This post is part of our “Visualizing the Future: Health Benefits in 2016 and Beyond” series, in which Mercer consultants share key take-aways for employers from “Health Market 2.0,” a recent conference hosted by Mercer’s sister firm, management consultant Oliver Wyman.
The potential impact of Health Market 2.0 on employers is significant. It points the way to a leading-edge engagement ecosystem -- one with a set of programs and personalized offerings that are aligned to the needs of multiple generations with vastly different expectations of how things should work. Millennials, Gen X-Y, and especially retirees (as some of the heaviest health care consumers) each need the right mix of offerings, and each wants to access health care and health resources on their own terms. What struck me the most at the conference was a “Hassle Map” from the plan member perspective, which vividly demonstrated how complex accessing the health care system has become as we move toward this transformed version of the health market. It’s a good reminder that we all need to think more holistically about the impact of Health Market 2.0 on employer programs and total rewards. A few specific points to keep in mind:
- While the multitude of vendor solutions is exciting and impressive, the challenge will be how they individually feed the needs of plan members -- “knitting it all together” will be quite a feat.
- Tools and technology are only as good as those who use it, therefore employers will need to step up to the technology challenge and provide training and support to drive positive user experience.
- In today’s world, the management of physical and financial health are intertwined.
The call to action is to leverage these new innovations not only to improve participation, engagement, and health status, but actually to redefine the employee value proposition. Aligning the organization’s messages on health, wealth, and career will become a mission-critical endeavor for employers for many years.