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Health Advocacy: Definition & Benefits

The healthcare system is confusing, fragmented, and frustrating. At best, employee healthcare benefits and how to navigate the healthcare system have existed in clunky and inconvenient places. At worst, they’ve been restrictive and appear unsupportive of your organizational values and unapproachable to employees.

Understanding employee healthcare advocacy is critical for bridging the gap between complex healthcare systems and employee needs.

Although both employees and employers pay for healthcare benefits, employees are the end-to-end users of their health insurance. Employees that delay or avoid care or make poor choices for where to get care can face negative outcomes and increased healthcare costs, influencing an organization’s overall expense.

The health advocacy definition highlights the role of supporting individuals to make informed healthcare decisions and navigate healthcare systems effectively.

Employers are expected, on average, to spend $13,800 on each employee’s healthcare in 2023, according to AON. Yet, with only 12% of the population feeling that they have sufficient literacy to navigate the complex landscape of health care, your organization may encounter even higher costs. 

As an HR benefits professional, your success depends on more than acquiring employee benefits. Self-insured organizations wanting to contain healthcare costs in 2023 and beyond need to reexamine how access fits into their benefits strategy. With this in mind, many employers begin to explore benefits navigation platforms and health advocacy solutions to increase accessibility; however, it is crucial to understand the differences between these solutions and what traditional programs offer. Your choices will impact employee engagement, health outcomes, and cost savings. 

What is a benefits navigation platform? 

A benefits navigation platform provides a single point of access for all benefits. They help employees get care by personalizing the healthcare experience by making the right choice easy for wherever they are in their healthcare journey. 

As a digital front door, benefits navigation platforms provide an array of services that help employees identify and maximize the use of benefits, resources, and programs offered by their employer, including: 

  • Health plan details 
  • Health insurance accumulators and claims 
  • Healthcare transparency and procedure cost comparison tools 
  • Steerage to high-value care 
  • A digital benefits wallet 
  • Health and wellbeing programs, including HRA, preventive and chronic condition gaps in care programs, and biometrics 
  • Engagement levers, including communications, challenges, recognition, rewards, and incentives 
  • Integrated coaching, programs, benefits, and partners 

Today, most benefits navigation solutions only see single-digit percentage point utilization. The reason is that benefits are not top of mind for employees. Healthcare navigation solutions traditionally do not have the data insights or roots in behavioral science to actively embed themselves into employee’s daily routines. They therefore are unable to address the access gap needed to drive sustained engagement. 

Personalized healthcare access for all can improve health outcomes

The National Academy of Medicine reports that 80-90% of an individual’s health status is comprised of a person’s lifestyle and environment, including social determinants of health. By understanding each person’s unique needs and recognizing the fundamental flaws in our healthcare system, including access to healthcare, cost, and proactive preventive care, employers can now create more robust benefits strategies to address the complete care journey and mitigate risk. 

The key to success is personalized health, wellbeing, and benefits navigation and health advocacy solutions built on the science of behavior change to remove barriers and connect people to care earlier in their health journey. 

These complete solutions, such as Personify Health’s Homebase for Health, connect data, people, and technology to help employees develop healthy routines, manage chronic conditions, and navigate complex care needs through digital and human-to-human experiences. This approach creates a unified experience that delivers health outcomes across the entire care continuum. 

To change lives for good and your bottom line, choose a personalized healthcare solution that improves the health and wellbeing of your total population. To learn more about VP Navigate with advocacy and how it can transform your organization, schedule a demo today