Anthem Survey: 96% of Employers Actively or Considering Integrating Their Healthcare Benefits
Tuesday, December 1st, 2020
A recent study by Anthem shows a trend over the last several years is here to stay as the majority of employers are integrating healthcare benefits to create a more efficient, effective and affordable benefits package for their employees.
The recently published fourth edition of the biennial “Integrated Health Care Report,” shows a continued upward trajectory in the adoption of integrated health care benefits by employers since research began in 2014. More than half (56 percent) of the 300 employers surveyed are now actively integrating their medical, pharmacy and ancillary benefits under their employer’s health and wellness programs. This represents a 10 percent increase from the previous study conducted in 2018. Also, an additional 40 percent are considering or potentially considering integrating benefits, demonstrating that an overwhelming 96 percent of employers surveyed are trending towards the integrated health care approach.
“At Anthem, we’re committed to improving lives and communities, which takes an integrated ‘whole person health’ approach where doctors, data, analytics, insights and member engagement tools work together to create better health outcomes. I’m optimistic that as more employers continue implementing integrated health benefits, we will continue seeing healthier and happier employees,” said Jeff Spahr, vice president, Specialty Business Development, Anthem. “Factoring in ‘whole person health’ helps us better identify and share information, and create opportunities that will positively and proactively impact employees’ overall wellbeing, simplify their health care experience and lower their health care costs.”
The Anthem study demonstrates that delivering medical, pharmacy, dental, vision and disability as individual benefits with little-to-no coordination between them prevents employees and health care providers from gaining a holistic view of total body health. When using an integrated health care approach, benefits data is connected to the employer’s health management program and establishes a fuller picture of a person’s health, which provides a clear path to improved outcomes and cost efficiencies.
The report found that among employers who are actively integrating products, the majority of them reported integrating pharmacy (73 percent), vision (75 percent), dental (67 percent) and / or disability (63 percent) benefits with medical. The integration of pharmacy, vision and dental all saw increases of at least six percent over the findings of the previous study in 2018.
Affordability, simplicity and employee health remain key motivators for employers, but providing a simpler healthcare experience, as a reason for integrating health benefits, continues to trend upward. In fact, the top three most important integrated care capabilities cited by employers include connecting all doctors including eye doctors and dentists through electronic health records (EHR). Seventy-one percent of employers also preferred integrating benefits through a single carrier vs. multiple carriers, which represents an 11 percent jump since 2018.
To further improve the employee health journey, 88 percent of employers agree benefit offerings should be personalized to the individual, while 92 percent recognized that increased digital capabilities are an important step in engaging employees in their health.
In addition to increased efficiency, lower costs and better care coordination, employers want to ensure their benefit offerings are as comprehensive and easy to use for employees as possible in an effort to keep them happy and engaged. That’s why 89 percent of employers report that increased employee happiness leads to increased productivity.
“It’s encouraging that employers are realizing employee health and benefits can impact their company beyond the associated health care costs, and can really speak to the bottom line,” said Spahr. “Offering employees a cost effective solution that integrates medical care with pharmacy, dental, vision, disability and other benefits programs will provide them with the personalized support they need to improve their overall wellbeing, satisfaction and productivity.”
Results from the study and more information can be found online in the Integrated Health Care Report.
The report was compiled from a study conducted by TRC Insights, an independent research firm, on behalf of Anthem, Inc. The four waves of research were conducted in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020. This 2020 report was fielded in April 2020.