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How Employers Can Encourage Healthcare Consumerism in 2023
By Jennifer Austin, Director of Marketing, The Alliance†††

When looking to purchase a product, consumers will shop around for the best quality at the best price. But, when choosing a healthcare provider, people often go by word of mouth or seek care from familiar providers instead of seeking out high-value services. According to YouGov, most healthcare consumers (64%) do not research pricing options in advance.

With increasing healthcare transparency requirements, you would think it would be easier for patients to access quality and price information to make informed decisions, but it is still not as easy as it should be. Not all hospitals have published their prices in a machine-readable format, and the ones that have are not easily accessible. This is why it is important to use digital solutions and incentives to encourage employees to be better healthcare consumers.

Invest in Digital Solutions
Digital healthcare solutions have been gaining popularity for years, and this trend was accelerated by the pandemic. Today, patients are using telemedicine and virtual providers more frequently because of the convenience and flexibility they offer. Telemedicine is breaking down geographic barriers and giving patients the power of choice to seek out high-value providers outside of their area. Employers should include virtual providers in their network to expand access to high-value providers and offer a broader level of choice for their employees.

Employers should also consider investing in digital solutions to support their employees. A good provider directory, like The Allianceís Find a Doctor tool, is key in ensuring patients know which doctors and hospitals are in-network. This can help patients avoid surprise bills and help keep plan costs down.

Incentivize Employees
Kaiser Health News and NPR reported 100 million in the U.S. struggle with medical debt with many patients skipping necessary care. So, itís important for employers to Incentivize employees to utilize services from high-value providers.

Often, patients rely on their doctors, friends, and family to provide recommendations on where to go for healthcare. But incenting employees to go where care is good and costs are low is critical. The Alliance Smarter Health Analysis provides employers with the data they need to build their benefit plans around high-value shoppable procedures.

Employers can pay employees to go to a particular provider for shoppable procedures. For example, using a low-cost imaging center for a CT rather than a hospital often saves so much money the employer can pass those savings along to employees in their paycheck. Employers can also provide employees with no-cost care, like an independent primary care facility.

Your Healthcare Partners Can Help
While all this may seem overwhelming, remember to rely on our health benefits partners in executing the above strategies. You donít have to do it alone. If youíre a client of The Alliance, please reach out to your account executive for help.

Jennifer Austin joined The Alliance in mid-2019, leading the team in managing marketing efforts, including brand strategy, paid advertising, publication relations, social media, and website development.† Before joining The Alliance, Jennifer worked at several companies in Chicago and Madison, focusing on marketing and strategy development for hospitals and health systems, including Advocate Healthcare (now Advocate Aurora Health), Augusta University Health, and HCA Healthcare.

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