The AQuity 360 Blog Series – Part 5: Are you digging deeply enough into your data?

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AQ Group Solutions is proud to present The AQuity 360 Blog Series as part of The AQuity 360 Program, helping you to avoid The Reactive Decision Trap. Read this series to see how your organization can build a human capital strategy that proactively aligns with your business strategy and goals.

Part 5:  Are you digging deeply enough into your data?

Analyzing data is an important piece of any benefits plan management strategy.  Along with ensuring that a plan’s design aligns with your company’s benefits philosophy and business objectives, plan data provides plan sponsors with a snapshot of their plan’s performance.  Claims history is compared against premium projected at the beginning of the plan year and the carrier’s breakeven point as a measure of “success” in both design and pricing.

Many organizations rely on information they receive from their insurance carrier, often at renewal.  This information on claims history can provide a look into an organization’s claims patterns and changes from year to year.  These same organizations often use this information to make decisions about cost containment or plan design changes.  But are they digging deeply enough into their data?

Reliance on aggregated claims data does not always provide plan sponsors with the context or detail required to make strategic decisions that address the root of a claims pattern issue.  For example, dental claims that have been exceeding projected costs could cause an employer to simply reduce the annual combined maximum between basis and major treatments and services, however, a deeper dive into the data might reveal that a company’s hiring initiative overseas has resulted in the hiring of a large number of new employees who have never had dental benefits before, and have more dependents on their certificate than their Canadian counterparts.  A marked increase in drug claims might be due to a widespread health issue in the employee population, or it might be one biologic drug prescribed to one employee, or to one employee’s spouse.  A spike in EAP utilization might be due to a problem in the workplace, or it could be because of increased awareness of the program after a lunch and learn held by Workplace Health and Safety about recognizing and managing stress in the workplace.

At first glance at any of these issues, an employer concerned about costs might remove benefits or reduce maximums under a plan in order to slow or arrest benefit plan costs.  However, these examples illustrate that a deeper dive into claims data, along with a look into corporate context, Human Resources data and WCB/WSIB data may point your response to a claims problem in a much difference direction.  In any of these situations, reducing benefits is probably not the best response, and may cause other issues like employee dissatisfaction, employees devaluing the plan and then the workplace, and employee retention.

Protect the value and integrity of your plan by digging deeper.  Consider multiple sources of information and the potential context of an issue, and avoid the Reactive Decision Trap.


At AQ Group Solutions we believe that every successful organization requires a human capital strategy that proactively aligns with their business strategy and goals.  We created The AQuity 360 Program™ to help you avoid The Reactive Decision Trap™, save time and make more money, attract and retain more great people, and achieve your business goals.

Your business decisions require strategic planning and precision alignment to your overall objectives. Why should your benefits be any different?  Call us to find out how you can strategically align your benefits to your corporate and financial objectives.