Tech answers for health care problems
BeniComp, an innovator in the thriving space of insuratech, leverages technology to offer creative solutions in health insurance. For president and chief operating officer Steve Pressler, framing business within a creative perspective comes naturally.
A graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, Pressler took his master’s degree in 3D animation and launched a multimedia business in California, where he first connected with BeniComp as one of his clients, 20 years ago. Creating tech answers for health and education, Pressler was at work with population health management software when he reconnected, in 2016, with Doug Short, BeniComp’s chief executive officer, and the rest, as Pressler says, “is history.”
“BeniComp was doing some really cool things with preventive health and population health and so we combined forces,” says Pressler. He came on, officially, in 2017, and believes it’s “the most exciting, creative time” to be in health.
As Pressler explains, “Health insurance has seen more change in the last five to 10 years than it has in the last 100 years. There’s just so much that’s happening. The current capabilities of wearable health devices has led to the collection of all of this personalized data and we can use that data to best serve clients in the insurance space.”
BeniComp’s Tampa hub, fittingly called its innovation office, will meet this by expanding, adding more than 100 jobs this year and welcoming the new hires in a newly crafted, innovative space. Sit-stand desks, bean bag chairs, writable walls, niches and alcoves that encourage collaboration—as Pressler explains, ‘it’s important to nurture creativity within the workplace. Companies exist because of the people and I’m a huge fan of bringing people together. When you set up an environment that brings people together, magical things happen. People come up with innovative, creative ideas that they otherwise wouldn’t come up with if they’re sitting in silos or at home.”
One bit of magic is BeniComp’s recently launched Incentive Care, with its emphasis on using data to line up preventive care. As more and more companies of all sizes are able to step away from the fully insured model to more self-funded options, preventive care becomes key.
Explains Pressler, “Many companies are still under the impression that they don’t have choices with insurance, that whatever they have to pay every year is just what they have to pay. And so many companies are nervous around health care. They’re scared about the increasing prices, the unaffordability and the risk. But with today’s technology, even a company with very few employees has options to control their health costs and to improve the overall health of their employees.”
Incentive Care is one such option. Incentive Care builds in deductible incentives based on an annual health screening for all employees. According to Pressler, using deductible incentives motivates employees to be more proactive about their own health and gives them the necessary information to do so.
“With the incentives, we get extremely high participation in annual health screenings, so typically 96%, or almost the entire population of a company, and that allows us to then see all of the underlying health risks within the population,” Pressler says. “We can reach out to the people who have underlying health risks and engage with them to start taking the appropriate steps toward better health. With some employees, it may be so advanced that we send them immediately to a specialist, or with others, for example, they may be in a pre-diabetic stage where we can then adjust their health through lifestyle choices and prevent them from ever becoming diabetic.”
BeniComp’s Incentive Care model strives to ensure that all employees are working towards their healthiest selves.
And, with the knowledge that data and technology brings, companies can choose the most relevant options for their work populations.
“They can choose to add telemedicine and mental health, or they can choose what their deductibles will be,” Pressler says. “They can choose what services are covered, what’s out of network, what’s in network. And so, essentially, companies are able to set up their own plan. If their work population runs well, then they can save hundreds of thousands of dollars or even several million dollars. We have one company that saved over $8 million their first year.”
Another BeniComp solution is Pulse, a software tool Pressler was working on before coming onboard.
“We have an upcoming new version of the software that we’ll be announcing early next year. But it’s the same concept where we were able to take in all of the blood data and claims data, identify those underlying health risks and then engage with those risks and coach people for preventative care,” Pressler says. “So it’s the software that runs the population health part of the business.”
A company’s plan is based on the needs of the employee population, but the coaching and preventive care is all individualized. With this creative perspective, there is never a one size fits all attitude toward health insurance.
For Pressler, melding health and technology was a specific work focus as he and his Brazilian wife began searching for a home in Florida to be closer to family.
Pressler explains, “I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and one thing is true: everyone goes to Florida for spring break. So my wife and I were traveling around from Savannah to St. Augustine, visiting about 13 different cities, and around that same time as when we were traveling, I reconnected with BeniComp. We visited Tampa and everything fell into place.”
And for this midwest native, California creative, Tampa itself is a hub of innovation.
“We just love the city,” says Pressler. “It has all of the wonderful things that come with a big city, like big sports and big business, but it still feels Midwestern in nature. You have a lot of really nice people, in addition to the beautiful beaches.”
To be a part of BeniComp’s innovation office in Tampa is the perfect fit for Pressler, merging creativity with technology in the rapidly changing insurance-technology space. ♦