| August 14, 2018

Will Patient Care Improve as GM and Ford Health Sign Innovative Contract?

Marina Turea

Marina is passionate about all emerging technologies in the healthcare space and love to write about all of them. Marina is passionate about all emerging technologies in the healthcare space and love to write about all of them.

General Motors is offering a new, lower-cost health insurance option to salaried employees. Called “ConnectedCare,” the new plan will offer up to 24,000 GM employees and their dependents hundreds in savings on their annual premium and improved patient care.

The new health insurance plan arises from a five year direct contract between Henry Ford Health Systems and General Motors. This direct-to-employer health contract between a healthcare provider and a large employer is the first of its kind in Michigan, and will help reduce costs on both sides by cutting out the insurance company middleman.

The plan will be administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, processing the claims and customer service inquiries coming through ConnectedCare. While certain services will be managed by Blue Cross, the pricing will be determined by Ford Health and GM. This allows for shared savings by Ford and GM as long as Ford hits agreed-upon metrics in areas such as service utilization and quality.

Aside from predicted cost savings, the direct contract encourages improved healthcare value and patient service. This is part of the larger movement away from the traditional fee-for-service healthcare model and towards value-based patient care, centered on quality rather than quantity of care. The deal also grants GM greater flexibility over health benefit design, giving them more control over shaping the plan.

What ConnectedCare offers

ConnectedCare represents access to over 3,000 providers in the Henry Ford Physician Network. Eligible employees will be able to enroll beginning in October of this year, with coverage beginning on January 1st, 2019. The new plan will be $300 to $900 cheaper than the current cheapest healthcare option offered by GM, with annual deductibles that match the current lowest plan for employees.

Additional features and services include: tele-health options to virtually connect with a doctor online, access to same-day or next-day appointments with a primary care physician, integrated electronic medical records systems for physicians in the network to share a common platform, and other innovative patient engagement tools.

These features and services are part of Ford Health’s investment in the “long-term” patient-physician relationship. The provider has worked to empower patients with digital tools such as MyChart that allow for viewing personal information, managing prescriptions, scheduling appointments, and more.

The changing healthcare landscape

Over the past few years, Blue Cross has been growing its value-based contracts. In Michigan alone, Blue Cross has signed with over 80 percent of hospitals under value-based arrangements. However, this is their first arrangement administered between a provider and a large employer.

While this contract is the first of its kind in Michigan, there has been an increase in direct health contracts, partially due to rising insurance costs. Companies such as Boeing, Walmart, and Intel have similarly worked with providers for health insurance.

While not all GM employees will sign onto this new plan, Ford Health will monitor patient outcomes throughout the process to work towards increased patient satisfaction and quality of patient care. For Henry Ford Health, this arrangement is part of the company’s larger mission to innovate and expand, hoping to grow the number of direct contracts with employers and the quality of its services.

Interested in learning about other new partnerships upending the healthcare industry? Take a look at how GSK and 23andMe are using genetic data to cure diseases.

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