GM Reportedly Cuts Different Type Of Health-Care Deal

Desiree Burns
August 10, 2018

General Motors isn't the only company teaming up with a health system in an effort to boost employee health and wellness.

General Motors on Monday inked a deal with Detroit-based hospital system Henry Ford Health System to provide a new direct-to-employer healthcare option to 24,000 of its salaried employees and their dependents in Southeast Michigan.

The automaker still will offer PPO plans to employees, but the company expects that employees who choose the ConnectedCare can save anywhere from $300 to $900 a month.

ConnectedCare will make GM the largest employer right now in MI to directly contract with a hospital system for health care. By signing a contract directly with one health-care provider, as other companies have done, GM reportedly said it can offer a plan that costs employees less than other options while also promising special customer-service perks and quality standards.

GM has seen its total health care costs grow about 3 percent to 4 percent a year in recent years, said Sheila Savageau, the automaker's USA health care leader.

The plan will give nearly 24,000 GM salaried employees and their beneficiaries access to over 3,000 providers in seven counties offering primary care, specialty care, behavioral health, emergency care and more. More recently, Providence St. Joseph ended its participation in Boeing's direct-contract program previous year, citing "business" as the reason for the contract termination.

"The concepts are not new nationally, and have been around for a long time", she said.

Employers who enter into a direct contract with a healthcare provider need expertise and bandwidth, "a luxury that not many have", adds Suzanne Delbanco, executive director of the Catalyst for Payment Reform, an employer-led health care think tank and advocacy group.

The Henry Ford Health System is a non-profit health care organization in Detroit that provides both insurance and care. But, if the six-hospital system's costs are too high, it will credit GM for the unforeseen expenses. If it achieves or exceeds the cost objectives, GM and the provider will share the savings. By striking a deal directly with the integrated hospital system, the idea is that it will cut costs by allowing the company to negotiate directly with the service provider.

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"We are very committed to addressing the affordability of healthcare-offering exceptional care while bending the cost curve for consumers in the communities we serve", said Wright L Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System, in a release.

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GM will use Blue Cross Blue Shield of MI to process the claims that come through ConnectedCare, as well as to manage the plan's pharmacy benefits. Blue Cross has been administering GM's self-insured health plans for decades.

Concierge line: A Henry Ford phone line exclusive for GM employees for making appointments and getting directions.

Fast appointments: Same-day appointments for primary care doctors.

GM employees in the UAW have separate health care arrangements.

The ultimate goal of the multi-year contract is to decrease costs and improve the health of ConnectedCare members.

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