The pandemic and post-pandemic economy mean employers are looking for resources that help their employees stay healthy and manage chronic conditions. Employees are using technology to make appointments, review test results, search for providers and find treatment options. Technology is enhancing patient-provider communication, promoting shared decision making and driving patient accountability for self-management.
Digital transformation in the workplace has accelerated by months or even years during the pandemic, according to the KPMG CEO Outlook Report. The number of telehealth visits, for example, ballooned during the early phases of the pandemic. Now they are commonplace.
While more health plans are seeing telehealth as a must-have in the post-pandemic economy, engaging technology such as smartphones, personal computers, interactive live video and wearable devices is one way that innovation is improving covered members’ access to healthcare. With 66% of consumers using technology to manage their healthcare, health plans with digital solutions for covered employees and data and insights for employers is improving access to care and reducing healthcare spending and uncertainty.
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Health Advantage allow members to locate an in-network doctor and estimate their out-of-pocket costs in one place—through My Blueprint, which is available online 24/7 and as a mobile app. Members with diabetes are also offered an innovative diabetes management program, Onduo, to help manage their disease and improve their health. With Onduo, eligible members can access tools, coaching and clinical support to take control of their type 2 diabetes—all at no additional cost to the member.
Sophisticated digital solutions for employers
Blueprint for Employers is a secure, self-service site that allows employers to manage their group’s plan with Arkansas Blue Cross and Health Advantage. The site provides an array of tools not available on the public site, including the ability to add employees and their dependents to the group plan, print temporary ID cards and order replacement cards, track submitted applications and view a summary of your group’s benefits and coverage.
Empowering employees to take charge of their health
The National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans conducted by Mercer found more than 77% of U.S. employers with 500 or more employees said helping high-cost claimants manage their care effectively was important or very important. Case management is more important now than ever, considering most of the severely ill patients with COVID-19 are those with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Employers are seeking plans that offer first-class case management to help their employees improve their immunity from severe illness and improve their overall health outcomes. Arkansas Blue Cross case management focuses on building one-on-one relationships between the member and the case manager. This enables the case manager to create a tailored health plan and meaningful personal interactions with the member.
Next-generation healthcare, better outcomes
COVID-19 has brought to the forefront the fact that engaging employees in becoming better healthcare consumers is the highest priority to manage risk and reduce healthcare expenditures. Healthier individuals—those without preexisting conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes—are less likely to experience severe illness, side effects and death from COVID-19, the flu and other infectious diseases.
Quality health benefits plans should include a full portfolio of health management tools and resources designed to improve the health of its members.
Managing High-Cost Claimants is Employers’ Top Health Savings Strategy. Retrieved Jan. 5, 2020, from https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/benefits/Pages/managing-high-cost-claimants.aspx