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Posts Tagged ‘change:healthcare’

Inform + Connect + Engage = Value

Doug Ghertner President

Doug Ghertner
President

Change Healthcare recently announced some exciting news: We have joined forces with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health – an international authority on health improvement and prevention – to look more closely at the role cost transparency plays in consumer healthcare decision-making. As a part of our ongoing effort to demonstrate value to our clients, we’re also working with the Bloomberg folks to further develop and refine Change Healthcare’s Claims-Verified Savings™ methodology. This is the means by which we quantify the value of our solutions in helping consumers obtain high-quality, lower-cost care. (See examples of our Claims-Verified Savings methodology in action here and here.)

At Change Healthcare, demonstrating value is paramount. We consistently achieve success in this area with a proven, 3-pronged approach to consumer engagement and cost and quality transparency. We:

Inform. Change Healthcare uses data to create informed healthcare consumers. This means providing:

  • Accurate cost information
  • An expansive list of shoppable pharmacy, medical, dental and vision services
  • Timely data that supports early intervention in instances of care
  • Insightful data (We now have access to the largest commercially available data set with medical, pharmacy and lab data from 200 million Americans.)

Connect. Change Healthcare connects all stakeholders to support optimal care. This means delivering:

  • Connectivity with physicians, pharmacists, hospitals and labs
  • Payer connectivity to support early alerts and proactive engagement opportunities
  • An ability to integrate with incentive providers and other benefit vendor partners

Engage. Change Healthcare uses best practices to create engaged healthcare consumers. This means offering:

  • A highly personalized – claims-driven and preference-driven – user experience
  • Proactive outreach to encourage long-term behavior change
  • Multi-modal communications to ensure we’re reaching consumers how they want to be reached (i.e. text, email, telephonic, etc.)

Inform + Connect + Engage = Value. It’s as simple as that. Want to learn more? Engage with us today.

Change Healthcare’s Bruner to Explore Transparency’s Role in Healthcare Cost Containment at MBGH Annual Conference

Brentwood, Tenn. (April 24, 2015) – Jack Bruner, chief marketing officer at Change Healthcare, a market leader in healthcare consumer engagement and cost and quality transparency, will participate on a panel at the Midwest Business Group on Health’s (MBGH) 35th Annual Conference to be held April 29 and 30 at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park. “Tackling Cost Drivers Using Cost Transparency Tools” will begin at 2:15 p.m. on April 30.

“While transparency tools play an important role in enabling healthcare consumerism, the bigger challenge for employers remains engaging employees to use these tools,” Bruner said. “This means that in addition to providing personalized, easy-to-understand, accurate cost information, employers must also reach out proactively; educate employees on healthcare benefits basics and the importance of making value-based decisions; and then keep the momentum going with regular reminders and alerts that support long-term behavior change.”

To learn more about MBGH and its upcoming conference, visit http://www.mbgh.org/home.

To learn more about Change Healthcare and its consumer engagement and cost transparency solutions, visit www.changehealthcare.com.

About Change Healthcare

Established in 2007, Change Healthcare is on a mission to transform the way Americans purchase and utilize healthcare services by driving sustainable engagement at the individual level. With a national customer base of health plans and employers, and more than 10 million lives under contract, Change Healthcare is a premier national provider of healthcare consumer engagement and cost and quality transparency solutions, enabling consumers to: better understand and utilize their healthcare benefits; make informed healthcare purchasing decisions based on quality, cost and convenience; and manage higher out-of-pocket responsibility and realize savings. This, in turn, helps both health plans and employers: control their healthcare costs; successfully migrate to more cost-effective plans; optimize existing wellness programs; and improve employee satisfaction and retention. For more information, visit www.changehealthcare.com.

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Change Healthcare’s Ghertner to Speak at Health Evolution Summit on How Consumerism Requires More Than Just Transparency

Brentwood, Tenn. (April 22, 2015) – Doug Ghertner, president of Change Healthcare, a market leader in healthcare consumer engagement and cost and quality transparency, will speak on a panel titled “Transparency of Cost and Quality: Changing Consumer Behavior at Scale?” at the 2015 Health Evolution Summit to be held April 29 and 30 in Dana Point, California. The deep-dive session, geared toward employers, payers, providers and entrepreneurs, is slated for 11:30 a.m. on April 30 in Salon 1.

“Cost and quality transparency play an important role in enabling healthcare consumerism, but what really drives it is deep data, engagement and integration. Data helps anticipate needs and deliver a highly personalized user experience. Ongoing, proactive engagement supports long-term behavior change. And integration with other benefits solutions ensures a seamless and holistic user experience,” Ghertner said. “At Health Evolution Summit, we’ll delve into each of these drivers of consumerism. We’ll also look at the impact and overall value they can deliver.”

To learn more about Change Healthcare and its consumer engagement and cost transparency solutions, visit www.changehealthcare.com.

 

About Change Healthcare

Established in 2007, Change Healthcare is on a mission to transform the way Americans purchase and utilize healthcare services by driving sustainable engagement at the individual level. With a national customer base of health plans and employers, and more than 10 million lives under contract, Change Healthcare is a premier national provider of healthcare consumer engagement and cost and quality transparency solutions, enabling consumers to: better understand and utilize their healthcare benefits; make informed healthcare purchasing decisions based on quality, cost and convenience; and manage higher out-of-pocket responsibility and realize savings. This, in turn, helps both health plans and employers: control their healthcare costs; successfully migrate to more cost-effective plans; optimize existing wellness programs; and improve employee satisfaction and retention. For more information, visit www.changehealthcare.com.

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Change Healthcare, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to Investigate Link Between Transparency and Consumerism

Brentwood, Tenn. (April 21, 2015) – Change Healthcare and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a leading, international authority on the improvement of health and prevention of disease and disability, have joined forces to investigate more closely the role cost transparency plays in consumer healthcare decision-making. The organizations will also work together to further develop and refine Change Healthcare’s Claims-Verified Savings™ methodology, which was introduced in 2014 and is designed to quantify the value of Change Healthcare’s solutions in helping consumers obtain high quality, lower cost care.

“Johns Hopkins is world renowned for its advanced research and education, and the creation of solutions to public health problems. We look forward to working with them to address an increasingly critical need in our country: the need for consumers who are engaged and empowered to make value-based healthcare decisions – decisions that support improved outcomes and reduced financial stress on the individual, health plan sponsors and the healthcare system as a whole,” said Doug Ghertner, president of Change Healthcare, a market leader in healthcare consumer engagement and cost and quality transparency.

To learn more about Change Healthcare and its consumer engagement and cost transparency solutions, visit www.changehealthcare.com.

To learn more about Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, visit http://www.jhsph.edu.

About Change Healthcare

Established in 2007, Change Healthcare is on a mission to transform the way Americans purchase and utilize healthcare services by driving sustainable engagement at the individual level. With a national customer base of health plans and employers, and more than 10 million lives under contract, Change Healthcare is a premier national provider of healthcare consumer engagement and cost and quality transparency solutions, enabling consumers to: better understand and utilize their healthcare benefits; make informed healthcare purchasing decisions based on quality, cost and convenience; and manage higher out-of-pocket responsibility and realize savings. This, in turn, helps both health plans and employers: control their healthcare costs; successfully migrate to more cost-effective plans; optimize existing wellness programs; and improve employee satisfaction and retention. For more information, visit www.changehealthcare.com.

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Cost Transparency + Education = Engaged, Savvy Healthcare Shopper

Doug GhertnerPresident and CEO

Doug Ghertner
President and CEO

A recent New York Times article titled “The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill” compares the costs of common medical procedures – like colonoscopies, hip replacements and angiograms – in the U.S. and other developed countries.  The article’s findings are shocking, but not surprising. Increasingly we’re hearing about the extreme differences in healthcare costs between our country and others like Spain, Switzerland, France and Canada.

But what about the price variances that exist within the borders of our own country? Within our own cities…our own zip codes…even within a single provider network. Case in point, Change Healthcare’s client data shows the following price ranges for healthcare services for employees in the same geographic area on the same benefit plan:

  • Diagnostic screening colonoscopy: $786-$1,819
  • Type II Diabetes Screen: $51-$437
  • CT Scan: $375-$3,035

The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill” (and data like these) reinforces the importance of cost transparency and consumerism in healthcare…the importance of individuals comparison-shopping for care with an eye for quality AND cost.

Of equal importance, the article reinforces the need for better consumer education on the basics of healthcare.  Ms. Yapalater, who shares with readers the story of her routine $6,385 colonoscopy, says she has insurance, yet can’t figure out why she has to pay so much.  The fact is words like these are uttered far too often – and when people don’t understand things like deductibles and coinsurance, the consumer experience can be surprising and upsetting.  It’s a big part of why greater cost transparency without an understanding of the business of healthcare won’t necessarily improve the consumer experience or financial outcomes.

At Change Healthcare, we’re committed to ensuring consumers have the tools and knowledge they need to become engaged, savvy healthcare shoppers.  See how we can help educate your employees or plan members as part of a holistic approach to consumer engagement at http://www.changehealthcare.com/product/healthcareuniversity.html.

Premiums Rising for 2012 Renewal Period

In the next few months, millions of employees nationwide will receive their annual notifications to renew or amend their employer-provided health coverage. And, for a large portion of them, a hefty premium increase will be part of “what’s changed.” In the 16th annual report, Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care, authored by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), healthcare costs are up almost $800 per employee this year topping more than $11,000 annually. Both employers and employees have seen considerable increases in their health costs in the past five years, with employers paying 36 percent more and employees contributing 45 percent more.

To offset the rising healthcare tab, a majority of large employers are planning to continue raising premiums. An NBGH study found that 53 percent of large firms intended to increase the amount of employee contribution. There are several drivers behind the increased cost ranging from poor employee health habits, to the lack of adequate pricing information. As a result, a majority of employers are stepping up efforts to get their workers to more actively manage their own health and expenses. As we mentioned in a previous blog, employee wellness programs are a component of an overall cost-reduction strategy, but utilization of these programs remains slim. In addition, the Towers Watson/NBGH survey indicated that employer confidence in health plan performance and employee-wellness engagement continues to shrink while uncertainty surrounding the health care reform law continues to grow. Next year looks like a tough one for HR professionals and employees nationwide.

Many Americans found themselves living paycheck to paycheck in 2011, making the expected premium hikes for the 2012 renewal period daunting. There is little doubt that more employees may say yes to lower-premium, high-deductible plans in 2012. Our mission is to ensure that companies who provide these plans have the tools to assist their workers to make smarter, more informed healthcare decisions with their hard-earned paychecks so that we can all live within our budgets.

CDHP Potential on Public Sector Healthcare Savings

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the increasing healthcare cost burden shouldered by state and local governments. While the private sector has restructured employee contributions and shifted more toward consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs), a vast majority of the public sector has resisted passing the buck – government employees pay on average 15 percent of premiums with some states requiring no contribution. The Manhattan Institute, a well-known organization dedicated to individual choice and responsibility, estimated that governments could save $1,376 per employee by following the private-business model.

Realizing the power of CDHPs, states like Indiana have begun offering options with lower premiums and empowering employees to take on more responsibility for the cost of care. An astonishing 70 percent of employees moved to these plans, and a study by Mercer Consulting estimated that the state’s move saved Indiana’s taxpayers $23 million. Multiply that savings opportunity nationwide – and there are more than 18 million government employees in the U.S. today – and the overall savings potential is astronomical. A trend toward CDHP is likely to continue given the financial pressure the U.S. is under when it comes to health care. This perspective is certainly validated by the fact that 23 states already offer these types of plans, and a growing number of states are now pushing into the 40+ percent cost sharing category per a 2011 study published by the Segal Company.

What’s exciting is that the potential savings of moving to CDHPs at the government and state level can be enhanced once employees are empowered with the right information to understand how to intelligently shop for their healthcare. The example of an employee like TaKeisha Woodson should and can be replicated across every public-sector employee. As the U.S. Postal Service and other state and local government entities join the heated debate over rising healthcare costs, change is certainly on its way …

Savings Spotlight: TaKeisha Woodson Healthcare Cost Savings make the WSJ

Young families are having an increasingly difficult time staying on budget in this tough economy, where each unexpected expense can cause an uneasy shuffling of priorities – especially when it comes to healthcare. One recent survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 64 percent of Americans couldn’t handle a $1,000 emergency. To show how the average American is handling such costs, Anna Mathews’ personal finance column in Sunday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal showed us how TaKeisha Woodson, a credit analyst, saved nearly 50% on a prescription simply by taking advantage of change:healthcare’s Ways to Save Alerts™. But there is much more to TaKeisha’s story.

First Horizon National Corporation is a self-insured employer that offers the change:healthcare cost-comparison tool to its employees. TaKeisha is married to a school teacher, has two young children, and just like most growing families, she must juggle the challenges of making smart purchasing decisions with the need for quality care. In addition to the savings referenced in the WSJ, in May of this year her ten-month-old son became sick and was prescribed antibiotics by his pediatrician. TaKeisha arrived at the pharmacy to pick up her son’s prescription and was shocked to see a $100 price tag for a basic antibiotic. Instead of simply accepting the price at the pharmacy, TaKeisha knew she had options. Once she returned home, she logged onto her computer and using the change:healthcare Cost Lookup™ tool, found the same medication at nearly half the cost at another nearby pharmacy. In addition, with the change:healthcare cost comparison tool, TaKeisha will continue to receive proactive e-mail alerts on her routine prescriptions and doctor visits, letting her know how she and her family can save money in the future.

Her story is a testament to the power of actionable cost transparency – and it is just one of many. Through access to pricing information and a proactive outreach strategy that helps consumers take advantage of savings opportunities, TaKeisha is one of thousands of employees who are able to maximize the value from their healthcare benefit.

It definitely makes you wonder how much our healthcare system could save if everyone had access to the same tools as TaKeisha. Stay tuned for more savings stories from patients and employees …

Consumers Must be Consumers

I recently talked with Kelly Kennedy for a USA Today story about health insurance options and saving money… and made the point that when it comes to healthcare today, consumers need to behave like consumers.

Fortunately, I seemed to get my points across…  that with rising healthcare costs today, patients need to shop… and high deductible health plans do an admirable job of spurring that behavior.

In days past, most people didn’t ask how much a service cost because the bill went straight to the insurance company and the consumer never really felt the pain. (After all, healthcare costs $20, doesn’t it?)  Now, with almost 61 percent of employers planning to implement consumer driven health plans this year as a hedge against the ever-rising cost of care, that’s changing. Consumers may have a little more impetus to care about what things cost.

And where previously they might have been shopping blind, with no price tags to guide them on what things actually cost, now with cost transparency tools at their virtual fingertips (like change:healthcare’s Cost Transparency Solution), they’ll know pretty darn close what a service or product or care will cost BEFORE they buy it, and can make far more informed purchase decisions.

There are lots of savings to be had, too.

A recent assessment of our own nationwide database confirmed that without changing a thing about how healthcare is delivered, employees can save, on average, $350 each per year in their healthcare purchases.   Multiply that times the number of self-insured employees nationwide and you’re talking billions in savings.  Yeah, billions, with a “b.”

From where I sit, enabling consumers to become better purchasers — and then giving them the informational tools that aid their shopping — can be a great first step in dramatically decreasing the cost of healthcare in this country.

All we need to do is get consumers to simply be consumers.

I’m Seeing a Trend Here

The other day, I ran across a news story about a consumer dealing with cost transparency.  A mother was facing her daughter’s need for an MRI to determine if a spot on the young girl’s liver was cancerous.  Without a doubt, that mom was going to get the scan done so follow-up care decisions could be made quickly. But since the family had yet to meet the deductible of their high deductible health plan, the full cost of the test was going to come out of her pocket.

So how could she find a cost-effective place for the MRI?

Yeah, you know the story… she couldn’t.  The mom called a number of imaging centers only to learn she wouldn’t truly know what the cost was going to be…. until after the bill arrived.  “It’s completely unbelievable that you’re expected to decide where you’re going to have a test done without having any idea how much it’s going to be,” she told reporter Linda Hurtado, ABC Action News in Tampa. “Knowing that you’re going to have to pay out of pocket, it could be hundreds of dollars difference from one place to another.”

Boy, have I heard that a time or two….

The rest of the story, though, is more hopeful.  Both houses of the Florida Legislature are currently studying legislation called the Healthcare Price Transparency Bill, which would spell out new rules for select healthcare deliverers to post their prices on the waiting room wall.  So, in the words of Rep. Richard Corcoran, one of the representatives who sponsored it…  you could walk into the care center and say, “Wow, I’m about to get gouged!”

I’m seeing more stories about consumers being frustrated when it comes to knowing what healthcare costs will be before they make their purchase.  That’s bad.  But, as I’ve also chronicled here previously, I’m seeing consumers speak up about the issue of transparency… and elected officials seem to be ready to listen and act.  That’s good.

So, you see, if we all shout long and loud enough about issues like this, our voices WILL be heard.   And hopefully our concerns WILL be addressed.

And then I won’t have anything to write about any more.