We’re always on the lookout for ways to contain health care costs. In today’s interview, we have Adam Hodge of freshbenies, a unique company that has several offerings to help reduce health care costs. Just to let you know, freshbenies prefers to have a small “f” at the beginning of their name, and yes, they only use 1 “n” in their name. Hope you enjoy the interview.
PM: Tell me a little bit about freshbenies.
AH: freshbenies is a fresh approach to benefits. We offer practical tools to control health care costs with Telehealth, Doctors Online, Advocacy, and savings networks for Rx, dental, vision, chiropractic care, and more (all at no additional cost to the member). freshbenies is available nationwide to individuals and employers with 5 or more employees. Employers contain costs, employees save on out of pocket expenses.
PM: Could you give me some more specifics on Doctors Online, Advocacy, and your savings networks, particularly for prescription drugs?
AH: How many of us have Googled or used social media in search of medical help? With the Doctors Online service, members get personal answers from specialists to their medical questions – within a few hours with no additional fee. There’s a variety of experts available including medical specialists, psychologists, dentists, pharmacists, dieticians, and more. It’s great for getting sound medical advice and second opinions on whatever a person is dealing with. They can even attach pictures or documents like lab results.
I love the Advocacy service. In short, it really simplifies the healthcare experience! Members get a dedicated Health Pro who can find highly rated doctors, compare costs for procedures, find lower cost prescriptions, review and negotiate medical bills, and more. This service gives members comprehensive support throughout the health care journey.
The newest freshbenies platform also includes 9 best in class savings networks as part of our core service including Rx, dental, vision, chiropractic care, and more. You asked about the prescription savings. For most of us, our prescription costs are skyrocketing, and fewer medications are covered under medical plans. So, we paired a high quality independent pharmacy network (46% average savings) with our price comparison tool in the member app and on the portal to put the power back in the hands of the member. They can search for their drug and find the best local pharmacy price for their prescriptions.
PM: If an employer has a fully insured medical plan, the insurance company often has a tele-medicine vendor, a 24 hour nurse line to call for medical issues, and a prescription drug program already in place. How can freshbenies help fully insured employers and their employees?
AH: I hear this a lot Pete! You’re right. Many insurance companies do include one or two services similar to those in the freshbenies membership (and FYI, we have 16 bundled services!). But, there’s one major problem. Consumerism tools, like telehealth, can’t help the member or deliver real savings to the employer if they don’t get used.
Do you know that the typical use health plans report on their embedded telehealth offerings? Only 1% to 2%. Groups with freshbenies average 71% utilization across our core services.
This utilization makes a big difference. Every use of freshbenies saves $442 on average. Members save hundreds to thousands of out of pocket costs, and every use can reduce unnecessary medical claims for the employer. I recently reviewed a utilization report for a group with 230 Telehealth visits. 65% of those saved either an ER or urgent care trip. That’s a common scenario that saves cash both for the employer and employee!
PM: How do you get utilization up so high?
AH: All packages include our freshbenies Member Engagement System at no additional charge. So what’s that mean? It includes everything from a high-quality welcome packet to our member app and portal plus email campaigns, social media, videos, flyers, and more. We even have an Engagement Coordinator to support groups.
Our goal is to make the member experience incredible. That’s also why our website has online chat – and our 24/7 AI assistant is launching very soon!
PM: How can freshbenies help an employer that is self-insured?
AH: I always say, a self-funded group is losing money if they don’t have freshbenies for their employees. Obviously utilization is even more important for a self-funded group because higher utilization saves the plan unnecessary claims – and that saves the company bottom line dollars. We provide an on-demand dashboard to all of our groups and brokers, so everyone can access their employee utilization results across all our core services.
For example, a member can use our advocacy service to find a high quality, cost effective primary care physician. Those doctors are typically ordering fewer unnecessary tests and are more likely to direct their patients to non-surgical care options.
PM: Can you talk a bit more about that ROI, both for fully insured and self-insured clients? I would think that if you can demonstrate a tangible ROI, employers would be more willing to give freshbenies a try.
AH: It should!
Each of our four services save unnecessary claims and hassles. We weight the following savings based upon the average number of visits across four categories:
- A Telehealth visit saves $517 by saving an ER, urgent care, or doctor’s office visit. This number comes from a study of 1.8 million members’ claims. It captures the immediate savings plus related costs such as lab testing, pharmacy, and follow up visits incurred in the 30 days following the initial visit.
- A Doctors Online visit saves $162: every 3rd visit saves a specialist visit, and of course some downstream service claims in the following 30 days.
- An Advocacy episode saves $505: some from transparent planning of services, an average of 5 hours of wasted time, or claims reviews, including negotiations of out of network claims.
- A Pharmacy script saves $46: tracked from our actual script savings.
PM: What is the cost to implement freshbenies, both voluntary and employer paid, and what is the minimum number of employees you can cover?
AH: We can install employer-paid groups with a minimum of 5 lives at $12 per employee per month for our core package. There are price breaks for groups over 100 employees, and another for groups over 500 employees. All memberships include an employee’s spouse and legal dependents.
PM: Do you have an example or two of employers or employees who have saved substantial money by using freshbenies?
AH: Sure! We get member savings stories all the time. Here are a couple of my recent favorites.
“I was told by my doctor that I needed an MRI. He referred me to a facility that quoted me $3500. I decided to check out the freshbenies Advocacy service, and they were able to find me a facility that brought my cost down to $400.” Dan from TX
“The freshbenies Advocacy service reviewed and managed all of my bills from a recent wrist surgery. They saved me almost $1600 out of pocket! Anyone that has more than a simple doctor’s visit should use this service. It was really simple!” Justin from NC
“I am so grateful for my freshbenies membership!! It has truly saved me hundreds of dollars over the last several months. I saved $50 on a routine dental check-up, used telehealth 4 times, saved 50% on my prescriptions that were written over the phone, saved time going to the doctor, and saved money on my contacts. LOVE FRESHBENIES!” Connie from TX
I hope you enjoyed this interview. Adam is clearly passionate about freshbenies and how they can help employers and employees save money. If you’d like to discuss cost containment strategies for your health plan, we’d love to hear from you. Just call us at 866-724-0008 or click the link below.