How to keep your high deductible health plan members happy

November 4, 2021
Josie Livengood

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As a health plan, or even as an employer, you know that high deductible health plans were created to help people receive care at an affordable price. Unfortunately, that original intent hasn’t exactly worked out. Instead, many people choose an HDHP because of the lower monthly premium but then avoid care because the costs they end up having to pay out-of-pocket are too high. This of course leads to a community that isn’t as healthy as it could be and frustrated members who wonder “What am I paying for every month if I can’t get care?” We have a few tips in this blog to help you make high deductible health plan members feel cared for and improve their healthcare experiences.

Make it easy to shop for care.

The point of high deductible health plans is to allow members to “have more skin in the game,” as the saying goes. But America’s healthcare system is a labyrinth to navigate on your own. Especially if you aren’t well-versed in the medical industry. Plus, your HDHP members need to be able to shop, and right now very few places make it easy to find published prices for healthcare services. This is why we created an app to enable members to shop and compare thousands of healthcare services! Members can view the published prices for:

  • Primary care physicians
  • Specialists
  • Labs
  • Imaging centers
  • And medical facilities.

Your HDHP members are motivated to shop for care since they have to foot the bill up to a fairly high predetermined amount. When you give them a tool to make it  easy to  shop for care, they’ll be more likely to seek care earlier, which will keep you from having larger medical claims down the road. One study even found that not being able to shop for care ahead of time is a big reason why people avoid non-emergency medical care:

 “All age groups agreed that medical care is too expensive (79 percent) and health care costs are unpredictable (77 percent). But more than half of the millennials (54 percent) and Gen-Xers (53 percent) reported delaying or avoiding treatment due to costs compared to seniors (18 percent) and boomers (37 percent).” - PNC Healthcare.

Make your explanation of coverage documents easy to understand.

An even easier way for you to improve member satisfaction among high deductible health plan members (and all your members) is to simplify the language in your explanation of coverage documents. After all, 56.6% of insurance companies communicate in an academic tone, and 66% of insurers produce content more difficult to read than Moby Dick. It’s no wonder health plan members get confused about their coverage and make expensive healthcare choices. You might think your resources or coverage explanations are simple to read, but you’d be surprised. Try running those documents through readability software and see what results you get. Making your member resources easy to understand will help avoid the common issue of members going to expensive out-of-network providers. Helping members avoid those expensive out-of-pocket bills can greatly reduce overall costs and increase overall member satisfaction.

Let members count Cash Pay prices toward their HDHP Deductible.

HDHP members are learning that the network price they are paying out of pocket is sometimes substantially more than other prices the same provider charges for the same procedures. So HDHP members begin to wonder why they are paying premiums for health coverage that doesn’t even get them the best price. They start looking around and realize the cash price is often more affordable, but they have to decide if presenting as cash pay to get the better price is worth not having the amount count toward their deductible. As a health plan, you have the ability to define what accumulates toward an in-network deductible. Improve member satisfaction by allowing members to count their cash pay procedures toward their in-network deductible. Your members will be happier since they don’t have to choose between paying the more affordable cash pay option for a smaller procedure or paying a higher price to get closer to their deductible.

Final thoughts.

These  tips are just the beginning of how you can improve overall satisfaction among your high deductible health plan members. Other ideas include:

  • Bill negotiation services.
  • Patient advocacy services.
  • Allowing alternative care options (such as acupuncture or massage therapy) to go towards members’ deductibles.

However, offering an easy-to-use app for healthcare shopping,  simplifying your plan documents, and allowing cash pay prices to go towards high deductibles are  simple ways you can quickly and effectively improve member satisfaction.

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Download the Patient Advocacy 2.0 White Paper

Discover what health plan members had to say about the value of patient advocacy in our survey.

Download the Complete Guide to Retaining Health Plan Members.

Learn the best strategies and tips for retaining your members while keeping costs low.

Download the Complete Guide to Growing Your Health Plan Membership

Learn the best strategies and tips for growing your members while keeping costs low.

Download the Complete Guide to Lowering Member Costs

Discover what health plan members had to say about the value of patient advocacy in our survey.

Download Healthcare Consumerism 101: A Playbook for Health Plans

Learn the best strategies and tips for retaining your members while keeping costs low.

Download Your Guide to the Transparency in Coverage Rule

Discover how the the new rule will affect TPAs and health plans and how you can start your journey to compliance.

Download Your Guide to Unique Benefit Offerings that Don't Break the Bank

Discover how to add value to your health offerings that delight clients and members but don’t cost a fortune.

Download the Complete Sedera Case Study

Discover what health plan members had to say about the value of patient advocacy in our survey.

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