NEAS Launches Innovative Program to Simplify and Optimize Benefit Use While Supporting Employee Well-Being

Waukesha, WI, March 24, 2009 --( NEAS, an industry leader in behavioral health solutions, has launched CarePartners, a unique service that fully integrates, simplifies and optimizes use of an employer’s benefit portfolio, while simultaneously supporting employee health through Well-Being Coaching.

Many employee benefits, which are central to recruitment, retention and wellness, are increasingly complex, siloed by multiple vendors and, when problems arise, time-consuming to navigate. What’s more, those benefits designed to support positive behavior change, such as wellness, EAP, work/life and disease management programs, often lack adequate one-to-one support for the individual user. In fact, leading studies suggest more than half of employees are co-pay and deductible illiterate and they don’t understand basic fees or how to use a health account (1).

Employers are increasingly turning to organizations to serve as advocates on behalf of workers who need assistance navigating the health care system (2). According to a study by Enterprising Women, coordinated healthcare programs can eliminate 18% to 20% of healthcare events that never needed to occur (3).

Given that health care spending is slated to increase at a rate greater than inflation (4), CarePartners comes at a time when employers are looking for ways to improve the value of their benefit dollars. Thomas Schwartz, Director of Total Rewards at ProHealth Care, Inc., couldn’t agree more. ProHealth Care began utilizing CarePartners in January of 2009 when they anticipated an increase in calls after transitioning to different benefit carriers. “It has been a major assist to my department as we launched a totally new benefits structure. They have been able to field many calls, taking the burden off of our shoulders, and spend time with the employees educating them in the new programs and processes.” Schwartz said. He went on to say that their partnership also includes working collaboratively to identify the most popular call reasons, and then customizing employee communications to address specific concerns.”

CarePartners provides:

• Benefit information, decision support and hands-on referrals to simplify access and promote optimal and cost effective use.
• Advocacy for addressing impediments and errors encountered by benefit users, saving them time, money and consternation.
• Well-being Coaching to support positive behavior change, using assessments and methods reflecting an evidence-based systems approach to change, rather than a narrow, siloed protocol focused on one health or lifestyle concern.

CarePartners makes financial sense. “In this economy, benefit portfolios need to include person-to-person assistance to help employees and beneficiaries engage available resources quickly and effectively,” said Philip Chard, President and CEO of NEAS. “For employers, this is a bottom line issue,” Chard said. “Benefits are a recruitment and retention tool, and, by using CarePartners, can also be a conduit for promoting employee well-being, engagement and sustained behavior change.”

According to Watson Wyatt (5), the number one challenge employers face in maintaining affordable benefit coverage is employee’s poor health habits. The report further identifies the number two driver to constraining health care cost is information delivery.

CarePartners addresses both of these challenges head on. Through single-source call center integration, decision support, advocacy, motivational interviewing and Well-Being Coaching, CarePartners specialists approach each member interaction as an opportunity to simplify, expedite and optimize the user experience.

“CarePartners helps employees understand and optimize their use of benefits provided by their employer,” said Denise Shields, PhD, Manager of CarePartners. “Often, employees and their beneficiaries don’t grasp what benefits are available, how to best use them, what to do when problems arise, or how to properly engage various benefit resources to support their own well-being,” Shields said.

CarePartners is hands-on and results oriented. It is a people intensive program that transcends online tools, overcomes miscommunication caused by vendor silos, expands the narrower focus of wellness coaching or disease management, and helps motivate members to engage in sustained behavior change focused on their well-being. Employees enjoy a friendly and effective user experience, while employers make the most of their investment in their benefit offerings.

(1) EHS Today, Study Points to U.S. Workers’ Health Care Illiteracy, July 2007.
(2) Employee Benefit News, A Guide Through the Health Care Maze, January 2008.
(3) Enterprising Women, Cut Healthcare Costs by Helping Your Employees More, November 2006.
(4) The National Business Group on Health, The Imperative for Health Reform, March 2009.
(5) Watson Wyatt/NBGH, The One Percent Strategy: Lessons Learned from the Best Performers, 2008

About NEAS

NEAS is a leader in the provision of customized behavioral health solutions in the U.S. and throughout the world. We collaborate with private and public sector entities, from expansive fortune 500 corporations to small businesses, to identify and address workforce and organizational needs in such diverse areas as employee assistance, coaching, disaster management, work/life balance, employee relations, leadership development, training and benefit optimization. Distinctive in the market, NEAS is committed to delivering the highest quality of care, customer value and innovation while also carefully balancing program costs and efficiencies. NEAS is accredited by the Council on Accreditation/Employee Assistance Society of North America (COA/EASNA), a distinction reserved for those firms that meet the highest standards of quality behavioral care. For more information, call 866-332-9595 or visit:

NEAS, Inc.
Carrie Reuter