Medica to Improve Access to Recommended Health Care Services Through Partnership with Target

MINNETONKA, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Medica is introducing programs designed to provide its members with improved access to affordable, convenient and recommended health care services through a partnership with Target. The programs are built around increasing flu vaccinations; ensuring babies get a healthy start; and accessing care for common everyday ailments.

“We believe these programs will help motivate our members to get care that follows recommended guidelines and best practices,” said Mark Werner, M.D., Medica chief clinical and innovation officer. “Medica is committed to ensuring convenient, quality care at affordable prices. We are delighted to introduce these programs that benefit our members.” Continue reading

Medica First Health Plan to Create Mobile App for Comparing Health Care Costs.

Innovation Alert!

Medica, a health insurance company headquartered in Minneapolis, became the first health plan to launch a mobile application to help consumers compare cost information for a variety of medical procedures. The app, based on the Web site MainStreetMedica.com, is available at the iPhone App Store.

In a press release, the carrier said it is making the mobile app available as the demand for consumer health information is exploding. According to an analysis published by Manhattan Research in February 2009, more than 10 million U.S. adults use mobile devices for health information. Thats not surprising as consumers are paying a greater share of their health care. Meanwhile, the trend toward better informed, empowered consumers helps promote market-based reforms and greater competition.

MainStreetMedica.com is a proven resource for consumers who want to know how much a medical service or treatment will cost before they have a procedure, said Rob Longendyke, Medica senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications.

Until recently, consumers had little or no access to comparative information about physicians and hospitals. Without transparency like actual cost information, market forces cant work. Given a level playing field, consumers will do to health care what they have done throughout the rest of the economy make choices based on their values. Empowering consumers with the tools they need to make value-based decisions will stimulate health care to be more efficient, effective, affordable and accessible.

Both the Main Street Medica mobile app and the Web site are available to all consumers, not just Medica members. iPhone users can also download the mobile app at: Medica.com.

Health Plan Members Receive Incentive to Work Out

Here’s an idea worth noting — a health plan that is actually helping its member stay healthy.

The Minnetonka, Minn. – basedMedica has announced that effective immediately, more than 16,500 Medica MinnesotaCare members are eligible for a program whereby those who participate in a Fit Choices program will get a $20 monthly membership credit just for exercising at a participating health club location eight or more days per month.

Medica members will present their Medica ID card atparticipating Fit Choices by Medica health clubs and the club helps the member enroll in the program and tracks their attendance. Qualifying members then receive a $20 credit toward their health club monthly dues.

Data from a study of the impact of Medica’s Fit Choices program show that Medica members who began a new, regular program of exercise have seen a decrease in claim costs after just two years in the program with an average claim cost decrease of more than 33 percent on a per member per month basis during the period.

Medica says that other studies show that helping people stay healthy not only saves lives, it controls health care costs. An estimated 70 percent of all illnesses are due to lifestyle-related causes such as obesity and physical inactivity, and one-half of all medical costs are attributable to illnesses that could be prevented.

Health Plan Innovation Take: Politicians can argue all day long about which is the better health plan, but until we make a concerted effort to address some of the root causes of the nation’s sub-par health status, we will continue to spend more money and get less satisfactory results. More health plans should follow the lead of Medica by encouraging their members to take responsibility for their own good health.