Ardent Health Opts for New Employee Benefits and Employee Experience with Quantum Health and Imagine360 - MedCity News (2024)

National health system Ardent Health Services recently announced they have rolled out a new health benefits offering to 23,000 Ardent employees and their dependents. The offering stems from an industry-unique partnership between Quantum Health and Imagine360 leveraging Quantum Health’s healthcare navigation and care coordination services platform and Imagine360’s high-performance network and price protection. Quantum Health and Imagine360 created this program specifically for health system employees. The two companies previously announced a partnership to support self-insured employers nationwide.

While most health system partnerships focus solely on patient care, Quantum Health and Imagine360 are addressing a different challenge by revamping Ardent’s employee benefits infrastructure. It comes at a unique time. With nursing shortages projected to limit primary care capacity by 20% in 2025, health systems are focusing more heavily on employee retention. Health Affairs reported employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rose 7% in 2023, which was higher than previous years.

Quantum Health CEO Zane Burke and Imagine360 CEO Jeff Bak highlighted the significance of the partnership, what it means for their respective businesses, and the industry at large, in response to emailed questions.

Q: Can you start by describing how the partnership came about?

Jeff Bak: Let me start by saying that this unique partnership speaks to Ardent’s innovative approach to employee benefits. Health systems are often the first place we take loved ones with critical health needs, but beyond care delivery, they play a vital role as some of the largest employers within our communities. In that way, health systems face many of the same challenges we hear from self-insured employers across the country. Employee healthcare is often a company’s second largest expense, but most organizations have no idea why their costs continue to rise or what kind of quality their employees receive. Health systems have additional and unique needs that must be considered.

Ardent Health Opts for New Employee Benefits and Employee Experience with Quantum Health and Imagine360 - MedCity News (1)

That’s why Ardent came to us seeking an alternative to traditional managed care. They wanted to maximize clinical quality and cost effectiveness for their 23,000 team members. In addition, they were looking for partners that could help them think differently about how they support other employers in their respective markets. We worked directly with the Ardent Health team to create an entirely new offering with world-class healthcare navigation and cost control measures.

Zane Burke: I’ll add that one of Ardent Health’s key pain points was the fact that their employees were often seeking care outside of their own health system. That’s one of the unique needs Jeff referenced. We saw a great opportunity to leverage Quantum Health’s Healthcare Warriors and proprietary Real-Time Intercept technology to help guide Ardent employees to the highest quality providers within the Ardent Health network. This ensures the best quality and cost-effective care for Ardent employees, while providing a better member healthcare journey experience.

Q: How did the market react to the news?

Zane Burke: Employee expectations of health benefits have expanded, and they are looking for a healthcare experience that is as easy and streamlined as other facets of their lives. We have seen a growing demand from clients like Ardent to deploy navigation across all populations to help ensure members and their families receive the most appropriate, cost-effective care. With Imagine360, we can address the unique pain points for Ardent while delivering an amazing experience for employees. I’ve already received calls from additional health systems and other self-insured employers interested in replicating this model. They all share the same challenges and realize the unique nature of this partnership.

Jeff Bak: While Ardent is the first national health system to offer Imagine360 to its employees, we already partner with some of the country’s most prominent health systems to create preferred relationships for our members. In our ongoing conversations with health systems, we’ve found that they fully appreciate the fact that employers are seeking alternatives to traditional managed care solutions provided by the major carriers. The Ardent news indicates that health systems are now seeking alternatives like Imagine360 for their own employees. It’s a major opportunity for us.

Q: What’s next for your respective organizations?

Jeff Bak: The unfortunate reality is that while most Americans have healthcare coverage, one in four U.S. adults carry healthcare debt. It’s almost inconceivable. Insurance is meant to protect us. How can millions of insured Americans suffer from healthcare debt?

Ardent Health Opts for New Employee Benefits and Employee Experience with Quantum Health and Imagine360 - MedCity News (2)

It’s because our healthcare system forces employers to foot the bill, which ultimately impacts American workers. The reality is that traditional carriers are not motivated to negotiate fair healthcare rates on behalf of employers. Today, employers pay more than 2.5 times what Medicare pays for the exact same healthcare services.

Rising costs have forced nearly one-third of commercially insured Americans into high deductible health plans. While the average American worker earns a $60,000 annual salary, we often see deductibles greater than $7,000 a year. That means in the case of a medical emergency, people must pay more than 10% of their annual salary on medical bills. This simply isn’t feasible for most families, and why so many Americans are forced into medical debt.

At Imagine360, we believe all Americans deserve affordable access to high quality healthcare, and our personalized health plan offering savesemployers between 15-30% on healthcare costs. Our clients can then reinvest these savings in their workforce by offering additional benefits such as: lower deductibles and out of pocket costs, premium holidays, free primary care benefits, multiple years with no healthcare cost increases and more. At the end of the day,we help companies administer a great health plan experience that better protects employees. The results are astounding.

Every day, our members tell us that they sleep better at night knowing their health plan meets their needs and we’re now working diligently to ensure all Americans have the same peace of mind.

Zane Burke: Today, Quantum health is honored to support over 3 million members and over 500 employer clients with our leading navigation and care coordination platform. Industry data is pointing to close to half of employers now believing introducing navigation and care coordination tools will help employees more easily navigate the healthcare system, engage in preventive physical and mental care, manage chronic conditions and help with managing medical cost increases. This increased interest by employers to deploy healthcare navigation signals a new era of employer benefits design in which employers strive to balance complexity, cost, employee satisfaction and flexibility to more effectively support their workforces and compete for talent.

Quantum Health’s leadership position in the navigation market and ability to work with other innovative companies like Imagaine360 will allow us to empower employers to customize their benefits programs based on their employees’ expanding healthcare experience needs. They will also get the best possible outcomes and returns and better aligning cost and actual value of care.

Photo: olaser, Getty Images

Ardent Health Opts for New Employee Benefits and Employee Experience with Quantum Health and Imagine360 - MedCity News (2024)
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