Top Health Insurance Companies That Offer Wellness Programs; How they inform customers about their services
All of the top five US health insurance companies by revenue offer employee wellness programs, and the primary avenue for informing the customer about these programs appears to be via the employer. Most of these companies offer tools to help employers inform and engage their employees, although these tools range from relatively simplistic print documents to highly-engaged platforms for creating newsletters, calendars, etc. Only two of these companies - United Health and Aetna - offer discounts for holistic health services and tools not covered under the standard medical health plan. Below you'll find my methodology and relevant findings.
I determined 'top health insurance companies' by researching for a recent, pre-compiled analysis of top companies by revenue. This generated a list of the top five using 2016 revenue data. I interpreted 'holistic health and wellness services' to mean programs and services specifically targeted to proactively increase health, rather than services which treat existing health or medical conditions. Since most of these programs and services are specific to group medical plans, I have assumed that the 'customer,' relative to 'how companies inform the customers about their holistic health and wellness services' refers to the end user, rather than the corporate entity under which the group plan is organized. I made this interpretation because it is reasonable to assume that the broker or representative servicing the corporate account would be the most likely channel of information for the corporate customer, and this did not seem to be in the spirit of what was requested. Based on this interpretation, I have provided information on how these health insurance companies inform the end user/customer about their wellness programs.
UNITED HEALTH GROUP
United Health Group (UHG) offers an employee wellness program called United Health Wellness. This program is included in all group medical plans and includes the following services:
- "Online health assessments;
- Online health improvement programs;
- Personal health records;
- Discounts of 10 - 50 percent on health and wellness services not covered by your plan;
- Personal support through all stages of pregnancy and delivery."
UHG offers a Communcation Resource Center for employers to create wellness newsletters, and it also provides print-ready materials such as flyers, brochures and payroll stuffers which can be downloaded or order from the company.
For individuals, UHG offers an online portal to free digital products on wellness topics such as nutrition, fitness, healthy recipes, preventative care and family health. Presentation formats include written content, online seminars, quizzes, slideshows, and booklets. This portal is available to the public (i.e., not limited to its customers). There is no information on the company website or in third-party resources indicating how the company informs its customers about this service, though it can reasonably be assumed that it is at least included in the informational welcome packet for individual plan holders.
Anthem/Blue Cross offers 13 program and services focused on holistic health and wellness, although the availability of these programs "varies by funding-type." The website directs the user to contact a representative for more information. Unlike other similar companies, none of Anthem's services or programs are discount programs on holistic health treatment or tools. These programs and services include:
- 24/7 Nurseline:
A hotline staffed by registered nurses to answer health or medical condition questions, and to recommend the appropriate level of in-person care.
A coaching program which pairs nurses with customers with chronic conditions to help the customer successfully manage the condition.
- Future Moms:
A program of personalized guidance, information and support for pregnant women.
- Case Management:
A support program for obtaining the best possible care for customers who either have multiple medical problems or who have been hospitalized for a serious condition.
- Behavioral Health:
A service designed to help customers access the full benefits of the plan which support emotional health.
- Utilization Management:
A service designed to help the attending health care professionals coordinate the customers' treatment with available plan benefits.
- Whole Health Connection:
A service which aggregates data from the customer's claims and history to provide a composite report on the type of care received, in order to provide a 'holistic [patient] profile.'
- Live Health Online:
A telehealth service which connects the customer with a "board certified doctor" in order to receive advice, a diagnosis or a prescription.
- Online Wellness Toolkit:
An online portal with digital tools such as a health assessment, tracker and engagement tools.
- MyHealth Advantage:
A online assessment tool to compare the customer's health data with "medical best practices."
- Quick Care Options:
An advisory, educational service that informs the customer about non-ER options for non-emergencies.
- Shopper Program:
A service that compares the pricing of available facilities for certain routine procedures or diagnostic assessments.
- Employee Assistance Program:
An 'additional' program which"'aids in stress management, financial planning, child care and other family- and work-related concerns.'
Anthem offers a 'Resources' web page for employers to promote the wellness services. These include strategy guides for implementing wellness culture; print-ready and e-ready documents like flyers, posters and email blasts, webinars and videos on increasing employee engagement.
Aetna offers three tiers of employee and self-funded wellness programs: Core, Enhanced and Premier.
The Core Program for group plans includes "[an] online health assessment, online health coaching program, other online tools and resources, a 24/7 health information line staffed by registered nurses, medical management programs, member discount programs on books, gym memberships, natural health products and services, chronic disease management, a maternity support program, and a patient safety and engagement program."
The Core Program for individual plans includes: " [an] online health assessment, online health coaching programs, a 24/7 health information line staffed by registered nurses, medical management programs, other online tools and resources, and member discount programs on books, gym memberships, natural health products and services."
The Enhanced Program includes all Core Program services, and additionally offers "worksite biometric screenings, company fitness challenge, and incentives to motivate your plan members." The Premier Program includes all Core and Enhanced Program services, and additionally offers personalized coaching for healthy living.
The available resources for informing customers appears to be limited to print-ready flyers, e-cards, posters and emails.
Humana's employee wellness programs are custom-designed, and the website user is directed to request a demo for more detailed information. The available information for its Go365 Wellness and Rewards Program indicates that employees earn rewards for proactive health choices such as working out, receiving annual medical exams, a receiving flu vaccinations. The platform is multi-channel and can be accessed via mobile and desktop computers, and smart devices. The Go365 Wellness Solutions Suite may also include health coaching and biometric screenings.
The resources that Humana provides for informing customers of the services available in the wellness program include customizable communications, monthly interactive webinars for program administrators, strategic tools, pre-compiled wellness campaigns, and a "peer support network."
Like Humana, Cigna's wellness programs and services appear to be custom-curated for a given group plan. Available programs include:
- a maternal health and newborn health support program;
- an employee assistance program for consultations and referrals to a wide variety of non-healthcare-related services;
- lifestyle management programs;
- health assessments and biometric screenings;
- zero cost preventative care procedures with in-network doctors;
- a lifestyle coaching app.
While there is a website specifically for employers, this site is only accessible to member users. There was no information available on the general Cigna website, nor in any third-party resources, which clearly indicates how Cigna supports employers in informing employees about Cigna wellness programs.
Cigna has also recently partnered with CVS to offer a variety of services. Those related to holistic health and wellness include discounts on CVS-brand vitamins and preventative care offered at CVS Minute Clinics. Through this partnership, Cigna informs patients about its wellness programs through 'HealthTag Messages' attached to prescription bags.
To wrap it up: all of the five largest US health insurance companies offer wellness programs, which vary in the comprehensiveness and generosity of their services and programs. Of the five, only two offer discounts on non-covered holistic health services. Relative to information dissemination, most companies provide materials for employers to distribute via print and digital.