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Paramedicals and Wellness

Published by Richard Fedele in Opinion Blog · 15/7/2015 17:17:28
Tags: ParamedicalsandWellness


Richard Fedele

Founder/President
Lifestyle Wellness Benefits Inc.

Paramedicals and Wellness


What are Paramedicals?

Employees know paramedicals as the added benefit that comes attached to their health and dental plan.  In the simplest sense, this is what it is.

Employers view paramedicals as added medical related benefits that add value to their benefits program with the potential of augmenting treatments for quicker results.  This too is accurate in its simplest form.

Paramedicals, from an insurers marketing perspective, are extra, non-essential, benefits that augment the program which assists their customers with employee retention and cost control.  

Have the insurers achieved their goals?  In many ways they have however, in the most important way of cost control, they have not!

Paramedicals original purpose.
The disciplines that are included in a paramedical program are preventative and proactive services.  Services such as these are more relatable to wellness than they are to medical and pharmaceutical benefits.  Why then, are they grouped into a reactive product such as health benefits?

Originally, the purpose of paramedicals, at least from a marketing perspective, was to control the usage of group benefits, thus controlling costs that seemed to be uncontrollable at the time.  This was accomplished by adding benefits that were not drug related whereby the healing process can be sped up and prevention can be promoted by utilizing non-medical services such as massage therapists, chiropractors, physio therapy and others.

What happened?
As paramedicals became mainstream and including these benefits became expected, plan designs began to change in a direction that turned these services from preventative and proactive to fully reactive in nature.  Abuse and fraud became a staple of these services whereby control measures had to be enforced to control the spending.  Measures were implemented such as more restrictive annual maximums, per appointment restrictions, medical doctor’s recommendations and others.

What happened to controlling costs and being preventative?  

Paramedical plan design does not promote prevention or cost control.  In fact, with its current design, many employees view the benefit as an opportunity to take from their employers a little more of what they deserve.  This attitude, in the end, hurts the bottom line for the employer and most importantly, takes away from employees that genuinely need to utilize these benefits to heal quicker and learn about prevention.

Making Paramedicals Work

Paramedicals include services that are preventative and proactive in healing.  These are wellness benefits, not medical and pharmaceutical benefits.  Utilizing a wellness model where these services can be accessed readily will benefit the company by lowering benefit costs and improve productivity.  

What about the cost?  In a proactive system, the benefit will pay the reimbursement to the employee for 50% or less of each invoice.  In order for the employee to abuse the program, they would have to pay more money out of pocket which deters them from this practice.

What about the employees that truly need this benefit?  Paramedicals can be available for greater reimbursement for unique situations such as accidents and catastrophic illnesses.

Finally, rolling your paramedicals into a wellness group product will offer greater choice and results.