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You have listened to me talk repeatedly about high deductible health plans as an aide to lowering your annual health insurance costs. The HDHP is effective in essence because it involves your employees in their health care decision making. When people are forced to think about what they are spending, it inevitably reduces costs.

It is also clear that as some employers will resist making the switch to Health Saving Accounts and Health Reimbursement Arrangements due to the added administrative responsibility, or that their employee group is not a logical fit for those concepts. Understandably so. If you're not a believer in the high deductible approach and you need to do something to manage costs, what can you do?

You need to start by doing things to help control your loss ratio, which is the ratio between dollars taken in and dollars spent. How do you control your loss ratio? You control it by getting your employees engaged in programs, other than through cost sharing. There are programs available for your group right now.

Each health carrier offers an assortment of programs and incentives that help contain claims expenses for diseases, promote healthy living and offer professional guidance while going through difficult health issues. It can give employees information ranging from prenatal support, to quit smoking, to nurse hot-lines and disease management. Some of the programs that might be beneficial to your group are:

  • Stop Smoking Programs
  • Online Wellness Centers
  • Fitness Discounts
  • Nurse Hotlines
  • Employee Counseling Hotlines
  • Care Support Program for Chronic Illnesses

By becoming proactive in your employee's approach to health management, you are also taking steps to lower your group's overall claim expense. Furthermore, these programs are oftentimes viewed as an additional employee benefit.

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