Challenges multiemployer groups face when crafting a benefit strategy
Public labor groups and trusts face a myriad of challenges when they embark on crafting a benefit strategy including:
Privacy and trust
Whether it’s for a wellness program, disease management, or a complete primary care solution, success depends on member engagement. Engagement is built on a foundation of privacy and trust. An experienced and trusted third-party care team gives members confidence that their health data is kept confidential.
With members dispersed across a wide geography and job sites, convenient access to care is more challenging than for other workforce populations. The workforce’s multiple employers may find it difficult to coordinate communication about the benefits of primary care. This often leads to low engagement and poor outcomes for typical wellness programs.
Fragmented benefits, diverse populations
With good intent, multiemployer groups offer a collection of wellness, disease management, and other programs meant to serve diverse populations — from healthy millennials to aging boomers with chronic disease concerns. Unfortunately, the result is often a range of disparate programs that are a hassle for benefits administrators and difficult for members to understand and use.
Chronic disease management
Cost management of chronic diseases is a key fiduciary responsibility of funds in order to stay solvent and support members. Effective care coordination ensures that members with chronic diseases are well cared for, engaged, and proactive about managing their health.
Ability to attract new members
With union membership in long-term decline, public unions and labor groups need ways to attract and retain younger members that will sustain the union going forward. A rich benefit strategy could be one of the primary recruiting tools.
Uncertainty and risk
Multiemployer group providers must have the ability to be agile in a crisis and help members navigate challenging sociopolitical challenges, like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between 2007 and 2016, the median cost of benefits for multiemployer health plans increased by 54%, reaching $10,853 per year. This type of runaway cost puts groups at risk of not being able to provide the same level of healthcare to their membership going forward.
Any successful multiemployer group benefit strategy must tackle these challenges to be effective.
But benefit strategy design isn’t just about overcoming challenges. Multiemployer groups have a number of goals in mind as they seek benefit strategies that deliver value to their members, not just increased care.