Wanted: Pre-negotiated Health Savings

April 17, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A whopping 85% of employees believe that their employer should offer pre-negotiated savings on health-care services that are not being covered by their health plan, a recent study shows.

The findings of the study, sponsored by HealthAllies, a provider of health care programs that aim to reduce healthcare costs for employers and employees, show that health plans are not meeting the health care needs of 47% of employees, forcing them to shoulder the cost of many services.

Given this, it’s not surprising that 86% of employees say they would choose a health plan that offered pre-negotiated savings on uncovered services over one that didn’t.

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Furthermore, a survey of 645 employees reveals that 41% are already spending over $500 per year on services not covered by their health plan today, and three quarters would be willing to pay $3 per month more for a plan that offered access to pre-negotiated savings on uncovered services.

When accessing uncovered services:

  • 88% of employees would like to know the background of providers
  • 94% would like to know in advance how much these services would cost them.

Out of Pocket Expenses
Asked which health care services they spent their money on and would like more information on:

  • 52% of respondents said glasses
  • 47% said dentistry
  • 24% of those surveyed cited eye exams
  • 29% said uncovered prescription drugs.

Also mentioned were:

  • orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry, listed by 13%
  • massages, weight loss, and MRIs and CTs, all by 12%
  • chiropractic treatment, 11%
  • physical therapy, 8%
  • stop smoking programs, 5%.

For some services, such as infertility treatments, LASIK surgery, and hearing aids, a smaller portion of the population, 3% each, indicated that they were spending a significant amount of money out-of-pocket that they would like assistance on, said the survey sponsor.

Survey Stats

The Health Insurance Survey was conducted online in February 2002 among 645 employees in the Northeast and South regions of the US.  The sample is representative of households with Internet access and private health insurance plans in these regions, HealthAllies notes.