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Case Study Highlights
32BJ Health Fund Fights High Prices at New York Hospitals with 2019 Network Redesign
We know that high prices can be a barrier to treatment for our participants, and the key driver of rising healthcare costs is hospital prices. Therefore, in April 2019, the Health Fund implemented a new network design that distinguished between preferred and nonpreferred health systems and classified those that charged significantly more as nonpreferred, with correspondingly higher copays for planned care. While the majority of plan participants were already using preferred hospitals, we created a communications campaign to educate them about the benefit change. Several months later, an increasing number of participants had selected preferred hospitals for care, and most said that they viewed their health benefits, the quality of in-network providers, and the number of providers near them “very favorably.”
Total Joint Replacement: Partnering to Reduce Costs and Boost Quality
We used our claims data to identify Mount Sinai Health System as a lower-cost but high-quality provider in an otherwise expensive market, and in 2016, the Health Fund contracted directly with Mount Sinai to reduce the cost and improve the quality of total joint replacement (TJR) surgeries. In January 2022, we expanded our partnership to include specialty hospitals in five additional states to establish the 32BJ Health Fund Centers of Excellence (COE) for Joint Replacement and Weight Loss (Bariatric) Surgery. Participants have a $0 copay for their surgery and specific follow-up care. Moreover, 100 percent of program participants say they are satisfied with the results of their care, and 97 percent would recommend the program to a friend.
Union Health Center: The Premier 32BJ Health Fund 5 Star Center
The Union Health Center (UHC) traces its founding to 1914 by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) to provide healthcare to its members. Today, UHC continues to prioritize caring for the health and well-being of working people—including 32BJ members and their families. In 2012, the 32BJ Health Fund partnered with UHC to establish our 5 Star Center model for primary and specialty care, where our participants pay a $0 copay for most services. As we’ve expanded our model across several states, UHC remains our flagship center. Most 5 Star Centers are recognized as Patient-Centered Medical Home Model (PCMH) Level III by the National Committee of Quality Assurance (NCQA).
32BJ Health Fund Director Cora Opsahl spoke at the October 31, 2023, kickoff for
Catalyst for Payment Reform’s webinar series, Pioneers of Progress.
We created this video to help employers and other healthcare purchasers determine how much they are paying for healthcare and to show them what they can do right now to reduce their hospital spend.
What we’re reading & listening to
Like many of you, our team is inundated with information, so we often compare notes about what made it to the top of our lists. Here are some of our ongoing favorites as well as current material we’re paying attention to. We’re always open to suggestions on things that you think are worthwhile.
Morning Reads & Other Go-to Resources
There are a number of excellent sources of ongoing information that we rely on to stay informed.
Axios and Politico both send out a newsletter every morning—a great way to start the day.
Kaiser Family Foundation and Catalyst for Payment Reform both provide trusted information that we check on an ongoing basis.
Stacy Richter’s Relentless Health Value podcast is an endless source of motivation and introduces us to fellow travelers working to transform healthcare.
Participants pay $0 premiums, $0 deductibles, and $0 copays for many preferred providers, and low copays for other providers.
The Health Fund assesses provider performance and incentivizes high-value care that keeps costs low. For example, the 32BJ Health Fund saves millions of dollars through its use of Centers of Excellence and innovative benefit plan design.
Many employers struggle to maintain health benefits without shifting more costs to employees each year. In contrast, we control costs for both the employers who fund our plans and their employees who depend on them. Successes include:
- Below-trend increases in employer contributions year after year
- Flat prescription drug costs in an environment of great increases
- Millions of dollars in savings through our pioneering approach to benefit plan design
At the 32BJ Health Fund, we engage with our participants every day. In turn, 91 percent of them say that they are satisfied with their coverage, and 88 percent of them trust us to recommend programs and providers to them.