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BHCG member employers share 2016 plan changes and future plans

Peer to peer information sharing is often cited as one of the most valued benefits of BHCG membership. The BHCG Benefits Subcommittee annual open forum meeting gives employers an opportunity to share benefits strategies, experiences and lessons learned from implementing health plan and wellness program changes for the current year and also discuss future plans.

Held in January, this year’s open forum meeting featured reports from representatives from ManpowerGroup, Charter Manufacturing, Rockwell Automation, Robert W. Baird, Meridian Industries and MillerCoors. A significant focus of the discussion this year was the transition to UnitedHealthcare and its various programs, including its wellness program platform. The following are some highlights of employer member reports regarding:

  • What has changed for 2016?
  • Transition/partnership with UnitedHealthcare
  • Next steps for 2017

Plan costs/rate increases

  • One employer reported no premium increase for employees this year as part of a strategy to reward employees for doing a good job of working as partners to keep health care costs down – it was very well-received.

High Deductible Health Plans strategy

  • A couple of employers reported having a dual HSA/HRA dual strategy, with one moving to HSA-based only plans (two HSA plans with higher and lower deductibles) for next year.
  • One employer has had a full replacement HSA plan since 2008.

Transition to UnitedHealthcare

  • Out of the employers reporting, only one employer had not yet moved to UnitedHealthcare (UHC), one employer had already been using UHC as a claims administrator before the BHCG transition. Three employers reported moving all employees to UHC across the country.
  • Employers reported a smooth transition process, with minor challenges in data integration from some vendors and access to Tier 1 providers in specific markets outside of WI.
  • All UHC employers reported they have communicated to employees about the UnitedHealth Premium Designation program and two have implemented financial incentives (From 80 percent to 85 percent coinsurance) for use of UHC Tier 1 providers and the others are strongly considering it. Employers with Tier 1 benefit incentives stressed the need for more employee communication about Tier 1 benefit differentials.
  • In addition to health plan administration, employers moved to UHC for other programs such as the wellness program (and the Rally platform), UHC behavioral health program, FSA administration and prescription drug program.

Wellness Program

  • Several employers report using employer contributions to HSAs/HRAs as incentives for wellness program participation and others use premium reduction as a strategy. Two employers use a penalty-based system to encourage participation – both reporting a substantial increase in health risk assessment participation as a result.
  • Two employers use an outcomes-based wellness incentive strategy and one is moving toward using one. One employer implements a substantial surcharge for biometric screening noncompliance resulting in 90% participation.
  • Employers moving to the UHC Rally platform report a fairly smooth transition process, an increase in program uptake and enthusiasm for participation, giving high marks for UHC support and the user-friendly platform and website.
  • A couple of employers moved to simplify their wellness programs in an effort to improve participation for both employees and dependents. Employers also reported efforts to increase year-round communication and education.
  • One employer launched a wearable fitness device initiative synced to the Rally platform with challenges tied to premium reductions as well as the cost of the device.
  • One employer reported excelling in participation (43 percent) in its coaching and fitness opportunities after having made an effort to create an internal culture of health with walking and weight loss challenges, local leadership participation and communication using employee stories and worksite signage. Another reported a big drop in wellness participation and on-site clinic use and is looking at causes and solutions.
  • Several employers are planning to roll out UHC’s portable health score program in 2016.

Other changes

  • Two employers implemented a telemedicine program.
  • Several employers are monitoring prescription drug costs and looking at solutions to the rising costs.

BHCG website reorganized to include password protected For Members area

Membership in the Business Health Care Group provides employer members with a host of valuable resources, programs, initiatives and educational opportunities designed to keep them abreast of a continuously changing health care, benefits and legislative landscape.

Early in March we will be changing how some of these resources are accessed on the BHCG website. The following pages will now be password protected, available only to our member employers:

  • Communication Resources (formerly called Web2Print)
  • A Buyer’s Guide to Health Care
  • Affordable Care Act (formerly Health Care Reform) Updates
  • Strategic Programs, Initiatives and Resources
  • Membership Resource Guides

Watch for an email soon explaining how to access the new For Members section of our website.


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