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Published December 16, 2008
Volume 16, Number 12


Intercare Insurance Solutions Practices Pioneering Wellness Approach to Healthcare    
Firm's Philosophy Implements Programs that Treat Insurance as an Investment, Not as an Expense


Deb Karstetter, Dan Faustina, and Maureen Martin, Intercare’s
executive team.



By Nicole Zaro Stahl
Special to NETWORK


If you want a peek into the future of healthcare benefits, Intercare Insurance Solutions has a compelling value proposition. The fast-growing corporate insurance specialist, founded in 1994, focuses on managing employee health, not disease. This innovative, perhaps even contrarian, approach is admittedly at odds with tradition, says Intercare Associate Vice President Dan Faustina, but it is also generating measurable results. Intercare programs have produced documented improvements in the areas of both employer cost and employee wellness, and the company has the facts and figures to substantiate these claims.

Intercare concluded that incentive-based health benefits work after studying last year’s implementation of an insurance program it had custom-designed for a southern California security products distributor with a 350-plus workforce. The package included a health risk assessment (HRA), which was instrumental in encouraging employees to be more proactive in managing their own health. After only 10 months, the employees experienced a drop of nearly 20 points in average cholesterol levels and an average 1.5-inch reduction in waistlines.

Intercare was founded on the principle that insurance should be managed as an investment, not a cost, Faustina explains. Its flexible programs are part of a full suite of services that can be targeted to each client’s needs.  Its business model has been to study leading-edge techniques in health management deployed among the Fortune 500 and bring similar solutions to the middle market. The company’s “crown jewel” is its pioneering wellness expertise, which puts into practice the very common-sense notion that “good health leads to greater corporate efficiency.”

Healthy and active employees use fewer benefits, are less likely to have disability or workers comp incidents, and take less paid time off, Faustina relates. Absenteeism declines, while productivity goes up. There is also a corresponding increase in what Faustina calls “presentee-ism,” a state of mind in which employees are both physically and mentally engaged. A parent who has to spend the night in the emergency room with a child having an asthma attack is not likely to be as “present”—and therefore less productive—the next day at work.

Intercare’s goal is to keep such emergencies from happening in the first place by encouraging drug adherence. Statistics show a close association between diminished drug adherence and increased claims costs. One remedy is maintaining affordable prescription co-pays so patients follow the specified medical protocol. “We seek to remove barriers from benefits that would prevent someone from acquiring proper care,” Faustina emphasizes.  “Without the right management, the patient will be more likely to have a catastrophic event.”

The many changes in the health insurance arena have made new thinking essential. Since Intercare’s inception the number of national health plan providers has shrunk from 25 to just four. Health insurance rates have skyrocketed, climbing 78 percent in the past five years. “At some point it has to be viewed differently,” Faustina contends. With its customized value-based benefit plans and its own member services call center to support it, Intercare is ready to take on the challenge. The company has just moved into new offices at 4234 Hacienda Drive. For more information, visit www.intercaresolutions.com.

 

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