Employer groups make up a large portion of the covered lives in the healthcare industry. For this reason, employer groups are an important segment of a payer’s business. To stay competitive with employers, payers often develop more attractive offerings with benefits packages that include health, dental, wellness and vision plans.
The billing process for these plan premiums are often not part of the strategy to better engage a payer’s employer customers. This is a missed opportunity to improve the employer experience and creates unnecessary friction with a payer’s most vital customer.
Here are four simple questions payers need to ask when it comes to the premium billing process for employers:
Do employer groups easily know and understand what is owed?
When payers add more products to an offering, each product increases the complexity of premium billing and payment by adding separate systems and processes for each plan. This requires multiple paper statements to collect payments across all of the plans and members. Each plan must be managed by the employer group separately.
To address the disjointed process, payers must offer employers a centralized source for the payment data with the ability to understand the total amount owed. This should include a breakdown of all of the premiums due. When bills are easy to understand, payers eliminate potential confusion and frustration for employers.
Are you making it hard for your employer groups to pay?
The goal of any billing process is for a payment to be received for the amount due. However, payers could be creating unnecessary obstacles for employer groups to make that payment. In particular, paper statements and paper checks take extra time and resources to make a recurring payment. For example, staff from the employer has to go through pages of the statements to understand what’s being billed. Then, staff has to work with other departments for a check to be cut.
Payers can streamline the payment process by making it easy for employer groups to understand what is owed. Then, payers can offer an easy way to pay electronically for all members and plans at once. Automation offers an additional layer of convenience by completely removing any manual step to make a payment for the employer group and their staff.
As a best practice, payers should make it easy for employers to sign up for online bill presentment at every step. This is especially important for employer groups who are signed up for automated payments. These groups are sending a clear message that they don’t want paper, so make it easy to eliminate paper.
Can employer groups help themselves when it comes to their premium payments?
Imagine this scenario: A staff member goes online to make a payment of $5,000 for all the premiums for their company’s employees. However, the staff member forgot to save the payment confirmation. A few days go by, and the staff member needs to prove the payment was made for their monthly budget reconciliation with the accounting department. Without an easy way to access the payment history, the staff member has to call the payer and then navigate the customer-service process for proof.
Self-service tools help employer groups find critical information about their payments without having to pick up the phone for what they need. Staff can go online to find recent payment history and confirm that a payment went through. Online access to payment information can help employer groups understand their payments over time as member numbers fluctuate with new hires or as employees leave to help with budget forecasting. This level of transparency not only reduces inbound call volume but also builds trust with employer groups that involve large amounts of money.
Do employer groups trust you with their premium payments?
Data breaches hurt the trust of employer groups and members alike. Payers must ensure all healthcare payments are secure and not at risk of a data breach. For employer groups, secure payments are especially crucial as there is often a great deal of money and personal information that could be in jeopardy with a data breach. Payers can easily build trust with employer groups by working with a vendor that meets the highest standards of both the healthcare and payment industries.