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Catholic Benefits Trust

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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Catholic Benefits Trust

Value Based Care Remains a Priority in Talks of Healthcare Reform

New healthcare plans are being discussed by the Trump administration. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that healthcare in the United States is too expensive, but coming up with a solution that works for everyone is easier said than done. The Trump administration wants to ensure that patients receive the high-quality, value-based care they deserve, all while keeping prices reasonable. Here are some trends that are pointing towards high value care being a priority.

Health Spending and Consumers

With patients and consumers currently covering an increasing percentage of health costs, this trend doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. Health savings accounts, or HSAs, will likely lead to a greater use of tax credits. A myriad of online tools are making it simpler for consumers to locate providers that offer lower costs, leading them to get the best value for their money. Medicare is also being discussed, although it will likely not receive the same spending increases it has been given in the past.

Employer Healthcare Demands

Just as employees want the best out of their health plan, employers want to see value as well. Health insurance premiums will likely increase by 6.5% this year and employers are feeling overwhelmed by increasing costs. In order to keep employers controlling costs through high-deductible plans, this will be a priority in the development of a new plan. Predictions show employers will allow employees to access care through on-site primary care physicians.

Payer Competition

Narrowing networks is one way to keep care value high and costs low. A competitive field will focus growth on new plans and tiered benefit structures. This will allow for high-value providers to be rewarded while low-value, more variable ones will not be as lucky. Bundled programs through narrow networks is one solution payers are considering to assist the high-value providers.

Many changes are in the works in the world of healthcare, and Catholic Benefits Trust is keeping track of all of them.  We offer a number of member benefits to ensure everyone receives the best care and service possible. For more information on our benefits and how we can help you, contact us today!

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