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Great New Resources for Managing Your Health Costs & for Employers to soften the Consumer Model as a Benefit

With the passage of the ACA in 2010 and the release of CMS data this year,the slow but steady process of implementing new insurance plans that most employers are required to provide and employees are required to make use of, the times are a changing. More transparency to the medical costs allows for businesses to proactively share costs for tests and procedures up front in a way that many consumers would have had to really work to gather until recently. Furthermore, many employees will begin to take a greater interest in where their dollars are spent especially if they have Health Savings or Health Reimbursement account arrangements. 

But all the new questions that will obviously arise with the new health care systems are being addressed on different websites that provide great benefits to both the employer and the employee.

The first resource I would like to highlight is a website called I had the pleasure of taking a demo drive through the software and MHAM is an excellent resource for employees to take advantage of when they are looking to undergo any type of medical procedure or trying to calculate the costs associated with a pre-existing medical conditions. Right away on the homepage there is a large box on the left side of the page that allows a user to create their own unique health profile by quickly listing ailments and calculating the costs of treating those conditions.

There is also a useful section of the site called “Tools,” where users can easily compare the costs of having procedures done at different locations. All a person needs to do is select the test or procedure being done and type in his or her zip code and all the nearest medical facilities, with prices, will be listed. Even comparatively and the variances are surprising.

Another feature that is very helpful about is the “Community” section of the site. There is an open forum for people to ask questions related to medical procedures, costs, and insurance benefits. Many of these questions have good suggestions from other members of the MHAM community. While it is always best to conduct your own research rather than rely solely on the suggestion of a stranger, the MHAM community is a valuable resource that users can take advantage of.

Another interesting website employers may want to refer consider for their employees is Castlight is another good resource for employees to have their health care questions answered, but is different from Castlight is primarily concerned with educating people about different and new regulations, as well as breaking news in healthcare. I was able to view the portal at the recent SHRM Conference in Chicago. While is useful for customizing individual healthcare needs, is better for learning about new things that impact the decisions that a person needs to make. Both are viable benefit offerings regardless.

As employers begin to gravitate to consumer driven models resource tools like these can help employees share the burden of making informed, educated decisions that won’t put too much of a burden on the checkbook. Employers can benefit from a user friendly portal that will highlight their company provided benefits as well as how the schedule of benefits plays out in real application. The cost can range from $2.00/per employee per month to $9.00 per employee per month. Thus, there are many options in how a company can consider these benefit portals. The first mention for also allows the consumer at large to pay for access, thus it may have farther reach to the population at large. Take a look if you haven’t seen these tools as they are sure to become more common place in the industry.

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