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The health program employees say they want most

What benefits do people want most from employers? According to a new study, 73% say health and wellness offerings influence their decision when choosing a job.

Nearly 9 in 10 young professionals ages 18 to 34 say wellness incentives that reward healthy behavior are the No. 1 benefit  they hope for, yet less than half of employers offer them.

“Employees want medical, dental, vision and wellness coverage in the least complicated, most comprehensive way,”  says Missy Brumlow, principal product manager at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. “All of these can be bundled in an approach we call total health, which allows members to get everything they need with one card, supported by one team.”

According to the OfficeTeam study, 65% of women and 79% of men say health and wellness offerings matter when considering a job.

What is total health?

Total health is a unified approach to health and wellness that looks at the whole person. It relies on a single, data-driven system where providers, coaches and employees can track health and progress and address problems.

“We offer a unique and comprehensive solution for a company’s employees,” Brumlow says. “This includes onsite support, digital and mobile tools, and telephonic options to help our members manage their health. Our priority is improving health for our members.”

A total health approach works because it’s simple to understand and use — employees have one card and one contact source for dental, vision, medical or wellness coverage, meaning more convenience and less stress thanks to one company managing all of their claims.

Total health is also fundamentally a better way to see a full health picture. Health data is often stored in different systems that aren’t connected. Using a total health system helps employees with everything from decreasing stress to early diagnosis of disease.

That leads to healthier, happier people.

“Keeping employees happy at work makes them more engaged and less stressed,” Missy says.

“Companies with healthier workforces achieve better business outcomes and see higher productivity levels due to fewer missed work days.”

Total health through BlueCross

Because dental, vision, medical and wellness are fully integrated into the BlueCross system, the total health approach is simple for employees, administrators and providers.

“Our clinical staff has access to data on a member’s full health profile,” says Angie Haines, specialty product manager. “When our teams look at whole-person data rather than just a single issue in someone’s mouth or eyes, we can understand our member holistically and take better care of them.”

For instance, certain medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure are better managed with good oral and vision care,  and BlueCross provides extra dental cleanings to members with diabetes. On top of that:

  • BlueCross dental members have access to more than 118,000 dentists at more than 385,000 locations across all 50 states, and
  • BlueCross vision members have access to 28,000 providers at over 100,000 locations across all 50 states.

“Our goal is simple: to bring better outcomes for our members,” Angie says.

Total health can work in many ways:

  • During her teeth cleaning, Jenny’s dentist diagnoses her with the early stages of gum disease. They talk about preventive measures but also about the fact that gum disease in combination with Jenny’s age and weight could be a warning sign of diabetes. Once that information enters the BlueCross system, Jenny’s health profile is automatically updated, allowing for additional outreach. The BlueCross team can now identify Jenny for intervention programs that can help her learn how to make lifestyle changes to improve her health.
  • A wellness challenge at work leads Darius to fill out an online health assessment indicating he’d like help losing weight but doesn’t have the time or skills to cook at home. That prompts a wellness coach to reach out and help him create a plan that works for his family and his schedule.
  • At an annual eye exam, Jason’s ophthalmologist notices a change in his eye that indicates he might have diabetes. This information is captured in the BlueCross system, and Jason’s eye doctor lets him know that there are extra vision benefits available for diabetic members that she can provide to him.

“In 2017, there were more than 104,000 medical diagnoses fed into BlueCross members’ health profile based on eye exams alone,” Angie says. “That information helps us reach out sooner, which can result in healthier outcomes for our members. That’s something only a total health approach gives you.”

Benefits are better together

Since BlueCross serves more members than any other health plan in Tennessee, it has the advantage of spotting total health trends early on.

One trend is members are three times more likely to get eye exams than physicals. People are more proactive when they can’t see well than they are with their overall health. That creates another opportunity to get people the care they need.

We’ve also seen connections between dental care and chronic health conditions like diabetes, and we know that people with diabetes who get treatment for periodontal disease have 39% fewer hospital admissions and 40% lower medical costs.

In addition to identifying health conditions at every touchpoint, BlueCross can also use total health data to customize coverage and wellness plans  through tools such as wellness challenges, health fairs, lifestyle coaching, healthy maternity and diabetes management programs. We can then manage and report back on those action plans so employers can be sure they’re doing everything possible to improve their employees’ wellbeing.

“We are proud to have a customer satisfaction score of 94.8%,” Angie says. “Doing that with one call and one card means we can make total health easy for members, administrators and providers.”

Find out more about why integrated benefits can lead to better health.

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