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3 Cost-Cutting Strategies Insurers Can Learn from Employers

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, March 13, 2013

There were 45 firms that met the criteria. The report doesn't identified them by name, but rather by strategies used to keep its cost increases to about 2.2%, on average, which is just above the rate of inflation. In addition the firms also report reduced employee expenses.

Based on the report's findings among its "best performers," three trends have emerged as takeaways for insurers who are not yet offering these benefits widely or are unsure of their viability:

1. Embrace telehealth. The focus on technology as a solution has never been as intense as now. With consumers using their smartphones to do mobile banking, something that once seemed out of reach because of issues surrounding security and complexity, they are wondering what is taking healthcare so long to catch on.

Private companies with a foot in healthcare via pharmacy and onsite clinics, such as Rite Aid, are stepping into the space offering online visits with a physician. The "best performers" in the Towers Watson study are early adopters to telemedicine, too.

The IT/telecom industry is so far (and unsurprisingly) the biggest fan of using this method as a way to keep its workforce healthy, though other companies lead the way in providing for e-visits, remote monitoring, and like. It's one of the biggest emerging trends; by next year, 34% of the 45 "best performers" plan to expand these offerings to employees.

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