The Covid-19 global pandemic has upended the health care industry, bringing dramatic change in a short amount of time. The same holds true in the employee benefits space.
Employers and health plans have been working together for years to find ways to make health care more affordable and accessible while also encouraging greater employee engagement in their health care, with the end goal being to improve health outcomes.
With so many people and businesses in Colorado struggling with new financial challenges and adjusting to a new way of life because of the pandemic, achieving this goal has only become more critical.
At UnitedHealthcare, we have been focused for years on developing a collaborative network of care providers. Several Colorado health systems and physician groups, in particular, have shown eagerness to collaborate and the ability to deliver an outstanding patient experience and high-quality care while bringing down the total cost of care. Ultimately, providers that operate this way and deliver these kinds of results make health care better and more affordable for the people we serve.
Today we are fortunate to have strong relationships with these systems and physician groups, all of which share our commitment to improving the health and well-being of the people of Colorado. Through those relationships, we have introduced two new health plans designed to leverage payer-provider collaboration so we can deliver on what Colorado companies are seeking: health care that’s higher quality, more affordable and more accessible for their employees.
The Colorado Doctors Plan (CDP)
The Colorado Doctors Plan (CDP) resulted from our long-standing relationships with Centura Health and New West Physicians. The plan provides access to quality, affordable, patient-focused health care, offering $0 co-pays for primary and urgent care visits and 24/7 access to $0 co-pay telemedicine visits.
CDP was first introduced across eight Front Range counties in 2019 and has quickly grown in membership in 2020. Today, CDP members have access to more than 9,600 quality providers in the Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs areas, plus 15 Centura Health hospitals and all Children’s Hospital Colorado locations.
The plan doesn’t just benefit patients. For physicians who are coordinating care and guiding patients throughout their health care journey, CDP’s value lies in its focus on primary care. UnitedHealthcare provides applications, systems and data to support physicians in their efforts to improve health outcomes and their relationships with their patients. For example, preferred drug lists are now embedded in most doctors’ electronic medical records, making it easier for doctors to discuss drug costs, efficacy and coverage with their patients so there are no surprises at the pharmacy. The ability to have these upfront discussions can result in less frustration for both patients and doctors.
SelectColorado resulted from UnitedHealthcare’s collaboration with both UCHealth and SCL Health. This new health plan is available to employers with 100+ employees on Jan. 1, 2021, and to smaller businesses on July 1, 2021.
SelectColorado is a consumer-centric health plan with a hand-picked network of high-performing care providers designed to lower the cost of care, create more value for both employers and consumers, and ensure a better patient experience. Members will have access to UCHealth’s 13 hospitals and over 850 physicians and health care professionals as well as SCL Health’s five hospitals and nearly 1,000 primary care physicians and specialists.
We know patient satisfaction tends to be higher when people feel someone is looking out for them throughout their entire health care experience. That is why SelectColorado encourages members to choose a Tier 1 primary care physician (PCP) who will help them get the care that’s right for them — with lower costs, increased convenience and healthier outcomes. This type of model typically leads to higher satisfaction for doctors as well. Because they’re able to provide personalized care and help their patients get the right treatment at the right time with the right provider, they can see their efforts reflected in improved outcomes.
Both the Colorado Doctors Plan and SelectColorado illustrate the critical role primary care physicians play and the transformational value of building deeper relationships between providers and health insurers. We are confident that we will see improved health and well-being of our members and lower health care costs for the people of Colorado and companies doing business here. These efforts are being replicated in other states as UnitedHealthcare launches plans modeled after the Doctors Plan, in collaboration with other valued health care providers.
For more information on selecting a UnitedHealthcare individual or family coverage plan in Colorado, visit: www.uhc.com/individual-and-family/health-insurance-colorado.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. It is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group, a diversified health care company.
M. Neely, “Patients win when health insurers and providers work together,” bizjournals.com, 09-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2020/11/06/patients-win-when-health-insurers-and-providers.html. [Accessed: 09-Nov-2020]
Marc Neely is the chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare’s commercial health plans in Colorado and Wyoming.