Employers are increasingly redesigning their health care benefits by integrating their medical, disability, and other health care-related benefits based on the understanding that integration can improve care, generate cost efficiencies, and contribute to employee retention, the results of a study released by health insurer Anthem Blue Cross indicate.

The findings of the biennial “Integrated Health Report,” released on February 20, are based on a survey of 222 employers with 100+ employees. The survey found that more than 71% of respondents reported that they are either actively integrating or considering integrating their medical, pharmacy, dental, vision and/or disability benefits under their health and wellness programs in the next five years, up from 60% of respondents in the survey conducted in 2016.

The report cited previous research showing that when medical, pharmacy, dental, vision, and disability benefits are delivered in silos with little or no interaction between them, employees and health care providers are often left with a disconnected view of total body health. By contrast, the study said, integrated health care is an employee benefits strategy that connects benefits data to the employer’s health management program based on member claims and population insights, which provides a fuller picture that ultimately delivers better health outcomes and cost efficiencies.

The report found that among the employers surveyed who said they are actively integrating or considering integrating products, nearly 100% of them reported having integrated pharmacy, vision, dental and/or disability benefits with medical benefits.

The survey also showed that while the cost and ease of administration remain important business considerations for employers, there is a noticeable shift toward attracting and retaining a more satisfied and healthier workforce driving integration. The survey found that 88% of respondents believe that integrated health care benefit programs make an organization a place where people want to work, 90% think that offering integrated health care benefits makes a compensation package more attractive, and 86% believe that integrated health care benefits reduce employee turnover or attrition.

When the employers currently integrating or considering integrating health care benefits were asked how they measure the success of integrated health care benefits, 55% said they measure it by examining member engagement, and 27% said they measure it by estimating how much they are saving. 

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 62, Issue 4

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