Intro to Self-Funding
Outside-the-Box Employee Health Benefits
Incorporating Non-Traditional Methods of Care & Empowering Employees
When companies choose to self-fund, they have the added flexibility to build their own plans by integrating the health benefits that make the most sense for their specific work populations. Self-funded plans take an innovative approach to providing health coverage and often incorporate more non-traditional benefits in doing so. This results in plans being completely unique to each company instead of falling within the one-size-fits-all category.
Telehealth, On-Site Medical & Other Innovative Options
Many employers are discovering that non-traditional health benefits can have added potential for cost savings, improved patient outcomes and convenience. Telemedicine is one example. As this industry grows, self-funded plans have readily embraced the technology that allows members 24/7 access to physicians via advanced methods like phone and video chat, with same-day appointments for several common conditions. These telehealth services can provide a significant cost savings for employers, as a typical telemedicine consult averages around $40-$45 dollars as compared to just over $100 for an office visit, $160 to visit urgent care or closer to $1,000 for a trip to the emergency room. Reports of improved outcomes are also coming in. In one example from the Veterans Health Administration, after telemedicine services were employed in their post-cardiac arrest care programs, hospital readmissions decreased by 51% for heart failure and 44% for other illnesses.
Another innovative health benefit many self-funded plans are incorporating is on-site medical care. By having clinics right at the workplace, employees miss less work time than they would for offsite appointments. With on-site care options, they are also more likely to seek treatment when needed which helps avoid more complex or worsening health issues – something that can also minimize lost work hours. Plus, with providers on site, companies are able to offer health risk assessments and other important screenings that can lead to improved health.
Health Benefit Solutions that Empower Employees
In addition to advocating alternative methods for health care, self-funded plans are also known for integrating innovative services that empower employees to seek out the best treatment. Among these benefits are solutions related to medical tourism and price comparison. Self-funded plans often feature services like these to help consumers shop for the most economical, high-quality care that is closest to home. There are also solutions available to assist with arrangements when it is necessary to travel longer distances to receive treatment.
Self-funding allows companies to think outside the box in terms of the benefits they offer. It opens the door to a variety of non-traditional health benefit options, including alternative approaches to care and tools that empower employees in the decision-making process. And independent TPAs can bring a variety of options for each of these solutions and tailor them specifically to the employer’s needs – unlike most one-size fits all carrier offerings.