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The Six Critical Questions Posed to CFOs Regarding Healthcare Cost Containment

I was recently asked to participate in a roundtable discussion hosted by BDO, USA (BDO) and facilitated by The Association for Corporate Health Risk Management (ACHRM). After 16 years in the benefits industry, it wasn’t until this week that I truly understood the depth of the excellent resources these two organizations provide employers. For those of you who don’t know, here is a little background:

  • ACHRM – The Association for Corporate Health Risk Management. ACHRM is a collaborative employer community where employers can learn new methods and techniques to reduce healthcare costs and improve wellbeing and productivity.
  • BDO – the United States Member Firm of BDO International, a global accounting network, BDO is ranked as the #5 CPA firm in the world.

I resonate with BDO's core values. They are similar to my personal values as well as the OneDigital corporate values. Like OneDigital, BDO is committed to helping both clients and employees thrive by supporting a culture that puts people first. As early adopters of new technology and innovative ideas, both companies strive to be forward-thinkers and embrace strategic change to enhance their businesses. By nurturing an inclusive and flexible work environment, employees can focus on client relationships and the high standard of service that they are known for.

As luck would have it, ACHRM was in my hometown for an event with a hundreds of financially like-minded professionals who care about creating and accessing innovative solutions to reduce and manage corporate expenses. The event’s agenda also included one of the top five budget items for many employers: health care.

The roundtable consisted of certified public accountants (CPA), lawyers, third party administrators, pharmacy benefit managers, medical facilities, CFO’s, and yours truly, a benefits consultant. Insurance is always a sensitive topic. It’s expensive, complicated, and extremely personal. I was pleased to see so many different perspectives represented at the event, as each party plays a vital role in helping consumers and patients navigate through this complex system.

The healthcare industry is changing—rapidly. As we discussed how to solve various problems, a common phrase was used: “People (employers) don’t know what they don’t know.”

That being said, here are six critical questions AHCRM posed to CFO’s regarding healthcare cost containment:

  1. Are you applying the same due diligence and analysis to your firm’s healthcare planning and risk management that you apply to other aspects of your operations? I.e. suppliers, banking, IT, telecommunications, etc.?
  2. Who are your trusted advisors and what role are they playing in your organization's healthcare cost containment and health risk management strategies?
  3. Why is the traditional preferred provider organization (PPO) model ineffective for containing your company’s healthcare cost?
  4. Do you understand the advantages of engaging an independent, non-insurance carrier based third party administrator (TPA)?
  5. Have you considered working directly with healthcare providers?
  6. Are you frustrated that your wellness strategy isn’t generating the return on investment (ROI) many vendors are proposing?

The reality is, everybody is busy. It’s hard to run a business and stay apprised of industry changes. These questions can help position a CFO to take the driver’s seat in taking a proactive approach to managing overall benefit cost.

The fight against healthcare inflation requires a well-defined, data driven strategy combined with a relentless daily focus on aggressively managing carriers, vendors, providers and the risk factors that drive costs for employers.

Head over to OneDigital’s Fresh Thinking Blog where you can see how we lead the way with expertise, creativity and a deep personal commitment to deliver for our clients.