The Principal Financial Group has developed a comprehensive educational program to help consumers and health members better understand their benefits and take charge of their health. Members with medical coverage issued or administered by Principal Life can go online to access their group medical benefit information, including claim status, booklets, explanation of benefit statements and Principal Reimbursement Arrangement balances (if applicable).

All of this information is available under the "Health" tab after the member has logged into the secured section of www.principal.com. A toll-free number answered by employee benefit professionals is also available for those with questions related to their medical benefits, coverages, claims and network provider options.

"Our goal is to improve the health of our members, and lower overall costs by empowering employees in decision making, and assisting them in navigating the healthcare system," said Gary Cain, senior vice president of the Life & Health Segment and leader of the Medical Division of the Principal Financial Group. "Whether it takes place online or over the phone, The Principal is committed to helping customers feel comfortable in learning more about their benefits and wellness, including providing a personal touch when it's needed most."   

Members of the company's health coverage have access to several valuable "healthy resources" by logging on to the secured site on www.principal.com including:

  • Healthcare Advisor - This interactive tool helps health care members make key health decisions through a step-by-step process. Members gather background information about a specific condition or procedure, including who treats it, what can be expected as part of the treatment, etc. The member can then research and compare facilities that provide the treatment based on the importance of the criteria he/she has selected, such as the number of patients treated, complications and post-operative infection rates and accreditation. The tool also provides the opportunity for members to participate in online community discussions to learn more about procedures and gain access to additional links related to the treatment options.
  • Cost Related Information - By using this online tool, health care members are able to view a range of inpatient costs related to a specific procedure by facility, giving them the information necessary to better plan the out-of-pocket costs they might incur (should they choose the particular procedure and facility), as well as a better understanding of the total costs for their health care.
  • Programs & Services - Members can learn more about the company's member care management programs, including the employer-elected prenatal program, which provides expectant mothers prenatal assessments and specialized information to help them through their pregnancy.
  • All health care consumers interested in researching information online (members and non-members) have access to several additional resources, including:
  • Provider Directory - Consumers can quickly search for providers by network, provider type or by name. The Provider Directory is searchable in English or Spanish.
  • Health Assessments - The Principal launched a series of health assessment tools on the company's Principal Health News Web site earlier this year, which include four categories: General Health, Cardiac Health, Diabetes and Fitness. Each assessment takes only minutes to complete. Afterward, the user receives a summary of recommended lifestyle changes they can make to improve their health, as well as positive feedback on what they're doing right. The results are followed by links to self-care centers, calculators and other resources for further research.
  • Principal Health News - Consumers can search for information on illnesses and conditions, fitness and nutrition, men's/women's health or pregnancy. This resource also provides several health calculators.
  • Prescription Drug Tools - Health care consumers can look up prescription drug coverage information, potential drug interactions and find nearby pharmacists. Members can order prescriptions. 

For those experiencing a medical situation, or receiving professional medical care, The Principal provides health members a variety of member care management programs. When faced with a serious illness, skilled nurses help members understand and better use the healthcare system and their benefits. The inpatient hospital care program uses a team of nurses to help members manage hospital stays by answering questions, following inpatient care to help the member receive appropriate, timely and quality services, and helping to coordinate any care after release. Transplant coordinators provide information and assistance throughout a member's transplant care program.
For women expecting a new baby, nurses specializing in maternity care work one-on-one with mothers-to-be to identify health risks and help improve newborn outcomes. The Principal also works with a leading provider of disease management programs to give members access to specialized assistance to help them control and manage chronic health care needs and improve their overall health status.

"All of these 'healthy resources' are intended to encourage healthy lifestyles, resulting in a happier, more productive workforce in total, and help to control total costs within the health care system," said Cain. "Managing health care costs is everyone's responsibility, and we're working to do our part."

Source: Principal Financial Group

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