The Principal Financial Group says it is using modeling and disease management techniques to help improve the health of employees of medical plan sponsors.[@@]

The cost-cutting strategy is designed to identify and evaluate health care quality, evaluate potential health risks and take other actions to improve the health of medical plan members, the company says.

The analytical tools help identify health care risks or chronic conditions that may lead to sizeable claims, according to Krista Richmond of the national accounts division of the Principal.

“Once we identify a risk, we implement a process that engages the plan member to better manage his or her health and mitigate that risk,” says Richmond.

Around 99% of the Principal’s medical insurance customers participate in the care- management program, the company says.

It uses predictive modeling techniques to forecast future medical risks and costs. Then it combines this data with additional statistical reports to place plan members in the medical management program that can offer the most benefit.

This effort has helped increase referral volume to disease and care management programs by as much as 29%, the company says.

“The Principal is catching conditions earlier and initiating contact with members to help members manage their conditions and reduce the overall claims impact,” says Richmond.

In addition, the Principal gives employers an annual report on cost and clinical utilization trends that includes recommendations designed to improve their plans’ performance.

The Principal’s own research shows that three-fourths of American workers would accept health screenings if offered by their employer. Of employees with access to screenings, 84% participated, and of those, 47% eat healthier and 45% exercise more, the company found.