Emergency Room Education by Employers Can Lead to Big Savings
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five Americans take at least one visit to the emergency room (ER) each year – this equals about 145.6 million total visits! Studies such as Anthem’s Voice of the Customer Quick Care Alternatives Communication Survey show that 66 percent of those surveyed went to the ER when their doctor’s office was closed, even if there are other healthcare options such as urgent care centers, walk-in doctors offices and retail health clinics available.
Unnecessary ER visits cost about $1.2 million in expenses each day, and, according to Anthem, reducing unnecessary ER visits can cut healthcare costs by about $4.4 billion each year. As employers, you can help employees make the right choice when it comes to their appropriate healthcare needs while also helping them better manage their co-pays, deductible and healthcare costs.
Here are a few suggestions for ER education for employers to help guide employees on where to go for medical care in different situations:
- Reach out to your health plan or your health insurance broker. We can help you by putting together materials to help educate employees on the best healthcare setting for their needs. But remember to also reinforce when employees should visit the ER or call 911.
- Keep communications simple – a reference chart can help employees answer the question of “what now/where to.”
- Does your health plan have a 24/7 free nurses’ line? Promote this service to employees – what it is, how to use it, and how this service can help triage health concerns.
- Does your health plan have a preferred telehealth provider? Promote this service. After all, telehealth is a mobile-based, quick and inexpensive solution for 24/7 non-emergency situations.
In conjunction with our resources provided by HR360, the Employee Benefits Management Group (EBMG) at Rose & Kiernan, Inc. has put together a downloadable handout that provides an average cost comparison of ER services vs. urgent care services. If you are interested in learning more about employee benefits, or have any questions please contact our Employee Benefits Management Group (EBMG) here or by calling (800) 242-4433.
The information provided in this article is to be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. Readers should contact a health professional for appropriate advice.