HEALTH-SENTINEL EXTRA: Future of health care is rewarding wellness
Eighty-six percent of the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care expenditures are for people with chronic health conditions, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported in 2017.
That’s why Fort Wayne-based BeniCcomp Inc., a provider of secondary health insurance, supports the goals and philosophy of kNew Health, said Benicomp president Doug Short. kNew Health, founded by Fort Wayne physician Dr. Jeff Gladd of GladdMD is a Web-based lifestyle coaching service that gives members the tools, support and guidance to make lifestyle changes that promote and maintain wellness.
Benicomp has had to jump through many legal hoops to provide what is called exempt supplemental insurance coverage that encourages and incentivizes people to take charge of their health.
“The medical system of the past is diagnose and prescribe, diagnose and prescribe. The medical system of the future is helping you help your body to help itself,” Short said, pointing out Winston Churchill’s definition of insanity was “doing something over and over and getting the same results.” Such is the case of the traditional system of health care, he said.
“I think insurance companies will rally around people like Jeff Gladd. If the left hand is health care and the right hand is sickness care, then the left hand is Jeff Gladd and the other side is diagnose and prescribe.”
From an insurance perspective, Short added, “The left is all about controlling what causes the claim; on the right it’s about controlling the costs, either by a different PPO (preferred provider organization) or HMO (health maintenance organization) or a different carrier,” with none of the latter really addressing cost control. On the left, the insured is encouraged to get preventive and routine care; on the right, you don’t want to be seen by a health care provider unless you’re sick.
Benicomp’a IncentiCare program is focused on preventive health management, giving insured participants actionable health information and knowledge through blood chemistry and other measurable health parameters along with lifestyle coaching to improve or maintain health.
“It puts people in the driver’s seat,” Short said. They take charge of their health and are incentivized to improve problem areas by the company offering its insured credits toward lower deductibles. The healthier the employee, the lower the out-of-pocket expenditures for health care.
“If you become a diabetic, it’s going to cost me $5,000 a year. You may have a genetic problem such as asthma, but if you are a smoker and you have asthma, you’ve cost me three times that of the nonsmoker,” Short explained. “I can make a policy get better if you control your cholesterol, your blood sugar, your body mass. I can build a policy that rewards that,” similarly, he said, to the way auto insurers for decades have rewarded good drivers.