Over the last few years, organizations across all industries have established strong Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) policies. This deliberate focus comes at a time when individuals, businesses, and investors assume greater responsibility for their impact on the planet and society. The successful adoption of ESG strategies by organizations of all sizes is a powerful repudiation of the idea that social responsibility and corporate success are mutually exclusive.
One critical element of any meaningful ESG strategy is partner selection and procurement. An organization that is authentic in its commitment to social responsibility and good corporate governance will naturally choose to work with suppliers and service providers whose own values are in alignment.
As organizations take an increasingly values-driven approach to vendor relationships, their focus must extend to their healthcare benefits partners. Despite higher healthcare spending, our nation currently ranks last in access to healthcare, equity, and outcomes among high-income countries, indicating that employees, union members, and our communities at large struggle with these fundamental necessities. In the face of that struggle, it’s both a moral and financial imperative that organizations choose to partner with healthcare benefits providers whose offerings are centered on health equity.
As your organization assesses your current or prospective healthcare partnerships, here’s what you need to be asking:
- Does this partner share your organizational values, specifically social and governance policies?
- Do they have an aligned Corporate Social Responsibility model?
- Do they come to the table with a defined approach to advancing health equity and addressing care disparities?
- Is this partner equipped to deliver culturally competent care? It’s essential that the vendor’s own DEI makeup reflects that of your organization’s population. A service-centric organization that looks and thinks like you is far better positioned to achieve the best outcomes for your workforce and your business.
A focus on equitable healthcare benefits needs to be a part of every organization’s ESG strategy, both as a moral and business imperative. With 49% of healthcare coverage and 83% of healthcare costs in the U.S. being employer-sponsored, organizations have tremendous leverage to improve their employees’ access to care by demanding better from their healthcare partners. This begins with evaluating service providers’ ability to meet the needs of the diverse workforce employers are committed to cultivating with health equity as part of that equation.