It’s no secret that most employees do not fully understand all of their health insurance benefits, which can lead to worse health outcomes and them spending more money than they need to for some medical procedures.

A recent survey of 226 executives by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services concluded that employees and employers could enjoy better outcomes if it were easier for employees to find, understand and use the benefits available to them.

One of the biggest roadblocks to making that possible, the survey indicates, is the difficulty workers have in navigating their benefits programs.

Fortunately, a number of health technology companies have come to the fore to help employees see better health outcomes, shop around for medical services, educate themselves about their health and disease management, and choose the health plan that is best for them.

These tools can help employees make informed health care decisions, while their employer can save money. The tools can help them choose proper care that meets their needs and is within their budget. Some of the new tools on the market include:

Quizzify — This tool gamifies learning about health care through humorous, trivia-style quizzes, reviewed by doctors at Harvard Medical School. The system can help employees build knowledge about diagnostics, medical procedures, dental care, how to shop around for health services, and more.

The creators of Quizzify said they want to address the problem of Americans making far too few primary care visits, while they also receive too much health care that is unnecessary. All of that costs employees because:

  • Missing regular doctor’s appointments and preventative services can result in health emergencies later, and
  • Overtreatment and unnecessary treatments can lead to worse health outcomes and higher out-of-pocket costs.

Employees who use the tool rave about it, particularly how it helps them negotiate medical costs and provides them with advance knowledge that can help them save thousands of dollars in health care expenses.

Jellyvision’s Alex platform — This tool gives employees advice about accessing their health benefits and using their health savings accounts (HSAs) more effectively. It’s mainly geared towards large companies, but there are similar products being developed for the small and mid-sized employer market.

Some of Alex’s features include:

  • Personalized guidance during enrollment and ongoing engagement during the year, as it sends out reminders and tips about an employee’s health insurance and health maintenance.
  • A focus on reducing the cost to employers of employee confusion.
  • A built-in HSA that actively promotes investing in the account throughout the year.
  • Chronic disease management tools.
  • Benefits videos.
  • Engagement tools that help employers and staff improve their health literacy and save money.

League — This online tool and app is designed to help your employees choose which health plans are best for them, and to identify health risks and help them access preventative care. The platform also includes a mobile-first communications channel for employers.

League provides employees with a personalized health profile, as well as a digital wallet that holds employee assistance program information and other programs that you may be providing, such as HSAs.

The main features for employees include:

  • Digital wallet — This also holds HSA funds and allows your employees to pay for health and wellness services, review benefit coverage, and keep tabs on their HSA balance.
  • Marketplace — League can help your staff book appointments with over 1,000 local, vetted health professionals and access discounts on services and products.
  • Health concierge — They can talk to a registered nurse directly for instant advice.
  • Claims reimbursement — They can submit claims digitally to get reimbursed for services.
  • Tailored content — They can receive AI and data-driven recommendations and nudges regarding healthy behavior or recommendations for health screenings or procedures.

The takeaway

Online or digital tools alone won’t work for every worker. Some need a more human-centered approach to help them understand their benefits, how to get the most out of them and improve their health.

But tools like the above can go a long way towards educating them about their health and health benefits.

While many of your workers will easily adopt electronic price transparency tools, others will need time to get used to them. It’s important that you provide training for any benefit tool you roll out, and also leave the door open for employees to access one-on-one advice so they can make the right choices.

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