The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Back when employers paid the entire healthcare bill, workers cared more about having hassle-free access to care than the cost of insurance. So how do they feel now that more of their own money is stake, due to rising coinsurance and copays?
Pretty much the same, according to an HRI survey.
Choice is still king
The study looked at firms offering two types of plans: one with higher out-of-pocket costs but easier access to primary and specialty care, the other with lower costs but HMO-like restrictions on specialty care.
The majority of employees said they were willing to tolerate out-of-pocket costs if it meant maintaining choice. What’s more it didn’t matter whether the employee was aware of how much coverage cost either their employers or themselves.
Implication: Organizations with consumer-driven healthcare plans may need to tweak the educational messages to employees. Rather than focusing just on making people aware of the cost of care, employers should also stress the need to make smart healthcare choices.
In other words, people care mostly about choice (even when they know it means paying more themselves), but still need help with the responsibility.
How can you put this idea to work in your organization? By stressing:
- The cost-sharing arrangements at your organization enables employees to make healthcare-provider choices for themselves and their families.
- The more that employees research the care available to them, the smarter the choices they make, and
- It’s helpful to offer tools (e.g., a Web site, a nurse call center) to help folks make good choices – but it’s up to each participant to take advantage of these resources.