In our latest In the Booth podcast, we are pleased to have Erica Manhardt, Marketing and Communications Director and Heather Horn, Manager, Population Health Management, from Meritain Health, discussing Healthy Merits and how it can be a beneficial program to make wellness fun.
Speaker 1 (00:09):
Welcome to another edition of In the Booth. My name is Erica Manhardt, Marketing and communications director, and I'm joined today by Heather Horn, who leads our population health management team here at Meritain Health. Welcome Heather.
Speaker 2 (00:22):
Speaker 1 (00:23):
So Heather, you and I have worked together in the population health and wellness space for more than 10 years now. Not long after we first launched Healthy Merits in 2006. So we've seen corporate wellness options just explode in the market in the last few years, right?
Speaker 2 (00:37):
Yes, we have.
Speaker 1 (00:39):
And options are really keeping pace with how point solutions are emerging and evolving. I think things are becoming simpler for the member and being more data driven as they really should be. And as someone who customizes our Healthy Merits programs for planned sponsors and has seen this evolution firsthand, what do you see as the key to a program that drives what everybody wants? Improved health and plan cost savings.
Speaker 2 (01:09):
So I think there are a number of components that go into that. We really look to make sure people have some awareness of any, you know, conditions they may have. So, you know, through prevention and awareness buildings, things like health assessments, you know, we're really driving that piece of the program. So, you know, that's a big part of it. And then beyond that, you know, there is that kind of fun side of wellness as well. So, you know, we, we give people a lot of what they need. We need, we need to build their awareness and drive them to those point solutions that make sense for them. On the other, or flip side of that though, we have to give them a little bit of what they want , which is, hey, let's do some sort of fun activities that keep things in front of them so that they are continuing to access the program and, you know, seeing all the pieces that are available to them.
Speaker 1 (02:08):
Great. so I mean obviously that, that it does, it sounds fun, it sounds engaging. There are other companies out there who can do it. Meritain Health is a third party administrator. I think there's a lot of value in offering a wellbeing program alongside your medical health benefits, but what do you see as that benefit? What's the benefit for our plan sponsors and, and offering both.
Speaker 2 (02:35):
Yeah. There are so many benefits when it comes to just having, having the data at our fingertips. So being able to look at all the things that are coming in, which includes, you know, claims data. We actually have a population health management dashboard that sorts claims by what we feel are lifestyle driven behaviors type claims. So by taking out of those, you know, pieces that don't have, you know, that we really can't control and looking at the things that we can control from a data perspective, it really gives us the opportunity to have those conversations with our plan sponsors on, you know, what sort of interventions, what sort of initiatives make sense for you, you know, beyond, beyond wellness and, you know, other point solutions and bringing that together, you know, using that data to tell that story and then to additionally tell that story year over year.
Speaker 2 (03:31):
Then once the program is rolling, being able to utilize that data as well or those pieces that we can build those connections or integrations. So there are a lot of point solutions we just mentioned that, you know, wellness can be the hub for that. It can really be that place where, you know, we build that connection with other programs, whether they're, you know, inside, you know, the third party administrator, you know, trying to make sure it stays in front of the member. And that they are utilizing those programs because you know, when was last time you went out and read your benefits guide, most of us don't do that, so we want to keep it in front of them. So if they have, you know, a Teledoc program that we can integrate that and build that connection through wellness, through Healthy Merits that takes all of the lift off of our plan sponsors and helps people utilize the tools that they have available to them. So there's kind of the pieces, I think, you know, really bringing it all together and creating that hub and then using that data to not only tell the story initially on what we're seeing, but then to drive those conversations moving forward.
Speaker 1 (04:44):
So our Healthy Merit program is able to act as that hub and look at wellbeing very holistically. And then I think what I've heard you say is we can take that data that we can get from the plan and from the claims system and see where we can get ahead of health risks and cost drivers, right? Like if, if we're starting to see trending in diabetes, we can put together those interventions on the population health side, but track it all through healthy merit incentivized behaviors and look at other healthy activities that, that a member could be participating in. Would you say? That's right.
Speaker 2 (05:20):
Exactly. That the data piece makes so much sense and it really, the conversations then, you know, go in places that we really know will help drive healthier behaviors and better outcomes.
Speaker 1 (05:33):
Oh, fabulous. So I, I recently saw a statistic that 80% of companies with more than 50 employees are implementing some type of wellness or wellbeing benefit. Now I know we have seen a number of even larger companies jumping in, asking more questions, getting involved. So it's, it's really applicable for companies large and small. But what do you see as the interest? What are you hearing most often?
Speaker 2 (06:04):
So again, it's, it's that need to make sure that, you know, arm members have what they need or the members have what they need, that they're, they're, you know, giving those opportunities, you know, for them to engage in programs that will help them with their health and wellness. I think in the past, you know, smaller groups, it was, it was just kind of easier, it's easier to manage. And so larger groups were like a little bit hesitant cause it's, it's a lot. But I think the technology piece has come, it's just come so far that now the larger groups are really like, Oh, we really can do this now. This is, this is totally doable. You know, administratively it's not that big of a lift. So I, I think that's, you know, across the board everybody knows that it's the right thing, right?
Speaker 2 (06:51):
It's the, it's the thing that they can do that helps members. But I think the hesitation in the past has been a lift, it has been a lift of the program and I think, you know, well we, healthy marriage really takes that list off of our planet sponsors. You know, we, we develop all those communications, the technology there is to drive those communications out to members and continue to communicate with them over time. And I think, you know, that piece of it has been a struggle. You know, 10 years ago was totally a struggle. Now with apps and text message tracking, I mean, life has gotten a lot easier on the wellness side. So I feel like that's, you know, they're really looking at those pieces as a viable option now. Whereas 10 years ago they weren't, five years ago they weren't.
Speaker 1 (07:38):
Right. I, I think even as a consumer, I've experienced that, who doesn't love the simplicity and the ease of just firing off a text or a responding with a why to say that yes, I did this, to get credit for that. To be able to track your points and, and earn those incentives online or I know we've even had members to participate say in a getting an incentive for going and getting your, your regular dental cleaning, taking pictures themselves in the chairs and sending that in and hey, it accounts we, we can make it fun, right? It's got to be simple, it's got to be engaging and we see much, much bigger cost savings when we're doing that.
Speaker 2 (08:13):
Absolutely. And again, as we mentioned before, you know that it, before it had been, you know, a lot of jumping through hoops originally. That fun side can get lost, but that fun side is what keeps people coming back and engaging cause it's not, so, it doesn't feel so much to them as much as it is for them. And we really try to build our program so that it feels like it's for them and not so much to them.
Speaker 1 (08:40):
Fabulous. Well, thank you Heather, so much for giving us a, a look inside of Healthy Merits and how it's making sense and what we can do for anybody who wants to learn more, we absolutely encourage you to reach out to your Healthy Merits representative if you have one. If not, let's talk over at Meritain Health and we'll get you connected. So thank you so much for joining us for this edition of In the Booth. I hope you all stay well and thanks for joining.