Integrated Health Benefits: Employers And Employees See Eye-to-Eye

Offering integrated healthcare benefits plans — connecting dental, vision, life, disability and pharmacy benefits to a health plan — is a growing trend in the insurance industry. While having one insurer with many offerings (instead of multiple plans) makes good business sense for employers - due to the administrative simplicity, cost savings and time savings - it can also result in improved quality of care and better health for employees.

"We surveyed employers and employees on what they want in their health plans, and both overwhelmingly agreed with the advantages of integrating benefits," said Jeff Spahr, vice president of WellPoint's Specialty businesses. "It was also refreshing to see people intuitively understand the connection between their eyes, teeth and overall health, so sharing information across plans and with doctors leads to employees receiving a better quality of care."

WellPoint's survey also revealed that 93 percent of employers believe coordinated care results in a higher quality of care overall for their employees, and 73 percent of employees think they would be healthier if benefits were coordinated by one insurer.

"Once you understand the connection between your eyes, teeth and overall health, the next logical question is 'Why would you want to separate your health benefits with different companies that can't make these connections?'," said Spahr.

Until now, human resources and benefits administrators have generally worked with a medical benefits company that was  disconnected from their dental and vision benefits companies. WellPoint, for example, is now offering its employees options to choose health benefits that literally connect the dots by connecting medical, dental and vision benefit plans.

"We found that doctors, dentists, eye care providers, etc. were all key participants in keeping individuals healthy; therefore, it makes sense to help them share relevant health information so they can provide better, more holistic and more cost-effective care. In addition, 97 percent of employers understand that healthy employees make for a healthy workplace," said Spahr.

While there is nearly universal agreement on the business benefits for employers, integrating health benefits can also elevate the level of care employees receive through increased interaction. A coordinated care system means more frequent contact, which leads to a better understanding of employee health care needs. In short, it streamlines the process of getting the employee the care they need…faster. And it gives the primary care physician access to information from the dentist and other providers — allowing for greater insight into overall health and quality care.

"Offering employees integrated healthcare benefit plans makes good business sense for employers and can help improve the quality of care for employees," said Spahr. "This is the perfect time to get medical and health benefits from a multiline insurance carrier."

For more information about the integrated options offered by WellPoint's companies, as well as information on how organizations can access these benefits, visit http://yourbenefitstogether.com/

Survey findings were the result of more than 800 online interviews conducted with employers (400+) with more than 100 employees who are involved in health decisions and currently offer health insurance as well as with full-time employees (400+) who are currently enrolled in health insurance at their companies. Online panels were conducted between April 4 and May 28, 2014 by TRC Market Research.

About WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint is working to transform health care with trusted and caring solutions. Our health plan companies deliver quality products and services that give their members access to the care they need. With nearly 69 million people served by its affiliated companies, including more than 37 million enrolled in its family of health plans, WellPoint is one of nation's leading health benefits companies. WellPoint companies serve members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; and as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensees for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In most of these service areas, WellPoint does business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (in the New York service areas). It also serves customers in other states through its Amerigroup, CareMore and UniCare subsidiaries. To find out more about WellPoint, go to wellpoint.com.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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