- Microsoft is offering its Seattle-area employees a new health plan aimed at improving customer experience, according to a press release. The tech giant is partnering with insurer Premera Blue Cross and service provider Eastside Health Network to create the Health Connect Plan, which aims to improve the integration between medical services and insurance coverage. Employees will have access to a dedicated service center and the Health Connect Navigator, which provides personalized help for common needs.
- Microsoft's move to provide a more innovative health plan is in line with Apple, Amazon and other tech giants that have moved to improve employee wellness through corporate-operated clinics, according to GeekWire. Amazon, for example, has teamed up with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to form an independent health venture tasked with improving the health experience and outcomes for all three companies' U.S. workers, said GeekWire.
- Microsoft's corporate VP of total rewards and performance, Kristen Roby Dimlow, said the company is intent on taking the opportunity to "shape the health care landscape in meaningful ways." "We believe that this new approach of connecting providers, patients, and resources is the next step in improving the health care experience for our employees," she said.
More employers are working to provide employees with easier access to services, while lowering overall healthcare costs. As an example, Apple's AC Wellness clinic is offering its Bay Area employees on-site medical care and access to nurses, exercise specialists, nutritionists and other wellness experts. The program represents a shift from the "fee for service" model based on costly medical procedures and tests to one based on better patient care outcomes.
Software company SAS Institute operates a worksite clinic offering traditional primary care, a walk-in pharmacy and a lab. By focusing on primary care, the company cuts down on the cost of specialty care, and with an on-site clinic, employee retention can benefit, according to a statement from the company's chief health officer, Gale Adock.
The speed at which tech companies and corporations like Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase have come into the healthcare industry reportedly stems from the frustrations of employers and the general public over inefficiencies in the U.S. healthcare system, sources have told HR Dive. "Affordability is the issue," Shandon Fowler, an analyst and principal of Four8 Insights, said previously. "People aren't getting the value that they think they should be getting out of the system."