Spring 2022 Insight Employer Newsletter
Employers must adapt to the times when it comes to onboarding new employees
By Kelly Glosser, Learning & Development Specialist-Senior, Independent Health
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies and businesses have had to shift to remote or hybrid work environments. At the same time, a record number of Americans have walked away from their jobs voluntarily as part of what’s being called “The Great Resignation.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 3.9 million workers quit every month in 2021. Therefore, in order to stay competitive both from a recruitment and retention standpoint, employers may need to reassess and revamp their onboarding practices and strategies.
Research by Brandon Hall Group has found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent. At Independent Health, our experience has also shown that a well thought-out and executed onboarding plan helps set new hires up for long-term success. However, to adapt to our current work environment and ever-evolving job market, we have significantly changed the way we approach and conduct onboarding over the past two years. Because the majority of our companies’ employees have worked from home since March 2020, our onboarding process now offers a remote component, too.
Last year, Independent Health onboarded a total of 189 new hires via a complete remote experience. That means we were able to meet their organizational, technical, and social needs without actually interacting with them in person. Here are some of the reasons why our onboarding efforts were so successful in 2021:
- Shortly after the pandemic began, the company created a “New Hire Experience Team,” which is made up Human Resources (HR) and Information Technology (IT) and other key stakeholders that tremendously impact the effectiveness of new hire onboarding. Fostering consistent collaboration between these areas has allowed Independent Health to have a seamless and successful onboarding experience, everything from determining the equipment the new hire will need to coordinating the delivery of the equipment to their homes.
- As a way to help avoid technical issues on the employee’s first day, we provide them with thorough instructions on how to set all of their equipment up, including a step-by-step video. A representative from IT is also on hand the first day or orientation to address any technological challenges that the new hire may encounter.
- We have a team member assigned to support our new hires from the moment they accept the position until they transition to their respective departments. In addition to preparing them for a seamless transition into our organization, having a main point-of-contact provides the new hire with the chance to form a relationship with a trusted associate early in their onboarding process.
- Our team of new hire orientation facilitators have kept training and orientation sessions engaging and fun by developing strong virtual facilitation skills and utilizing different interactive presentation tools such as Mentimeter, which allows them to capture real-time input from participants through live polls, quizzes, word clouds and more.
- Our HR department closely partners with our hiring managers to make sure they understand our onboarding process and what type of information is shared during new hire orientation sessions. All hiring managers are required to take in part in an online learning module that explains each step of onboarding to them and what their role is in creating an effective experience for their new team members.
- Since we’re continuously looking for ways to improve as an organization, we assess the effectiveness of our onboarding strategy by surveying new employees after they complete their orientation session and, then again, about 60 days later. The survey results from 2021 showed that:
- 100% of respondents agreed that their overall experience with the hiring process was positive.
- 97.5% of respondents agreed that they received all the information and technical equipment needed for a successful first day.
- 96% of respondents agreed that new hire orientation provided them with information to understand the mission, vision, and values of Independent Health and it allowed them to make an easier transition into their new role.
Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Now more than ever, it’s vital to provide an onboarding experience that not only makes each new employee feel confident in their decision to join their organization but leaves them wanting to grow in their career, too.
Pharmacy Benefit Dimensions provides pricing transparency to deliver savings for employers
Managing the costs of prescription drugs, particularly for small to mid-size businesses, presents a challenge requiring innovative solutions. In the U.S., prescription drug spending totaled $500 billion in 2021, reflecting an increase of 7.3% from 2019, according to a March 2022 report by the Drug Channels Institute.
A 2021 report by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services projects that overall national health care expenditures will see an average growth rate of 5.4% between now and 2028, which is faster than the Gross Domestic Product.
As costs rise rapidly, businesses with self-funded pharmacy plans need a way to keep costs down while still providing high-quality, effective prescription drug coverage. Some companies use pharmacy benefit management (PBM) firms to try and manage their health care costs. Having an understanding of how PBMs work and price their services is important in order to make sure companies are achieving what they set out to do.
PBMs administer drug benefit plans and negotiate drug prices to deliver lower costs to their clients. However, the typical PBM payment structure is complex, and most PBM firms often keep their negotiated rates proprietary. Limitations and additional requirements are not always made clear to end users. A recent report by Axios explains how some national PBMs’ business models make it difficult for employer clients to determine if they are getting the most out of the services provided.
By contrast, Pharmacy Benefit Dimensions (PBD) – a wholly owned subsidiary of Independent Health – provides a truly transparent, 100% pass-through model that other PBMs do not. PBD relies on clinically based formularies that pass savings along to the customer rather than capitalizing on manufacturers’ rebates.
PBD works on a model that takes into consideration high-quality drug coverage with the lowest net cost possible. Pairing this value-based approach with a variety of cost-savings programs offered by PBD gives customers options when it comes to choosing how their pharmacy plans are administered and how they spend their healthcare dollars.
Combining the experience of pharmacists, industry analysts, and dedicated account managers, the PBD approach focuses on determining the availability of cost-effective prescription drugs (generic vs. brand name,) and helps employers monitor usage, drug management and claims while also offering flexible cost-savings programs to meet specific employee needs. Simply put, PBD’s approach is more transparent than other PBMs and allows employers to customize and control pharmaceutical spending.
PBD’s philosophy of transparency extends to plan participants, too. By taking advantage of PBD’s up-to-date online formulary tool, plan participants can stay informed on updates and changes to specialty medications, step therapy requirements, age, and dosage restrictions, and more. PBD also offers online tools for plan sponsors, pharmacies, and providers. Plan sponsor representatives can view prescription utilization, demographic information, claims history, and prior drug authorizations on an aggregate basis to make sure they’re getting the most out of their pharmacy strategy.
By staying current with pharmaceutical trends, PBD consistently offers the most cost-effective plans on the market.
Accredited by the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission, PBD has been helping customers and members gain greater control over their prescription drug benefits since 2005. Today, the company serves more than 4,000 employer groups and nearly 500,000 members in all 50 states. Its customers comprise a broad range of industries, ranging from manufacturing to hospitals, county governments, and more.
To learn more about PBD and how its services may help your organization, visit PBD's website.
Your employees can access behavioral health consultations by using Teladoc®
Whenever your employees and their covered dependents can’t reach their primary care physician, Independent Health’s telemedicine benefit through Teladoc® can put them in touch by phone with a U.S. board-certified doctor.
With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to remind you that your employees can use Teladoc to receive consultation for behavioral health conditions. Over the past year, Independent Health has seen nearly a 200 percent increase in telemedicine utilization for the treatment of mental health and substance abuse conditions. Thanks to Teladoc, our members have been able to access behavioral health care services at a time and place that works best for them.
In addition, your employees can speak with a Teladoc doctor about a variety of common, non-emergency medical issues, such as:
- Cold and flu symptoms
- Dermatological conditions
- Pink Eye
- Respiratory infection
- Strep throat
How Teladoc works
- Your employees will need to visit teladoc.com/IH to create an account.
- They can request a consultation through their online account, the Teladoc mobile app or by phone at 1-800-Teladoc (1-800-835-2362). The doctor will call them back in minutes. Consultations are also available by online video, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
- Teladoc connects your employees to a national network of board-certified doctors who average 20 years’ experience.
- If needed, prescriptions can be sent to a pharmacy of your employees’ choice.
- Teladoc is not intended to replace your employee’s relationship with their PCP. They can share their Teladoc visit information with their PCP by simply selecting “yes” at the end of their online consult.
Depending on the benefits of the plan you offer, Teladoc has either a $0 copay or a low copayment.* If your employees receive a dermatology consultation, they will be responsible for a specialist copay/coinsurance according to their plan benefits**.
To learn more about Teladoc, visit independenthealth.com/telemedicine.
*If the plan you offer is HSA-qualified, by law, your employees will be responsible for paying the full cost of Teladoc services until their deductible is satisfied. **If the plan requires your employees to meet a deductible before their specialist cost share, they will be responsible for paying the full cost of Teladoc dermatology services until their deductible is satisfied. If the plan does not require your employees to meet a deductible prior to a specialist cost share, they are only responsible for their specialist cost share for Teladoc dermatology services.
Independent Health Foundation celebrates 30 years of making a difference in Western New York
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Independent Health Foundation. Since its launch on September 30, 1992, the Foundation has provided Western New Yorkers with the services, tools, resources and education they need to improve their quality of life. After all, a healthy community benefits everyone who lives in it.
By partnering with countless community centers, schools, parks, businesses and organizations, the Foundation offers a variety of free or low-cost programs and events that reach more than 225,000 individuals in Western New York each year. Among the Foundation’s signature programs and events include:
- First Night Buffalo – Western New York’s largest drug- and alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration offers family-friendly activities for all ages, including magicians, jugglers, face painting, wild animals, costumed characters, and more.
- Kids Run – This free event encourages families to exercise and stay active together through a 1.8-mile walk/run perfect for all ages, as well as a mini-dash for children ages 2-5 and a diaper derby for infants. The 2022 Kids Run will be held Saturday, June 4 at Delaware Park. You can learn more at kidsrunbuffalo.com.
- Healthy Options Buffalo – For the past 18 years, the Healthy Options program has been helping people make informed decisions when eating at home and dining out. As part of the program, the Foundation collaborates with local restaurants, food trucks and festivals to provide healthy food choices to the public, while also delivering meal kits to 400 families every year. In addition, healthy recipes, cooking videos, dining tips and other helpful resources are available at healthyoptionsbuffalo.com .
- Fitness for Kids Challenge – Introduced in 2008, this elementary school-based program is designed to combat the rising rates of childhood obesity by challenging youngsters to increase their physical activity and make good nutrition choices. The top participating schools and classrooms win grants to purchase fitness equipment or enhance health and wellness programming for their school.
- Good for the Neighborhood – Throughout the year, Good for the Neighborhood brings free health screenings, farmer’s markets, nutrition classes, fitness programs and more to area neighborhoods where access to health care is limited.
- Soccer for Success – Created by the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Soccer for Success uses soccer, along with nutrition education, as a way to engage kids in their health and reduce childhood obesity. Now in its 10th season, the program guides youth away from negative influences by providing them with safe places to play during after-school hours and having them work with dedicated coaches and mentors.
- Growing Up Strong – As the Foundation’s newest program, Growing Up Strong connect families, medical providers and social services to close gaps in care and ensure all children have an opportunity to start off on the right path to a healthy future.
You can keep up with all the latest Independent Health Foundation program and event information at independenthealthfoundation.org and facebook.com/IndependentHealthFoundation . All of the Foundation’s efforts are possible thanks to the generous support of Ferguson Electric, Infinit Technology Solutions, Magellan Cares Foundation and Vein Treatment Center.
The tax benefits of contributing to a Health Savings Account
Offering a high deductible health plan paired with a health savings account (HSA) is a great way to save on health care costs without hurting the overall morale of your employees . Not only does an HSA allow your employees to save for health care expenses now and into retirement, but it also provides them with many attractive tax benefits. Plus, since employer HSA contributions are tax-deductible as a business expense, you could reap some of these tax benefits, too. To learn more, visit our “A Healthy Vision” Blog.
Health and Wellness Challenge is back!
Independent Health and the Buffalo Bills are once again teaming to offer the 15th Health & Wellness Challenge, a six-week initiative that encourages people to adopt healthy habits. By meeting daily goals and completing extra challenges, your employees will earn points for a chance to win a variety of prizes, including the grand prize of tickets to a Bills home game, a $1,000 Visa® gift card and more! This spring’s Health & Wellness Challenge kicked off on April 25 and runs through June 5. Simply visit buffalobills.com/thechallenge to register today!