1. Reduce the number of healthcare options. The most obvious and easiest way to reduce healthcare costs is to reduce the coverage that you’re offering employees. If in the past that you had many different options, reduce the number and reduce your costs.
2. Increase deductibles and co-pays for employees. Whereas in the past a firm may have offered very low deductibles and co-payments as a benefit to their employees, the employer can shift this cost burden to employees by having them pay more..
3. Coordinate payment of benefits. Employers can coordinate benefit payments so that the same medical expense is not paid multiple times. If a spouse has insurance as well, it needs to be determined whose insurance is paying for what.
4. Move employees to an HMO option. Another cost saving measure is to align the medical options with an HMO, which is a health maintenance organization. HMOs allow the employer to pay a fixed manual fee to cover a certain amount of health care for a group of employees.
5. Implement a mail order prescription drug program. Mail order drug programs can be much cheaper to administer for both employer and employee alike.
6. Automate the health benefits function as much as possible by providing employees with online access to all of their benefits. While it would take some initial investment to get this all set up, it can save on administrative costs in the long run.
7. Review employees and their beneficiaries, annually, to ensure that they’re all qualified to be covered on the health care plan.
8. Create a wellness program that rewards employees for managing a healthy lifestyle.
9. Provide access to an employee assistance program.
10. Provide access to internal company and external health educational programs so that employees can learn more about health issues and how they can take more responsibility for their own well being.
11. Consider offering other alternative healthcare therapies that might be less expensive than traditional medical options.
12. Require employees to seek second opinions for expensive or critical procedures to ensure they are medically necessary.
13. Provide incentives (cash, prizes, etc.) to employees to steer clear of poor health habits. This might include providing them with discounts on health club memberships, pedometers, or other gifts for meeting certain employee-created personal health goals.
14. Provide employees with the opportunity to create health savings accounts so they can pay for health costs. Payments to the account are tax deductible, any interest earned on them is tax free, and you can withdraw money from them, tax free, for qualified medical expenses.
15. Research and revise health care options. Employers should get quotes every few years from different health care providers so they can find the most cost effective options available.
16. Provide prescription coverage only for generic prescription drugs. According to the Generic Pharmaceutical Association generic drugs can save up to 80% on the cost of a prescription when compared to a brand name.