Insurance News

In the Future of Healthcare, Self-Funded Plan Sponsors Control Spend and Experience

In the Future of Healthcare, Self-Funded Plan Sponsors Control Spend and Experience 1200 713 Apostrophe Health

Now is the time to make America’s broken healthcare work for your members.

In this 30-minute webinar, The Future of Healthcare: Back to the Doctor, we had a thought-provoking discussion about:

  • How “panic purchasing” of medical services will hit your bottom line
  • Ways to leverage plan design to offset utilization surges
  • Why legacy insurance carriers will win with provider price-gouging
  • Reference-based pricing use cases and success stories

Featured speakers included: 

  • Brenda Manning, Sales Executive at Peterson McGregor & Associates
  • Cheryl Kellond, Apostrophe CEO & Co-Founder
  • Jesse Gomez, Apostrophe SVP of Sales & Marketing
Future of Healthcare II – Back to the Doctor Webinar

In the past three months, appointments for preventative care for chronic diseases have dropped 70%. One-third of patients are still not comfortable going back to the doctor. Physicians who perform elective procedures have seen a 95% reduction in patient volume. 

Patients will return to the doctor and postponed procedures will be rescheduled. When they do, there’s going to be a supply and demand surge, as Gomez explained.

When we do start to normalize in 2021, he says self-funded plan sponsors are going to find themselves in a “very dire situation wishing they’d made plan changes in 2020 in anticipation. Right now, they’re a bit lulled as claim costs go down, and they’re not really thinking about this wave that may come…and the implications it will have for them.” 

The way our panel sees it, self-funded plan sponsors have an incredible opportunity right now to change everything about their plan design, cost, and experience. They have far more control than they realize to get out from under the “broken” system that has cost them too much for far too long. 

CASE STUDY: SEE APOSTROPHE IN ACTION

Watch the video to hear Manning’s entire story, but here’s the lightning bolt moment of the conversation! 

Last year, Manning transitioned a self-funded employer in Michigan from a PPO plan to  Apostrophe Health Intelligent Health Benefits. They negotiated direct contracts with local high-performing providers and health systems. And they implemented a year-long communication strategy to educate employees on getting the most from their benefits plan.

The results? An ASTONISHING $1.2 million in savings! 

  • 250 multi-state employees
  • Based in Michigan
  • Medicare as baseline + 150% markup
  • 52% reduced healthcare spend the first year
  • $1.2 million savings

That $1.2 million savings? It will be reinvested in the company.

“Those dollars are so important to reinvest for R&D, wage growth, and viability and sustainability,” said Jesse Gomez. “Healthcare dollars eat so much of [a company’s] ability to compete, when there are, quite frankly, common sense, practical ways to manage healthcare spend.” 

What could YOU do with plan savings like this? Let us help you achieve similar results.

How Coloradans Can Save on Healthcare When We All Go Back to the Doctor

How Coloradans Can Save on Healthcare When We All Go Back to the Doctor 1032 600 Apostrophe Health

Now is the time for Colorado’s self-insured plan sponsors to reconsider the value of your health plans.

Right now, an opportunity exists to take back control of healthcare costs, embrace innovation and improve the overall quality of care. We believe this is a time for optimism. When we can all finally return to the doctor, Apostrophe members will do so with confidence knowing our smart shopper program is saving them money.

When we talk about the future of healthcare, we anticipate a substantial period of recovery in which providers will seek to recoup losses. To do so, cost of care and treatment will increase and legacy insurance rates will rise in response. 

Coloradans are already paying 269%* over Medicare rates for their healthcare. It’s the 6th highest markup over Medicare rate in the U.S.

It’s too soon to know what will happen to that rate as part of the post-COVID recovery. Are you prepared for an expected increase in healthcare costs?  

Apostrophe Intelligent Health Benefits are uniquely positioned to take on this challenge and put our self-insured plan sponsors ahead of the “what’s next” curve.

FIXING HEALTHCARE IN AMERICA STARTS WITH COLORADO PLAN SPONSORS

Apostrophe’s Intelligent Health Benefits put the self-funded plan sponsor back in control of spend and experience.

We took the direct-purchase plans modeled by Lowe’s and Boeing and made them accessible to mid-size, self-insured plan sponsors. It’s no longer a luxury reserved for the biggest corporate players. It’s a necessity your members deserve.

With Apostrophe, your members enjoy better benefits for less money. Intelligent Health Benefits include:

  • All providers treated as in-network. We eliminated confusing rules and penalties.
  • Cut out middlemen with common sense purchasing. Save with direct contracts, cash pay, and referenced-based payments.
  • Smart shopper and $0 care options. Members save on out-of-pocket expenses by choosing our partner providers.
  • White glove Member Care. Advocacy and expert support to navigate the healthcare system.

SMART SHOPPER SAVINGS ARE MORE ACCESSIBLE THAN A 14’ER

When health systems and private physician practices re-open, they’ll work to quickly overcome the financial losses incurred during the closure. Their patients will pay for it. Apostrophe Members won’t feel that strain, though, with smart shopper rates insulating them from any reactionary rate hikes.

In fact, we expect these rate increases to change member behavior for the better:

  • Greater reliance on Apostrophe’s existing suite of virtual healthcare tools
  • Shopping around for the best treatment and care options
  • Cost-conscious decision making

Apostrophe smart shopper program enables our members to be more informed, smarter healthcare consumers. This is what Better Benefits for Less Money looks like in action.

The process of researching providers and fair rates against benefit availability can be overwhelming. But when our members need a procedure or treatment outside of standard office visits, Apostrophe smart shopper helps them identify high-quality and cost-effective options right here in Colorado. The advocacy of white glove Member Care ensures that our members feel supported and informed when making healthcare decisions. 

Apostrophe smart shopper is available for:

  • MRI or CT at free-standing imaging centers
  • Colonoscopies
  • Outpatient or elective surgery
  • Musculoskeletal pain management, e.g. virtual physical therapy

Both HSA and non-HSA plans get the benefit of bundled case rates. Non-HSA plans have access to $0 member cost benefits, and HSA plans may have opportunities for account credits.**

COLORADANS DESERVE BETTER BENEFITS FOR LESS MONEY

Colorado stands out for having the very lowest mortality rates for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, and the fifth-highest life expectancy for Americans. But the Rocky Mountain state has also seen health insurance premiums rise 50% in the past 10 years. Wages in Colorado have remained flat since 2000, and workers can’t keep up with inflation (which is growing faster than the national average).  

“Most Coloradans struggle to keep up with rising prices,” acknowledged The Bell Policy Center, which works to advance economic mobility in Colorado. 

Consider that this was all the state of things before the pandemic. There’s no way to know how soon Colorado will rebound to this normal or if things will continue to decline.

Every year when your fund renews its legacy healthcare plan with worse benefits for more money. With each renewal, you’re perpetuating a broken system that the members pay for.

Now is the time to change everything with better benefits for less money.

If you’re a self-insured plan sponsor in Colorado, we’d like to calculate the savings you’ll see when you switch to Apostrophe Intelligent Health Benefits.

Let’s talk before your next renewal.

*2019 Rand research report
**Dependent on plan design

Save on Healthcare in Houston When Health Systems Re-Open

Save on Healthcare in Houston When Health Systems Re-Open 933 630 Apostrophe Health

Now is the time for self-insured plan sponsors in Texas to reconsider the value of your health plans.

Right now, an opportunity exists to take back control of healthcare costs, embrace innovation and improve the overall quality of care in the world’s largest healthcare market.

We believe this is a time for optimism. When we can all finally return to the doctor, Apostrophe members will do so with confidence knowing our smart shopper program is saving them money.

When we talk about the future of healthcare, we anticipate a substantial period of recovery in which providers will seek to recoup losses. To do so, cost of care and treatment will increase and legacy insurance rates will rise in response. 

Texans pay 244%* over Medicare rates for their healthcare. It’s the 7th highest markup over Medicare rate in the U.S. 

It’s too soon to know what will happen to that rate as part of the post-COVID recovery. Are you prepared for the expense when healthcare costs increase? 

Apostrophe Intelligent Health Benefits are uniquely positioned to take on this challenge and put our self-insured plan sponsors ahead of the “what’s next” curve.

FIXING HEALTHCARE IN AMERICA STARTS WITH HOUSTON PLAN SPONSORS

Apostrophe’s Intelligent Health Benefits put the self-funded plan sponsor back in control of spend and experience.

We took the direct-purchase plans modeled by Lowe’s and Boeing and made them accessible to mid-size, self-insured plan sponsors. It’s no longer a luxury reserved for the biggest corporate players. It’s a necessity your members deserve.

With Apostrophe, your members enjoy better benefits for less money. Intelligent Health Benefits include:

  • All providers treated as in-network. We eliminated confusing rules and penalties.
  • Cut out middlemen with common sense purchasing. Save with direct contracts, cash pay, and referenced-based payments.
  • Smart shopper and $0 care options. Members save on out-of-pocket expenses by choosing our partner providers.
  • White glove Member Care. Advocacy and expert support to navigate the healthcare system.

SMART SHOPPER SAVINGS ARE EASIER TO TRACK THAN A HURRICANE 

When health systems and private physician practices re-open, they’ll work to quickly overcome the financial losses incurred during the closure. Their patients will pay for it. Apostrophe Members won’t feel that strain, though, with smart shopper rates helping to insulate them from any reactionary rate hikes.

In fact, we expect these rate increases to change member behavior for the better:

  • Greater reliance on Apostrophe’s existing suite of virtual healthcare tools
  • Shopping around for the best treatment and care options
  • Cost-conscious decision making

Apostrophe smart shopper program enables our members to be more informed, smarter healthcare consumers. This is what Better Benefits for Less Money looks like in action.

The process of researching providers and fair rates against benefit availability can be overwhelming. But when our members need a procedure or treatment outside of standard office visits, Apostrophe smart shopper helps them identify high-quality and cost-effective options right here in Texas. The advocacy of white glove Member Care ensures that our members feel supported and informed when making healthcare decisions. 

“I am thrilled to be able to see [my doctor] and I’m a little overwhelmed (happy) by the $0 cost for the surgery!!,” one member told us after Member Care secured a zero-dollar option.

Apostrophe smart shopper is available for:

  • MRI or CT at free-standing imaging centers
  • Colonoscopies
  • Outpatient or elective surgery
  • Musculoskeletal pain management, e.g. virtual physical therapy

Both HSA and non-HSA plans get the benefit of bundled case rates. Non-HSA plans have access to $0 member cost benefits, and HSA plans may have opportunities for account credits.**

HOUSTONIANS DESERVE BETTER BENEFITS FOR LESS MONEY

In the fourth largest city in the U.S., heart disease is the leading cause of death, followed by cancer and stroke. Life expectancy for its top 5% of earners has increased by three years, but the lowest 5% of earners saw no improvement. Nationally, Houston ranks 48th for life expectancy, while Harris County ranks 61st. 

In May 2019, workers in the Houston-metro area earned about 50 cents more per hour than the U.S. average, but low-skill jobs actually earn lower wages than national averages. 

“Over the past three decades, gains in income and wages have gone largely to the very top earners, while wages and incomes of working class and middle class workers have declined or stagnated,” reported the City of Houston.

In Texas’ largest city, health insurance deductibles, copays and out-of-pocket expenses all rose between 2016-2018, costs that greatly impacted those most affected by the wage gap.

Consider that this was all the state of things before the pandemic. There’s no way to know how Houston’s economy will respond. 

Every year, your fund renews its legacy healthcare plan with worse benefits for more money. With each renewal, you’re perpetuating a broken system that the members pay for. At the epicenter of world-class care, you’re cornered by above-market rates demanded by providers in all lines of business. 

Now is the time to change everything with better benefits for less money.

If you’re a self-insured plan sponsor in Houston, we’d like to calculate the savings you’ll see when you switch to Apostrophe Intelligent Health Benefits.

Let’s talk before your next renewal.

*2019 Rand Report
**Dependent on plan design

How Indiana Can Save on Healthcare Despite Its Medical Monopoly

How Indiana Can Save on Healthcare Despite Its Medical Monopoly 942 594 Apostrophe Health


Self-insured plan sponsors in Indiana have a real opportunity to control their health plan spend.

Right now, an opportunity exists to take back control of healthcare costs, embrace innovation and improve the overall quality of care in Indiana. We believe this is a time for optimism. When we can all finally return to the doctor, Apostrophe members will do so with confidence knowing our smart shopper program is saving them money.

When we talk about the future of healthcare, we anticipate a substantial period of recovery in which providers will seek to recoup losses. To do so, cost of care and treatment will increase and legacy insurance rates will rise in response.

It’s hard to imagine rates being any higher in Indiana, where Hoosiers already pay 311%* over Medicare for their healthcare. Indianapolis alone has the highest markup rate* in the entire U.S. 

“The typical Hoosier spends 4.4% more of their annual income on healthcare than the average American,” according to ModernHealthcare.com. 

It’s too soon to know what will happen to that rate as part of the post-COVID recovery. Are you prepared for even greater expense when healthcare costs increase?  

Apostrophe Intelligent Health Benefits are uniquely positioned to take on this challenge and put our self-insured plan sponsors ahead of the “what’s next” curve.

FIXING HEALTHCARE IN AMERICA STARTS WITH INDIANA PLAN SPONSORS

Apostrophe’s Intelligent Health Benefits put the self-funded plan sponsor back in control of spend and experience.

We took the direct-purchase plans modeled by Lowe’s and Boeing and made them accessible to mid-size, self-insured plan sponsors. It’s no longer a luxury reserved for the biggest corporate players. It’s a necessity your members deserve.

With Apostrophe, your members enjoy better benefits for less money. Intelligent Health Benefits include:

  • All providers treated as in-network. We eliminated confusing rules and penalties.
  • Cut out middlemen with common sense purchasing. Save with direct contracts, cash pay, and referenced-based payments.
  • Smart shopper and $0 care options. Members save on out-of-pocket expenses by choosing our partner providers.
  • White glove Member Care. Advocacy and expert support to navigate the healthcare system.

SMART SHOPPER SAVINGS ARE ALREADY IN INDIANA

When health systems and private physician practices re-open, they’ll work to quickly overcome the financial losses incurred during the closure. Their patients will pay for it. Apostrophe Members won’t feel that strain, though, with smart shopper rates helping to insulate them from any reactionary rate hikes.

In fact, we expect these rate increases to change member behavior for the better:

  • Greater reliance on Apostrophe’s existing suite of virtual healthcare tools
  • Shopping around for the best treatment and care options
  • Cost-conscious decision making

Apostrophe smart shopper program enables our members to be more informed, smarter healthcare consumers. This is what Better Benefits for Less Money looks like in action.

The process of researching providers and fair rates against benefit availability can be overwhelming. But when our members need a procedure or treatment outside of standard office visits, Apostrophe smart shopper helps them identify high-quality and cost-effective options right here in Indiana. The advocacy of white glove Member Care ensures that our members feel supported and informed when making healthcare decisions. 

“I am thrilled to be able to see [my doctor] and I’m a little overwhelmed (happy) by the $0 cost for the surgery!!,” one member told us after Member Care secured a zero-dollar option.

Apostrophe smart shopper is available for:

  • MRI or CT at free-standing imaging centers
  • Colonoscopies
  • Outpatient or elective surgery
  • Musculoskeletal pain management, e.g. virtual physical therapy

Both HSA and non-HSA plans get the benefit of bundled case rates. Non-HSA plans have access to $0 member cost benefits, and HSA plans may have opportunities for account credits.**

HOOSIERS DESERVE BETTER BENEFITS FOR LESS MONEY

Indiana has a monopoly problem in healthcare, according to 2019 research from the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research.

“Evidence strongly suggests healthcare markets in Indiana experience significant monopoly power, which has increased prices, allowed not-for-profit providers to accrue stunningly large profits [$82 million in excess revenue over expenses], increased the burden on Hoosier families, and likely reduced healthcare outcomes across the state,” the policy brief stated.

Expensive healthcare has far-reaching effects, including wage stagnation and fewer good jobs. And it reduces access to care—9% of Americans report delaying or avoiding care because of medical costs.

That’s all contributing to the poor state of wellness throughout the state of Indiana. It has the eighth-lowest life expectancy in the U.S. and one of the highest mortality rates for diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

THAT’S WHY THEY SAY, ANYWHERE BUT INDIANA

This unchecked market and the highest medical costs in the country keep business at bay and the hard-working residents paying outrageous out-of-pocket fees. 

But Apostrophe says, Why not Indiana? Self-insured plan sponsors have a rare opportunity to break this cycle. They have the power to control their plan’s spend and the healthcare experience of its members.

Now is the time to change everything with better benefits for less money.

If you’re a self-insured plan sponsor in Indiana, we’d like to calculate the savings you’ll see when you switch to Apostrophe Intelligent Health Benefits.

Let’s talk before your next renewal.

*2019 Rand Report
**Dependent on plan design


Michigan’s Solution for Better Health Benefits in the New Healthcare Economy

Michigan’s Solution for Better Health Benefits in the New Healthcare Economy 628 276 Apostrophe Health

Now is the time for Michigan’s self-insured plan sponsors to reconsider the value of your health plans.

Right now, an opportunity exists to take back control of healthcare costs, embrace innovation and improve the overall quality of care in Michigan. We believe this is a time for optimism. When we can all finally return to the doctor, Apostrophe members will do so with confidence knowing our smart shopper program is saving them money.

When we talk about the future of healthcare, we anticipate a substantial period of recovery in which providers will seek to recoup losses. To do so, cost of care and treatment will increase and legacy insurance rates will rise in response. 

Michiganders are paying 169%* over Medicare rates for their healthcare.

Compared to mark-up rates across the country, this is a relatively low number — but it’s just an average. Consider Michigan’s average mark-ups** for these common services:

Radiology – 260% mark-up

Colonoscopy – 177% mark-up

It’s too soon to know what will happen to that rate as part of the post-COVID recovery. Are you prepared for an expected increase in healthcare costs? 

Apostrophe Intelligent Health Benefits are uniquely positioned to take on this challenge and put our self-insured plan sponsors ahead of the “what’s next” curve. 

FIXING HEALTHCARE IN AMERICA STARTS WITH MICHIGAN PLAN SPONSORS

Apostrophe’s Intelligent Health Benefits put the self-funded plan sponsor back in control of spend and experience.

We took the direct-purchase plans modeled by Lowe’s and Boeing and made them accessible to mid-size, self-insured plan sponsors. It’s no longer a luxury reserved for the biggest corporate players. It’s a necessity your members deserve.

With Apostrophe, your members enjoy better benefits for less money. Intelligent Health Benefits include:

  • All providers treated as in-network. We eliminated confusing rules and penalties.
  • Cut out middlemen with common sense purchasing. Save with direct contracts, cash pay, and referenced-based payments.
  • Smart shopper and $0 care options. Members save on out-of-pocket expenses by choosing our partner providers.
  • White glove Member Care. Advocacy and expert support to navigate the healthcare system.

SMART SHOPPER SAVINGS: EASIER THAN WINTER IN THE MITTEN

When health systems and private physician practices re-open, they’ll work to quickly overcome the financial losses incurred during the closure. Their patients will pay for it. Apostrophe Members won’t feel that strain, though, with smart shopper rates insulating them from any reactionary rate hikes.

In fact, we expect these rate increases to change member behavior for the better:

  • Greater reliance on Apostrophe’s existing suite of virtual healthcare tools
  • Shopping around for the best treatment and care options
  • Cost-conscious decision making

Apostrophe smart shopper program enables our members to be more informed, smarter healthcare consumers. This is what Better Benefits for Less Money looks like in action.

The process of researching providers and fair rates against benefit availability can be overwhelming. But when our members need a procedure or treatment outside of standard office visits, Apostrophe smart shopper helps them identify high-quality and cost-effective options right here in Michigan. The advocacy of white glove Member Care ensures that our members feel supported and informed when making healthcare decisions. 

Apostrophe smart shopper is available for:

  • MRI or CT at free-standing imaging centers
  • Colonoscopies
  • Outpatient or elective surgery
  • Musculoskeletal pain management, e.g. virtual physical therapy

Both HSA and non-HSA plans get the benefit of bundled case rates. Non-HSA plans have access to $0 member cost benefits, and HSA plans may have opportunities for account credits.***

MICHIGANDERS DESERVE BETTER BENEFITS FOR LESS MONEY

In 2005, small employers saw premium increases and rate adjustments by the biggest insurance player in the market. The effect was not surprising: employers reduced benefits and increased employees’ premiums, copays and deductibles. Compared to the rest of the nation, Michigan’s healthcare markets have been slower to evolve than other states.

Workers here pay more than they should for healthcare because no one is challenging regional carriers and providers. Health insurance increases continue to outpace inflation and wage increases. Those wages earned by hard-working Michiganders? They’ve still yet to rebound to their pre-recession value. And now, Michigan has entered a new recession.

“The high cost of health care can be a barrier to access for both insured people (particularly those with high deductibles) and the uninsured, and costs can be particularly burdensome for people in worse health,” reported the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker.

Without access to affordable care, it stands to reason that Michiganders fall below national averages for wellness and health. The state ranks 35th for life expectancy and has some of the highest mortality rates for heart disease and cancer in the U.S.

Consider that this was all the state of things before the pandemic. There’s no way to know how soon Michigan will rebound to this normal or if things will continue to decline.

Every year, your fund renews its legacy healthcare plan with worse benefits for more money. With each renewal, you’re perpetuating a broken system that the members pay for. 

Now is the time to change everything with better benefits for less money.

If you’re a self-insured plan sponsor in Michigan, we’d like to calculate the savings you’ll see when you switch to Apostrophe Intelligent Health Benefits.

Let’s talk before your next renewal.

*2019 Rand Report
** 2019 Wakely Benchmarks Report
***depending on plan design

The Future of Healthcare is Digital — and It’s Being Fast-Tracked by COVID

The Future of Healthcare is Digital — and It’s Being Fast-Tracked by COVID 1200 600 Apostrophe Health

Virtual health care is meeting critical needs now, and will be essential to patient care during the national recovery and beyond.

There’s a constant hum around all the ways the healthcare industry needs to improve and shift. COVID-19 has been the catalyst needed to accelerate that change overnight. There’s no more waiting. The time to accept and embrace innovation is here.

Digital health care services, like telemedicine and virtual primary care, were thrust onto the frontlines of the pandemic battle. What has seen slow adoption in recent years is now gilded as essential, and will continue to play a critical role in the recovery of our overtaxed health systems.

“The social and medical practices that are happening in response to COVID-19 will remain in place when the crisis eventually subsides,” reported Eric Topol, MD, a highly regarded cardiologist and medical author. “Telemedicine will play the role of the first consultation, akin to the house-call of yore,” for a long time to come.

It will be impossible to return to normal once this has all resolved. Who would want to? The healthcare system is broken and hasn’t worked for far too long. The deficits have never been more conspicuous:

  • Trillions of dollars in overspending and unnecessary treatment
  • Out of control health care costs that increase annually, while benefits get worse
  • Complicated access to the right kind of care when it’s needed
  • A system designed to put the interests of legacy insurance companies first, not patients 

If it all seems too expensive now, wait until next year when we see the true economic fallout of the pandemic. In 2021, some are projecting as much as a 40% spike in premiums from legacy health insurance carriers. That’s a dire warning from California’s Affordable Care Act marketplace that also cautioned:

  • Increased out-of-pocket expenses for employees
  • Employers drop or reduce coverage
  • Employers shift more of the cost-share burden to employees

For as much as this is breaking our norms, finances and even spirits in the moment, employers who can embrace drastic change now are primed to fare far better on the other side.

Most companies admit that their health plan does not maximize value nor deliver truly modern benefits, per a 2019-2020 Benefit Trends Survey from via Willis Towers Watson. This is your chance to take decisive action with your company’s benefits plan and budget. 

The telehealth and virtual health care services popularized in this moment will be the saving grace of the entire industry when it’s time to repair itself. Hospitals, health systems and private practice providers will face a period of recovery.

Digital health services, as we describe below, will be:

  • Called upon to bridge the gap
  • More cost-effective, efficient and accessible
  • The new standard

TELEMEDICINE AND TELEHEALTH

“Out of every crisis, a new opportunity arises. For telehealth, it may be an opportunity whose time has finally come,” wrote Paddy Padmanabhan, author of The Big Unlock Harnessing Data and Growing Digital Health Businesses in a Value-based Care era. 

Adoption rates for telemedicine have been about 2% nationally, but Padmanabhan cited increases of 500% since coronavirus arrived.

Now that everyone’s gotten a crash course in this alternative to urgent care, we expect to see engagement continue to replace costly in-person visits.

Employers should champion this. One case study cited a company saved $6 for every $1 spent on telemedicine.

VIRTUAL PRIMARY CARE

Where telemedicine is a virtual replacement for urgent care, VPC virtually replaces the primary care office. The low or zero-dollar copays eliminate the barrier to entry, and reduce costs for employers and employees alike. For annual physicals, chronic care and disease management and self-care combined, VPC poses “an economic value of approximately $10 billion annually across the U.S. health system over the next few years.”

The on-demand availability by instant chat, video, or telephone eliminates days of waiting for appointments. Patients can see a doctor right now about any little or big concern they have. These physicians can diagnose and manage about 95% of conditions seen in-office, and can diagnose and treat about 70% of primary care health concerns (without an in-person referral).

We expect patient consumers to become much more familiar and comfortable with this method of care and standardize it going forward.

VIRTUAL PHYSICAL THERAPY

SHRM calls tele-rehab the sweet spot of telemedicine, and lauds it as a lower-cost, higher-satisfaction alternative to in-person physical therapy. Through technology as simple as Skype and as novel as 3D motion-capture, therapists can work with patients remotely and achieve positive results. 

A 2020 large employer healthcare survey found that 85% of employers ranked musculoskeletal issues as a top-three condition with the biggest impact on their costs. And a 2019 study by orthopaedic surgeons found that post-surgical tele-rehab services saved a minimum of $1,000 per patient.

VIRTUAL BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

Another sweet spot in telemedicine is virtual behavioral or mental health services. Patients use video conferencing tools from their own couch to speak with an on-demand therapist or to establish recurring therapy. Studies have found it to be just as effective as face-to-face meetings with lower attrition rates. 

Especially amongst millennials (now in their early 20s to late 30s), instances of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues have never been so high. As Americans cope with the current quarantine, and in time grapple with the emotional and economic ramifications, remote access to mental health may become the rule, not the exception.

Teletherapy apps, like that of our partner MeMD, have completely disrupted a decades-old practice in the best way. Virtual behavioral health will continue to improve access to and reduce the stigma of this necessary healthcare service.

ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS TO GET AHEAD

How much access do you and your employees have right now to this modern suite of healthcare services? Do you have any idea how much it would cost if you did?

Rising healthcare costs are one of the greatest challenges facing 80% of employers in the next 36 months. The yet-to-be-seen ramifications of COVID-19 can’t ease those concerns.

Ask your advisor: How much will my premiums increase, and benefits value decrease, in 2021?

Are you comfortable with the answer?

You can stand by and wait to see what’s going to happen to you later this year or next. Or, you can decide it’s time for your company to take control of the cost, experience and quality of your health benefits plan and demand better benefits for less money.

Apostrophe is already way ahead of that curve for plan sponsors. Our Intelligent Health Benefits:

  • Simplify and improve the member experience with white glove Member Care
  • Provide a curated suite of virtual health care solutions 
  • Collaborate with a robust roster of partners to provide telehealth and flexible payment options
  • Advocate on behalf of our members for low- and $0 treatment options with high-quality providers
  • Make price transparency the standard ahead of a federal mandate

This pandemic will impact all of us in ways we still can’t know for sure. It will not, however, eliminate your ability to transform the most expensive line in your ledger.

WATCH THE WEBINAR!

COVID-19 Exposes the Breaking Point in America’s Dysfunctional Healthcare System

COVID-19 Exposes the Breaking Point in America’s Dysfunctional Healthcare System 2083 1041 Apostrophe Health

The coronavirus pandemic poses a financial threat to American families, one the legacy insurance industry designed and will benefit from.

Half of American households don’t have as much as $4,500 in their bank accounts. Which is why “most Americans are a bad stubbed toe away from financial ruin,” according to David Chase, co-founder of Health Rosetta.

Or, just one case of coronavirus. High deductibles, excessive copays and surprise billing can devastate a family financially, especially in the face of an unexpected illness.

The coronavirus pandemic (officially known as COVID-19) is exposing just how fundamentally broken the American healthcare system really is. Under the most expensive healthcare system in the world, a family with little discretionary funds would be hit hard by the $3,270 bill for coronavirus treatment a Miami man received last week.  

While the CDC is not billing for testing (that’s right, you won’t be charged for COVID-19 lab tests), related treatment expenses from hospital stays and medications won’t necessarily get the same free pass.

On March 11, President Trump said “leaders of [the] health insurance industry…have agreed to waive all co-payments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments and to prevent surprise medical billing.”

However, that same night, a spokesperson for the major insurance lobby America’s Health Insurance Plans’ made an important clarification to Politico. They will only waive co-pays “For testing. Not for treatment.” This rare sign of decency from traditional carriers won’t play out exactly as the president described. AHIP said even less in their public statement, and didn’t address cost at all.

The decades-long effect of outrageous billing schemes from these legacy insurance companies has dangerous effects, which includes avoidance of care when people need it most.

No one should avoid testing or treatment, for coronavirus or any other ailment or disease, because they fear the unknown and potential financial setback from medical bills.

This is the problem with America’s broken healthcare system

NOW IS THE TIME FOR INTELLIGENT HEALTH BENEFITS

Most insured Americans are flying blind at each doctor, hospital or ER visit. There aren’t published rates, there’s not much clarity around who’s in network, and you’re at the mercy of the provider to run any lab or scan they see fit. It gets unnecessarily expensive very quickly. 

There’s enough panic around the outbreak without igniting fear over bankruptcy and financial ruin because someone in your family gets sick.  

Apostrophe’s direct-purchase model does away with the waste and helps self-insured employers control costs for better benefits for their team. We’re committed to:

  • Simplify the experience and billing process
  • Be transparent so members know what they’re spending and saving
  • Show our members love during the most routine or life-changing circumstances

This is how Apostrophe humanizes care for our members every day, especially now.

TELEMEDICINE AND VIRTUAL PRIMARY CARE

The CDC recommends avoiding crowds, limiting contact with those who are sick, and staying home as much as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also recommend calling your doctor if you’re developing symptoms. This is exactly what telemedicine and VPC were designed for.

Apostrophe members get direct access to quality physician care without entering infected environments, protecting themselves and everyone else.

Using our 24/7 telemed partner MeMD or virtual primary care partner Sherpaa is especially beneficial for members in at-risk populations or with compromised immune systems. Avoid the waiting rooms altogether — they can assess symptoms, order lab work and call in prescriptions online or by phone.

PRESCRIPTIONS DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME

Groups using our pharmacy benefits have the advantage of having medications delivered to their door. Skip the lines — and potential crowds — at the corner drugstore.

NO NETWORK CONFUSION

Our members can see any provider who’s willing to accept Apostrophe. There are no confusing network rules and no out-of-network penalties.

WHITE GLOVE MEMBER CARE

If our members are feeling uncertain about the coronavirus situation, or have questions about COVID-19 treatment costs, they can always contact our market-leading Member Care team. Member Care will:

  • Help to navigate a bill and avoid overpaying
  • Explain what is covered under their health plan
  • Make sure they maximize their virtual care benefits 

We’ve known for a long time that the state of healthcare in America is at a breaking point, and the COVID-19 pandemic may push it to the limits. 

Especially during a global pandemic, we’re committed to putting our members first. We’d like to see the entire industry make necessary moves to do the same. 

Current Apostrophe Health members, Call Member Care at the number on your card for coverage questions.
Current and prospective self-insured employers, please visit our COVID-19 page for more information.

How Self-Insured Employers Should Use Telemedicine to Cut Healthcare Costs

How Self-Insured Employers Should Use Telemedicine to Cut Healthcare Costs 1004 591 Apostrophe Health

Understand why telemedicine participation is low and how to get your entire company on board with the plan.

Plan rates, premiums and deductibles have reached a fever pitch, and there’s no doubt those rates will climb again at renewals. Helping self-insured employers control those costs, and pass the savings on to employees, has been the heart of Apostrophe’s health plans since the start. Better benefits for less money is a promise that we help self-insured employers realize in more than just a monthly statement.

Telemedicine is one of the many ways we add value to our self-insured plans. This service gives members access to qualified doctors and nurses via phone or other digital channels, and it’s always free* to our members on non-HSA plans. For Apostrophe members, it’s as simple as a call to our telemedicine partner MeMD. Once connected, members can discuss symptoms and even share photos with the provider via a secure connection.

These professionals can identify and diagnose about 1,500 common conditions seen every day by primary care and emergency physicians. They can even fill or refill a prescription one time, just like going to an urgent care facility. Where urgent care costs about one-fifth of what a trip to the emergency room costs, telemedicine is free* to most Apostrophe members. And when 25% of ER visits could have been handled at urgent care, imagine how many of those could have been handled, at no cost, over the phone. 

Here’s the kicker: members who use telemedicine don’t have to go to urgent care. They don’t have to go to the emergency room. And they don’t have to visit their primary physician. One call to the telemedicine provider doesn’t cost them—or their employer—a dime (zero copay expenses*). Plus, they save time by not going into a medical facility and receive quick, quality attention to their illness or other concern.

For all of the advantages telemedicine presents, not nearly enough people are using it. SHRM reported in 2018 that 96% of the largest U.S. employers had made telemedicine services available to their employees, and 56% included behavioral health as part of that. Yet, the national average for participation is only about 2%. That’s a dismally low adoption rate for a service that, in one case, saved the company $6 for every $1 spent.

Here’s why: Both companies are buying the same insurance. The only difference is the funding mechanism on the back end. Of course they aren’t seeing a difference.

Telemedicine opens access to care and controls cost in a way no other healthcare development has been able to achieve. And still, very few people use it.

“For telemedicine to be able to move the needle on access to care for overall health spending, more enrollees will need to take up their services,” concluded a Peterson-KFF 2018 Employer Health Benefits Survey. 

In other words, employee education is key. It is the crux of ensuring your employees dial into telemedicine for common aches, pains, illnesses and other non-life threatening concerns that send them to urgent care and the ER. 

For self-insured employers who want to continue cutting costs and managing healthcare expenses, it’s imperative to get employees on board.

What’s Keeping Employees from Participating

Low telemedicine participation starts with a lack of awareness that the program even exists. And if it does, questions abound over the costs and possible reimbursements. (With Apostrophe, access to MeMD is always free* to our members with non-HSA plans.) As with anything new, some patients struggle with trust. There can also be a desire to simply connect with a provider one-on-one, in person.

How Can Employers Encourage Participation

Ultimately, it’s up to your company to determine how you’ll promote telemedicine to your workforce. Josh Luke, an HR futurist, suggested to SHRM that companies create a room or space within their office where employees can privately access telemedicine while on the job. Here are seven more ways you can drive more employees to dial into telemedicine. 

  1. Talk openly about the service and promote it frequently.
  2. Make sure your employees know that access is free*, and that it prevents expensive out-of-pocket ER and urgent care fees.
  3. Let them share ownership in the value by communicating the substantial cost savings for both themselves and the company as a whole. 
  4. Emphasize the credentials of the providers, and that these physicians supplement not replace their PCP.
  5. Celebrate that telemedicine creates a healthier labor force with less absenteeism. 
  6. Talk up the convenience of making a call from home or work, instead of commuting to the doctor’s office. 
  7. Share how telemedicine increases access to care (key for people with chronic illnesses) and improves quality of care. 

For current Apostrophe Health members, it’s free* and easy to access telemedicine:

Call Member Care at the number on your card and press 1 to connect with a nurse or doctor.

*Access to telemedicine services is free except for Members with HSA plans. 

Self-Insured Employers Can Save on Healthcare When They Abandon Legacy Insurance Carriers

Self-Insured Employers Can Save on Healthcare When They Abandon Legacy Insurance Carriers 1004 591 Apostrophe Health

Controlling health plan costs shouldn’t be a luxury reserved for the largest companies in America.

It’s been argued that neither self-insured nor fully-insured companies do a better job of controlling healthcare costs. That’s accurate when the self-insured company continues to purchase the same contracts, meager discounts and broken model sold by legacy providers. 

Here’s why: Both companies are buying the same insurance. The only difference is the funding mechanism on the back end. Of course they aren’t seeing a difference.

Self-insured employers have to change how they purchase their company’s health plan in the first place. Only then will they realize the greater savings and cost control that’s seemingly been out of reach, reserved exclusively for the largest employers in America. That accessibility shouldn’t be limited to the top few. All companies should have access to this proven model.

Apostrophe’s Intelligent Health Benefits were informed by the direct purchase model optimized by major corporate players (think Lowe’s, Boeing and Walmart) and designed to be accessible by mid-size, self-insured employers. By working outside of the fundamentally broken system that props up traditional insurance carriers, we’re able to provide employers and their employees with better benefits for less money and never sacrifice quality of care or experience.

Each year, employers of every size are faced with average rate increases of 12%, increases that come despite cutting corners on providers and coverage. Self-insured employers aren’t immune to increases, but at an average 4-6% per year, it’s substantially less than the standard market rate. 

“Until employers engage in a different way, we are stuck,” warned Ethan Merk, Vice President of Sales for Apostrophe (and a former broker himself). He says we’re out of road and out of options. “We’re at a tipping point. Businesses are at risk because they don’t treat health benefits as a major spend or a top-three line item even though that’s exactly what it is. Until they do, they’re in trouble.”

The market has been trained to keep buying a lack of transparency and unknown rates. It’s hard to see a better way when the status quo is all that’s presented during renewals. At Apostrophe, we’re telling benefits brokers and self-insured employers that it no longer has to be this way. They no longer have to accept these broken plans at face value. They have options. 

Apostrophe’s Intelligent Health Benefits are driven by simplicity, transparency and love. Can you name one insurance company that can offer any one of those, much less all? We work cooperatively with providers and employers alike, not combatively. And the discounts we receive are passed directly to our members saving them thousands every year. 

The contracted rate employers are forced to accept each year during plan renewals is not the best case scenario. In our world, it’s a low bar for doing no worse. As a self-insured employer, your rates can, and should, be a lot better than you’re paying now.

If you’re not saving any more than you were under a fully-funded health insurance company, it’s time to change everything. 

Let’s connect.



How Benefits Advisors Can Give Better Health Plans to Self-Insured Employers

How Benefits Advisors Can Give Better Health Plans to Self-Insured Employers 1004 591 Apostrophe Health

Legacy insurance plans are working against American workers, and it’s costing them trillions.

As a health benefits advisor, we don’t have to tell you how broken the U.S. healthcare system is. You’re deep in this world just like us. You can see the costly pain points affecting your clients and their employees every single day. You have to know they’re sick of it all. 

Aren’t you?

Premiums and deductibles keep increasing (more than 250% since 2006) and yet, wages are stagnant. Employers rightfully anticipate double-digit increases to their benefit plans every single year; benefits for their employees that just keep getting worse. And overall, the U.S. healthcare industry wastes a trillion dollars every year. That’s $1,000,000,000,000 on unnecessary treatment, low-value care, pricing failures, fraud and abuse. 

It all stems from the legacy insurance plans that brokers keep selling and employers keep buying because they don’t know how much control they actually have in this situation. You can give them back that control.

Take 2 minutes to watch Sick of it All to understand:

  • How it all got to be so one sided
  • Where we see the opportunity to fix healthcare in America
  • Why we should work together to provide better benefits for less money to your clients

As you see, the legacy insurance industry isn’t designed to benefit consumers. It’s setup to make sure the carriers get paid and brokers get a healthy commission for selling through the same broken plans time and again. At Apostrophe, we believe in humanizing healthcare, putting people back at the center of cost, quality and experience where they belong.

That’s why we designed our health plans after the direct-purchase model that works for power players like Boeing, Lowe’s and Walmart. We made it accessible to mid-sized self-insured employers, which allows them to offer their staff benefits that actually feel like benefits. Working together with your clients, Apostrophe Intelligent Health Benefits can can give them greater savings than their current legacy provider. Doesn’t that sound a lot better than the rate increase for worse benefits you were going to share at renewals?

If so, let’s talk now and prepare you to take an entirely different health plan to your renewal meetings. 



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