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Removing barriers to care can reduce healthcare costs

By Accolade | October 6, 2022 | 3 min read

Most human resources professionals chose their line of work because they care about people and helping them and their organization be successful. A large part of that success goes beyond acquiring benefits to ensuring people have access to the healthcare they need. Why is access so important, and what is its impact?  

Improved healthcare access can improve outcomes 

While employees may all be eligible for the same or similar healthcare benefits, some may face barriers that make accessing care a challenge. For instance, if there are logistical matters that affect a person’s ability to get to a particular location, they may avoid the potential hassle and difficulties that come with finding transportation to receive care.  

In addition, delayed care or untreated conditions affect healthcare outcomes and overall cost of care. For example, an employee that doesn’t have the ability to buy medication to treat their chronic condition may experience a deterioration of their health. This could lead to that employee getting high-cost care when their health condition escalates to the point that they can no longer avoid the circumstances.  

To improve access and enable proactive care, it’s important to recognize that lack of access is a fundamental flaw in the healthcare system. Employers with that lens are more apt to adjust their benefits strategy to include solutions that address this issue by personalizing each person’s healthcare service and understanding their unique needs.  

Breaking down barriers can also boost bottom lines 

Employees that delay or avoid care may face negative outcomes and increased healthcare costs. This can dramatically influence an organization’s overall expenses.  

Employers will spend an average of $13,000 on each employee’s healthcare in 2022. In 2023, that number will increase by 6.5%, according to an Aon study.[1] Organizations that want to contain accelerating healthcare costs in 2023 and beyond — without adding to their workers’ personal expenses — need to reexamine how access fits into their benefits’ strategy.  

With healthcare costs continuing to rise year over year, the best strategies should be based on the factors that are driving these costs. The National Academy of medicine reports that a person’s life situation and contextual factors affect up to 80% of health outcomes.[2] The impact of people’s individual health results carries over and increases employer’s overall healthcare expenditures. Employers need solutions that not only consider their employees’ life factors, but also remove barriers to care — allowing for greater healthcare access and reduced costs.  

Deploy a solution focused on individuals 

Traditional advocacy solutions often ignore or amplify access issues by focusing on the people who are already down a care path. This means that they do not engage your employees until they have had a high-cost health event that requires an emergency room visit. The better way is to catch people early in their healthcare journey, remove barriers, connect them to the right care path and help them stay on that path as they move forward.  

Benefits strategies that include advocacy can help people navigate their healthcare from clinical evaluation through diagnosis and treatment. These types of complete solutions can also guide employees through potential barriers such as costs, health literacy and transportation — enabling them to access the healthcare they need while saving their employers time and money.  

Take a proactive and equitable approach 

Published research demonstrates that Accolade personalized solutions identify and mitigate barriers to care.[3] The result is that your people and their families get a human-to-human connection with people who understand member risks and consider behavioral, social, community and lifestyle factors. Our approach also helps identify barriers that influence a member’s health decisions, removes those barriers early and gets your employees and their families to the right care through a broad range of clinical services. 

For care that improves your people’s lives and your bottom line, implement a personalized healthcare solution that improves healthcare access and outcomes. To learn more about Accolade advocacy and what it can do for your entire organization, schedule a demo today.

[1] https://aon.mediaroom.com/2022-08-18-Aon-U-S-Employer-Health-Care-Costs-Projected-to-Increase-6-5-Percent-Next-Year 

[2] https://nam.edu/social-determinants-of-health-101-for-health-care-five-plus-five/

[3] https://qualitysafety.bmj.com/content/25/3/159

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