5 reasons bundled medical and specialty benefits may help your employees

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and well-being of your employees may be top of mind – as well as how you approach the health benefits that help support them.

By using an integrated approach to employee health benefits, you may help connect the dots between medical care and other types of coverage, incuding pharmacy, vision, hearing, dental and disability care. This may mean better health outcomes for your employees and cost-saving opportunities for your company.

While employees are now using their 2021 benefits, employers are making health benefit decisions for 2022 — which may include a renewed effort to support whole-person health. In fact, a recent UnitedHealthcare survey found that 84% of workers said having specialty benefits, such as vision, dental and hearing, is important. By offering these benefits, it may help increase employee retention, satisfaction and build a culture of well-being.

While you may think adding specialty benefits means adding cost to your bottom line, taking an integrated approach to health care coverage may drive value for your organization while improving employees’ overall well-being and productivity.     

Bundled benefits may also help:

  1. Collaboration with care professionals to help flag gaps in care
    Integrating health benefits may help increase collaboration with health care professionals across the board by sharing data and monitoring care effectiveness. For example, regular eye exams have been shown to help with the detection and management of diabetes. By combining your medical plan with other types of benefits such as eye coverage, it is possible to help employees stay ahead of health issues and better connect the dots for improved overall well-being.
  2. Reduce medical costs
    Like bundling TV, internet and home phone together, combining multiple plans in one competitive benefits package may help you maximize the value of what your company spends on health care. Some health care companies enable employers to save on medical plan premiums by bundling their plans, in some cases lowering medical premiums by up to 4%*.
  3. Allow a simpler customer experience
    Employers may benefit from a simplified administrative experience, including one dedicated account team across their benefit plans, a single premium, eligibility and implementation process, plus one self-service website for employees.

    Additionally, employees may gain access to resources that may be impossible without an integrated approach. For instance, in certain states UnitedHealthcare launched UnitedHealthcare Benefit Ally™, a tool that is designed to simplify, automate and expedite payouts for employees whose employers combine three supplemental health plans with medical benefits**. 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 a claim or additional paperwork. This is designed to help members get benefit payouts more easily, so they can focus on getting well.   
  4. Helps offer 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 health 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 employee to help schedule recommended treatments, which may help improve overall health.
  5. Increase member engagement
    When employers choose to bundle plans, they may gain access to a variety of programs designed to help support the health and well-being for their 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 to assess the safety of the home to help reduce the risk of falls, while also coordinating home physical therapy to help the employee focus on healing to return to work sooner.

    Additionally, 4 in 10 adults report having symptoms of anxiety or depression during COVID-19. Integrating medical and behavioral health benefits may help create opportunities for earlier diagnosis and intervention for high-risk employees, including helping with the identification of undiagnosed behavioral or medical issues.

Companies that combine medical coverage with specialty benefits through a single health care company may be able to help improve health outcomes, drive productivity and reduce costs. For instance, some programs may help employers save more than $2,200 in medical claim costs per referral following a disability claim***.

*Potential savings include impact from UnitedHealthcare integrated approach and uBundle®, which applies only to first-year medical premiums for employers with 51-100 employees; savings through uBundle continue as long as the program is in effect for employers with 101 to 2,999 employees, as long as the qualifying benefits remain in-force. uBundle is not available in all states.

**Benefit Ally currently available in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin.

***Source: 2019 book of business performance for clients with integrated UnitedHealthcare Short-Term Disability and UnitedHealthcare Medical.