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Should plan sponsors shift their benefits plan spend during coronavirus?

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Dave Patriarche:

This would be a great poll to conduct with two groups — Ask advisors what they think and compare it to what employers think.

On smaller insured plans, the savings in premiums on things like massage and dental may be short-lived. We may see people “use up benefits” later in the year as things begin to return to “normal.” I can imagine many dentists and paramedical practitioners extending hours and days in order to see as many patients as they can (and that they have been unable to assist during the crisis).

Monday, April 13 at 11:11 am | Reply

Charles Boldt:

I wonder how this has changed in a month. Are you still of the same opinion, Dave?

Friday, May 15 at 8:04 am

Jeffrey Stinchcombe:

For those clients that are ASO already, they are building up a war chest of funds (due to the massive reduction in dental and health claims) that can be deployed into ‘new state’ benefits like virtual doctors and nurses and mental-health platforms.

Industry trends report that dental claims are down 92% in March 2020 and health claims are down 48%. Drug claims are down 12%.

Monday, April 13 at 2:47 pm | Reply

Chantelle T:

As a plan sponsor (employer), this is definitely a popular question in our employee base. However, I agree with Dave’s comment that the savings on premiums for paramedical practitioners and dental care may be short-lived. I’m sure that claims will be elevated once services reopen as people try to catch up on all the things they weren’t able to do during self-isolation.

We already have virtual health care and have pushed back some other plan enhancements we had hoped to do this summer. In our plan, we decided it was not the time to roll out enhancements when people were asking if they can suspend their premiums.

Monday, April 13 at 6:08 pm | Reply

Charles Boldt:

I’ve seen the Green Shield member survey which stated that only 25% of members would not be going to a dentist until there is a proven vaccine and higher levels of apprehension with paramedical providers. We are doing our own surveys, asking plan sponsors how they feel and what they think their employees will do when those professionals try to open up. When the second wave hits us, we’ll be back to this current situation. We see more of a 10-20% utilization rate trending up slowly and then likely returning to 10-20% until a vaccine is tested, produced and distributed. This opens up the question to sponsors on financing plans over the next year or so.

Friday, May 15 at 8:03 am | Reply

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