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. 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)

Direct Primary Care is a Win for Brokers, Employers, and Employees

Research shows that fragmented healthcare is twice as expensive as an integrated care approach. This is mostly the result of unnecessary testing and excessive use of medication. With traditional benefits options like insurance, employees and employers bear the weight of these escalating costs.

Direct Primary Care (DPC) provides businesses with a solution that seamlessly integrates with existing benefit plans as a gap solution for group employers or serves as an alternative benefit plan for variable hour employees (including 1099 workers), keeping employer expenses low while diminishing the financial impact of high deductibles and expensive out-of-pocket costs.

DPC utilizes an integrated benefit model to overcome affordability restrictions of modern-day healthcare and to address long-standing accessibility barriers to managing preventative care, chronic conditions, and new health issues in a timely fashion before emergencies arise.

Direct Primary Care is a distinctive healthcare membership that provides: 

  • Affordability: A no-claims membership coupled with aligned patient/physician incentives drive affordability—enabling employers to offer lower care costs, empower employee health, and deliver better patient experiences.
  • Accessibility: Unlimited access to network physicians during business hours; 24/7 access to telehealth specialists; and primary, chronic, and urgent treatment from anywhere reduces patient avoidance and provides peace of mind.
  • Transparency: Upfront fixed pricing gives the transparency to empower patients to make smart, budgeted healthcare decisions—preventing post-visit surprise charges or opaque payment responsibilities.
  • Mobility: A nationwide footprint drives primary care mobility to better service members while transferring medical records between network physicians for every visit—eliminating care fragmentation and chances for misdiagnosis.

As healthcare costs and care fragmentation increases, employers continue to struggle with expense challenges while patients face long wait periods for acute illnesses, higher copays, and premiums. DPC is a viable solution to these barriers.

Brokers can help fully insured and self-funded employers.

Fully insured employers, self-funded employers, and those who employ variable hour and underinsured staff struggle more and more with these challenges. Benefits brokers can partner with direct primary care providers like Healthcare2U to help employer groups meet the challenges of fragmented healthcare and escalating costs.

Healthcare2U was created to meet these employer struggles and can seamlessly integrate with existing benefit plans already in place, allowing them to easily onboard employees, reduce skyrocketing expenses, and encourage healthy living while preventing disease.

Key Benefits for Brokers:

  • Better health outcomes for employees, reducing expenses for employers.
  • Provide employers with high-quality, affordable benefits, lowering healthcare costs that help keep employers competitive.
  • Establish trust by equipping employers with information to make sound decisions on how to structure a mixture of healthcare memberships and insurance coverage for their employees.
  • Achieve level commission to provide an additional resource to fund enrollment teams and educational enrollment information for employees.

Key Benefits for Employers and Employees:

  • Gain control of health spend by eliminating insurance claims to offset high deductibles and lower the costs of providing quality healthcare for employees.
  • Achieve healthcare price transparency to better budget and make more informed buying decisions.
  • Establish and nurture long-term doctor relationships.
  • Better health outcomes, improving productivity and reducing employee absenteeism.
  • Reduce unnecessary care and build employee trust by aligning the interests between both network physicians and employees
  • Offset out-of-pocket costs, diminishing the financial impact of high deductible health plans (HDHPs).
  • Accelerate healing with timely access to treatment, reducing waiting periods and lost time.
  • Detect diseases and issues sooner, so employees get faster treatment.

Direct primary care is a powerful tool brokers can use to address the pain points of employers large and small. To learn how you can increase commissions and provide top-notch service to clients, contact Healthcare2U.

A New Healthcare Offering for Uninsured Children

School-aged children (ages 6-18) make up almost 75 percent of the uninsured children in the U.S.  Lack of proper healthcare can contribute to serious health conditions later in life, and many feel more should be done to address the crisis of healthcare inequality for children.

The number of children with health coverage in the U.S. declined for the third consecutive year in 2019, according to census data—and that was during a period of economic growth. The pandemic also ushered in sweeping job losses that cost many families their health coverage, with certain parts of the country feeling the impact more than others.

With nearly 4.3 million children uninsured as of 2020, families need more accessible options. It appears the future health of the American population is at risk unless families at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder can find a solution to the healthcare crisis. Here we’ll examine the importance of addressing care inequality for children and how to eliminate the disparities.

The Importance of Preventive Care

According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of infants, children, and adolescents in the United States do not receive essential clinical preventive services. The report revealed large disparities in the receipt of clinical preventive services between insured and uninsured children. Hispanic children were also less likely than non-Hispanic children to have reported vision screenings.

Preventive healthcare services delivered by primary care physicians support healthy development in children. Because primary care is the foundation for good health, these services prevent and detect conditions and diseases in their earlier, more treatable stages and significantly reduce the risk of illness, premature death, disability, and expensive medical care in the future.

Newborns and children usually see doctors more than adults because their needs change as they grow. According to the CDC, 32 percent of children’s visits to the doctor are for preventive care. Without access to essential healthcare services and screenings, sick children become even sicker adults with chronic conditions and other illnesses that could have been prevented.

Wellbeing Starts Early

Primary care doctors care for adults and younger patients, including well-child visits and vaccinations, and provide care for illnesses, injuries, and other disorders. Having one doctor who tends to the whole family’s needs can be especially helpful when family members share the same health issues. Understanding your family’s health history and learning how to course-correct is invaluable, but when so many can’t afford health coverage, is this a luxury reserved only for affluent families? Not anymore.

Even when employees are fortunate enough to have health coverage through their employer, many can’t afford to cover their dependents. Premiums escalate for every family member added to a health plan. Because of the cost, many are forced to choose between keeping their lights on or providing healthcare for their children. For this reason, many have turned to direct primary care (DPC).

DPC is an affordable option for employees, but it can also be implemented as a dependent-only alternative. The employee can keep their employer-paid plan and choose primary care and chronic disease management for their spouse and children at an affordable monthly rate.

Meaningful Benefits for Families

More than 50 percent of the annual visits made to doctors in the U.S. are with primary care providers because primary care is comprehensive. As such, direct primary care (DPC) can offer significant benefits to families with uninsured children or dependents.

Since DPC isn’t health insurance, there are no expensive monthly premiums, deductibles to meet, or costly copays. The member, or their employer, pays a low monthly fee for a healthcare membership that includes unlimited primary care office visits, telehealth, and virtual care for little-to-no out-of-pocket costs. Direct primary care providers like Healthcare2U even offer DPC memberships for employees that have been laid off or furloughed.

With a nationwide network of primary care providers, they’ve also eliminated geographic barriers to care. So regardless of where people live, they can get primary care and preventive screenings for their families at a very affordable cost.

It’s vitally important for employees to understand the scope of their health and their children’s health. Staff can’t function at their best when they are sick or worried about a sick child who can’t get needed care. By providing an affordable alternative like direct primary care, employers can provide peace of mind for employees and reap the rewards of productivity and increased employee morale.

If you’d like more information on implementing DPC to end care inequality for children and employer groups nationwide, contact Healthcare2U for more details.

Hope for Escalating Healthcare Costs

With the U.S. healthcare expenditure expected to reach $6.2 trillion by 2028, government leaders, healthcare leaders, business leaders, and American citizens share concerns about being able to provide quality healthcare to the population while being fiscally responsible.

Unfortunately, employers and employees will be the ones carrying those costs. Employers want to build comprehensive health plans while still protecting their profits. Employees want healthcare options that don’t place the burden of escalating costs on their shoulders.

One solution, Direct Primary Care (DPC), will be crucial. Small and large businesses alike will be looking to add DPC for three reasons: The low cost for primary care is essential, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of telemedicine, and part-time and seasonal workers still need healthcare.

DPC Protects Employers

One of the major concerns for employers with self-funded health plans is the cost of covering claims after their employees seek healthcare. There’s no way to predict how much employees will utilize their health plans, so this wildcard can wreak havoc on employers’ bottom lines if protection isn’t built into the health plan.

Direct Primary Care protects employers by diverting claims for acute care, chronic disease management, and urgent care away from health plans. Employers can give their employees affordable access to primary care to maintain health and manage chronic diseases without the risk of shock claims after the fact.

In addition to making health plans more affordable for employers, DPC also makes getting quality healthcare more accessible for employees. There are no deductibles to meet when seeing a primary care physician, and office visits are often free or cost a minimal fee.

Necessary Benefits

For years, many have sought to keep patients with non-urgent health issues out of emergency rooms to control costs. Because of a global pandemic, telemedicine and virtual care have taken center stage. Finding such care through a traditional health plan can still be costly, but when it’s included at no cost to the employee through a DPC plan, it suddenly becomes the obvious choice. Utilizing telehealth and avoiding the emergency room protects patients’ wallets, and employers avoid claims from E.R. visits for their employees.

Whether employees are gig workers, full-time, part-time, or seasonal, employers can provide them meaningful benefits through direct primary care. Families need access to affordable primary care. And during this unprecedented time, employers and benefits brokers have access to affordable DPC plans through providers like Healthcare2U.

If you’d like more information about helping employers implement a direct primary care solution, contact Healthcare2U today.

Give Employers an Affordable Complement to HDHPs

The American healthcare system has become a giant institution characterized by skyrocketing costs and ineffective care. Insurance companies pressure doctors to keep patient visits brief and make the connection between doctors and patients more transactional than relational.

When health issues arise, people often choose whichever option is least expensive and convenient instead of using the healthcare system the way it was designed. You may be asking why there are so many people without adequate healthcare, even though they have health insurance. Here we’ll explore the issues with health insurance and healthcare, how to use the healthcare system effectively, and why insurance seems to be falling short.

The Cornerstone of Primary Care

Primary care is designed to be the cornerstone of maintaining good health. Ideally, a patient would have an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician (PCP) to establish a baseline of information regarding their health. During annual physicals or other routine visits, a PCP could quickly discern when something is off and put the patient on the path to recovery with appropriate recommendations, whether it be a simple prescription or referral to a specialist.

Catching cancer or other potentially fatal diseases early saves lives, but if a person has no relationship with a primary care doctor, conditions often go undiagnosed until it’s too late. One of the significant reasons people no longer have relationships with a primary care physician is because of mounting out-of-pocket costs. For example, high deductible health plans (HDHPs) require patients to meet a certain deductible before coverage begins. If a patient can’t afford to go to the doctor because they haven’t paid enough to meet the deductible on their insurance plan, healthcare is still inaccessible to them—even with health insurance.

Why the Insured Feel Uncovered

The healthcare industry is comprised of medical professionals, hospital systems, and pharmaceutical companies that should be dedicated to maintaining and restoring the health of their patients. The way these professionals set their prices has a direct effect on the costs of health insurance. Studies show high drug prices and overpriced services are a major source of waste in healthcare spending—to the tune of $241 billion per year. Unfortunately, other factors like fraud and administrative costs also drive up the price of insurance.

Employers and employees both end up feeling the burden of claims-based health insurance. Premiums and deductibles get higher and higher to offset the costs for insurance providers, and employers pass these costs on to employees because they can’t sustain them in the long run. In short, people end up with high deductible health plans (HDHPs) they can’t afford to use.

For 2022, HDHPs include deductibles with total yearly out-of-pocket expenses that max out between $7,050 for individuals and $14,100 for families. These limits set by the IRS don’t include the expenses from out-of-network services.

An Affordable Alternative

There are ways to give people access to quality primary care, whether they have insurance or not. Direct primary care (DPC) plans have been reintroduced with 21st Century conveniences like Virtual DPC to rebuild the relationship between primary care doctors and patients. By serving as a gap solution to HDHPs, DPC offers employees affordable access to healthcare without having to meet a deductible. It also eases the financial burden for employers because they don’t have to pay insurance claims on the back end.

Employers pay a flat monthly fee for their employees’ membership to the plan, and their people get unlimited doctor visits for minimal costs. With chronic disease management included in some DPC memberships, people with manageable pre-existing conditions like diabetes don’t have to worry about being denied membership. And they can still use their HDHP for services that go beyond primary care in the event of a major catastrophe.

Just because a person has health insurance doesn’t mean they have healthcare. With all of the turmoil in the insurance industry, benefit agents are being forced to explore new healthcare solutions for their clients. DPC is providing peace of mind by helping many get the care they deserve.

To learn more about expanding your business with direct primary care, contact Healthcare2U.

DPC: A No-Claims Approach to Essential Primary Care

Most don’t understand the complexities of their health and wellness. Often people ignore warning signs in their bodies until something drastic happens, at which point they rush to the emergency room or urgent care. The problem with treating the E.R. like primary care is skyrocketing costs for the patient and their employer if they have health insurance. Without health insurance, medical bills can quickly overwhelm anyone.

Having primary care helps people get effective care by helping them to be proactive about their health. To that end, direct primary care (DPC) has become a leading solution because it provides affordable access to disease prevention, chronic disease management, and 21st-century convenience that has become a standard for many.

Disease Prevention

Primary care physicians (PCPs) can screen for many ailments, including obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. They also review immunization records and help keep patients and their families up to date with shots and other preventative measures.

Studies show that people who utilize primary care have better health outcomes, including lower rates of all causes of mortality. Researchers found noticeably lower death rates from heart disease, cancer, or stroke, infant mortality, low birth weight, and poor self-reported health in areas where people sought care from primary care physicians.

Building an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician and their team empowers people to take control of their health. Having a support system and a wealth of knowledge they could never get on their own assuages fears or unfamiliarity that might prevent some from getting life-saving care. Having someone to tell you when a condition is moving in the wrong direction or advise you to see a specialist can prevent illnesses from developing or worsening. In the event of being referred to a specialist, this knowledge and familiarity help personalize your care and save time that may have previously been spent explaining medical history.

Managing Chronic Disease

A primary care provider is responsible for screening all major health-related conditions. If you already have a chronic disease, your PCP helps manage it and improve your quality of life. Unfortunately, some health plans don’t accept people with preexisting conditions. This alienates a large segment of people, as approximately 60 percent of the American population suffer from chronic diseases. According to the CDC, chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and the leading drivers of the nation’s $3.8 trillion spent annually on healthcare.

People with preexisting conditions are the ones who need care the most, but with insurers turning many away, some can’t afford quality healthcare to keep their disease from escalating. This is just one of many reasons direct primary care memberships are so vital.

DPC memberships accept people with preexisting conditions within manageable ranges and make treating the disease much more affordable. With a plan like Healthcare2U’s direct primary care, members get unlimited treatment and management of 13 chronic disease states for a minimal visit fee. Now people who desperately need care can finally get it.

Virtual Care is the New Standard

Even before the pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual care, Millennials were leading the charge toward technology-driven healthcare. Studies show the benefits telemedicine and virtual care are not lost on millennials and Gen Xers. These generations are more likely than baby boomers to report that a telemedicine option is “extremely or very important.” Forty percent of millennials say telemedicine is an extremely or very important option, compared with 27 percent among Gen Xers and 19 percent among baby boomers.

As part of a direct primary care membership, virtual care is available to members 24/7/365 at no cost. This benefit was especially beneficial during the pandemic and will continue to expand in the years to come. People who are busy but still value the quality of their healthcare appreciate the convenience and affordability virtual care.

A No-Claims Healthcare Option for Employers

There is a misconception that one can’t have access to quality primary care unless he has insurance, but this no longer has to be the case.

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. DPC has become extremely important in recent years for those who don’t have health insurance and even those who do. Some High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) require patients to pay high copays and deductibles for care, which puts routine healthcare out of reach for some.

Knowledgeable benefits brokers are introducing employers to the power of direct primary care. It’s a no-claims alternative that employers can add to other traditional health benefits to mitigate costs and provide options for part-time, seasonal, or other employees who don’t normally receive health benefits.

For more information about how DPC memberships can provide quality care for employers of all sizes, contact Healthcare2U.

What Employees Really Want in a Job

CHG Healthcare surveyed more than 800 American workers to learn what employees desired most in a job. It’s not surprising that salary topped the list, but here are the top five things employees said were most consequential in a position.

Salary

The American Psychological Association (APA) published the results of their Stress in America poll, and they reported 61 percent of respondents said money was a significant source of stress over the past year. Fifty-nine percent also reported stress over the economy.

According to the CHG survey, low salary is still the top reason workers leave their jobs. Financial stability is a worry for a sizable percentage. And people want the peace of mind to perform their job responsibilities without the added pressure of hoping ends will meet at the end of the month. Employers who want to stay competitive in attracting quality talent must stay mindful of the current economic climate and how it might impact their workforce.

Company Culture

The CHG survey also found that when fostering a healthy culture, most companies were aiming at the wrong targets: “While it may seem like an easy fix to invest money in onsite gyms, ping-pong tables, or free food, what workers really want is a place where they feel comfortable with their work environment and are treated with respect,” the CHG team wrote.

Employees were asked about what really contributes to a good company culture and they identified these as the top five.

  1. Workplace environment
  2. Growth/development opportunities
  3. Access to leadership
  4. Transparent communication
  5. Job has meaning

The edifice of meaningless perks has crumbled, and workers want to feel heard by their employer. Communication between leadership and staff can help bridge the gap between what employers offer and what employees actually desire.

Good Benefits

In the CHG survey, health insurance tied for first place with work from home flexibility and paid time off when they asked employees what they looked for in a new job. Ten percent of respondents wished their employer offered free healthcare. Employees have grown weary of escalating insurance premiums and deductibles.

For families already walking a financial tightrope, increasingly high out-of-pocket expenses leave many unable to engage with the healthcare system when they need it. While it is unlikely all employers will provide free health insurance for their workforce, there is an alternative that can minimize out-of-pocket spending for employees and mitigate claims for their employer.

Direct primary care (DPC) is a health membership that offers unlimited visits to a primary care provider and virtual visits for no additional costs. For a low monthly fee, workers can also implement DPC as a dependent-only option if they can’t afford to cover them on their insurance plan.

Help your clients become an employer of choice.

The Best Practice Institute says workers are as much as four times more likely to be extra productive if they love the company they work for. Employees are also more likely to stay with a company they love longer.

Employers want to offer the best salaries and the best benefits but often struggle putting the pieces together. Benefits brokers are extremely knowledgeable about current benefit offerings and how they can coordinate options together to mitigate costs.

Finding cost-effective solutions for quality health benefits is easier than you think. To learn more about how direct primary care can help companies of all sizes provide meaningful health benefits affordably, contact Healthcare2U.

Solutions to Alleviate Financial Worries in Healthcare

Americans with employer health benefits appreciate having access to healthcare through an employer plan. But many report financial challenges related to their healthcare costs, particularly among those facing high deductibles or suffering from chronic conditions.

In 2019, 40 percent of people relying on employer coverage faced difficulty paying medical bills or struggled to afford their premiums, deductibles, cost sharing or an unexpected bill that year. More than half reported they or a loved one skipped or postponed care because of prohibitive costs.

Fast forward to 2022, two years into a global pandemic that placed a huge financial strain on the entire healthcare system, and you still see the lingering effects of an economy that has been shaken in every way possible. Here we’ll examine key takeaways from a recent KFF benefits survey and ways brokers can offer solutions during these challenging times.

Employees Worry About Costs

At the end of 2021, Kaiser Family Foundation released the 2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey. They reported annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 4 percent to an average of $22,221 last year. The annual inflation rate in the U.S. surpassed 6 percent in October of 2021. This includes the cost of shelter, which increased 3.5 percent.

Senior vice president of KFF and co-author of the study, Gary Claxton said, “Deductibles are a concern for lower-wage workers, and [employers] want to make a plan that’s affordable so the contribution is not too high.” Typically, employers try to keep the costs of health plans down by passing the costs on to employees. This doesn’t encourage workers to enroll.

The Expansion of Telemedicine

More than 60 percent of offering firms with at least 50 workers reported making changes related to telemedicine due to the pandemic. Fifty percent promoted their telemedicine benefits more to staff, and 31 percent expanded coverage for additional modes of telemedicine. In addition, nearly 25 percent of employers expanded the places where telemedicine could be delivered, expanded the number or types of telemedicine providers, and expanded covered telemedicine services.

Employers seek solutions that will help mitigate the costs of providing healthcare as well as provide meaningful benefits such as telemedicine. This is a wonderful opportunity for brokers to reintroduce employers to the benefits of direct primary care (DPC).

Providing Solutions for Employers and Employees

Direct primary care is popular among employers because it doesn’t generate claims when employees utilize it. This is a powerful cost-reduction strategy when included with plans that offer traditional insurance options that generate unpredictable claims which impact profits.

DPC memberships also provide peace of mind for employees because it requires no premiums, deductibles, or expensive copays. In addition to unlimited in-office visits, members also get unlimited access to virtual DPC appointments.

If you’d like more information about how direct primary care can reduce healthcare costs for employers and their staff, contact Healthcare2U.

 

DPC Addresses Cumulative Effects of Inflation and Escalating Health Insurance Costs

In the latter part of 2021, Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., vice president, health care coverage and access, for the Commonwealth Fund testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance regarding the escalating costs of health insurance in America. Collins concluded, “The cost burden in commercial insurance is an enduring problem in U.S. health care that is undermining America’s overall economic well-being.”

According to the Health Care Cost Institute, people with employer insurance spent almost 22 percent more between 2015 and 2019. This growing expenditure outpaced both inflation and GDP growth during the same period. With average salaries only increasing at a rate of about 3 percent annually, a rate that already trails inflation on its own, many are concerned about the cumulative effect on Americans who struggle to afford expensive insurance premiums and deductibles as well as the large segment of the population who have been priced out of having any coverage at all.

Inflation Wipes Out Real Gains

Labor market experts warn strong inflation could lead to greater demand from workers and unions for a cost-of-living adjustment in 2022. The Federal Reserve Board says inflation has increased significantly and will likely remain elevated in the months ahead before adjusting. Labor markets continue to churn as people change jobs in search of higher salaries to make up the difference. According to ADP Research Institute, most workers average an almost 6 percent salary increase when changing positions.

PayScale reported 51 percent of workers believe they are paid below market; and workers who believe they are underpaid are more likely to seek new opportunities in the next six months as pay perception has a quantitative impact on retention.

The Commonwealth Fund Proposals

Another key component of employee retention is providing meaningful health benefits. The Commonwealth Fund outlined several proposals to contain health insurance costs in testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. Two of the key recommendations were:

  • Reduce deductibles and out-of-pocket costs in Marketplace plans.
  • Address the high commercial provider prices that are the primary driver of employer premiums and deductibles.

While it’s difficult for most to agree on the proper measures to remedy the healthcare crisis, there are some cost-containment methods that are readily available on the market. With a little education, employers can learn how to incorporate products like direct primary care (DPC) into their health plans for better access to healthcare at lower costs.

Transparent Costs

Direct primary care is a monthly healthcare membership that gives members access to unlimited primary care for a low monthly fee. This eliminates expensive premiums and deductibles because DPC is not health insurance. Most DPC plans offer virtual visits or telehealth at no out-of-pocket costs as well as in-office visits for a minimal copay or no out-of-pocket expense.

In addition to mitigating healthcare costs for employees, direct primary care also saves employers money. DPC minimizes claims that could be generated from insurance policies when workers visit doctors. The beauty of DPC is it can be incorporated alongside a HDHP, MEC, or any other insurance plans as a cost-containment strategy. It can be implemented any time of year, so you don’t have to wait for an open enrollment period.

If you’d like more information on using direct primary care to make healthcare more affordable, contact Healthcare2U.

Addressing Healthcare Deserts with Affordable Solutions

A 2021 report by GoodRx found over 80 percent of counties in the U.S. lack some form of healthcare infrastructure. These counties where people have limited access to healthcare services have been labeled “healthcare deserts.” Roughly 121 million people, or 37 percent of the population, currently live in a healthcare-desert county, according to the report.

The report examines the lack of access to healthcare facilities and providers in six key areas. They include primary care providers, pharmacies, hospitals, hospital beds, trauma centers, and low-cost health centers. The numbers concerning access to primary care are particularly concerning as primary care providers are often considered the gatekeepers to good health and wellbeing. Here we’ll examine the problem and highlight solutions that can address the needs of healthcare deserts nationwide.

A One to 10,449 Ratio

GoodRx says more than 9 percent of U.S. counties are primary care provider deserts. An estimated 13 million Americans live in areas where demand for primary care far outpaces the supply.   According to the report, healthcare provider deserts average one full-time primary care provider for every 10,449 people. That’s an impossible caseload for any provider.

It’s also not surprising that limited access to healthcare is more likely to affect people who already face disparities. Americans with low income, no insurance, and technology barriers such a limited internet access suffer the most. Areas that lack federally funded low-cost health centers comprise 45 percent of U.S. counties. The report estimates 78 million people don’t have a low-cost health center nearby and would need to drive more than 20 minutes to reach the nearest clinic.

Household Income and Healthcare Deserts

The relationship between the average household income and healthcare infrastructure in an area is undeniable. Unfortunately, the lower the income in an area, the less money there is for infrastructure. So the people who need help the most get the least. The authors surmise having adequate primary care providers nearby and access to multiple pharmacies would allow low-income patients to invest in preventive care and find the most affordable treatments. Currently, the lack of affordable healthcare is exacerbated by the prevalence of healthcare deserts in low-income neighborhoods.

An Alternative to Insurance

It’s no secret the uninsured are more likely to forgo doctor visits, routine screenings, and prescriptions due to costs. While many may have heard of direct primary care (DPC), some still don’t know what it is or how it differs from health insurance.

Unlike insurance, DPC is a monthly healthcare membership that provides unlimited primary care for a low monthly membership fee. There are no expensive premiums or deductibles to meet, and copays are either non-existent or very minimal. Direct primary care is filling in the gap for healthcare deserts with virtual DPC and access to a nationwide network of primary care providers. Quality primary care is now available without geographic or financial barriers to care.

GoodRx believes widening access to low-cost health options reduces the financial burden of healthcare and encourages patients to seek preventive care that could help mitigate deteriorating health outcomes. By building a healthier community and keeping them healthier with consistent care, a county could also alleviate the overwhelming demand for hospitals and other healthcare providers.

For more information on how direct primary care can alleviate healthcare deserts, contact Healthcare2U.