As medical costs continue to soar, employers are struggling to provide health insurance to their workers and families. To fight these costs, companies have to find new ways to keep spending down.
More employers are turning to data analytics to find ways to save money for themselves and their employees without reducing their workers’ healthcare benefits, according to an article in The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism.
For one thing, data analytics can help employers control their healthcare costs by enabling them to mine the data to understand the overall health of their employees.
With the right information, employers can make informed decisions about such things as healthcare premiums that accurately reflect the risks posed by the health of their employees.
The insight gleaned from the data can also help employers determine if it’s cost effective to put health and wellness programs into place that can positively affect their employees as well as the cost and quality of healthcare delivery, according to the article.
For example, let’s say the data analysis indicates that an increasing number of employees are filing claims related to hypertension. An employer could then set up a heart healthy wellness program designed to educate at-risk employees and their families about the importance of heart health.
Then employers can analyze the data to determine the effectiveness of these programs. Employers have to have an accurate understanding of the risk each member brings to the insurance pool in order to ensure accurate premium costs.
“Insurance claim data, coupled with health risk assessment data, provide a picture of the total population and its disease burden,” the article notes.
Data analysis coupled with predictive analytics can help employers better understand present and future health care costs by giving them timely and accurate cost and budget information, according to the article.
“Predictive models and risk adjustment methodologies embedded within data analysis platforms allow employers to adjust for risk, measure plan and physician performance, set rates within plans, predict future cost for budgets, and refine potential wellness and care management strategies,” the article notes.
It’s critical for employers to use health data to manage the increasing cost of healthcare as well as the changes required by the new health care reform legislation.
To cut healthcare costs, employers should use data analytics to evaluate the health of their employees, identify trends, implement the right health management programs aimed at the right employees, as well as identify ways to change their benefits packages without reducing healthcare benefits, according to the article.
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