5 reasons integrated medical and specialty benefits may help you and your employees

If you’re an employer looking for ways to create a simpler experience for employees and increase value in your company’s health plans, integration may be key.

In a recent UnitedHealthcare survey1, 84% of workers said having specialty benefits, such as vision, dental and hearing, is important. Bundling medical coverage with these or other benefits, such as pharmacy and disability care, may help increase employee satisfaction and retention. It may also improve overall employee well-being and productivity.   

Here are a few more reasons why an integrated approach to benefits may be valuable:

1. Increased collaboration

Integrating health benefits may help increase collaboration among health care professionals across the system through data-sharing and the monitoring of care effectiveness.

For example, regular eye exams have been shown to help with the detection and management of diabetes, which is the main cause of blindness in adults aged 20 to 74. By combining a medical plan with vision coverage, it may be possible to help employees stay ahead of this and other health issues.

2. Reduced medical costs

Like bundling TV, internet and phone services, combining multiple health plans in one competitive benefits package may help maximize the value of what your company spends on health care. Some health care companies offer employers who bundle a savings on medical plan premiums; in some cases, lowering medical premiums by up to 4%.2

3. A simpler customer experience

As an employer, you may appreciate a simplified administrative experience, including having one dedicated account team across your benefit plans; a single premium, eligibility and implementation process; and one self-service website for employees. Additionally, with integration, employees may gain access to resources that would otherwise be unavailable.

For instance, in certain states, UnitedHealthcare Benefit Ally™ is a tool designed to simplify payouts for employees whose employers combine three supplemental health plans with medical benefits.3 Following a qualified accident, critical illness diagnosis or hospital stay, Benefit Ally automatically triggers a payout to the member — all without the plan participant having to submit paperwork. It’s designed to help members get benefit payouts more easily, so they can focus on getting well.   

4. Actionable data and insights

With access to more data across an employee’s benefits, key insights may help identify needed actions. For example, by cross-checking dental and medical claim data, some plans may be able to determine if employees missed recommended periodontal treatments or cleanings. With this data, clinical intervention teams may be able to proactively follow up with the employees to help schedule recommended treatments, which may help improve overall health.

5. Increased member engagement

When a company chooses to integrate, it may create access to a variety of programs designed to help support the health and well-being of its employees, such as referrals to clinical care and occupational health experts.

For example, if an employee is recovering from back surgery, case managers may help facilitate home health care for assessing the safety of the living area to help reduce the risk of falls. They may also coordinate home physical therapy to help the employee focus more on healing, which could mean a faster return to work.

Another timely example might involve behavioral health, as 4 in 10 adults have reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Integrating medical and behavioral health benefits may help create opportunities for earlier diagnosis and intervention for high-risk employees, including by helping with the identification of undiagnosed behavioral or medical issues.

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