Local companies that pay for their employees' medical expenses, rather than buying private health insurance, will soon have another, non-traditional option in providing care to workers.
Normally companies that self-insure hire a benefits administrator to manage a network of providers for employees. But a new program offered by Healthcare Interactive Inc., a health benefits technology firm, with Group Benefit Services Inc., an employee benefits administrator, would send workers to Greater Baltimore Medical Center, which now runs on the so-called patient-centered medical home model.
Under that model, medical providers try to track chronic health conditions more closely, aiming to keep patients healthy and out of the hospital. It’s a bit more labor intensive, but it's been shown to limit the growth of the health care spending. In this case, GBMC will share in any savings from the extra efforts.
The plan is called Habeo Health and will target self-insured companies, which make up the bulk of larger firms in the region.
"GBMC believes that the patient-centered medical home is the future of healthcare delivery, and our individual providers look forward to offering a more patient-centric model of care through Habeo Health," said John W. Ellis, senior vice president of corporate strategy and business development at GBMC HealthCare.
GBMC will take on no insurance risk and doctors will continue to be included in other insurers’ networks.
The Towson hospital isn’t the only one to support a primary care office that operates on the medical home model. A growing trend aimed at controlling costs by keeping patients healthy, the state’s largest insurer CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield is also promoting a medical home program involving doctor offices across the region.