After analyzing the health care costs of one of its New England-based clients, Segal Consulting discovered that, in 2015, the client’s employees had trended higher on opioid prescription payments than peer companies’ had. So the employer made a couple of changes for the next year, aiming both
to help employees avoid addiction and to control its own costs.
“Now, the employer’s health care benefit will not pay for more than a seven-day supply of opioids at a time,”
says Edward Kaplan, Segal’s New York City-based national health practice leader. And employees no longer can
get automatic refills on opioids: They need their doctor’s authorization for a refill. The result? In 2016, the average
opioid prescription dropped from 48 days to 7. 8 days, and emergency room visits declined by 40%.
In this way, data analytics can increasingly help employers make decisions on their benefits programs,
whether these be health, retirement or otherwise. “There’s a lot more data available now than in the past, and
it’s a lot easier to get the data—to ‘mine’ it—and to analyze it,” says Betsy Dill, senior partner at consultant
Mercer in Los Angeles. “We’re seeing employers really look at how different segments of their employee population are using their benefits programs. Rather than just look at medians, they’re getting deeper into data
based on work force segmentation and using that data to help determine better ways to help employees engage
with their benefits programs.”
In this age of ‘big data,’ sponsors have the analytic
tools at hand to make more informed decisions
RIGHT THE Facts and Figures