Why Companies Should Offer Direct Primary Care Benefits

Why Companies Should Offer Direct Primary Care Benefits
Why Companies Should Offer Direct Primary Care Benefits

Bethany Holmes, Head of Hint Connect at Hint Health

While the Great Resignation may be ending, the Great Retention is in full swing. During the pandemic, Americans got comfortable with the flexibility workplaces provided – not just in terms of working remotely, but in flexible and convenient benefits as well. While employees are quitting less than the historic high recorded in 2022, employees are demanding better benefits from their employers. In fact, 78% of employees said they’d stay with their employer based on the benefits they offer.

Losing an employee costs at least six to nine months of an employee’s salary to find and train their replacement. So it’s time companies got with the program in providing benefits that go beyond the bare minimum, particularly in health benefits. 

What’s wrong with healthcare

Americans are increasingly spending more on healthcare as premiums have risen 20% over the past 5 years, often significantly outpacing inflation – yet one in four insured Americans avoid going to the doctor because they aren’t sure how much it will cost.  

According to a new study from Deloitte, if companies made the proper changes, employees could live 95% of their lives in good health, while extending the average life span by about 12 years by 2040. 

It’s the newest in a long trail of evidence all pointing in one direction: businesses must provide healthcare benefits that work with employees both to help them lead healthier lives and to support employee retention.

Health benefits are the secret to employee retention; So, what is the problem? The mainstream model in the U.S. under invests in primary care and cripples primary care with burdensome insurance regulations. That leads to high premiums, long waits for appointments, and short visits for patients that often last less than 10 minutes – leaving patients feeling dissatisfied and dismissed and doctors feeling stretched thin and ineffective.

That’s where direct primary care (DPC) comes into play. With the DPC model, primary care doctors don’t get paid a fee by an insurance company each time they see a patient in the office. Instead, patients (or ideally their employers) pay a monthly membership fee that covers unlimited primary care services, similar to the method of payment for a gym membership. This lets physicians focus on patients’ needs without being rushed to the next patient or constricted by insurance payments. 

I believe demand for DPC will continue rising rapidly as more businesses discover it can lead to healthier, happier workers and longer employee retention, all of which directly impact a company’s bottom line. A 2020 study found that 80% of employees enrolled in a DPC benefit had an improved opinion of their employer.

Physicians dedicate their careers and often make significant personal sacrifices to help people in need. The insurance-driven system laden with prior authorization requirements, complex and ever-changing coding schema, and administratively complex value-based care models makes it impossible for physicians to focus on patient care. Doctors and their staff spend one-sixth of every day dealing with administrative headaches like billing paperwork to get paid by insurance companies.

The effect of DPC on businesses

Most companies would never dream of treating their customers the way that patients are treated in the US healthcare system, but they can’t find better options for their own employees when it comes to employer-sponsored healthcare. DPC completely changes that. 

The DPC model has shown several advantages, including:

  • Shorter wait times for appointments (same-day appointments are common)
  • Virtual care is included in the cost of the membership (imagine being able to just call your doctor when you need them!)
  • More access to preventative healthcare
  • Longer appointments with doctors which impact patient outcomes
  • And flexible access to high-quality doctors

And most importantly, DPC physicians are beholden to patient outcomes. A patient with a choice in their physician will always choose one who helps them get and stay healthier in the easiest, most convenient way. 

The cost of losing talented workers is high

​​Data from recent jobs reports show that while unemployment remains low, salaries are increasing, which results in employers having to pay more to hold onto good employees. DPC’s increasing popularity comes as America breaks away from the “Great Resignation” — in which employees quit at historically high rates over the past two years, with resignations starting to level out last month. Losing employees decreases productivity simply because you have fewer team members to get work done and the people left on teams end up having to take on more work – leading to more turnover. 

It makes financial sense for companies to offer employees DPC benefits as a supplement to insurance benefits because it can lead to healthier and happier employees and less employee turnover. 

It’s good for employees’ health. 

It’s also good business.

About Beth Holmes

Beth Holmes is a Division Head at Hint Health, the leading tech company powering the growth of the direct primary care industry. In her role, she is focused on connecting employers and health plans to a nationwide network of DPC providers to expand the ability of these organizations to offer DPC as a benefit. Beth has spent over ten years in healthcare, previously at Tufts Health Plan as the Director of Enterprise Provider Performance. She holds a Master of Science in Health Policy and Management from Harvard University. She has been researching the state of the American healthcare system and argues that we have not hit a recession yet, but that one is coming with an impact.

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