Look up “engagement” in the dictionary, and the definition you’ll get will be something along the lines of “participation and becoming involved with or establishing meaningful contact or connection with something” as the lead definition. Look a little further down the page and you’ll get another take: “a fight or battle between armed forces.”
When it comes to engagement in the healthcare system, a daunting and complex world with little to no price transparency for services rendered, it’s unfortunate that our experience is often more like the latter than the former.
Healthcare is confusing.
For most consumers, dealing with the healthcare system means:
Navigating your insurance plan. Navigating an insurance plan means grappling with features and complex terms that are tougher to comprehend than a legal document.
Finding a care provider. Finding the right doctor or facility can be tricky if you’re not an expert. Most people have little to no guidance on which providers are actually good at what they do and how much they will charge for services.
Understanding your bills. What happens after your visit? Inevitably, any contact with the healthcare system ends with a pile of bills that seem to intentionally confuse you into just paying.
"Providing consumers with the information they need to be educated consumers is the first step towards empowerment and, eventually, behavioral change."
In 2016, 29% of covered workers were enrolled in a high deductible health plan (HDHP); a trend that has continued to increase from 2006 when the number was 4% (!). With health insurance costs continuing to rise, it is expected that this trend will continue.
As an advisor, I always encouraged my clients to explore offering an HDHP. Higher deductible plans tend to be less expensive for employers to offer. The challenge, however, is making sure your employees are equipped to properly engage with the healthcare system itself. Providing consumers with the information they need to be educated consumers is the first step towards empowerment and, eventually, behavioral change.
HR & Finance teams rely on benefits brokers to be their trusted advisors when it comes to employee benefit plan design, negotiation, and troubleshooting. Employees, as the actual consumers of those plans, need to be armed and ready to take on the system as well. With more financial responsibility falling on the consumer, via increased deductibles and slimmed down networks, etc., employees need to be armed with the right information in order to make the best decision possible. By providing employees with access to expert health assistants, TouchCare empowers employees to better engage with the healthcare system.
It can be hard to keep up a healthy lifestyle with so many stresses, pressures, expenses, and options for how to treat any given problem. These days, it’s common to see wearable devices or fitness trackers. You’ve probably heard of numerous diets, fads or trends — some of which you may have even advised people to try without having done so yourself! All of those things might help in some way, but there is no more proven cost-effective way to manage your health than having an active and regular relationship with your PCP.
At the end of the day, there is a huge amount that consumers can’t control when it comes to healthcare in America. The one thing we can control is managing our relationships, and there’s no better one to maintain than one that could save you money, and possibly, your life.