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.

Primary Care Counteracts the Negative Impact of Poor Economic Conditions on Health

It’s been well established that primary care is the vital foundation of a strong healthcare system that provides positive health outcomes, effectiveness, efficiency, and health equity. Primary medical care is designed to be the first point of contact for individuals engaging the healthcare system, leading to preventive care and minimizing healthcare spending and waste by directing patients to appropriate specialists only when necessary.

When people lack the basic understanding of how to use the healthcare system effectively, they often use emergency rooms or urgent care centers as their first point of contact. This practice causes healthcare expenses to start unnecessarily high and continue to escalate. Even when the patient is fortunate enough to have health insurance, higher claims impact their employer’s profits. And if they don’t have insurance, the out-of-pocket costs can be astronomical.

Primary care physicians provide individual and family care to prevent, cure and alleviate common illnesses and acute conditions. Primary care is associated with better access to healthcare services, better health outcomes, and decreased hospitalization and emergency room visits. Researchers say primary care can also help counteract the negative impact of poor economic conditions on health. Their research indicates that primary care should be expanded across communities to help counteract health inequities.

The Power of Primary Care

MEC with DPC Case Study Direct primary care (DPC) is a rapidly growing means of delivering cost-effective primary care across the United States. Adopting a central repository of health data, telemedicine, and virtual appointments has led to better health outcomes for people who were previously unable to participate in the healthcare system effectively. While helping employees save on out-of-pocket costs, DPC has also protected employers’ financial gains nationwide with it’s no-claims approach.

Research has shown better primary care directly correlates with a more equitable distribution of health within a community and can also reduce the harmful effects of income inequality. Again, this problem has been pushed to the forefront of Americans’ concerns due to recent events as minorities face more significant challenges accessing basic primary care. And unfortunately, many Americans at the bottom of the economic ladder have been pummeled by the pandemic, exacerbating financial inequalities.

Educating Clients is Key

Direct primary care providers like Healthcare2U seek to provide relief and quality primary care for families on every rung of the economic ladder. For a low monthly fee, members get unlimited access to a primary care provider in any state. Families are no longer forced to choose between survival and the dignity of accessing basic healthcare.

There are still a vast number of employers with low-wage earners who need to be educated about DPC. It’s not only a game-changer financially, but it can also be a lifesaver if used properly. For a segment of the population that may feel they still can’t afford to see a doctor, having a benefits advisor who is highly knowledgeable about direct primary care is crucial. Benefits advisors who are having conversations about DPC with their clients are helping to close the gap on health inequities one client at a time.

 

Two Accelerating Contributors to Health Inequity [How Medication Insecurity and Healthcare Homelessness Calls for Better Access to Primary Medical Care]

Unfortunately, pay inequities and lack of access to care are not the only factors preventing socioeconomically disadvantaged groups from realizing health equity. Other barriers include the fact that many often delay or avoid care because they can’t afford to pay the deductible required for high deductible health plans. Many also lack the resources to pay for prescriptions. Here we’ll examine how these two contributors to health inequity are rapidly expanding and how to address them.

Medication Insecurity

While many have died after not being able to afford needed treatment, there are millions more experiencing medication insecurity. Medication insecurity is the inability to pay for prescribed medication at least once in the past 12 months.

A recent survey by Good Rx found that of the 75 percent of respondents who take at least one prescription medication, 28 percent have a prescription not covered by their insurance. Just over half of this group spent less than $50 on these non-covered medications monthly, while the remaining spent up to $300 or more monthly. And during 2020, amid a raging pandemic, about 13 percent of people had at least one prescription medication dropped from their insurance coverage.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, a rising percentage of adults reported not having had enough money in the previous year to pay for needed medicine or drugs prescribed by a doctor. As of September 2019, 23 percent fell into this category. That’s about 58 million adults who experienced medication insecurity.

High Deductible Health Plans

High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) have become a standard option among Americans. HDHPs are so common that in 49 states, at least 25 percent of residents who received employer-sponsored insurance were enrolled in one as of 2016.

With at least 40 percent of Americans lacking even $400 in savings for an emergency, it’s not surprising that many with insurance still can’t afford to use it. These policies often offer low monthly premiums but fail to cover the cost of primary healthcare. The low price may work when calculating monthly expenses, but when an employee needs to use their insurance, the high deductible can make it impossible for some to get needed care.

Healthcare avoidance due to expense has become a significant barrier to U.S. families. BenefitsPRO recently highlighted a sobering statistic: 40 percent of privately insured adults with deductibles that comprise 5 percent, or more of their income put off or entirely avoided essential health care due to their deductible.

One survey found that 40 percent of privately insured adults with deductibles that comprise 5 percent or more of their income put off or entirely avoided essential health care due to their deductible.

The Need for Change

More than 13 percent of American adults, about 34 million people, say at least one friend or family member in the past five years died after not receiving needed medical treatment because they were unable to pay for it. The number of Americans who have died after 1) not being able to pay for care, and 2) the rising population with medication insecurity, highlight the urgency of the U.S. healthcare cost crisis.

These are a few reasons more affordable options like direct primary care (DPC) have been catapulted to the forefront of the healthcare revolution. DPC is a healthcare membership that provides unlimited access to primary care for a low monthly fee. It can be offered as a companion, or gap solution, to HDHPs to give day-to-day coverage to families.

Many direct primary care plans include generic first protocols or prescription discounts, as well as discounts on labs and imaging services (including MRIs, CT scans and X-rays), a game-changer for some. Not only do DPC members receive unlimited in-office visits, physicals, and virtual options for care, but they also save on drugs that are often out of their price range.

If you’d like more information on how to end medication insecurity and healthcare “homelessness” with direct primary care, contact Healthcare2U. As the nation’s fastest-growing hybrid DPC provider, we offer unlimited membership benefits that span state lines.

 

Health Plan Design is a Strategic Business Decision

According to a Korn Ferry Institute professional survey, the top reason candidates choose one job over another today is company culture. Twenty-three percent of respondents selected this reason as their top priority. Benefits were not far behind, with 19 percent choosing this as most important. However, the two are closely related. 

Companies are focused on being the best in their industry. They don’t have the time to devote to staying abreast of changes in the healthcare industry as new options become available. They look to their benefits brokers to help them add value to their employees while also protecting their profits. Here we’ll examine what employers are looking for and how brokers can help them stand out to potential candidates. 

Employers View Healthcare as Strategy
The nonprofit Business Group on Health (BGH) represents large employers and conducted the 2021 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey  in May and June 2020. The survey captured data from 122 large employers offering coverage to more than 9.2 million employees and dependents. Seventy-seven percent of the companies were building health plans for more than 10,000 employees. 

In addition to strategies for high-cost claims, employers are looking for fresh approaches to linking healthcare with workforce strategy. Forty-five percent of the employers said their healthcare strategy was an integral part of their workforce strategy, compared to 36 percent in 2019. 

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a healthcare model that helps employers attract, motivate and retain employees in employer groups of all sizes. Here we’ll examine how DPC helps companies build full-bodied health plans that not only promote better employee health but make employees feel valued. 

Virtual/Telehealth Services 
Telehealth was rapidly gaining acceptance when a global pandemic catapulted it into the national spotlight. Many former in-person activities are being re-envisioned remotely, and that trend is here to stay. 

With 52 percent of large employers looking to offer more virtual care and telehealth options, it’s easy to see why direct primary care has become a go-to strategy. One of DPC’s key benefits is unlimited telehealth or virtual DPC visits for no out-of-pocket costs to members. The affordable monthly membership fee gives employees access to licensed medical providers online or by phone 24/7/365 for minor illnesses and injuries.  

This benefit means there are no deductibles to meet before insurance can cover a sick child or an injury from a minor accident. Families don’t have to forgo care because they don’t have the emergency funds saved to visit a primary care provider. 

Mitigating High-Cost Claims
Thirty-one percent of large employers surveyed want a strategy to contain the cost of high insurance claims. Direct primary care is not insurance but rather a healthcare membership that typically covers acute care, early chronic disease management, annual physicals, and urgent care. DPC shields employers’ health plans by diverting claims for care provided within the membership from insurance plans such as high deductible plans, Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC), health share plans, or others. 

Because DPC is a healthcare membership, it can be layered into any health plan at any time of the year to begin modifying employee behavior and impact costs by limiting claims exposure.  

Flexibility is the Future
The Korn Ferry survey asked professionals to predict what job seekers will value most from a prospective employer five years from now. Twenty-six percent of respondents chose flexible working situations. 

Even before the pandemic, flexible and remote work opportunities were waxing. Work from home productivity stats from 2018 shows that people who work remotely at least once a month are 24 percent more likely to be happy and productive. 

As brands expand their workforce nationally and remotely, they want to offer a healthcare solution for their employees that is consistent across all 50 states. Twelve percent of large employers are looking to adopt networks of high-performance healthcare providers in 2021. 

With a nationwide direct primary care provider like Healthcare2U, members can access primary care physicians in every state, face to face or virtually, for one low membership fee. This membership takes flexibility to a whole new level for today’s mobile workforce. 

When designing a health plan that works for today’s labor pool, the only limit is your imagination. If you’d like more information on how to bring a DPC solution to forward-thinking clients, contact Healthcare2U. 

Increased Demand for Virtual Healthcare Going Forward

As the largest living segment of the population, Millennials will comprise 75 percent of the workforce within the next six years. It’s no secret their appetite for convenience and technology has driven innovation in every sector, including healthcare. Even before 2020, telemedicine and virtual healthcare were considered the wave of the future.

The pandemic accelerated that push toward the future and the demand for telemedicine and virtual care will only continue to increase. Kristi Mitchell, practice director for Avalere’s Center for Healthcare Transformation, recently highlighted research indicating patients are more and more comfortable using telehealth and virtual care, viewing it as a way to strengthen relationships with their providers. She said, “Now that we’ve gotten a taste of it, there is tangible consumer demand pushing for it to stay.”

The boom in virtual care for mental health, the ability to manage chronic diseases, and equity and access for underserved populations are three reasons the trend for virtual care will continue to surge.

Mental Health Care Remains Important

The pandemic forced many services to go online, including psychiatry. Patients were forced to either get treatment virtually or by phone or delay care until in-person sessions were safe again. In an environment of accelerated unemployment, loss of life, and social unrest, waiting for mental health care wasn’t an option for some.

Many patients adopted virtual treatment readily, according to the digital health publication JMIR. A recent study of 244 Michigan psychiatric patients reported that 96 percent were fine with virtual or telephone sessions.

According to the survey, more than 90 percent of respondents chose to continue virtual treatment after nine months, saying virtual visits met or exceeded their expectations. It seems the patients appreciated online sessions’ convenience and the ability to schedule emergency sessions more easily.

Consistent Management of Chronic Disease

Chronic diseases like hypertension, arthritis, and diabetes drive the $1.1 trillion in healthcare costs for chronic disease management. Active monitoring and medication management are a large part of treating chronic conditions, and virtual care can deliver these services.

Data shows commercially insured patients turned to telemedicine for chronic care management at significantly higher rates than traditionally. The number of telemedicine claims related to diabetes, hypertension, and back pain increased 642 percent, 441 percent, and 258 percent, respectively. That’s a lot of claims impacting employers’ bottom lines.

If employers adopted a no-claims healthcare option that still provided unlimited virtual care and telehealth to manage chronic diseases, the savings could be exponential. Direct primary care (DPC) is one such option. This monthly healthcare membership not only allows patients to see a primary care physician in-office as often as needed, but it also provides unlimited access to telehealth and virtual visits.

Access for All

It’s interesting to note that telehealth was initially created to help hospitals reach patients who lived in remote or rural locations. Even in 2017, rural Americans were getting notably sicker as health systems struggled to deliver care in their areas. Only 10 percent of physicians serve rural populations, and the number of specialists is even fewer.

While rural patients lack providers, urban Americans have access problems because there is a shortage of in-person appointments. A survey of uninsured or individually insured respondents found 32 percent of urban and 21 percent of rural patients said they experienced delayed care when they thought they needed care sooner. Delayed healthcare leads to escalating conditions and escalating costs.

Both rural and urban Americans need a system that delivers quality healthcare that is not constrained to a particular geographic location, and they’re finding it in direct primary care.

Experts estimate 35 to 50 percent of in-person care will be delivered in a virtual primary care setting going forward. While the role of DPC and virtual care came to the forefront during the pandemic, many employers and employees are unaware of this benefit. If you’d like more information on how to bring the virtual care revolution to more clients, contact Healthcare2U.

DPC Present and Future for a Remote Workforce

The sun was already setting on the traditional in-office business world, but this past year drastically upended the conventional style. Established ways – such as having a workforce in one location, and one-size-fits-all benefit plans – quickly fell out of favor as 2020 became an accelerant that forced a reckoning on all fronts. From business practice to healthcare packages, companies on the cutting edge of technology and innovation fared better than those who were slower to adopt new methodologies. In short, outdated traditions are being replaced by various healthcare solutions. Let’s quickly focus on one that transcends socioeconomic and geographic barriers for employers of every size.

What is Direct Primary Care?

The Direct primary care model (or DPC, for short) is a healthcare payment model where patients, or consumers, pay for their membership directly in the form of periodic payments for a defined set of primary care services. DPC emphasizes the relationship between a patient and his/her family physician to improve health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. This model has evolved to be a cost-effective solution that makes healthcare more accessible to everyone, often via a multi-platform delivery of care through virtual or in-person visits.

Now, the pandemic taught businesses to lean into flexibility. A recent survey found 74 percent of CFOs plan to keep workers remote after the pandemic. From a financial standpoint, having a remote workforce makes sense. The cost savings have allowed many companies to avoid further severe cuts and downsizing.

Situations like these will raise new healthcare issues for a team working from a variety of locations. And, for those employers who were forced to lay off workers, shrinking headcounts could also have an unforeseen impact on insurance premiums. What that means for employers is the traditional options for health plans are incongruent with how employees live today. To meet this demand, traditional direct primary care has adapted to a hybrid approach that fills this ever-widening void for employers who have remote employees in various states and mobile workers who live on the go.

A Hybrid Solution for the Remote Workforce

A hybrid Direct Primary Care (DPC) model is especially beneficial when it’s a nationwide network of physicians accessible in any state. This approach has been a game-changer for companies expanding their remote workforce across state lines. It’s also extremely beneficial for restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality industry businesses with locations in multiple states. Each provider has its list of particular services, but some DPC membership benefits include:

  • Patient advocates to support members in navigating their healthcare options
  • 24/7/365 access to a primary care provider via telehealth
  • Unlimited in-office visits for a minimal-to-no fee
  • Annual physical provided to establish a baseline for a member’s health
  • And, finally, early-stage chronic disease management

It’s helpful to have health insurance for catastrophic life events but being able to see the doctor when you’re ill without paying expensive deductibles or copays is a reason people love direct primary care. DPC also pairs well with minimum essential coverage, High deductible health plans medical cost-sharing memberships, and many other healthcare services.

 

In conclusion, traditional direct primary care practices and hybrid DPC organizations are 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, let Healthcare2U know. As the nation’s fastest-growing hybrid DPC provider, we partner with organizations nationwide to provide affordable and convenient access to primary medical care.

Chronic Disease Management Provides Big ROI

When employees are too sick to come to work, businesses lose money. Chronic illnesses among employees cost U.S. employers more than half a trillion dollars in lost productivity each year. Even before the pandemic, sick days were up 12 percent in 2019—a collective 978 million sick days used cost companies $151 billion in lost revenue.

With 60 percent of American adults suffering from one or more chronic conditions, these staggering figures highlight the need to focus on disease prevention and high-quality care delivery for patients diagnosed with chronic conditions. Direct primary care is a vehicle for employees to prevent and maintain chronic conditions while minimizing their out-of-pocket costs and eliminating claims that would otherwise impact their employer’s profits.

Chronic Care Management ROI
In 2018, Humana reported that each unhealthy day linked to a chronic condition cost health plans $15.64 in additional medical care per person per month—an expense that can add up quickly over time.

It’s not surprising that patients with chronic conditions report more physically and mentally unhealthy days than the population average. However, people who proactively take steps to prevent escalating disease states usually experience fewer unhealthy days than those who allow their conditions to deteriorate due to lack of proper care.

study of carrier claims data from Mercer Health Advantage revealed evidence for improved health outcomes and cost-savings return on investment (ROI) from providing chronic care management. This program offered through insurance carriers featured in-depth care management for the sickest employees and reported an aggregate return on investment of $3.30 for each $1 spent while improving patient health.

Expensive Health Risks Can be Managed
Employers who focus on the cost of healthcare expenses without also examining the cost of lost productivity (when employees are out of the office sick or perform at a limited capacity) miss a big part of the picture. The effects on their business outcomes and employee wellbeing are directly related. They should work closely with their benefits advisor to create a plan that can keep workers healthy while minimizing costs.

According to a recent report published in The Lancet Public Health, nearly $730 billion in healthcare spending can be linked to modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking. The study highlighted five risk factors mostly responsible for these modifiable healthcare costs.

  1. Being overweight and obesity
  2. High blood pressure
  3. High blood sugar
  4. Poor diet
  5. Smoking.

The study estimates that more than 25 percent of all healthcare spending in the U.S. annually is due to conditions tied to lifestyle choices—preventable conditions to some degree.

Primary Care Manages Chronic Conditions
Fortunately, early-stage chronic disease management falls under primary care physicians’ purview (PCPs), making a no-claims option like direct primary care (DPC) a no-brainer. Unlike health insurance, DPC is a monthly health membership that affords members unlimited access to a PCP for a low monthly fee.

Instead of meeting deductibles or paying outrageous monthly premiums, the patient gets in-office visits and virtual care for a low monthly cost, depending on their plan. With the right DPC membership, employees can get primary care and chronic disease management without generating monthly claims for their employer. Employers love direct primary care because it doesn’t generate claims, and members don’t have to meet a deductible to have affordable access to the doctor. The savings for multiple employees over time can lead to exponential savings for large and small employers.

For more information on how a DPC membership can provide cost-effective chronic disease management, contact Healthcare2U, a nationwide, hybrid direct primary care organization.

Be Prepared for the New Normal Through the Power of Partnerships

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is to be prepared. Businesses of all shapes and sizes have been hit hard by this past year’s events and need flexible benefit brokers with a portfolio of products to adapt to their new normal. By combining insurance options, voluntary benefits, and non-insurance alternatives, brokers can step out of the major medical box to deliver a customized health plan to their diverse clients—distinguishing themselves from their competition. Partnerships with pioneering third-party administrators, insurance organizations, and health care memberships allow brokers to listen to their clients’ pain points, then deliver a tailored solution that meets their needs.

Partnering with a Third-Party Administrator

Most benefits providers have the same goal in mind: connecting people to exceptional healthcare. A third-party administrator (TPA) is a powerful ally when designing an effective and easy-to-use health plan.

A TPA can blend different carriers to build a variety of healthcare products. Each product in the plan can stand on its own, but like a biochemist, a third-party administrator understands the synergy of combining products to provide the best options for clients and make sales and marketing easier for brokers.

Employers enjoy the simplicity of having one payroll deduction per employee for all their healthcare products. The administration is what TPAs do, so they can quickly relieve an employer of the burdens of payment processing, compliance issues, and other nuances that can get complicated if you’re not well-versed.

Challenges of the Current Landscape

Every person, regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic background, needs healthcare. Research shows people who utilize a primary care physician have 33 percent lower annual adjusted health care expenditures and lower adjusted mortality rates than those who don’t.1

The challenge is providing primary care and other health benefits that are affordable and easily accessible to everyone. Small businesses too often feel they can’t offer benefits.

Unfortunately, the cost of health insurance is continually increasing. Some employers are forced to pass healthcare costs onto employees in the form of high deductible health plans (HDHPs) to combat rising premiums. While an HDHP may offer premium services, some employees can’t afford to meet the deductible before health coverage begins, making the benefits unusable.

Whether offering a MEC or HDHP, employers also struggle to manage health plans’ costs due to insurance claims. These unpredictable claims are the wildcard of any benefits package, and many employers are uncomfortable with that level of exposure. They’re looking for brokers who can offer solutions to mitigate these costs.

Synergy Contains Costs

One way to contain an employer’s healthcare expenses is to combine MEC and HDHP insurance options with a no-claims option like direct primary care (DPC). DPC is a healthcare membership that differs from insurance because there are no premiums or deductibles to meet. There are no claims to process or impact the employer’s bottom line later.

Facility operators encourage physicians who work in their network to push patients toward specialist care and facility tests and evaluations, because that’s where they generate the most revenue. This practice is terrible news for employers when those large claims come in.

In contrast, direct primary care seeks to keep employees healthy so that they won’t need specialized care in the long run. DPC members pay a low monthly membership fee for unlimited access to a primary care provider. Most providers offer telehealth services and virtual visits as well—a game-changer over the last year. Utilizing primary care as recommended keeps health from deteriorating into more costly disease states or conditions that may require specialized care, such as surgery.

Should a catastrophic event or accident occur, a DPC member could still engage their HDHP or other insurance at that time. But for routine family care, direct primary care softens the blow for employees and employers.

Negotiating Better Rates with Other Carriers

Putting direct primary care into a health plan also directly affects the aggregate rate for stop-loss insurance. Stop-loss carriers know that adding DPC to a health plan offsets claims, so they offer reduced fees for companies who incorporate it. This practice is another cost reduction just for adding a direct primary care product with other insurance alternatives.

Also, health shares offer substantially discounted rates to employers who provide DPC as well. Those savings alone could cover the direct primary care cost in the health plan while also shielding the plan from shareable expenses.

Partnering to Provide Solutions for Associations

Health plans for associations ended with the ACA. This issue left a severe void in healthcare for professionals. There aren’t many low-cost solutions in all 50 states, but direct primary care is one.

Sometimes forgotten by brokers, there are still many associations that want to provide benefits to members in every state, but they don’t know how to do it. A savvy broker partnered with the right TPA can help fill the void for these organizations who may not understand the benefits of a product like DPC or other offerings that can work alongside it.

A Shift is Happening

There was a time when everyone wanted a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, but brokers noticed a significant shift happening. Consumers say these products are expensive, and they also don’t always provide the best coverage. Feeling there must be a better way, many clients are looking for more cost-effective alternatives like DPC to blend into health plans. The 2020 Large Employers Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey confirmed that implementing advanced primary care strategies is an emerging trend among employers for 2021.

Employees want healthcare they can afford to use, and employers want to provide benefits that won’t wreak havoc on their profits. By leveraging the power of partnerships, a new breed of benefit brokers offers health plans that are both affordable and robust.

 

1 Franks P, Fiscella K. Primary care physicians and specialists as personal physicians. Health care expenditures and mortality experience. J Fam Pract. 1998 Aug;47(2):105-9. PMID: 9722797.

Looking into Healthcare’s Crystal Ball – The Present and Future of Direct Primary Care

The sun was already setting on the traditional in-office business world as we knew it, but 2020 became an accelerant that forced a reckoning on all fronts. The conventional ways of doing business, having a workforce in one location, and one-size-fits-all benefit plans quickly fell out of favor. Companies on the cutting edge of technology and innovation fared better than those who were slower to adopt new methodologies.

This past year drastically upended not only traditional business but also the way we consume healthcare. From virtual primary care to virtual urgent care visits, we learned that telemedicine isn’t only a helpful benefit in some healthcare plans, but it’s vital in this digital world. Here we’ll examine how outdated traditions are being replaced by a hybrid healthcare solution that transcends socioeconomic and geographic barriers for employers of every size.

The Past

In 2018, 40 percent of American households earned less than $50,000 per year per four-person household. Low wages with no benefits have left many Americans out in the cold when it comes to healthcare. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 69 percent of low-wage workers, those in the 10th lowest percentile of median wage earners in the U.S. civilian workforce, do not receive paid sick leave benefits.

With earnings so low they can’t afford to take unpaid time off when sick, many keep working and expose others to illness in the process. COVID-19 taught us this practice could have serious, if not deadly, consequences. Direct primary care (DPC) is a healthcare model that evolved to be a cost-effective solution that makes healthcare more accessible to everyone via a multi-platform delivery of care through in-person, phone, or video visits. In situations like these, access to a primary care physician via telehealth became extremely meaningful.

Traditional DPC

To eliminate the stress of dealing with third-party payers, many doctors opt to see patients on a direct primary care model only. This practice is known as a traditional DPC practice. Instead of billing insurance, members pay a monthly fee for unlimited primary care. This model gives doctors the ability to offer the same level of high-quality care to all their patients without generating claims that will later impact an employer’s health plan.

Because traditional DPC eliminated insurance billing codes, physicians operating solely under the DPC model benefit from both the lower overhead associated with small practices and the absence of hassles created by insurance companies. With the model, employers and employees get an affordable healthcare alternative to insurance, but there are limitations. Traditional DPC practices are regional, meaning they can only see a limited number of patients because they exist in one location. Employers with multiple or nationwide locations and mobile or remote workforces need accessibility and convenience for their entire crew.

The Tipping Point

DPC Present and Future

The pandemic taught businesses to lean into flexibility. A recent survey found 74 percent of CFOs plan to keep workers remote after the pandemic. From a financial standpoint, having a remote workforce makes sense. The cost savings have allowed many companies to avoid further severe cuts and downsizing.

Even after the pandemic is over, many don’t expect to return to business as usual. Facebook announced its employees could work from home for the next 5 to 10 years. Twitter and other large companies have also announced a permanent switch to virtual-first work environments. We’ll likely see more central offices replaced with far-flung employees and contractors outside of metropolitan areas. The trend was already happening pre-pandemic, and now it’s accelerated.

In 2019, 65 percent of professionals said they would be more productive working remotely than in a traditional office, with 49 percent saying they go to their home office when they need to focus and get work done. With cost savings, increased productivity, and rising employee morale, it’s clear a remote workforce isn’t forthcoming—it has already ignited.

Situations like this will raise new healthcare issues for a team working from a variety of locations. And, for those employers who were forced to lay off workers, shrinking headcounts could also have an unforeseen impact on insurance premiums.

What that means for employers is the traditional options for health plans are incongruent with how employees live today. Traditional Direct primary care practices adapted to a hybrid approach to fill this ever-widening void for employers who have remote employees in various states and mobile workers who live on the go.

Nationwide, Hybrid DPC

A hybrid Direct Primary Care (DPC) model is especially beneficial when it’s part of a nationwide network of providers accessible in any state. This approach has been a game-changer for companies expanding their remote workforce across state lines. It’s also extremely beneficial for restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality industry businesses with locations in multiple states.

The Benefits of Hybrid DPC

For transportation, sales, and other mobile professions, a nationwide DPC membership is extremely valuable for several reasons. Each provider has its list of particular services, but some DPC membership benefits include:

  • Patient advocates to support members in navigating their healthcare options
  • 24/7/365 access to a primary care provider via telehealth or in-office visits
  • Unlimited in-office visits for a minimal-to-no fee
  • Annual physical provided to establish a baseline for member health
  • Early-stage chronic disease management

It’s helpful to have health insurance for catastrophic life events, but being able to see the doctor when you’re ill without paying expensive deductibles or copays is a reason people love DPC.

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 nation’s fastest-growing, hybrid DPC provider.