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Preparing for 2018: Monitoring Health Spending for Employee Benefits

It’s never too early to start thinking about next year, especially when it’s less than six months away. Each year offers new ideas, new goals, and new ways to set up financially reasonable benefits plans. When making a new year’s resolution, many consider the idea of decreasing spending or improving the ways in which they spend money. A 2016 Gallup poll showed that more Americans were concerned about finances than in previous years. In 2015, health care spending in the United States rose to $3.2 trillion and that number continues to increase as the years go by.

Check Health Care Costs in Advance

Advise employees to check out health care options that will be both financially reasonable and beneficial to them prior to receiving treatment. Some employees could be overwhelmed by the myriad of options available, but this enables them to customize their plan and it provides you with the best value. Be sure to share some health care comparison tools to allow employees to find the best quality care before they need it.

Watch Health Spending

As mentioned previously, health care spending in the U.S. is in the trillions, so closely monitoring this is crucial. Be sure to remind employees to tracktheir health care costs, particularly in areas where they are spending the most money on care. This way, employers can better understand their employees’ needs, and consult an advisor to formulate the most beneficial, cost-effective plans.

Keep Employees In the Loop

Educating employees on benefits plan options is one of the best ways to be familiar with employee needs. This way, employees can better understand what they are getting out of a plan, and have the opportunity to voice their concerns and needs. Employees should be educated on the “Four W’s” of a plan: who is paying for it, what is it covering, when can services be used, and why certain products are used in certain instances.

Planning ahead goes a long way, particularly when you have the health needs of your employees to focus on. At Catholic Benefits Trust, we like to be sure employers are able to provide their employees with the best wellness plans to fit their needs and provide them with the best resources to start planning for next year. Some of our benefits for members include valuable benchmark data, lower fixed costs, asset protection, and flexibility in choosing the right plan for your employees. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you come up with the best plans.

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The Shift to Value-Based Care

As the shift in healthcare focuses more on value-based care, many healthcare providers, patients, and manufacturers are seeing positive trends. This shift allows for less focus on paying for prescription drugs with specific costs that are not guaranteed to meet a patient’s needs. As things are progressing in the world of value-based care, here are a few points many are making about the transition that focuses on value.

Improved Quality and Cost-Effectiveness

Increased focus on value improves overall quality of healthcare, and with this comes lower costs. High quality care does not necessarily mean it’s more expensive, which is relieving for many patients. The one issue with improved quality or performance is that it can sometimes be measured too narrowly, like in the case of length of stay. For example, patients staying at a hospital for a shorter amount of time and recovering more quickly shouldn’t be discharged as soon as possible. If their ailments are not completely cured, the hospital could face high readmissions, which leads to loss of credibility. Overall, performance and quality have improved over the past five years because of the way healthcare organizations are managing populations and putting emphasis on quality.

Quality in Specialty Industries

“Value-based care is all about shifting the incentives from paying exclusively based on volume, and instead paying for value delivered. I think it makes physicians and care providers think holistically about the patient,” said Durral Gilbert, president of supply chain services at Premiere Inc. Due to many speciality therapies having higher costs, this is especially true. When there are multiple drugs on the market that claim to cure the same condition, which one is giving patients the results they want? Because of the costs of so many of these specialty drugs and services, it’s often assumed that it’s all about how much money will be required to receive specialty treatments. Having an optimized outcome will lead to lower costs for patients, employers, and caregivers.

There are many shifts happening in the world of healthcare and Catholic Benefits Trust is keeping up with everything. Our members will receive a number of benefits, such as lower fixed costs, asset protection, and valuable data. Contact us today for more information on what we provide to our members and how we could help you.


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