Communicating to employees about what benefits are right for them is always a top concern for HR professionals. If an employee is not enrolled in the right health plan for them, serious procedures could lead to large out-of-pocket expenses and higher premiums for the employer.

Employers looking to reduce premium costs on their health plans might find a solution in the all-in-one healthcare app HealthJoy, which aims to give employees personalized options for choosing health plans, while helping them obtain affordable treatment and prescriptions.

The HealthJoy app uses artificial intelligence to help employees access telemedicine, clinical guidance, preventative care options, medication coupons, lab services, bill negotiations and appointment scheduling in their immediate area. Employers who subscribe to the HealthJoy service can monitor their workers' healthcare costs and help process documents. Once an employer signs up for the HealthJoy service, employees can download the app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Not everybody’s healthcare needs can fit into a basic one-size-fits-all box, says Doug Morse-Schindler, president and founder of healthcare tech company HealthJoy, which makes the artificial intelligence-powered app of the same name. He adds that a level of personalization was sorely lacking in the health insurance market and this is why he expanded the app's focus from the individual market to the group market last year.

“In the healthcare market for a consumer, who is trying to navigate healthcare and their health insurance plan, it was very difficult,” Schindler says. “Our goal is to help the consumer, through easily accessible and intuitive technology, to make better healthcare decisions.”

Bloomberg/file photo

David Contorno, president of Lake Norman Benefits out of Mooresville, N.C, says HealthJoy is a success because it allows employees to choose where they can find the most affordable healthcare and prescirptions that is closest to their homes.

“There are some programs out there that give you a pre-packaged app with a link to something like Teledoc or a healthcare bluebook, but that’s not actionable,” Contorno says. “With HealthJoy, I can also send in claims data through the app and send out messages to the employee based on their medical purchases.”

Using the app's artificial intelligence component, employees can receive healthcare recommendations customized to their health needs, according to Contorno. The HealthJoy service also provides a fully staffed team of benefit specialists to answer specific questions that the A.I. might be unable to address.

“If someone asks the A.I. if their son should be taken to the hospital because he hit his head or if someone asks what their coverage is because they’ve just been diagnosed with cancer, the A.I. will not be able to answer those questions,” Contorno says. “Once the A.I. recognizes the question is beyond its scope of knowledge, it hands the question off to a person who has all the details of the employee’s plan and also has benefit experience to assist the client.”

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Nick Taylor, CPA at Morgan Creek Capital Management, is one of Contorno’s clients and a user of HealthJoy. He also manages benefits for Morgan Creek and says the company recently moved to a fully self-funded plan. Contorno recommended HealthJoy as a way to keep health costs down.

“Prior to HealthJoy, we were using a service that at a high level was very similar. It had a telemedicine component but we were only using the telemedicine component,” Taylor says. “It didn’t have nearly the functionality that HealthJoy does and did not have the same level of utilization.”

What appealed to Taylor and his colleagues at Morgan Creek about HealthJoy was its potential to be a hub for employees to navigate different aspects of comparing healthcare options, specifically around pricing prescriptions.

“One of the key components of making our move to a self-funded plan was to encourage our employees to be more informed consumers of medical services,” Taylor says. “The other feature that was appealing to us was the ability to price medical services using the chat feature.”

HealthJoy claims users have been able to save up to $420 on average through telemedicine, up to 80% in prescription costs, a 20% reduction in medical claims and up to 15% per medical procedure.

The HealthJoy app has been more than three years in the making. After starting the personalized healthcare app consumers in the individual market in 2014, Schindler realized that the same common healthcare questions were also occurring on the group health market side as well.

“Our focus has always been the consumer, but as we moved into the group market, we saw a stronger alignment with the employer who is paying more healthcare premiums and needed a better communication tool,” he says.

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