Sutter Health Plus News & Trends

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Three Reasons to Consider Shopping Health Plan Options at Open Enrollment

Posted by on Aug 7, 2019 in News, People

Rob Carnaroli, Health Plan Products Vice President of Sales, Sutter Health

In this article published in the Sacramento Business Journal, Silicon Valley Business Journal and San Francisco Business Times, Rob Carnaroli, Sutter Health Vice President of Sales for Health Plan Products, discusses trends in the health plan marketplace and why employers should shop around.

Over the last few years, we have seen tremendous growth in innovative products, new trends in health plan financing models, and mega-mergers and acquisitions in healthcare. With constant movement in the marketplace, open enrollment provides an ideal opportunity to consider shopping your health plan options.

The great news is there are a number of carriers in northern California, providing a broad range of options.

One way for you to shop is to work with a broker to find out if your health plan offerings are still the right fit for your company and employees. It’s important to look for health plans with competitive premiums, value for employees, and network stability.

1. Competitive premiums

Steadily increasing healthcare expenses due to high labor costs, facility upgrades and life-saving technology investments are a factor in annual increases in health plan premiums. It makes financial sense for employers to shop around for carriers committed to competitive pricing at or below the annual trends.

Look for health plans focused on operational excellence and healthcare innovations that drive down cost and improve affordability for you and your employees. For example, plans featuring an integrated network are designed to provide healthier outcomes that lower the total cost of care. This is accomplished by reducing duplicative services, and improving efficiencies and care management.

2. Value for employees

A competitive and compelling health benefits package may attract some of the best talent around and may help retain your current high-performing employees. A key feature in a health plan is convenient access to care — important to today’s modern, mobile workforce.

Additionally, employees are seeking care outside of regular business hours, including evenings and weekends. Having the ability to walk in to a care clinic for everyday health needs saves valuable time, and may reduce or eliminate time away from work. Check to ensure this is a covered benefit.

3. Network stability

When there is a disruption in the community due to a medical group and health plan carrier terminating their contract, it can result in uncertainty and frustration for employees. Many patients have long and stable relationships with their primary care providers or specialists and may prefer access to certain hospitals. When a disruption happens, employees may need to sever ties with their current providers.

It is important to offer health plans with a long history of network stability so employees are not forced to transition to new providers, with short notice due to network changes.

The takeaway

Your first step in shopping for health plans is to contact a broker. Brokers have expert knowledge of the landscape, can help remove much of the guesswork in comparing benefit designs, and will be your partner and trusted resource for all things related to employee benefits. From quoting premium rates with carriers to explaining plans and benefits to employees, a broker can help you navigate a complex marketplace.