Offering pre-tax benefits is the first step in helping employees lower out-of-pocket expenses, but employers should also make sure to explain the associated financial benefits. Employees have a better chance of managing out-of-pocket spending when they understand how their out of pocket expenses can be reduced and what type of savings will come along with that. It’s important that employers are equipped to provide sound guidance on out-of-pocket costs, coverage options and resources like HSA calculators. Companies should communicate these details clearly so employees can make informed decisions. To help you get started, here are 6 tips to help employees manage their out-of-pocket expenses.
Choose generic vs. brand name
Encourage employees to purchase generic products over brand-name products. Most large retail stores like Walgreens or CVS offer a generic brand for health care items. Think “adhesive bandage” instead of “BAND-AID®”. Generic products are usually nearly identical in terms of form and function to their more expensive counterparts but are appreciably easier on the wallet.
Save on prescriptions
Another great way for employees to save is to research prescription prices. Make sure employees are aware of tools like GoodRx, which allows them to do a quick price comparison on prescriptions in their area. They need to type in the drug’s name and their zip code to see multiple prices as well as nearby locations where the drug is available.
Go to an in-network urgent care facility
Urgent care facilities are becoming more common. If your employee has an injury, their first thought might be to go to the ER. It’s an easy option for a stressed mind to autopilot to during, well, an emergency. But an urgent care facility will often be closer and less expensive as long as the facility is in-network. If the facility isn’t in-network, the prices might not be any lower than an emergency room visit. Help employees manage out-of-pocket expenses by making sure they are aware of both options.
Do healthcare materials provided to your employees list remote care as an option? If an employee’s child shows worrisome symptoms on a weekend, they don’t have to wait until Monday for a diagnosis. With access to remote care like Doctor on Demand, they can receive answers 24/7 from board-certified medical professionals.
Negotiate healthcare bills
Many employees don’t know that they can negotiate prices on medical services received. If they are receiving care at an out-of-network provider, it might actually be easier for them to negotiate lower prices. Unlike care received at in-network health centers, care at out-of-network locations frequently has not been negotiated to a lower price by an insurance carrier.
Provide Education About Financial Planning and Management
Finally, if you’re able, providing education about financial planning and management is one of the most effective ways you can help your employees manage out-of-pocket expenses. Educating your staff on budgeting, credit scores, debt repayment strategies, and other topics related to personal finance will not only give them the knowledge necessary to make smart decisions about their finances but will also build trust between you and them as an employer who cares about supporting them in managing their finances responsibly.
The last step
When your employees are less stressed about medical expenses, they can devote more time and energy to family, friends and work. Healthy employees are productive employees. Out-of-pocket expenses can be incredibly difficult for many people to manage without assistance from others. By offering these resources, employers can provide invaluable support for their team members while also creating stronger relationships between themselves and the staff members they employ.