31 Aug Health risk and insurance cost
By Grant Dattilo
Among the many effects of COVID-19 is the reality that millions of people, either by choice or circumstance, put off diagnostic tests and screenings.
- The CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program reported that breast cancer screenings declined by 87%, and cervical cancer screenings by 84% during the early months of the pandemic (April 2020) compared to the previous five years.[i]
The plus side of reduced screenings is, of course, fewer insurable events and that should result in smaller premium increases after 2020. At some point, however, those reduced screenings become delayed diagnosis. Delayed diagnosis will result in an increase in the number of medical encounters, and these are likely to be more expensive.
Eventually the frequency and cost of care will catch up with premiums. Employers should be looking ahead now to strategies to mitigate increase claims spending and reduce the inevitable cost of claims.
At DCI we continually evaluate plan designs and benefit structures to help employers reduce their premium cost now – such as our BENIC plan – and that will benefit them in the future.
We continue to work with employers and insurance companies, seeking better ways to pursue quality preventive care – including timely tests and screenings. We seek to match employers with carriers that are able to walk the fine line toward meeting employees’ medical needs and controlling health spending.
At the end of the day, health care spending will determine the cost of insurance premiums. Healthier people, and those whose medical needs are discovered earlier, spend less than those with serious medical conditions. Healthy employees means more production in the workplace.
Yet employers provide health insurance so that employees have the confidence that when they encounter a serious medical condition, the funds will be there to cover their expenses. This is the place where we can counsel employers on their best choice for a carrier who has a track record of managing the cost of claims.
- Both employers and plan participants are starting to look beyond the page, seeking out carriers with a holistic approach to healthcare and whose values aligns with the needs of their business post- pandemic.[ii]
At DCI, we continue to pursue the best balance between cost of premium and access to high quality care at the point of need. Now is the time for employers to evaluate their current plans to see whether they meet the goal of controlling cost while providing quality insurance benefits to employees.
[i] Nath, Surina (2021) Employers Taking a Holistic Approach to Healthcare Coverage Post-Pandemic. News. Insurance Business America. https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/news/healthcare/employers-taking-a-holistic-approach-to-healthcare-coverage-postpandemic-302255.aspx, accessed August 26, 2021.