Trump administration’s new association plans will drive consumerism in healthcare

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Beginning September 1, 2018, consumers will be able to purchase health insurance through association plans. Department of Labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, expects droves of people to enroll in these plans. As in millions. Acosta wrote in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal prior to the rule’s release: “Some four million additional Americans will enroll in, and benefit from, AHPs within a few years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Among the enrollees will be about 400,000 Americans who are currently uninsured.”[1]

According to an article in Health Payer Intelligence, “The plans have been intended to provide less expensive options for small businesses, regional collectives, and industry groups that may not be able to purchase insurance through the public exchanges.”[2]

The less expensive option will appeal to many Americans who have had to deal with increases in deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. Small to medium-sized companies as well as sole proprietors will move to these plans. One self-employed couple in Tennessee recently opted to go with Farm Bureau’s association and saved $7,500 in annual premiums. This type of savings puts money back into consumers’ wallets and allows them to use those funds for actual healthcare services rather than just premiums. In addition, those are dollars that come directly from the consumer, which makes the consumer/employee pickier in terms of which provider he or she selects.

Then you have self-insured companies such as Boeing, Cisco, Intel and Walmart becoming more involved in managing their employees’ health and health benefits by bypassing insurers altogether. For example, “instead of looking to health insurers to help control the rising cost of employee health benefits, Cisco Systems, an IT and networking company, directly contracted with Palo Alto, Calif.-based Stanford Health,” according to Becker’s Hospital Review.[3] The Stanford system is able to drive down costs for Cisco by 10 percent. Intel is offering its employees a similar plan called Connected Care and reports saving 17 percent on healthcare costs for the 38,000 employees enrolled in the plan.[4]

The new association plans, along with current efforts by companies like Boeing, Cisco, Intel and Walmart to completely bypass insurers will change the face of healthcare as we know it. Possibly forever.

How are healthcare providers going to compete with these disrupters? Those who change with the times and market themselves to the burgeoning associations as well as the self-insured companies stand to gain the most market share. Even though some of the companies are large, most of these deals are local or regional, not national. So even independent hospitals can get in the game by joining forces with self-insured employers and the new associations that will begin popping up.

Whether you are an independent hospital or a large system, when you embrace the associations, and also reach out to self-insured employers, you need to have a platform that allows you to provide consumers a rich retail experience. HealthQRS offers you that. We have created the interface that provides a consumer-friendly “Amazon experience” in healthcare and you can implement that solution immediately. We are a software-as-a-service (SaaS), so you have no capital investment, just a low monthly fee. We also have a smartphone application that consumers can use to shop, see actual costs, schedule and pay for services with a few finger taps.

Our e-commerce medical marketplace platform is the perfect vertical application for integrated delivery networks. Our solution provides regulation compliance and serves as a marketing tool for your services. At the same time, we will solve your bad debt issues caused by not collecting from consumers, and many other benefits. In addition, HealthQRS allows you to be compliant with the new CMS transparency rules beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

HealthQRS can also enhance your existing portals and other patient engagement solutions. Our user-friendly app points them to your portals which will improve your meaningful use numbers and increase meaningful use funds.

HealthQRS has over 15 years of experience developing healthcare retail experiences for people and our founders have over 50 combined years of e-commerce experience. We invite you to watch our user-friendly app video that you can use to win consumers. We also have a point-of-service solution video that may interest you. You can also check out our E-Commerce Medical Marketplace Flyer for more information. Why not contact us right now to schedule a personalized demo? We’re ready to help you gain market share and secure your financial outlook.

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[1] Alexander Acosta, “A Health Fix for Mom and Pop shops,” Wall Street Journal, Jun 18, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-health-fix-for-mom-and-pop-shops-1529363643?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=2

[2] Thomas Beaton, “Department of Labor Finalizes Association Health Plan Expansion,” Jun. 19, 2018, Health Payer Intelligence, https://healthpayerintelligence.com/news/department-of-labor-finalizes-association-health-plan-expansion?eid=CXTEL000000260100&elqCampaignId=5529&elqTrackId=120511b6066b49318bd19cc998bb2277&elq=40d7c41d61164d7c9f37e76edc88c3aa&elqaid=5931&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=5529

[3] Ayla Ellison, “Boeing, Cisco, Intel and Walmart are bypassing insurers to drive down healthcare costs,” Becker’s Hospital Review, Jun. 11, 2018, https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/boeing-cisco-intel-and-walmart-are-bypassing-insurers-to-drive-down-healthcare-costs.html

[4] Ibid.

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