It is essential to prepare consumers with all of the information they need to make the best medical plan choice for their families. Deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and numerous other line items can be overwhelming for an employee to evaluate and predict what they need. Therefore, it is crucial that human resources departments prepare and inform their employees of all of the options available. The simplest method to assure that employees are not underinsured or over-insured is to offer digital tools like medical cost estimators. There is a wide array of resources that offer these digital tools, such as the medical carriers or through third parties.

Medical cost estimators are beneficial, but employers have to consider their user-friendliness, pricing and the value they add to the customer’s decision process. As an example, if a customer has allergies but can only find asthma on the medical cost estimator he or she may not be able to accurately gauge their medical costs. With this in mind, employers should assess the various options provided by medical carriers and third parties and then select the best overall digital tool for their company.

Medical carriers can provide a valuable resource through offering health care cost estimator tools, because of their extensive details on pricing and benefits, along with the deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and other options within the plans. Additionally, this can be an economical and effective option for employers because it may be bundled into the existing health care plan that they purchase for their employees.

The majority of health care providers such as Anthem, Aetna, Cigna, Humana and United Healthcare all have medical cost estimators. This is important to consider when selecting what company is best for the employee base. Anthem differs in the fact that it has a cost estimator tool through WebMD, which can be accessed without having a plan. Likewise, United Healthcare also allows access to their cost estimator without a plan. This can be helpful in allowing employers and even their employees to test an estimator as part of the selection process of medical providers and plans.

For consumers who are not looking for specific carrier information, there are third party consumer medical cost estimators that provide general pricing information. The third party websites are typically cheaper, if not free. These tools can lack specific pricing because they may not include the negotiated fees that medical carriers receive and the differences between one-off procedures instead of how it fits into an overall plan. They are better suited for preliminary research, not final decision-making.

The third party consumer medical cost estimators can provide a general idea, by asking if the consumer has insurance and giving an estimate based on information such as the person’s zip code and procedure. Two user-friendly and free third party estimators include Healthcare Bluebook and Fair Health Consumer Look up. While these tools are a beneficial resource, it is important to remember that the information they provide is just an estimate.

In the digital world, cost estimator tools and other medical resources can assist employers and employees save money and better prepare themselves for selecting medical coverage. The experts at McGohan Brabender will show you how digital tools can guide employers to provide coverage that best suits their needs.

For 40 years, McGohan Brabender has been simplifying the delivery of health benefits. We are passionate about what we do and have the tools and experience to guide you through the chaos of health benefits management.