Given the vulnerable state of today’s health infrastructure and the effects that low quality employer led healthcare options can have on employees, now is the time to improve the quality of employee healthcare by driving more informed choices. “But this can only be done through access to unbiased healthcare cost and quality data, and trustworthy tools that make it convenient for consumers to find care without selling ads, appointments, or impressions,” emphasizes Scott Kiever, Chief Revenue Officer of Amino in this chat with TecHRseries. Here’s more:
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Good to have you here on TecHRseries!
We’d love to hear about Amino’s story: how did the idea of the platform come about?
It’s a great story that led David Vivero, Co-founder and CEO, to start Amino. After leaving Zillow, where David ran their rentals market with millions of unique visitors, he received COBRA paperwork in the mail. In his struggle to navigate the US healthcare system during this time, he realized he could use data to transform healthcare in much the same way he’d transformed the real estate market with Zillow Rentals. The founding team gathered a foundational dataset, which now exceeds 19 billion medical claims, and acquired their Qualified and Consensus-Based Entity Status. Today, this data powers Amino’s next-generation healthcare guidance solution, which helps over 1 million members find and access the best providers for their individual health needs.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, how are you seeing business owners and leaders address issues related to employee care and well-being, especially given the additional workplace challenges and risks the new normal has brought on and…we’d also love to hear a few thoughts on why companies need to help employees make better healthcare decisions especially now.
It’s more important now than ever that employers understand and continue to invest in healthcare benefits. In particular, we’ve seen increased investments in healthcare guidance and financial wellness services, mental health resources, and digital solutions like advocacy and telemedicine. Millions of employees have deferred elective surgeries and other care this year due to the pandemic, and they’re now coming back into the market. With the surge in healthcare demand later in 2020 and into 2021, it’s essential that employers have the right tools in place to help their employees find corners of the network that are underutilized and avoid out-of-network and surprising billing costs that can significantly impact spend.
How are you seeing leading companies recreate their employee benefits and heath care packages during this time to address today’s needs and concerns?
It’s a challenging market right now. Many organizations are struggling for survival, and some are accelerating with increased demand. As a result, we’re seeing significant variability to benefits approaches. Some programs are deeply entrenched and not making any changes, while those leading the way are innovating with new plan designs and digital health solutions. Every organization is feeling the pressure of increasing healthcare costs, helping employees access quality and appropriate care, supporting remote or distributed workers, providing flexibility around homeschooling and childcare needs, and rolling out new digital health solutions. Companies are hyper-focused on meeting these immediate needs while also executing against longer-term strategies, which has led to shifting priorities and investments in 2020 and 2021.
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What are some of the top tips you would share with business and HR leaders when it comes to employers taking the onus to help employees make more informed decisions for more affordable healthcare?
Federal regulations are pushing health plans and providers toward greater price transparency. However, we’ve seen over the past few years that price information alone won’t improve healthcare decision-making. Providing a next-generation care guidance solution as part of a broader healthcare benefits strategy will help employees quickly and easily navigate healthcare decisions to find lower cost, higher quality, in-network care at safe facilities. Employers should also continue to look for ways to drive employee engagement around existing benefits to ensure they get the most out of your healthcare investments.
Besides a renewed focus on how employee care and benefits are delivered in the new normal and here after, what bigger HR trends and HR Tech trends do you foresee for the tech marketplace for the near-term?
App fatigue is real for both employers and employees. Over time, we’ll see the many point solutions available today start to be consolidated into a single point of access and communication. Those solution providers that can drive healthcare decisions through an integrated or whitelabeled offering will continue to gain traction with employers.
Employers will also continue to invest in providing flexible care options through onsite/near-site clinics that, with remote work continuing for the foreseeable future, are expanding into full comprehensive digital healthcare solutions. These providers will need to get more strategic about secondary referrals as they guide patients to specialty providers for follow-up care if they want to deliver consistent access to care, cost savings, and experience for patients.
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Lastly, health plan designs will continue to align more closely with tiered or narrow network offerings to better control care quality and cost. These designs can incorporate incentives, lower deductibles, and increased coverage for selective high-quality, cost effective providers to reinforce positive behavior change.