I recently met a woman on a trip to Alaska who reminded me why what we do at Premera is so important. The woman talked about how her friend was confused and overwhelmed with his health plan, and that he didn't know where to go for answers. Thankfully, I was able to offer some suggestions about where to turn for the right information.
This story is only one of many, and it made me grateful for the task we're working hard on each day at Premera -focused on improving customers' lives by making healthcare work better. That's a big task, and we have an entire department dedicated to examining customer experience and solving pain points. We've worked really hard to apply what we've learned from our customers who buy and pay for their own health plans.
Premera has a long history of offering individual health plan coverage across the Northwest. We're the only option if you live in Alaska and we offer individual health plans in more Washington counties than any other carrier in the state. While the future of the Affordable Care Act is unclear, we're doing everything necessary to be a strong and supportive advocate for our friends and neighbors.
In Washington, we're focusing on our PersonalCare Plan offering in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. These plans are designed to offer you a better healthcare experience-one where your doctors, hospitals, and specialists are encouraged to work together to make sure you get the care you need, when you need it.
A large number of medical studies show that if your care is coordinated through a primary care provider:
- your care is better,
- the cost is lower,
- and often it's a much better experience.
Primary care providers in a PersonalCare Plan develop a close relationship with their patients. By talking about medical conditions and treatment options, they help their patients get the right care within their partner system.
What makes Premera PersonalCare Plans different from other plans based on this model? The flexibility to choose the partner system that best meets your needs. You can change your system if those needs change. You can also choose different systems for each family member on your plan.
PersonalCare Plans provide better value for our customers:
- Most plans include 2 doctor visits at no extra cost.
- All include coverage for preventive care and a free 24-hour NurseLine.
- You get care through 1 of 6 well-known local Partner Systems with doctors and facilities near you
New this year-the Active&Fit Direct™ program allows you to choose from 9,000+ participating fitness centers nationwide for $25 a month (plus a $25 enrollment fee and applicable taxes).So far, our customers who choose a PersonalCare Plan say they are more satisfied with their doctor visits. That's by design. All the doctors and hospitals in this plan were chosen because they've met our high standards for quality care.
Although PersonalCare Plans don't cost less than other options on the market right now, we believe they bring more value and will help consumers control their healthcare costs over time.
We're a long way from sitting down on a plane next to a stranger and hearing glowing reviews from every customer who buys their own health plan, but I'm confident we're moving in the right direction.
Kristin Meadows is the Director of Individual Strategy and Individual Markets Program at Premera.