Today is the first in a series of employee enrollment meetings for the client I described in my Case Study article. Premiums have gone way up, benefits have come way down and the employees face a difficult year of healthcare expenses. Fortunately, we were able to put in place a very affordable “bouquet” of benefits which include the weaponry we have all needed for years to become better healthcare consumers.
The first extra program will allow employees the ability to speak with a doctor by skype or face time on the phone for minor conditions without an access fee. This may prove to be quite valuable not only because it will save time, it will prevent other illnesses by avoiding contact with sick people in a waiting room, and it will encourage individuals to address conditions early which will all help to keep small issues from becoming bigger issues.
The health advocacy feature will finally provide us the resources to seek out the most cost effective, yet excellent, services when we need them. Being able to access a provider in our network who can see us promptly and affordably has always been a challenge for patients. Trying to be a good healthcare consumer overwhelmed a lot of people who finally threw their hands up and just took the easiest route, which was often not the best quality or most cost effective.
Other discount features of the new benefits package put resources behind the information we have always needed. Because of the volume of individuals represented these programs are able to negotiate truly meaningful discounts on prescriptions and other lab and imaging services. They also provide the weight we have all needed to address pricing from providers both before and after services have been provided.
And yet, at the end of the day, our job really should be to just stay healthy. If we can stay on schedule with our preventive visits and follow the mandates of the providers we visit we should be able to control a lot of the conditions which so often surprise us when they get out of control.
If we can keep a close eye on what we eat, when we exercise and how we handle stress we may be able to stay out of the eye of the healthcare storm while it rages. In time there will be a resolution to the costs and delivery of healthcare, but it is nowhere in sight.
The old mantra of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” actually applies very well right now. A lot of money can be better spent on avoidance of care by being actively involved in achieving and then maintaining our good health. For help in finding the best solution for you, contact us at Czajkowski Dumpel & Associates, Inc. – We are here to help!