DPC is a Win-Win for Employees & Employers

You may have heard that direct primary care practitioners are taking a slightly different approach to providing affordable and easily accessible healthcare. But do you know how this healthcare model started and why it’s gaining prominence day by day?

Let’s take a closer look at DPC and why it works for today.

The Beginning

The concept of direct primary care, or DPC, isn’t new. Concierge medical care in the U.S. used to be an exclusive club for the wealthy. Members would pay their doctor a substantial annual membership fee, an estimated $1,500 to $2,400, for services such as same-day visits, 24/7 cellphone access to their doctor, health advice, and annual physicals.

While this model works well to keep patients in optimal health, the price makes it inaccessible to the masses. In 2018, 40 percent of American households earned less than $50,000 per year, and that’s not per person. That’s $50,000 per four-person household. Low wages plus no benefits leave many Americans feeling left out in the cold when it comes to healthcare.

Hybrid and Traditional DPC Practices Have the Same Goal

Direct Primary Care is practiced in the U.S. through two approaches: traditional and hybrid practices. While there have been many debates based on which model is better, there is a place for both to improve doctors’ quality of life and the quality of care for their patients.

In either case, DPC has gained popularity among employers of all sizes as well as their employees. Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of direct primary care for employers.

 A Win for Employers Large and Small

Direct Primary Care protects employers’ health plans by diverting claims for acute care, chronic disease management, and urgent care away from their health plans. Milliman, Inc — one of the nation’s leading independent actuary firms — recently published a study called “Direct Primary Care: Evaluating a New Model of Delivery and Financing.”

They found that DPC members visited emergency rooms 40 percent less over the course of two years. They also reported that DPC members were admitted to the hospital 26 percent less over that same two-year period.

The report estimated that DPC saved the employers in their study about 5 percent of total non-administrative plan costs; effectively providing employers a benefit that is more than paid for by the savings it helps them generate.

For a small business, savings like this can mean the difference between living to fight another day, having to lay off employees, or even worse, being forced to shut down.

Adding direct primary care to health plans does not detract from other plan offerings—it enhances them. DPC is also straightforward to implement. With DPC providers like Healthcare2U, employers can maintain a healthier workforce with flexible enrollment options, excellent customer support, and a customized benefits platform that works with existing carriers.

A Win for Employees

Having traditional or hybrid direct primary care means there are no longer barriers to quality primary care. For an affordable monthly fee, patients can establish a relationship with a primary care provider to promote wellness in the long term.

Each provider has its list of services and prices, but some of the benefits of DPC membership include:

  • Unlimited doctor visits for a small fee or for free
  • Early-stage chronic disease management
  • 24/7/365 access to a physician via in-office or over-the-phone

It’s helpful to have health insurance for catastrophic life events but being able to see the doctor when you’re ill without having to pay expensive deductibles or copays is one of the reasons people love DPC.

Healthcare2U is the nation’s fastest growing hybrid DPC provider.

Traditional DPC practices and hybrid DPC providers are all working together to ensure people of all socioeconomic backgrounds can get the healthcare they need to live happier and healthier lives. If you’d like more information about access to affordable and convenient healthcare, contact Healthcare2U.

Why Millennials Ignore Health Issues

While there are currently four generations that comprise today’s workforce, millennials make up the most significant portion. With the productivity of companies nationwide resting upon the shoulders of this massive group, keeping them healthy should be a priority. But a recent survey revealed some millennials are at risk because they postpone seeing a doctor or ignore health issues altogether.

Harmony Healthcare IT, a health data management firm, recently surveyed millennials about healthcare, primary care physicians, and annual physical examinations during the pandemic. Aside from the risks of being exposed to the covid-19 virus, there were three main reasons millennials put off going to the doctor this past year.

Millennials don't go to the doctors

Whatever the reasons, it is abundantly clear that young workers do not engage with the healthcare system the same way other generations have. There seems to be a disconnect between traditional benefits provided by employers and what younger employees want in a benefits program. Even with employer-sponsored options like high deductible health plans (HDHPs), young people still feel they can’t afford to see a doctor. But alternatives like direct primary care (DPC) are filling in that gap.

Millennials Are in Debt

Of the respondents in the survey, 24 percent of millennials said they’ve taken on medical debt since the pandemic, with 28 percent having $1,000 or more in medical debt. When people don’t use primary care as the foundation of healthcare, it can create unnecessary expenses.

If a patient postpones or ignores a red flag condition, they often end up using urgent care clinics or the emergency room as their primary point of contact for treatment. This practice is a very costly way to engage the system. In essence, seeing a primary care physician before a condition escalates can save the patient and their employer money in the long run.

DPC memberships can be a lifesaver for millennials who can’t afford to pay high deductibles to seek primary care. For a low monthly fee, members get unlimited access to a primary care provider, and there are no monthly premiums or deductibles to pay out of pocket. Employers love this option because their employees can see a primary care physician without generating claims to impact the company’s health plan.

Millennials Want Convenience

Twenty-five percent of the millennials surveyed said seeing a doctor is too inconvenient. This inconvenience doesn’t have to be the case with choices like telehealth and virtual DPC. Most direct primary care memberships include these modern conveniences for no additional fees, so there are no geographical barriers to care.

Traditional benefits packages fall flat with younger employees because of generational shifts in perspectives and priorities. Millennials expect different types of resources than previous generations, and when presented with new technology and conveniences that meet their needs, they are far more likely to utilize them.

By offering cost-effective health memberships like direct primary care with telehealth and virtual DPC, employers can meet the needs of a constantly evolving and diverse workforce. Customizing benefits for the largest segment of the workforce promotes loyalty and healthier and more content employees.

 

Anti-Aging Secrets: An Unexpected Benefit of Primary Care?

Finding the fountain of youth is a burgeoning mission of the scientific community worldwide. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel pooled their resources with others to provide $385 million in funding for one biotech startup in pursuit of anti-aging technology. This concept appeals to investors because it’s not just about slowing the hands of time but also focuses on reversing the effects of time and rejuvenating people.

At the center of anti-aging research are senescent cells. Researcher Judith Campisi at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in California elucidated the nature of these “zombie” cells in 2008. She discovered the cells secrete a mixture of malignant factors that poison surrounding tissues. Like a bad strawberry in the bunch, these cells rot everything around them and cause aging and chronic disease.

What Causes Aging in the Body?

Cellular senescence contributes to frailty and physical dysfunction, even in the absence of diagnosable disease. Many of the cells in the body are destined to become senescent at some point. Radiation exposure, chemotherapy, metabolic stress, and high fat intake promote senescent cell accumulation.

Senescent cells express different genes than healthy cells, and they are prohibited from reproducing or dividing naturally. To solicit help from other healthy cells, they spew out inflammatory “SOS” signals. The inflammation created by senescent cells can lead to tissue deterioration and even turn healthy cells senescent. This spreading of cellular senescence may even occur across various tissue types in the body, like when senescent cells in fat tissue diffuse senescence-causing inflammatory signals to muscle tissue.

How to Slow the Aging Process

A healthy immune system normally clears damaged and senescent cells from the body before they can cause severe damage. But suppose the burden of senescent cells becomes too great. In that case, these cells and their inflammatory secretions can compromise the immune system, leaving it prone to an over-accumulation of senescent cells.

While scientists study the effects of anti-aging drugs, or senolytics, on expelling senescent cells and their putrid cocktail of decay from the body, research has shown some natural senolytics. Keys to slow aging include: exercise, reducing stress, a healthy diet, intermittent fasting, quality healthcare.

Can DPC help with Anti-Aging

Quality Healthcare Leads to Better Health Outcomes

A primary care physician serves a very vital function in the life of a patient. This relationship is designed to be the foundation of good health by providing preventive screenings, early diagnosis, and treatment plans to cure or prevent the escalation of disease states. We take for granted that everyone knows the importance of screenings, proper diet, and exercise, or what that even looks like. But depending on upbringing, socioeconomic status, and access to healthy foods, the blueprint for a healthy lifestyle is not always a given.

That’s why everyone needs to have access to quality primary care at an affordable price. Something as basic as checking blood pressure or monitoring cholesterol can save a life or push back the hands of time a little longer. As an employer, you can not only promote a healthier workforce by implementing the right health plan; but you can also save money on your health plan by providing a no-claims healthcare membership that promotes an ongoing relationship with a primary care provider.

Direct primary care differs from insurance because there are no claims for day-to-day care, preventive screenings, or early-stage chronic disease management. By offering this membership to staff for a low monthly fee, employers can position themselves and their team for a healthier future.

If you’d like more information on no-claims healthcare, contact Healthcare2U.

 

Creative Healthcare Solutions for States with the Least Coverage

A recent study by AdvisorSmith highlighted the fact that the U.S. is a rarity as one of the only high-income countries where a high proportion of residents lack health insurance coverage. The study examined the percentage of state residents lacking health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and the numbers may surprise you.

The Top 5 Uninsured StatesStates with Least Coverage

That’s well over 10 million uninsured people in the top five states alone. If you enumerate the totals from the other 45 states and D.C., the picture narrows into focus. Too many Americans don’t have basic access to affordable healthcare, and not enough is being done to address it.

Insurance in the U.S. is regulated at the state level, so variances between state healthcare financing systems are vast. Discrepancies in policy support for health insurance, along with varying income levels between states, create wide disparities in the number of residents with health insurance coverage and health outcomes.

A Family Problem

For the Americans who are fortunate enough to have health coverage through their employer, there is still a significant setback to seeking affordable coverage for dependents. More than five million American workers are ineligible for subsidized coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for dependents because of their employer-sponsored insurance. The ACA prohibits people with an offer of affordable employer coverage from purchasing subsidized coverage through the ACA marketplace. Currently, the ACA bases the affordability of employer coverage on what it would cost to cover only workers and not their families.

According to census data, the number of children with health insurance in the U.S. declined for the third consecutive year in 2019, and certain parts of the country are worse off than others. According to a report by the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, Texas and Florida lead the states with a higher loss of health insurance for children.

An Affordable Option for Uninsured Families

With premiums escalating for each family member added to a health plan, many are forced to choose between daily survival or providing healthcare for their children. For this reason, many employers and employees have turned to direct primary care (DPC).

DPC is an excellent choice for people with or without health insurance. This monthly healthcare membership differs from insurance because it doesn’t generate claims or require deductibles to be met before use. A member can utilize their direct primary care membership to see a primary care physician as much as they need to with minimal out-of-pocket costs. And in the event of a catastrophic emergency, they can still utilize their health insurance. Consuming healthcare this way can make it more affordable for a patient and generate fewer claims that will impact their employer later.

In addition, direct primary care is also being implemented as a dependent-only option, so workers can keep their employer-paid plan and get primary care and chronic disease management for their spouse and children at an affordable monthly rate.

If you’d like more information on implementing DPC for the uninsured or underinsured, contact Healthcare2U for more details.

Three Overlooked Groups Looking for Innovative Healthcare Solutions [How Direct Primary Care Can Address Their Needs]

One of the best ways to distinguish yourself from competitors is to demonstrate to clients that you are incredibly knowledgeable about your industry. If you never revisit old strategies or offer new solutions to improve health plans, it can leave the door open for more innovative competitors to pursue your clients.

Here we’ll examine three overlooked client groups looking for more accessible and cost-effective healthcare solutions and how direct primary care (DPC) can address their needs.

Car Dealers
American automakers are experiencing the worst sales decline in decades. Last year’s sales were down 15 percent, which marked the worst drop since at least 1980. Even before the pandemic, competition intensified, and profit margins grew thinner as eCommerce entered the space.

You may think of only offering traditional health insurance options to major national chains, but even these large auto dealers are looking for ways to cut health plan costs in the current landscape. The small to mid-sized companies who escaped 2020 intact are also open to options that don’t have the cash-flow volatility associated with self-funded plans.

By incorporating direct primary care into their existing plan, clients of every size can divert insurance claims away from their health plan. Because DPC is not health insurance but a medical membership, employees can get unlimited primary care without any claims impacting their employer’s profits. Primary care is the foundation for good health. It defends against serious acute conditions and chronic illnesses with preventive screenings and timely care when appropriately utilized. With a direct primary care foundation, employees are more likely to save on out-of-pocket costs, insurance premiums, and deductibles while saving their employers money long term.

Direct primary care can address health plan concerns for fully insured, self-funded, and level-funded clients. Brokers don’t have to give up the commissions associated with keeping clients with traditional insurance providers. They can add DPC to any health plan alongside a BUCA or other insurance providers to help divert claims.

Agricultural Workers
Sources estimate that there are between 4 and 4.5 million agricultural workers in the United States. According to Farmworker Justice, 75 percent of those workers are immigrants. Most farms don’t provide expected benefits like sick leave, paid vacation, or health insurance. And many workers are not eligible for benefits because their jobs are seasonal and intermittent.

Direct primary care is a terrific option for this population for the following reasons:

  1. Low monthly membership fee
  2. Nationwide availability
  3. The convenience of telemedicine or virtual visits
  4. Membership does not require an SSN
  5. Bilingual patient navigation representatives educate members on their membership benefits
  6. Bilingual patient navigation representatives also triage the patient’s concern and make the appointments on their behalf – eliminating the confusion surrounding the US healthcare system

A monthly membership with a DPC provider is very affordable, even for low-wage earners. For minimal to no out-of-pocket expense, farmworkers can see a primary care provider as much as they need for a low monthly fee. Because their livelihood depends on them staying healthy, the ability to quickly schedule appointments in the office or virtually is imperative.

Professional Associations
WDirect Primary Care Health Solutionshether you’re a starving artist or a marketing executive, there are guilds, unions, bureaus, and chambers of commerce all over the country that offer members health benefits. Since the income range for freelancers and other professionals varies widely, associations should offer a range of easily accessible and cost-effective benefits for everyone along the spectrum.

Nationwide DPC providers like Healthcare2U offer direct primary care memberships specifically designed with professional associations in mind. If you’d like more information on bringing innovative healthcare solutions to associations or any other overlooked groups, contact Healthcare2U for more details.

 

 

Data-Driven Insights for Building Better Health Plans

Milliman is one of the most prominent actuarial companies in the world. They pride themselves on their data-driven insights, and their research frequently highlights innovative and intelligent solutions in the healthcare space. In their 2021 white paper, “Direct Primary Care: A unique healthcare solution for employers,” the authors discussed the role of DPC in a health plan and highlighted the goals of a direct primary care offering¹:

  1. Higher-quality care
  2. Improved patient experience
  3. Improved provider experience
  4. Lower cost of care

Here we’ll examine why employers are so interested in lowering the cost of care and how direct primary care (DPC) plays a critical role in health plan strategy.

Employers Assume the Risks

Milliman reported 60 percent of the 157 million Americans enrolled in employer-sponsored healthcare coverage are in self-funded plans. That means the employer assumes the risk for all claims expenses. The unpredictability of these expenses from year to year is a pain point that leaves many employers seeking strategies to reduce healthcare coverage costs for their employees.

With all the cost-containment remedies being waved about, it’s no wonder benefits administrators get confused. Perhaps an effective strategy for keeping healthcare costs low has been hiding in plain sight. A strong argument can be made for going back to basics. In this case, the fundamental building block of good health is primary care.

Primary Care is the Foundation

Research has consistently shown that systems oriented towards primary care lead to better health outcomes, greater health equity, and decreased costs—to the point that other industrialized nations spend twice as much or more on primary care than the United States.

When quality primary care is an employee’s entry point to the healthcare system, it can lead to significant savings downstream. A primary care physician can diagnose or treat illnesses, prescribe helpful medications, or refer a patient to a specialist before conditions escalate; therefore, this process provides out-of-pocket savings for the patient and savings on claims for their employer.

Figure 1 shows visits to the emergency room, and admissions to the hospital decreased significantly for employers enrolled in a DPC plan.

Health Plans

Employee Engagement is Critical

Even the best-designed benefits plan is useless if the employee engagement is low. The only way to successfully implement a DPC strategy for cost mitigation is to educate administrators and employees on the benefits of direct primary care, but it can’t stop there. Employees must be taught how to utilize their direct primary care benefits.

An education campaign surrounding open enrollment is an easy way to communicate with staff and drive employee engagement. It can be a simple video or a more detailed eBook. Either way, knowledge is power. The more you educate people on the importance of primary care and how easy it is to access it with direct primary care, the more effective your health plan becomes.

The authors surmised that DPC is a rapidly expanding and viable option for employers in today’s landscape. With a bit of education and strategy during implementation, it can be a more successful solution for lowering the costs of a health plan.

For more information on implementing a DPC strategy or educating benefits administrators about direct primary care, contact Healthcare2U.

¹ Busch, Fritz, Dustin Grzeskowiak, and Gary Simmons. “Direct Primary Care: A unique healthcare solution for employers.” Milliman. 2021. Accessed 22 Apr 2021.

Expanding Benefits Sales With Non-Insurance Alternatives For The Remote Workforce

Article: Expanding Benefits Sales With Non-Insurance Alternatives For The Remote Workforce
Publication: Broker World Magazine
Author: Andy Bonner

The world’s reliance on remote work has been permanently altered thanks to the social distancing measures put in place during the pandemic. This reliance on technology has been implemented across industries and has affected employer groups large and small. As employers continue to adapt to this new normal, it’s unlikely things will ever return to the way they were pre-pandemic.

Instead, we expect even more client groups to join the remote work revolution in the years ahead. These tough economic times have been challenging for everyone but especially for small groups. And as companies pivoted to remote or hybrid workforces during the past year, many learned that having a remote workforce across multiple states provides a unique set of challenges for some employers.

In an effort to fight rising healthcare costs, large and small groups are shopping around for a new healthcare alternative that might equate to lower premiums and fewer claims to impact their profits. By providing timely solutions, brokers can reinforce their value and position themselves for growth in the years ahead.

Read the full article here: Broker World Magazine

                                               Interested in learning more? Let’s get in touch

DPC Practices Seek to End Disparities in Healthcare

A Slightly Different Approach to Providing Affordable and Accessible Healthcare

Concierge medical care in the U.S. used to be an exclusive club for the wealthy. Members would pay their doctor a substantial annual membership fee, an estimated $1,500 to $2,400, for services such as same-day visits, 24/7 cellphone access to their doctor, health advice, and annual physicals.

While this model works well to keep patients in optimal health, the price makes it inaccessible to the masses. In 2018, 40 percent of American households earned less than $50,000 per year, and that’s not per person. That’s $50,000 per four-person household. Low wages plus no benefits leave many Americans feeling left out in the cold when it comes to healthcare.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 69 percent of low-wage workers do not receive paid sick leave benefits, perpetuating essential care avoidance. With earnings so low they can’t afford to take unpaid time off when ill, many keep working and expose other people to illness in the process. In situations like these, access to primary care and telehealth become extremely meaningful. Direct primary care’s evolution made the model a cost-effective solution to make healthcare more accessible to everyone.

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is practiced in the U.S. through two approaches: traditional and hybrid practices. While there have been many debates based on which model is better, there is a place for both to improve doctors’ quality of life and the quality of care for their patients. Here we’ll examine the benefits of direct primary care for employers and their employees.

A Win for Patients

Having traditional or hybrid direct primary care means there are no longer barriers to quality primary care. For an affordable monthly fee, patients can establish a relationship with a primary care provider to promote wellness in the long term.

Each provider has its list of services and prices, but some of the benefits of DPC membership include:

  • Unlimited doctor visits for a small fee or for free
  • Early-stage chronic disease management
  • 24/7/365 access to a physician via in-office or over-the-phone

It’s helpful to have health insurance for catastrophic life events but being able to see the doctor when you’re ill without having to pay expensive deductibles or copays is one of the reasons people love DPC.

A Win for Employers 

Direct Primary Care protects employers’ health plans by diverting claims for acute care, chronic disease management, and urgent care away from their health plans. Milliman, Inc — one of the nation’s leading independent actuary firms — recently published a study called “Direct Primary Care: Evaluating a New Model of Delivery and Financing.” They found that DPC members visited emergency rooms 40 percent less over the course of two years. They also reported that DPC members were admitted to the hospital 26 percent less over that same two-year period.

The report estimated that DPC saved the employers in their study about 5 percent of total non-administrative plan costs; effectively providing employers a benefit that is more than paid for by the savings it helps them generate. For a small business, savings like this can mean the difference between living to fight another day, having to lay off employees, or even worse, being forced to shut down.

Adding direct primary care to health plans does not detract from other plan offerings—it enhances them. DPC is also straightforward to implement. With DPC providers like Healthcare2U, employers can maintain a healthier workforce with flexible enrollment options, excellent customer support, and a customized benefits platform that works with existing carriers.

Contact Healthcare2U

Traditional DPC practices and hybrid DPC providers are all working together to ensure people of all socioeconomic backgrounds can get the healthcare they need to live happier and healthier lives. If you’d like more information about access to affordable and convenient healthcare, contact Healthcare2U.

The Relationship Between Physical Health and Mental Health [How to Promote Better Physical and Mental Wellbeing]

Science indicates there is a strong relationship between physical and mental health. Deteriorating physical health can affect mental health from a physiological standpoint as well as an emotional perspective. Conversely, declining mental health can have adverse effects on physical health if poor lifestyle decisions are made.

Stress and sleep deprivation are a couple of factors that negatively impact physical and mental health. Still, low wages or unemployment can also contribute to poor mental and physical health when people lack access to healthy foods or healthcare.

Maintaining good health is often easier than trying to restore wholeness, so here are a few simple ways to promote better physical and mental wellbeing.

Social Interactions

Research has shown social isolation and loneliness are associated with an increased risk for mortality because social interactions are a critical component of maintaining physical and mental health. There is a strong positive relationship between social interaction and mental health.

Sociologists say both the quantity and quality of social relationships affect a person’s mortality risk, mental health, physical health, and health behavior. The effects of social relationships on health outcomes begin in childhood and ripples throughout life, leading to a cumulative health advantage or disadvantage.

By creating and cultivating positive and meaningful relationships and social interactions, a person can lengthen their lifespan and generate better health outcomes.

Enjoying Nature

Exercise is a known contributor to better physical and mental health, but the noticeable decline in physical activity has led to severe health consequences over recent decades. Studies show physical activity combined with nature provides benefits for the body and the mind. Simply viewing nature through a window, book, television, or art delivers mental health benefits.

Being in nature while walking, cycling, reading, or spending time with friends is another way enjoying nature can promote wellbeing. Research shows that directly engaging with the great outdoors through gardening, farming, or hiking also benefits mental and physical health. The evidence suggests green spaces and nearby nature should be regarded as essential health resources.

Getting Proper Medical Care

Researchers say health itself is produced by using medical care and can be depleted or produced by lifestyle choices. When a person lacks access to medical care or lacks understanding of the importance of utilizing healthcare properly, it can lead to poor health outcomes that are sometimes avoidable.

Notably, primary care is designed to be the underpinning of good health in that it provides screenings and other preventive services. A primary care provider is supposed to be the first line of defense against deteriorating physical conditions.

Unfortunately, socioeconomic status has left some on the outskirts of good health due to low income, health food deserts, and unattainable health insurance premiums and deductibles. To that end, direct primary care (DPC) provides a low-cost, nationwide alternative to expensive health plans. With a monthly healthcare membership, members get access to unlimited primary care that could mean the difference between maintaining their physical and mental wellbeing or early mortality.

If you’d like more information on fostering better employee health through direct primary care, contact Healthcare2U.

 

How to Promote Better Physical & Mental Wellbeing

Maintaining good health is often easier than trying to restore it, so here are a few simple ways to promote better physical and mental wellbeing.

Point 1: Waking Rest
Did you know researchers describe waking rest as a “4th puzzle piece” in the existing wellness trio of exercise, nutrition, and sleep? From taking a walk to meditating, finding time for quiet reflection is an essential component of physical and mental well-being.

Point 2: Social Interactions
By creating and cultivating positive and meaningful relationships and social interactions, a person can lengthen their lifespan and generate better health outcomes.

Point 3: Enjoying Nature

Gardening, sports, or hiking also benefit mental and physical health. So take advantage of the green spaces and nature nearby.

Point 4: Getting Proper Medical Care

Primary care is designed to be the foundation of good health because it provides screenings and other preventive services. A primary care doctor can be the first line of defense against declining physical conditions.

If you feel off, remember not to ignore warning signs. Call your primary care doctor and begin an honest conversation that gets you back on the path to health and wellness, mentally and physically.