FedEx has a history of providing affordable health care to our employees and, like most companies, faces big challenges in continuing to do so. Projections show that FedEx health care costs will exceed $1.5 billion this year, and that number will rise. We must also adjust to the changing national health care landscape, including the costs and requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
We realized that we needed an innovative approach to meet these challenges, so in 2014, we changed our medical plan to better manage costs and launched a multiyear communications strategy to provide employees with information and tools to make more educated health care choices. We implemented a high-deductible plan with two options to meet the different needs of our employees and their families and also provided a new health reimbursement account with a company contribution to help employees pay for qualified medical expenses. We exempted primary care and prescription drugs costs from the deductible, so participants only pay coinsurance without the worry of meeting a deductible. We expanded our definition of “primary care” to include family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN, mental health/substance abuse, and convenience or urgent care clinics, broadening the opportunities to get care without having to meet the deductible.
The new plan represented a significant cultural shift — asking employees to be more accountable for their health choices to help manage costs. To educate nearly 200,000 eligible employees, FedEx adopted a comprehensive strategy that leveraged our internal “Choose Well” health and wellness campaign. We held more than 2,100 meetings; sent announcements from company leaders; and provided toolkits, videos, mailers, posters and digital messages. Most importantly, we made the campaign personal, featuring examples of how costs can add up and provided inspirational wellness testimonials from employees.
- Eighty-seven percent of employees surveyed said they understood why FedEx was making changes;
- Visits to our enrollment site increased 22 percent and use of online cost-estimator/ comparison tools rose 42 percent;
- Over 70 percent of respondents said that they had more carefully evaluated their options for 2014; and
- Over 17 percent changed plan options based on additional research.
In 2015, we will roll out wellness programs with access to well-being coaches, tracking capabilities and cost-of-service/quality tools to reduce health risks and associated medical costs. Communications efforts are underway for these programs as well as continued education around consumerism.
Ultimately, our goal is to enable our team members to make the best choices for their health and well-being while better managing coverage, care and costs.