- CATEGORIES: Doctors and Hospitals,Nurse Learning Center,Nurses,Patients,Technology,Technology for Nurses,Technology for Patients,Technology for Providers
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by Charu G. Raheja, PhD
According to the Wall Street Journal this week, businesses wanting to minimize health care costs are looking into switching out of traditional insurance plans, and into self-insurance. United Health Group, Inc. will begin offering self-insurance plans for companies with as little as 10 members.
Also known as “self-funded”, with these plans the employer takes on all the financial risk for providing healthcare benefits to its employees. Rather than offering set insurance plan coverage, these companies will pay “out of pocket” each time there is a new claim, and the insurance company’s role in this case is simply to administer the plan.
Source: Kaiser/HRET Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits, 1999-2012
According to a 2000 study by Employee Benefit Research Institute, about 50 million workers and their dependents receive self-insurance benefits as part of a self-funded group.
There are many benefits for self-funded insurance. For example, it allows the employer to customize their plan to meet the special needs of the workforce, as opposed to being limited to plans provided by an insurance policy. Further, the employer doesn't have to pre-pay for coverage, which can help with cash flow, and by using self-funded insurance, companies with healthy employees can save costs by avoiding high premiums for insurance that is rarely utilized.
However, a big risk and consideration is the health of the employer's workforce. If you are a self-funded company, you want to make sure that you have as healthy a workforce as possible. It is very important, therefore, that your company implements employee programs that encourage healthy habits such as exercise, good nutrition, and a balanced lifestyle.
Utilizing a nurse triage on call service can help companies looking to maintain the health of their work force and prevent unnecessary health expenses. Triage nurses counsel and assist patients in finding the right level of care for their condition. Using guided protocols, triage nurses ensure that patients have considered all the possibilities when addressing their health condition. According to our research (http://www.triagelogicnurse.com/Health-Data), most patients tend to overestimate the severity of their condition. As a result, many people go to the emergency room more often than necessary. In addition, some patients underestimate the seriousness of their ailment, thereby creating serious health complications through the delay of receiving appropriate care.
Triage nurses can help patients with medical decisions, as well as educate them on how to foster a healthy lifestyle, and even provide them with specialized information and resources. Nurse triage can be a great benefit to employers, and their employees who feel better knowing they have nurses they can speak to when they have a health condition for which they have questions, or need assistance.
Self-insurance Institute of America, INC (http://www.siia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=4546)