By Laura Hennen - Public Relations Principal | Digital and Social Engagement

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What employers expect from a health insurance company— and why it matters

January 11, 2018

It takes more than a competitive salary to attract new talent in a job seeker’s market. In Minnesota, where the unemployment rate of 3.3 percent is among the lowest in the country — employers pay increased attention to the number one benefit that candidates expect: health insurance.

Since more than half of all Minnesotans have their health insurance through an employer, we sat down with Brooks Deibele, president of commercial group markets at Blue Cross, to talk about what businesses consider when creating health plans for their employees and their families.

Here’s what he had to say.

The health insurance industry is becoming even more competitive, especially here in Minnesota. What does Blue Cross bring to employers looking for the right health plan?

Blue Cross is one of the most well-known and trusted brands in health care. This strength and stability, coupled with a strong reputation as a trusted partner, really sets Blue Cross apart.

However, while we have a strong reputation, we still must work every day to bring value and innovation to our employer groups. To meet our customers’ needs, Blue Cross brings four key capabilities to the table:

  1. Financial value. First and foremost, employers are seeking the best bang for their buck. We’re committed to providing the best financial value in our health plans.
  2. Flexibility and innovation. Employers expect us to be adaptable and meet the needs of their employees’ and the employees’ families. We work to lower the cost of medical care and improve the health for our members by offering tailored and innovative solutions.
  3. Meaningful engagement. Blue Cross wants all our members to have a good experience with their health plan. We do this by providing everything from a consistently helpful service team to proven clinical wellness programs, tools and technology that help our members take a more active role in improving their health.
  4. Community connections. To paraphrase an old political expression, all health care is local. Blue Cross has strong local networks and the largest national network of any health plan. And our network accessibility goes beyond access— we have several strong performance-based networks allowing all our members to receive the best quality care at the best price. Employers are also growing more interested in our community outreach because they understand that  healthy communities play a big role in overall health.

 

Let’s go back to innovation. Do employers expect insurance companies to bring them new ideas for making their benefits package more attractive?

In recent years, as cost pressures have increased, employers have grown more open to some more “out-of-the-box” ideas in what is included in the health benefits they provide to their employees.

One area that is rapidly emerging is the use of virtual health services. I can give you three examples of companies that Blue Cross works with that deliver outstanding care in a virtual health setting:

  • Doctor on Demand allows people to see a doctor online for acute conditions. It costs far less than an office visit and saves a great deal of time.
  • Learn to Live is an online behavioral health program that has gotten a lot of traction in the last year. Traditional behavioral therapy programs are expensive and often come with many barriers, including ease of access. Learn to Live has solved for many of these challenges.
  • Omada Health has shown proven results to help people lose weight and adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors, reducing their risk for preventable conditions like heart disease and Type-2 diabetes.

Editor’s note: To see an example of how successful the Omada program has been for employers, you can read about DigiKey, included in the 2017 Blue Cross Trailblazer Tour.

Blue Cross will continue to invest in and offer innovative programs like these. There’s a lot out there and we have a great team looking at the best programs to bring to our members in the future.

You made a comment about health care taking place in local communities. Do employers feel a responsibility for the health of the communities where they do business?

Yes, increasingly so. Employers are realizing that there are only so many factors they can control that will help manage health costs. Because of that, we are seeing social responsibility as a factor in business decisions, including choosing health insurance.

This is important work so Blue Cross has a focus on building healthy communities as part of our current strategic plan. As a mission driven company, our goal is to create a future where all Minnesotans have a chance for better health.

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