This Startup Is Lowering Companies Healthcare Costs With AI
Healthcare costs are rapidly increasing. For companies that provide health insurance for their employees, they’ve been getting hit with higher and higher premiums every year with no end in sight.
Source: Marsha Hunt
One Chicago-based startup experiencing explosive growth has been tackling this very problem. This company leverages artificial intelligence and chatbot technology to help employees navigate their health insurance and use less costly services. As a result, both the employee and employer end up saving money.
Justin Holland, CEO and co-founder of HealthJoy, has a strong grasp on how chatbots are going to change healthcare and save companies money in the process. I spoke with Holland to get his take on what CEO’s need to know about their health benefits and how to contain costs.
What’s the biggest problem with employer-sponsored health insurance? Why have costs gone up year after year faster than the rate of inflation?
One of the biggest issues for companies is that health insurance is kind of like giving your employees a credit card to go to a restaurant that doesn’t have any prices. They are going to order whatever the waiter suggests to them that sounds good. They’ll order the steak and lobster, a bottle of wine and dessert. Employees have no connection to the actual cost of any of the medical services they are ordering. Several studies show that the majority of employees don’t understand basic insurance terms needed to navigate insurance correctly. And it’s not their fault. The system is unnecessarily complex. Companies have finally started to realize that if they want to start lowering their healthcare costs, they need to start lowering their claims. The only way they are going to start doing that is by educating their employees and helping them to navigate the healthcare system. They need to provide advocates and other services that are always available to help.
I’ve had an advocacy service previously that was just a phone number and I never used it. I actually forgot to use it all year and only remembered I had it when they changed my insurance plan and I saw the paperwork again. How is HealthJoy different? Is this where chatbots come in?
Phone-based advocacy services are great but you’ve identified their biggest problem: no one uses them. They are cheap to provide, so a lot of companies will bundle them in with their employee benefits packages, but they have zero ROI or utilization. Our chatbot JOY is the hub for a lot of different employee benefits including advocacy. JOY’s main job is to route people to higher quality, less expensive care. She is fully supported by our concierge staff here in Chicago. They do things like call doctors offices to book appointments, verify network participation and much more. Our app is extremely easy to use and has been refined over the last three years to get the maximum engagement and utilization for our members.