OneAmerica Financial Partners Inc. made a large investment in communications, education and technology when it introduced a full-replacement consumer-driven health plan design this year.
Though the Indianapolis-based financial services firm introduced a CDHP in 2011 as an option alongside a preferred provider organization plan administered by Anthem Inc., it dropped the PPO in January and now offers three CDHPs with varying de-ductible levels, said OneAmerica welfare benefits manager Jennifer Harley.
To make the transition easier for employees, OneAmerica launched a multimedia communications campaign 15 months before the switch, partnering with San Francisco-based Castlight Health Inc., which has a suite of Web-based and smartphone-enabled health care consumerism tools.
“It's unfair to ask employees to make good decisions without giving them the tools to do it,” Ms. Harley said. “Insurers will tell you they have this information on their websites,” and they “sort of” do, she said. However, “the information typically available on the insurer site is not as specific or as easy to find as it is on Castlight.”
“Now we push people to Castlight over the insurer website because it's so robust,” she said.
Castlight also provided special training to a group of employees to become “superusers” and tutor the rest of the employee population.
The company taped the super-users during training and created videos of the employees discussing their use of and experience with Castlight to promote registration on the website and to encourage greater utilization of the tools.
While it is still too early to tell how the Castlight consumerism tools have affected health care costs for the approximately 1,200 employees enrolled in OneAmerica's CDHP, Ms. Harley said she is hearing “stories” about the savings opportunities employees see from using the technology.
“One person came up to me and said he was supposed to have surgery in Indianapolis but found out he'd save $3,000 by traveling to Cincinnati,” Ms. Harley said.
OneAmerica also encourages employees to review the “past care” section on the Castlight website to find out whether they would have saved money by choosing a different option. The section is populated with claim details that include actual billed amounts, the portions paid by OneAmerica and employees, and alternative prices had they chosen other providers or facilities. Ms. Harley said she hopes that when employees see the available options, they will change how they spend their health care dollars in the future.
Another Castlight app sends plan members periodic alerts on saving money on health care, such as switching to a generic drug from a brand-name prescription or using an urgent care center in-stead of a hospital emergency room for nonemergency care.
“It's been very enlightening for people,” Ms. Harley said.