Leveraging Technology to Improve the Patient Experience

A recent Gallup poll found that less than half of Americans are satisfied with the quality of US healthcare, the lowest in twenty years. Other studies and polls have identified unaffordable care, poor access to care, and lack of coordinated care as Americans’ main areas of contention. Fortunately, some companies provide solutions in the form of benefit offerings that leverage technology to drive change, automate, simplify, and streamline the patient’s experience.

Healthcare When and Where You Need It

Access to affordable and timely care is essential to good overall health. Still, many Americans are delaying medical care due to costs or are unable to physically meet with a doctor due to distance, transportation issues, or limited appointments.

Most healthcare providers are meeting the need for accessible healthcare by offering virtual care and telehealth options. Fueled by the pandemic, remote care options have seen rapid technological advancements. This will continue to improve in the coming years. Some providers are expanding remote care to include AI-powered digital health offerings like chatbots, symptom checkers, and resource libraries for physicians.

These digital health offerings provide remote access to healthcare services, allowing patients to quickly receive medical care and consultations from the comfort of their own homes. This access can be particularly beneficial for patients with limited mobility who live in rural areas or face other barriers to accessing healthcare. While each provider has varying interfaces and processes, the core of remote care and digital health offerings is ease of use and accessibility. By simplifying the process of seeking out and obtaining care, patients are encouraged and empowered to address health concerns sooner rather than later.

Gaps in Care Coordination

Another important component of an excellent patient experience is how care coordination is handled. Unfortunately, only half of US primary care physicians reported sufficient coordination with other providers. Fewer than half are notified when another provider modifies a patient’s care plan or medication regimen. This lack of coordinated care is concerning because it can result in increased healthcare costs, decreased patient satisfaction, and reduced quality of care. This oversight presents an opportunity zone where technology can contribute to a better patient experience by simplifying the process of sharing health records.

Electronic Health Records (EHR) were created to help physicians capture a full profile of patient data that can be transferred between physicians. However, EHRs are not standardized and vary by region, hospital, and system provider so there are still many interoperability issues. Fortunately, these issues have been recognized, so we should see further developments. To fill this gap, many benefit offerings incorporate patient navigation services to coordinate care, while others have developed their own systems for storing patient records.

Deliver Concierge-Level Patient Experience with a Direct Primary Care Membership

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a monthly membership that provides affordable and convenient access to excellent primary medical care, wellness, and chronic disease management for a low monthly fee. Patient experience is at the core of DPC, making it an ideal option for employers looking to provide valuable and accessible employee benefits. The DPC model prioritizes patient-centered care by offering flexible scheduling options, longer appointment times, and transparent pricing. This type of unrestrictive access to a physician can improve health outcomes and strengthen the doctor-patient relationship. DPC especially benefits those with early-stage chronic conditions requiring frequent primary care visits.

Not all DPC memberships are the same – access, price, and services can all vary by practice. Most DPC practices are regional-based and contract directly with individuals in their area, which limits DPC’s benefits to one location. Patients from rural areas or who travel frequently may struggle with regional-based DPC practices. Additionally, the practice sets pricing and services, so those looking for affordable options may have difficulty finding a DPC practice nearby that fits their budget. For employers who want a DPC solution available in different regions, a nationwide DPC membership would best serve their employees.

Healthcare2U: A Nationwide Solution for Direct Primary Care

Healthcare2U’s Direct Primary Care membership removes the barriers to care by providing members with unlimited nationwide access to affordable care. This includes appointments virtually or in-office, unlimited treatment and management of chronic diseases, and round-the-clock virtual care. As mentioned earlier, Healthcare2U also includes patient navigation and advocacy, ensuring members have a bilingual certified medical professional to guide them through their benefits, care options, and appointments. We also built an internal record system to capture patient data that can be shared seamlessly with our Private Physician Network™, meaning that our members have nationwide access to their health information.

Our unique combination of technology and primary care benefits provides concierge-level patient experiences that are easy from beginning to end. We work with brokers nationwide to eliminate barriers to care and encourage patient-physician relationships. Contact us for more information about how DPC can provide concierge-level patient experiences for employer groups.

Investing in Employee Benefits Education is Beneficial to Both Employees and Employers

Benefits education and direct primary care not only lower costs for self-funded groups but can result in a healthier workforce, more thoughtful benefits utilization, and improved retention. When employers actively encourage their employees to prioritize their health, they also foster a culture based on healthy living. This encouragement can result in better health outcomes for their employees and motivation to take ownership of their health.

By understanding their benefits and how to access them, employees are more likely to utilize them correctly. For example, an employee who doesn’t understand their coverage may delay medical care, resulting in an expensive serious illness. To empower employees, brokers can add navigation and advocacy services to a self-funded plan to guide employees through their coverages and memberships to help them select the proper care. The combination of benefits education and navigation services can lead to thoughtful utilization and prevention of unnecessary urgent care and emergency room visits, which in turn shields the claims reserve from unnecessary claims.

In addition to lower health costs, well-executed employee health programs can boost recruitment and retention efforts. A MetLife study found that 51 percent of employees who feel that their health is holistically considered were more likely to stay at their current organizations for at least one more year and would recommend their current company as a good place to work.

Free self-funded health plan infographic download image

Further enhance cost savings with direct primary care

Employees are empowered to make meaningful lifestyle changes by providing health and benefits education, which creates a domino effect that positively impacts costs, morale, recruitment, and retention. These results are enhanced when combined with additional services focused on preventative care, early detection, and chronic disease management — like direct primary care. Employees with unlimited access to primary care for an affordable monthly membership fee are more likely to establish care with a primary care physician. This affordable access encourages employees to take an active role in their health and manage preventable conditions before they manifest into something more serious. Employers also benefit from this arrangement, as their claims reserve is protected from the services provided within the DPC ecosystem.

A hybrid DPC solution that benefits all

With Healthcare2U’s DPC membership, members have unlimited nationwide access to affordable primary and urgent care, virtually or in-office, unlimited treatment and management of chronic diseases, and round-the-clock telehealth. Navigation and advocacy are also built into the membership, ensuring that members always have a bilingual certified medical professional to guide them through their benefits, care options, and appointments. This combination of benefits diverts primary, urgent, and early-stage chronic care away from the self-funded plan, allowing employers to reserve those funds for more costly claims. Employers also save on their stop-loss insurance.

Healthcare2U can be implemented in organizations of all sizes and structures at any time during the plan year. If you’d like more information about helping self-funded clients implement a direct primary care solution, contact Healthcare2U today.

Health Benefits Education and Direct Primary Care Can Lower Costs for Self-Funded Groups

Self-funded plans are a great way to offer customizable benefits that employees want and need while lowering healthcare costs. Most brokers agree that self-funding is in the best interest of their larger clients’ long-term strategies. However, 52 percent said their fully insured clients remain fully insured because of the perception there is too much risk in self-funding. This perceived risk stems from misunderstanding the self-funded strategy and stop-loss protection.

Free self-funded health plan infographic download image

A well-run self-funded health plan — that operates at the most efficient level and maximizes cost savings — requires buy-in from executive leadership, who understand the importance of expense management, employee education, continuous communication, and a preventive health strategy. By using claims data to create a unique benefits plan and educating employee populations about their personal health and employer-sponsored coverage, employers can shield the self-funded plan from costly claims and result in better health outcomes for their workforce.

The cost of preventable health conditions on a self-funded plan

As we continue to see healthcare costs increase, employers are relying on benefit advisors to help manage their expenses. Before deciding on a cost containment strategy for clients, it’s essential to understand the cost of preventable health conditions and employee claims data.

Preventable chronic conditions are a significant contributor to the costs of health insurance premiums and employee medical claims. Four of the costliest health conditions (and one-third of all deaths) are related to heart disease and stroke. These conditions cost our healthcare system $216 billion annually and cause $147 billion in lost productivity on the job. However, these conditions don’t materialize overnight and often result from years of poor health.

Since most costly health conditions are preventable, brokers should pair self-funded plans with preventative care services. One of the significant advantages of self-funded plans is that employers have the claims data to make informed decisions and the flexibility to combine and remove services that address the unique needs of their employees. However, preventative care and chronic disease related claims can slowly chip away at claims reserves, leaving little for more significant claims or enough to roll over into the following year. Including a product like Direct Primary Care (DPC), which provides unlimited primary care visits for a flat monthly fee, can help shield reserves from an entire category of claims by absorbing the costs of routine preventative care. This type of membership can also help employees who are dealing with a chronic disease by providing affordable visits and encouraging them to actively manage their health. By deflecting claims for preventative care and chronic disease management, plan costs are significantly lowered.

Disconnect in benefit offerings and understanding 

Brokers can help their clients create a perfect benefits plan. Still, the plan won’t deliver the desired results if the employees don’t understand the benefits terminology, how to access and utilize their benefits, or how their benefits impact their health.

survey conducted by LIMRA found that 53 percent of employees felt that their employer didn’t communicate their medical benefits well. This lack of understanding can result in the underutilization or misuse of benefits and frustration from employees. Brokers should encourage their clients to continuously communicate their benefit offerings throughout the year, using several channels to reach all employees. Communications should cater to each employee cohort and highlight what matters most to them. Usage examples can also help employees determine which benefits to use for specific situations.

In addition to benefits education, employees need to understand how their benefits impact their overall health, present and future. Multiple studies have confirmed that regular primary care visits result in better health over the long term, but few people go to regular visits. OnlineDoctor.com found that 1/3 of Americans avoid regular doctor appointments, citing insurance coverage and costs as a primary reason. Employers can address this issue by highlighting the costs of commonly used benefits and incentivizing employees to visit their Primary Care Provider (PCP). Beyond the doctor’s office, educational materials regarding chronic conditions and prevention should also be included in regular communications throughout the year, such as a monthly email campaign to employees.

In our next blog post, we will briefly discuss how employee benefits education is beneficial and critical to a self-funded health plan. Read further here.

Americans are Five Times More Likely to Experience Increased Stress Levels During the Holidays

A study by the American Psychiatric Association found that Americans are severely stressed around the holidays. Why does it seem like everyone is stressed, anxious, or depressed around the happiest time of the year?

We’ll explore why people say they’re feeling like this during the holiday season, some quick tips for coping, and how your primary care physician (PCP) can help diagnose and treat these issues.


Why Americans were stressed and anxious during the holiday season
Here are a few reasons why people say they stress during the holidays:

  • Stress about finances (gift giving, traveling, etc.)
  • Not being around loved ones or feeling lonely
  • Negative social and family dynamics

Of all the contributing factors, the greatest — accounting for 37 percent of stress — is the financial strain people experience around this time. Expenses such as flights, groceries, and gifts for loved ones can strain finances and leave people feeling like they’ve overspent or embarrassed if they couldn’t afford these items.

Another major factor that plays into holiday financial stress is inflation. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the average price of holiday gifts drastically rose in the past few years, with gifts in 2021 costing 6.9 percent more than the previous year. The projected cost for 2022 is set to rise another 3.4 percent.

It’s important to note that these stressors can lead to depression. Sometimes stress, anxiety, and depression all happen at once, and one condition may cause the other to appear or worsen. Balancing these issues is complex, and the first step is acknowledging which condition you’re struggling with and what stressors are causing that struggle.


How do we combat holiday anxiety and stress?
It can depend on the severity, but sometimes you can try a few options to reduce your holiday stress. If you’re still feeling stressed after trying these tips and are experiencing anxiety or depression, you need to take further steps to manage it.

Coping mechanisms to reduce stress:

  • Set realistic expectations and goals for the holiday season.
  • Make time for yourself to relax.
  • Keep track of holiday spending. Overspending could lead to more stress and, in turn, depression.
  • Limit your drinking. Drinking alcohol in excess can exacerbate your anxiety or depression.
  • To combat any loneliness you might experience, try volunteering.


How your primary care physician can help diagnose and treat your stress and anxiety
Are you having trouble coping on your own? The good news is that your primary care physician can diagnose and prescribe medication for anxiety and depression if your issue is more than just typical holiday stress. Depending on the severity, they might refer you to a therapist, as sometimes it is beneficial to combine medication with therapy. But remember, the first step is as simple as contacting your PCP; you don’t need a specialist to get this done.

At Healthcare2U, our Direct Primary Care (DPC) membership is a low-cost, easy-to-use option for people who want access to care but can’t afford the exorbitant cost of health insurance. Our membership also simplifies access to primary medical care, eliminating confusion when navigating healthcare. With our DPC membership, you get access to physicians across the nation, any of which can diagnose your anxiety and depression and recommend methods to help you cope and manage it.

Contact us to learn more about how Healthcare2U’s DPC membership can help you.

How Benefit Design Can Help Employers Remain Competitive

Job seekers now have more bargaining power than ever, and employers are taking a benefits-focused approach to hiring and retention.

Over the past couple of years, the workforce has undergone multiple changes in employee expectations. A renewed focus on health benefits, well-being, and culture has widened the gap between what employees want and what their employers offer. This gap has resulted in higher turnover and a higher risk of losing quality talent. With more than half of US employees considering leaving their current employers, businesses are working with benefits agents to create customizable benefit designs that will attract and retain talent.


Health benefits are more important than ever

According to the CDC, 60 percent of adults have a chronic disease, which accounts for 90 percent of the nation’s healthcare expenditures. Combined with financial challenges brought on by inflation, many workers are looking to their benefits package to help alleviate the financial toll of healthcare expenses. Health benefits are a growing priority for the workforce, with many reporting that they play a vital role in deciding whether to stay with their company or move on to a new one. In fact, 60 percent of employees said health benefits were an important reason to stay with their current employers. Regarding job opportunities, 48 percent said health benefits were an important reason to join a new company. The same study found that when benefits met employee needs, employers saw a 30 percent boost in retention.


Employers are enhancing their benefits to remain competitive

Fortunately, most employers have noticed this renewed interest in health benefits and are now looking to enhance their benefits offerings for 2023. One popular enhancement employers are considering is virtual care solutions beyond traditional telemedicine, with 40 percent planning to offer a virtual primary care network or service. This benefit will be well received by many job seekers and existing employees— especially those with chronic conditions. Another concern for employers is part-time and contract employees, who are likelier to switch jobs for a slight pay increase. A fifth of large employers have begun to focus primarily on benefits packages for this audience. As these employers review their benefits, they’ll be looking to their agents to provide new solutions that are cost-effective and customizable.


An alternative benefit that fits today’s workforce

New problems require new solutions, so employers need to explore alternatives to traditional health benefits. One potential healthcare solution for these groups may be implementing a Direct Primary Care (DPC) membership. With a direct primary care organization like Healthcare2U, employers can provide virtual primary care and unlimited in-office visits nationwide to full-time, part-time or contract employees. These benefits fall under the monthly membership fee, so no claims are generated or submitted to the employer’s health plan.

Health benefit design is critical to recruitment and retention efforts, so benefits that can seamlessly integrate with existing health plans are vital. DPC memberships are flexible, maximize cost savings, and greatly enhance existing health plans, like High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs), Minimum Essential Coverage (MECs), Self-Funded, and Level-Funded plans. Part-time and contract workers are also eligible for membership at any time of the year, even if they don’t qualify for the company’s health plan.

On top of all these advantages, Healthcare2U’s DPC membership includes a concierge element. Members who are sick or need care call our Patient Advocacy Line (PAL), and our bilingual Patient Advocates navigate them through their care options and next steps.

Contact us today if you’re looking for a product that addresses the evolving needs of today’s workforce and provides concierge-level care to members nationwide.

Healthcare2U is Now Available on PlanSource’s Partner Marketplace

May 5, 2022 (Austin, TX) – PlanSource, a leading provider of cloud-based benefits administration technology, announced today that 18 new employer benefits providers, Healthcare2U being one of them, have joined the company’s Partner Marketplace—a curated list of best-fit partners designed to maximize HR efficiency, employee engagement and plan participation.

PlanSource currently partners with employer benefit solutions across twenty vendor categories within the Marketplace, including healthcare navigation, mental well-being, disease management, women’s health, pet insurance, identity protection, and more to provide a seamless experience to their customers. These categories address top employee needs, making them valuable options for employers to consider.

Read the full Press Release here: Exponential Growth in Partner Marketplace in Q1

An Affordable Healthcare Alternative for Non-Benefited Employees

Employers are the principal source of health insurance in the United States1, however, most Americans are unable to afford basic health care expenses. Under the traditional fee-for-service model, individuals must meet deductibles or pay expensive copays to see a primary care physician. In addition to employees who can’t afford their health plans’ deductible and copays, there are employees who can’t afford the health plan at all or don’t qualify due to employment status (non-benefited employees). Traditional health offerings leave a large pool of people off the table and those left outside looking in still want access to healthcare coverage.

Part-time employees, 1099 workers, and individuals living in healthcare deserts can benefit from direct primary care (DPC) models. Here, we’ll explore these unique situations and how DPC may be a great alternative for these groups.

Inaccessibility in Rural America

According to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, rural residents are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, and stroke than individuals living in urban areas. Due to the distance to medical providers, limited transportation, and limited appointment availabilities, many rural Americans are not able to receive preventive and screening services, urgent care, or timely treatment of illnesses2.

DPC encourages members to build relationships with their board-certified primary care physicians, in-office or virtually. This relationship is critical to a healthy life because frequent visits with primary care providers can result in lower health costs3, fewer hospitalizations4, and early detection of chronic conditions. The virtual component would be especially beneficial to members living in healthcare deserts, as they can access a physician 24/7 from their own homes. Quality primary care is now available without geographic or financial barriers.

Underinsured Retail Workers

Part-time employees often do not qualify for their employer’s health plans, leaving them to find coverage elsewhere or remain uninsured. According to a recent survey, the retail industry has the least number of qualifying employees at 55%5. DPC would be a great alternative to traditional healthcare for the remaining 45% in this industry and the dependents of all.

Since the average hourly pay in retail is $15.356, it is likely that retail workers forego doctor visits, routine screenings, and prescriptions due to associated costs. Another barrier to consider is time and availability as retail hours do not fall within the traditional business hours of 9-5. For a low monthly fee, these workers can enroll in a DPC program for them and their dependents that offers unlimited primary care visits, urgent care visits, and 24/7 virtual care, giving them peace of mind that they have access to a board-certified physician whenever they need one.

Freelance Workforce Continues to Grow

Most people believe that freelance work is sporadic and short-term, however, a report by ADP has found that more than half of 1099 contractors work for the same company for 12 consecutive months7. Even though freelancers are spending longer periods of time with the same company, 1099 workers don’t qualify for most employer health plans.

The report predicts that the freelance workforce will continue to grow. 70% of respondents have said that they are freelancing by choice, and 60% will continue to do so for the next 3 years8. With more companies hiring freelancers in a variety of industries, additional benefits will be crucial to attracting quality 1099 workers. The great benefit for freelancers is that DPC is not only affordable but flexible and portable. Due to its non-insurance membership structure, DPC can be added at any time of the year. Additionally, frequent travelers or those who work odd hours can access a board-certified physician in all 50 states or 24/7 virtual care. By offering DPC, companies can better attract and maintain good working relationships with freelancers, all at a low cost.

An Affordable Alternative

Healthcare2U’s hybrid direct primary care was created to address the issue of inaccessibility to quality primary care, provided by board-certified family care physicians and internists. For a low monthly fee, we offer unlimited in-office, virtual, and urgent care visits. This model encourages members to see a physician regularly, build a relationship with their primary care provider, and potentially detect underlying issues before the onset of a serious illness. Additionally, DPC seamlessly integrates with existing benefit plans already in place, enhancing the employees’ current coverage and providing an alternative for 1099 and part-time employees.

For more information about how DPC can provide quality care for employer groups, contact Healthcare2U.


1, 5 KFF Employer Health Benefits 2021 Survey (https://files.kff.org/attachment/Report-Employer-Health-Benefits-2021-Annual-Survey.pdf)

2 US Department of Health and Human Services Rural Action Plan (https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/hhs-rural-action-plan.pdf)

3 High-Touch Care Leads to Better Outcomes and Lower Costs in a Senior Population (https://www.ajmc.com/view/hightouch-care-leads-to-better-outcomes-and-lower-costs-in-a-senior-population?p=1)

4 Investing in Primary Care: A State-Level Analysis (https://www.pcpcc.org/resource/investing-primary-care-state-level-analysis)

6 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes412031.htm)

7, 8 ADPRI Illuminating the Shadow Workforce (https://www.adpri.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/19212611/Illuminating-the-Shadow-Workforce-Full-Report.pdf)