We are currently working with health plans to prepare for the 2023 benefit year. That means we’re spending a lot of time thinking about supplemental benefit design, how these benefits work today, and innovations that could help improve them in the future.
What is the purpose of a supplemental benefit such as transportation, in-home care, or food as medicine? Providing members holistic care that addresses all of their needs and keeps them healthier.
Surprisingly, even after creating an attractive and potentially effective supplemental benefit design, these programs are often less effective because members do not use them. To optimize the impact of supplemental benefits, health plans should do 3 things:
Make sure members know what their benefits are
- We so often see that supplemental benefits are incorporated into a plan design and then buried in the back of the plan’s handbook for members.
- This means that the members using these benefits are savvy enough to know to read that handbook, ask their health plan, and navigate the system.
- To make sure the right member uses the right benefit to achieve the right health outcome, we recommend that health plans proactively engage their at-risk members.
Involve the care team
- Proactively engaging at-risk members is difficult. How do you know who’s at risk? How do you know each member’s comprehensive care plan?
- You need to leverage existing member touch points: the care team.
- This is why at Uber Health we’re building a platform intended for care teams to directly request services on behalf of their patients. Our goal is to empower clinical teams to access key benefits that keep their patients healthier.
Simplify access to supplemental benefits
- Members who need one supplemental benefit often need other services.
- Consider what the best way is to access these services to drive appropriate member and provider behavior while lowering administrative burden. For example, expectant mothers need consistent appointments, transportation to these appointments, and nutrition geared toward mothers and babies. Health plans can enable systems of care that empower providers to use a single resource to request all these things on behalf of their patients rather than calling 3 different providers.
Thinking about how to design a benefit? Check out the one thing we think is most important to keep in mind.