You can enhance the employee experience – and reduce waste and inefficiency – by holding a vendor summit for your health benefit programs.

Employers often organize health-related benefit programs as independent “silos.” There might be one silo for wellness programs, one silo for pharmacy benefit management and another for third-party administration/health benefits, for example.

The result can be a patchwork of overlapping vendors, who often target the same group of employees and family members with chronic conditions.

The Vendor Summit

A vendor summit brings together all your vendors to identify services and set goals as part of an integrated approach to health, disability and absenteeism. The Alliance helped employers who self-fund their health benefits hold a vendor summit as part of our Value-Based Benefit Design pilot.

If you decide to hold a vendor summit, plan to invite all the vendors who help you manage health-related services to a meeting held early in your plan year. Your invitation list should include:

    • TPA for self-funded employers or your health insurer for fully-insured employers
    • Primary network (The Alliance) for self-funded employers

The Sustainable Change Cycle

The Sustainable Change Cycle should guide your vendor summit efforts. [View larger image]

  • Pharmacy benefit manager
  • Employee assistance program
  • Wellness
  • Disease management/care management
  • Disability
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Broker/consultant
  • Any internal resources that impact employee health benefits.

Focus Your Efforts

Before you hold your summit, you should analyze your benefit data to identify the top three to five conditions driving health care costs. This information will be invaluable in working with vendors and setting goals.

The next step is to create a shared vision to present to vendors. This vision typically has a dual focus:

  1. Enhancing the employee experience.
  2. Reducing waste and inefficiency in your benefit program.

You should also set goals for your vendor summit. These goals might include:

  • Establish a foundation for partnership
  • Identify a condition or conditions to focus on for the coming year.
  • Determine how vendors can help improve outcomes for those conditions.
  • Create communication and action plans for the coming year.

Ask Vendors to Do Their Homework

Now you’re ready to invite vendors to the half-day, face-to-face summit. As part of the invitation, ask the vendor to do “homework” in advance by identifying the top five conditions that impact your
health benefit costs and employee productivity.

Ask the vendors to explain what information led them to identify these five conditions and share their ideas for obtaining additional information or data. In addition, ask vendors to explain who gets vendor reports and how often those reports are available.

Now you’re ready to dig into the heart of the vendor summit: identifying conditions to target in the coming year and setting goals for each condition. I’ll cover that in Part 2, which will be posted on Jan. 27.

More information

Jesse Oberloh

Jesse Oberloh

Jesse Oberloh was manager of member services for The Alliance from 2009 through January 2015. He worked with Alliance members to help them achieve their goals for strategically managing health benefits. Prior to joining The Alliance, Jesse worked at M3 Insurance. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Jesse Oberloh