When it comes to our financial wellness, we like to think we’re smart consumers. If you’re going to make a big-ticket purchase, you do your research. So why is it that when it comes to health care, consumers don’t use the same tactics? In today’s challenging and ever-changing environment, financial wellness is critical.

It’s in your company’s best interest to teach em­ployees how to be better health care consumers. When you create a culture of openness and trans­parency around health care, you’ll immediately no­tice the benefits.

Here’s how you can start coaching your employ­ees on how to become better healthcare consumers.

Communicate About Benefits Often

Your employees—and their families—are using their benefits year-round. Now more than ever em­ployees want to know what their benefits cover. Make it a point to communicate early and often about how their benefits work, where to find resources, and how to be a smart health care consumer. Test different formats, such as:

  • Creating a page of relevant links on your staff In­tranet
  • Dedicating a section in the employee newsletter to benefits news and tips
  • Sharing updates during company-wide meetings
  • Forwarding resources from your health insur­ance provider to all staff
Present Alternate Ways of Providing Care

Many people don’t realize that they can actual­ly shop around for health care, let alone how to do it. It helps to show employees a price comparison for different services and where employees can save money.

For example, employees might assume they need to go to the hospital for an MRI; however, a freestanding MRI clinic will be much less expensive (and more accessible). Or, they may think they need to visit the emergency room (racking up big claims) when an ur­gent care center would be more than sufficient.

Compile a handy list of in-network facilities who can perform many of the same services as hospitals, and keep it somewhere employees can easily refer to it.

Encourage Employees to See In-Network Providers

Encouraging employees to see in-network pro­viders is the most cost-effective solution for em­ployees and employers. Employees enjoy the ben­efits and discounts providers negotiated to be part of the healthcare plan’s network. This could include bundled services, convenient, single payment for all treatments related to a specific illness, condition or medical event (as opposed to fee-for-service).

To help employees stay in-network, place a link to your health insurance’s Find a Provider page on the staff Intranet or in another easily accessible location.

Create a Workforce of Savvy Health ­Care Consumers

When it comes to educating your employees to become better healthcare consumers, it doesn’t have to be a big burden. By simply committing to talking about healthcare more regularly, the conver­sations will become second nature and create a shift in your workplace.

HPS is here to help. As an independent provider network, we create tools to help our members navi­gate their healthcare choices with ease. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you im­prove your employees’ health care experience.

Tina Snortum-Sergent

Tina Snortum-Sergent

Tina Snortum-Sergent is the VP of Client Engagement for Health Payment Systems.

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