Innovative employers of every size and industry are pursuing high-performance tiered networks to leverage opportunities for reducing costs, maintaining strong benefit structures and enhancing care. Tiered networks are a key opportunity for employers to preserve health insurance benefits while keeping premiums affordable. At Hendricks Regional Health, we have found that coupling a tiered network with increased access to wellness programs and services can result in lower costs for companies and employees alike, as well as improved health.
There are many advantages of redesigning health plans to encourage the use of high-quality, higher-value providers in a shared network. At Hendricks Regional Health, these providers include those in our employed medical group of primary care and specialty physicians, as well as other providers closely aligned to our organization. The advanced access component of our network promotes greater choice for patients and easier access to care near employees’ homes or places of work. In addition, most of our network providers share an electronic medical system, which means patients are more likely to seek care where their medical history and treatment information is on hand.
A September 2014 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found those who switched to a tiered network spent considerably less on healthcare, with spending falling by almost 40 percent for the average consumer. This reduction was credited to patients spending less on specialists and hospital care, including emergency rooms. However, patients saving the most were within networks with appropriate access to primary care physicians. The study’s takeaways included that narrow networks, when designed well, save both employers and employees money by directing patients to primary care and away from downstream spending. This is a key reason the Hendricks Regional Health Network emphasizes providing primary care providers throughout our region.
Tiered networks can provide better access to data, which drives better network design for employees and employers. Access to increasing amounts of data has empowered employers in recent years to better design a health plan that is more in line with employees’ needs. Population health demographics of a workforce – and covered dependents – are key to developing a high performing network of provider and services. Data is also more readily available to help organizations identify providers with demonstrated ability to deliver quality care at lower cost.
The Hendricks At Work team is closely engaged with our employer partners to discover opportunities through data and trend reporting for cost savings and improved health.
For more on our tiered network savings program, contact us today.