Study: Top priorities for 2022 benefits plans

29 Dec 2021 2:45 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

Cost Management No. 1 On The List

by Renee Cocchi | December 7, 2021

Want to know what your peers’ top priorities are when it comes to their benefits plans for 2022?

Cost management, new services and offerings, and employee engagement.

Cost management is a top priority because 94% of respondents to a Maestro Health survey believe costs will continue their upward trend as high as 20% more.

Switching providers

OK, so maybe that’s not a huge surprise. But what’s surprising is that 71% of the respondents said they’re contemplating switching health plans or administrators in 2022.

Reason: They’re unhappy with their current plan’s flexibility and customer service. And with costs rising, Benefits pros are looking for ways they can counteract it. Switching to an administrator that is more in tune with their wants and needs is one way to do that.

The report surveyed 600 U.S. HR professionals who manage their company’s health insurance benefits. It revealed Benefits pros are wanting to take back control of their plans.

“It’s not surprising that a majority of HR professionals are looking to change insurers or plan administrators in the new year,” said Brandon Wood, CEO of Maestro Health, a tech-enabled third-party health and benefits administrator. “The demand for flexibility has significantly increased and with companies’ priorities shifting in 2022 as a result of the pandemic, HR-decision makers will be focusing on new cost-saving tactics that provide the best quality of care for their employees.”

Cost savings

Other cost-saving strategies on the table for 2022 are:

  • penalties for people who “do not receive proactive COVID-19 care” (52%)
  • alternative reimbursement strategies (52%)
  • pharmacy benefit management for specialty, mail and retail pharmacies (51%), and
  • care access solutions (45%).

The report pointed out that out-of-network repricing management, provider network partnerships, and quality and cost transparency tools are often overlooked when it comes to cost management strategies. But not only do they provide a lot of savings, they also end up expanding and personalizing health services for employees. And since they’re often found in self-funded or level-funded plans we’ll probably see a growth in them in 2022.

As for what services and offerings they’ll be expanding, 59% said telehealth services, 56% said mental health services and 53% said health plan member enrollment.

Unused services

Another cost saving strategy is not paying for services employees aren’t using.

While 94% of the respondents feel they communicate “often enough” with employees about their health benefits, 78% say 11% to 20% of the services they pay for go unused. And 14% said that number is closer to 31% or higher when it comes to unused services.

Reasons for this:

  • employees don’t actually need those services
  • they might not know about them or understand them, and/or
  • Benefits may not have the proper support or tools effectively engage members.

So if you’re administrator isn’t providing the proper tools and support, maybe it is time to switch.

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Source: HR Morning

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