Consumer engagement is top of mind for many in the healthcare industry. This is especially true for payers who are challenged to connect with members in the individual markets. (Read more on consumer engagement here.)
However, employer groups still make up a large portion of the covered lives for most payers. To stay competitive, payers increasingly are developing comprehensive benefits packages that include health, dental, wellness and vision plans for more attractive offerings. Yet, the billing process for these plan premiums are not usually part of that conversation. This is a missed opportunity to improve the overall experience for employer groups and puts the relationship with these groups at risk.
Here are the 4 critical questions that payers need to ask themselves when it comes to the premium billing process for employer groups:
- Do employer groups easily know and understand what is owed?
As payers add more products to their 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, and each must be managed by the employer group separately.
To streamline this disjointed billing experience, payers must offer employer groups a centralized source for the payment data with the ability to understand the total amount owed as well as a breakdown of all of the premiums due. By making it easy to understand, payers eliminate any potential confusion and frustration that a disjointed paper process often creates.
- 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 – but, payers could be creating unnecessary obstacles for employer groups to make that payment. In particular, paper statements and paper checks take considerable time and resources to make sure a payment is made on a recurring basis. For example, staff from the employer group has to go through pages and pages of the statements to understand what’s being billed and then work with other departments for a check to be cut for the amount due.
Payers can streamline the payment process by making it easy for employer groups to understand what is owed and then 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 employer groups to sign up for online bill presentment at every step of the billing process. 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 need paper in their payments process, so make it easy for them to eliminate paper altogether.
- 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, but forgot to save the payment confirmation. Then, 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 easily find critical information about their payments without having to pick up the phone for what they need. Staff can easily 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 for employer groups and members alike. Payers must ensure all healthcare payments are secure and not at risk to 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 at 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.
The views expressed within posted comments do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of InstaMed.