  To reduce your costs, know how your drug plan works and ask your doctor to prescribe generic medications whenever possible.  You may want to also research mail order prescriptions, especially for medications you take on an ongoing basis, as they often not only save money but provide convenient home delivery.
  • Take Advantage of Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) – FSAs allow employees to set aside pre-tax dollars for out-of-pocket medical costs like prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.  Some employees are wary of FSAs, as funds are forfeited if they aren’t used during the eligible time period.  However, with some careful planning and knowledge of the plan’s specifics and eligibility timeframe, FSAs can save employees significant money.
  • Participate in Wellness & Preventative Care Initiatives – Take full advantage of preventative care benefits like smoking cessation programs, reimbursement for gym memberships, biometric screenings and free flu shot clinics.  While there may be some paperwork to fill out, the reimbursement check is worth the time and effort.

As an employer, helping your employees understand and make the most of their healthcare coverage results in happier and healthier employees. To make sure you maximize your dollar, make sure you also work with an agency who takes the time to provide a customized cost-effective benefit package that reflects your overall business strategy and your commitment to your employees.

Bill Willis

Bill Willis

Vice President




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