At SeeChange, Giving Insured Patients Incentives to Stay Healthy
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ask them to participate in an online weight management program, or to work with their doctors to help manage high blood pressure. The insurance plan’s personalized dashboard will show users specific tasks they need to complete to improve their health in a given time period; when they do, they get rewarded for it. There is no penalty when patients don’t do what they’re asked; they simply don’t get the rewards that more motivated patients can cash in on, at least on the SeeChange side. Watson does note that some of the large self-funded employers “get a little more aggressive.” In some cases, they will increase employee contributions if goals are not met.
SeeChange can also get really involved. By the time the company sees a claim for, say, treatment of a back injury, chances are a patient has completed the first few steps of a treatment process. But SeeChange can remind that patient to follow through on the last steps, and can even send messages to recommend highly rated physical therapists close to where patients live or work, and break down cost by therapist, so they get a sense of what they’ll pay before they go in for treatment. “Hopefully, we can nudge you to a high-quality, more efficient provider,” Watson says. “We’re building out all these care paths. The concept is presenting actions you can take and tying incentives to them.”
For some conditions, that can get really specific. For type 2 diabetics, for example, SeeChange will not only give patients clinical tasks, like annual eye and foot exams, but it will also recommend meal plans that are good for people with the disease, along with grocery lists. Patients using iPhones and tablets will even receive coupons for specific products that are in stock in grocery stores in the area. It’s a similar story for patients who go in for, say, a throat culture. Bingo, coupons to your local pharmacy for tissues and throat lozenges.
So far, the insurance company is licensed in 25 states, and actively selling its product in California and Colorado.
Compared to other insurance options for employers, SeeChange isn’t the least expensive, but, Martin says, the more employees who take advantage of benefits, the more money employers save. “If you’re looking for just the cheapest, low-end product, that wouldn’t be us,” he says. “We price our product assuming a big percentage will do the things we ask and be in the richer product. You really have to buy into the ‘I want to have a healthy workforce’ idea.”
In its software business, SeeChange has created tailored offerings for different companies, targeting specific types of patients. For United, the company created a plan that specifically targeted type 2 diabetics. If patients met all of the health goals in their tailored action plans, their plans reduced or eliminated copays, and gave them an additional savings of around $500, depending on the employer’s incentive program.
So far, about 60 percent of users have followed through on what SeeChange has asked. “I was hoping it would be higher,” Watson says. “We’ve really been testing out different ways to increase engagement.”
Part of that is making sure that users are presented with all the information that they need in a very user-friendly way, and not making them search for what they are looking for through their health insurance portal.
Though SeeChange’s incentivized solutions and insurance programs are different than a lot of legacy products, there’s nothing stopping older, more established insurers from bringing in similar changes. But, Watson says, because SeeChange is a younger, leaner company, it’s less top heavy and can move more quickly.
“We’re not burdened with some of the legacy issues some of the other carriers have,” he says. “We’re able to implement these designs in a much more efficient manner. The other part is being really lean on the management side. It’s really being very efficient on the admin and the tech to deliver a model that allows you to work within the profit margins.”