Amid Changes in Healthcare, PHP Stands Strong
Some of the more immediate benefit, tax and monetary changes to affect employers over the next two years include: a new grant program for small employers to develop wellness programs; employers being permitted to offer employees rewards for participating in such programs; extension of healthcare coverage for dependents to age 26; and a limit for any waiting periods for coverage to 90 days.
While much of the discussions around healthcare reform have been focused on the technical details, I think one of the most important aspects for employers to understand is the need for a renewed emphasis on prevention and wellness. Employers should be thinking about how they plan to address these issues in the future. Having established programs and wellness initiatives for employees should be part of every business’ strategic plan.
Physicians Health Plan of Mid-Michigan’s (PHP) Life 360 program is all about prevention and wellness throughout a person’s life.
The three phases of Life 360 include Healthy Beginnings, Day to Day Health and Tailored Health. Healthy Beginnings lays a solid foundation for those who are already healthy. Day to Day Health addresses everyday health changes and challenges that many of us face. Tailored Health is offered to those who face serious chronic health conditions and need customized support, information and coordination to be as healthy as possible. These concepts can be easily integrated into employer initiatives to bring health and wellness into sharper focus to any organization.
Some may argue that healthcare reform will present significant challenges to healthcare providers and insurance companies. While that may be true, it also brings many opportunities for new approaches in the delivery of products and services to an expanded market.
Many of the protection provisions in healthcare reform are already in place at PHP, a not-for-profit HMO owned by Sparrow Health System. We currently do not impose preexisting condition exclusions and do not rescind coverage for anyone based on healthcare costs or diagnoses. We strongly support these concepts.
Healthcare reform also will encourage new ways to partner with providers to deliver care. We believe that Sparrow and PHP are uniquely positioned to continue to bring nationally recognized service and affordable care to the mid-Michigan community.
As part of our commitment to provide the best service and the best product to the community, PHP maintained a business-as-usual mindset while a proposed sale to Blue Care Network was pending late last year through the early part of this year. We continued to provide world-class service to our customers; we renewed our Medicaid contract, pursued new business relationships and retained 97 percent of our commercial groups. Sparrow and Blue Care Network eventually agreed in March to end the proposed sale of certain PHP assets to BCN, without affecting the quality and strength of our services. Now, our PHP team is focused on moving ahead.We want our customers and the community to know that PHP is strong, moving forward and ready to address the changes ahead. “We mean business in a good way” was one of the messages we’ve recently shared with the community. There are 120 local PHP employees enthusiastically supporting that promise. Much is changing in the healthcare arena today, but PHP’s core commitment to providing world-class service and quality programs to your employees remains the same.
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Scott Wilkerson is president and CEO of Physicians Health Plan of Mid-Michigan.