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How CoreSource Helps Members Make Better Decisions

 
The benefits professionals at CoreSource work to minimize the complications and pain points of healthcare for our clients and their members whenever possible. We understand that members face a healthcare system which is more and more complex and expensive, and how important it is for them to make informed financial choices. Research from the U.S. National Center for Disease Control in 2015 found that nearly one in ten U.S. adults delayed or skipped medical care over concerns about cost[1]. Equally troubling, U.S. per capita health spending in 2017 climbed to $10,209, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development[2]. For context, that number was just $4,855 in 2000, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation[3], or $7,248 in 2018 dollars—a real world increase of 40.9 percent, or $2,961 per capita.
 
These cost increases are likely to continue year-after-year, and we will continue to see consumers avoid the doctor due to out-of-pocket costs, even if the consumers have insurance. A shockingly large portion of Americans are ill-equipped to handle healthcare costs. A 2017 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found 45 percent of Americans claimed that an unexpected medical bill of $500 would be difficult to pay off, and 19 percent said they wouldn’t be able to pay it off at all[4]. Given that the average individual deductible cost has ballooned to more than $1,200 in 2016[5], according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, you can see why consumers will hesitate before seeking medical care.
 
But there is good news. Our brokers and consultants are in a position to help clients empower their members with the tools and information they need to make wiser financial decisions about their healthcare, and the best ways to utilize health benefits. When helping clients plan their member communications strategies, we keep these three guidelines in mind:
  • Messages must be relevant
  • ​Members are consumers
  • Clients and consumers need powerful tools
 

Messages must be relevant

Consumers contemplating healthcare decisions want to know two things: how will this help me and my family, and how will this impact my finances? We can alleviate member anxiety about these decisions with our collection of modern digital engagement tools, such as videos, FAQs and other education materials, which demonstrate to members how their benefits work and demystify the financial aspects of healthcare. We also personalize communications to members in order to increase their relevancy and encourage members/consumers to make use of these tools. We work with our clients to understand the best to reach their members, whether it is through targeted text messages, email, postcards or some other means. We know how important it is to get the conversation started.
 
However, even more importantly, the information that reaches consumers must be relevant and useful. For instance, if we are communicating with members who are covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), we need to speak to how the plan is structured, its costs and whether or not a Health Savings Account (HSA) is available as part of their plan. For clients using a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), we will explain the importance of choosing an in-network healthcare provider. For those with reference-based pricing plans we encourage members to shop around for care options. No fewer than 70 percent of consumers do any kind of price shopping for healthcare, and 25 percent of those consumers say they don’t price shop because they either don’t know how or find it too difficult and/or time consuming , according to a 2016 survey from HealthMine[6]. Improving member education about costs can help to reduce the anxiety that prevents members from utilizing their benefits. Showing members how to price shop is only one example of how we can deliver relevant, personal, information in our communications to help consumers looking to make better financial decisions.
 

Members are consumers

At CoreSource, we understand that influencing consumer behavior requires a persuasive sales pitch. It’s not enough to provide the information, we also need to make a winning argument. It’s not enough to tell members they can utilize urgent care clinics and telemedicine instead of emergency rooms for minor illnesses, we need to show them how much money they can save with these options. So, we use our digital tools, in this case a helpful video, to make the case.
 
We never take for granted that members fully understand their health benefit options or how to make use of them. It is a complicated system, one that is always changing, so we are constantly adapting and refining our messages and tools to meet consumer needs. We start with the member’s concerns, the problems they are facing, and then we create messages to answer the questions, “how does this help me and my family, and how will this impact my finances?”
 
Concerns such as unexpected expenses are common among members, for instance, so we tell them about their on-demand payroll access via PayActiv, and we show them how it’s much better for them than a payday loan. We build messaging around all of their benefit options, such as cost and quality transparency tools, financial wellbeing tools, and myriad other products which can address consumer needs.
 

Clients and consumers need powerful tools

In order for us to empower members make wise, informed financial decisions about their healthcare, we must provide them with powerful tools in addition to relevant information. Options like health savings accounts (HSAs) can give members a financial reserve and the financial wherewithal to make decisions for themselves that are less constrained by cost concerns. We also offer an incredible payment consolidation and management tool, Simplicity, which allow members to spread out payments for qualified, in-network expenses over 12 months, interest-free. At the same time, cost and quality transparency tools such as Healthcare Bluebook give members access to clear, relevant information on the relative expense and quality of healthcare providers they may be considering for care. These are just a few examples of tools we have at our disposal to empower members and create the level of confidence they need to make the best possible choices for themselves and their families’ health and financial wellbeing.
 
Ultimately, to keep up with the ever changing healthcare industry, we must stay informed and ahead of the curve so that we can help our members navigate the industry with confidence and better financial understanding.

By Dave Kapustka, CoreSource Regional Sales Director
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[1] Cox, Cynthia and Sawyer, Bradley. “Despite lower rates of access barriers for some groups, health costs remain a concern for many Americans.” Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker. Web. 30 Nov 2016. https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/brief/despite-lower-rates-of-access-barriers-for-some-groups-health-costs-remain-a-concern-for-many-americans/#item-start
[2] “Health Spending.” Organisation for Economic Co-operation. Web.
[3] Kamal, Rabah and Cox, Cynthia. “How has U.S. spending on healthcare changed over time?” Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker. Web. 20 Dec 2017. https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/u-s-spending-healthcare-changed-time/?_sf_s=changed#item-per-capita-basis-health-spending-grown-substantially_2017
[5] “2017 Employer Health Benefits Survey.” Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation. Web. 19 Sep 2017. https://www.kff.org/report-section/ehbs-2017-section-7-employee-cost-sharing/attachment/figure%207_10-11/
[6] “70% of Consumers Still Don't Price Shop for Healthcare Services: HealthMine Wellness Survey.” HealthMine. Web. 12 Jun 2016. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/70-of-consumers-still-dont-price-shop-for-healthcare-services-healthmine-wellness-survey-300283403.html