Negotiation of Health Plan Rates and Premiums

May 8, 2024

As an Executive or HR Staff responsible for your employee health plan, we completely understand the challenges that loom – especially those as large as managing health plan rates for your organization. 

Healthcare costs impact both employers and employees. And, the burden of escalating healthcare expenses can be staggering, impacting everything from your bottom line to your employees’ personal finances and financial well-being

Costs for healthcare plans continue to rise every year, and there is no plateauing in site.

This facet of managing employee healthcare plans is high stakes, which makes effective negotiations that much more important. By securing better health plan rates, your organization can safeguard its financial health while ensuring employees receive the care they need. 

The Art of Health Plan Negotiation

Negotiation is a multifaceted process that requires planning and skillful execution. To navigate this terrain successfully, it’s important to understand the fundamental elements. Here are key items to keep in mind:

  • Preparation is paramount – Before the negotiation, ensure you successfully gather pertinent data, set clear objectives for the negotiation and have a complete understanding of the healthcare landscape.
  • Collect valuable insights – Consider market rates and industry trends you will need to enter negotiations with confidence and clarity. Leverage these insights to your advantage, comparing your current rates to market rates, and work to lower costs based on the data you have. 
  • Effective communication – Fostering open dialogue and building trust between parties is a critical aspect of negotiating health plan rates. By laying the groundwork for effective communication, you’re more likely to have productive conversations that yield mutually beneficial results. 

Totem’s Approach to Health Plan Fixed Costs and Premiums

At Totem, we pride ourselves on our unique approach to healthcare. And that approach is rooted in our commitment to provide clients with real solutions that drive down costs. 

For clients who choose self-funded plans, we focus on creative negotiations with stop-loss carriers and third-party administrators to manage fixed costs. 

When it comes to stop-loss negotiations, we consider captive as a strategy and evaluate the appropriate specific deductible and aggregate specific deductibles to reduce fixed costs while reducing the overall health plan budget.

As for our approach to negotiating fully insured rates, we leverage an innovative and strategic approach backed by data and underwriting expertise to secure the best rates for our clients while maintaining quality healthcare solutions.

Leveraging Data for Better Deals

When entering a healthcare negotiation, data is power. Claims data, industry benchmarks and utilization patterns offer invaluable insights into plan performance and cost drivers. 

By harnessing this information, you can bolster your position and drive more favorable terms. Analyzing historical data can reveal opportunities for cost savings and efficiency improvements, guiding negotiations toward optimal outcomes. 

Additionally, benchmarking against industry standards provides context and validation, empowering you to advocate for fair and competitive rates. By leveraging data strategically, your company can strengthen its negotiating positions and secure better deals for employees.

Beyond Price Negotiation

While securing favorable rates is undoubtedly crucial, negotiation extends far beyond price concessions. Forward-thinking companies recognize the importance of advocating for value-add services and innovative care models that enhance the overall employee experience. 

Whether it’s expanded telehealth options, wellness programs, or personalized care initiatives, you should strive to negotiate for solutions that prioritize both cost savings and quality outcomes. By embracing a comprehensive approach to negotiation, your company can position itself as an industry leader and champion of employee well-being.

Take Action: Reduce Your Health Plan Rates

When handling healthcare benefits administration, negotiation remains an indispensable tool for driving positive change. By mastering the art of negotiation and leveraging data-driven insights, you can secure better health plan rates and improve the overall employee experience. 

As HR professionals and finance leaders, it’s critical to embrace negotiation as a core competency and invest in ongoing learning and development. For more information on lowering your healthcare plan prices, connect with a Totem Team member today. 

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