By - September 5, 2017

How Do You Choose the Right Health Plan Decision Support Tool?

Employees value their health insurance, but when it comes to selecting the best health plans for themselves and their families, they often don’t make the best choice. With our clients, we’ve seen up to 80% of employees pick the wrong plan for their needs—often spending too much money.

I’ve been there.  Busy with work, family and training for a triathlon, I didn’t dedicate enough time to thoroughly research the different health plans offered by my employer or think through my medical expenses for the next year. In the end, I’m not sure I always picked the most economical plan for my needs.

Employees don’t spend the time to understand their plans. In fact, the stats show that 93% of them just stick with the same health plans year-after-year. 1

A plan comparison is better than nothing. It displays a static side-by-side description of each plan. Employees still need to spend time analyzing their expected medical costs and how they apply to each plan. The comparison provides lots of data but it requires employees to do additional research.

In contrast, a decision support tool is dynamic and guides employees step-by-step through the decision process. At the end, it gives personal recommendations for the least expensive plans for the employees’ unique circumstances.  These tools can be very helpful but as I dug into this, it became clear that all tools are not equal.

Plan Comparison VS Decision Support

My top 3 picks—what to look for in a decision support tool

There are many factors to consider when selecting the right tool here are a few that I think are the most helpful to me:

  1. Accessible: It should be easy-to-use, available on mobile devices, and explain concepts clearly without distracting.
  2. Integrate with other systems: A good tool will pull in employees’ detailed claim information (not just a summary) to give them a baseline for their medical spending. The tool will also integrate with Ben Admin systems to streamline the process.
  3. Transparent costs: Employees should be able to run different medical-spending scenarios and transparently see how they impact plan costs (e.g. planning for a pregnancy or a surgery).

We’ve identified 6 key questions to ask as you consider the right decision support tool and vendor to help you guide employees to select the best health plans for their needs. Check out our e-book, 6 Vital Questions: What to ask vendors before selecting a health plan decision support tool.

12016 AFLAC Workforce Report


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