Mercer, Accolade collaborate on new healthcare advocacy platform

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Employees will have access to “one-stop shopping” for healthcare needs through Mercer Complete Care, a collaboration between Mercer and healthcare concierge company Accolade.

The newly launched platform, which provides support services to help employees navigate the complex healthcare system, is embedded in the overall employer-sponsored health plan.

“The reality of today’s world, people want to engage across different modes,” says Accolade CEO Rajeev Singh. “They get a dedicated person who will work with them and their families.”

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The alliance brings together Accolade’s technological capabilities with Mercer’s clinical oversight to offer a user-based platform for employees and their dependents to manage physical and mental health conditions, understand health benefits and make optimal provider choices, navigate annual enrollment and new hire benefit selection, improve utilization of employer-sponsored health programs and services, and tackle billing and claims appeals.

High need
The need for employers to offer their employees support navigating the healthcare system is high. According to a 2015 study conducted by Accolade, 80% of employees value a service like Mercer Complete Care, but only 56% of large employers offer it.

Jean Moore, senior partner at Mercer, says the two companies wanted to add “best-in-class clinical capabilities” to give support to those members who have chronic and acute healthcare conditions in a market that typically underserves them.

“It’s our way of helping support consumers when they have healthcare needs in a way that hasn’t been done before,” she says.

The decision for Accolade and Mercer to partner with this platform solution came from an established relationship and “a tremendous amount of synergy,” says Singh.

The platform is compatible with most insurers and gives a “non-generic view of the healthcare system” to find providers who are not only in network, but also fit into the lives of patients, factoring in geography, gender and specialty factors, says Singh.

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“We’re interfacing with the consumer before they actually make their healthcare decisions,” Singh says. “That relationship is so strong. When they have a need, we’re one of the first places they go. We can help guide their care.”

He also notes that two-thirds of the time, Accolade can identify care conditions before it ends up in claims data. Overall, Accolade customers reported cost savings of 10%, and Singh says he fully expects employees using Mercer Complete Care to see the same savings.

Accolade’s “health assistants” work with a team of nurses, doctors, pharmacists, social workers and other specialists who support members as they receive their care from their own providers.

The consumer interface helps employees see which doctors are really in their network, which minimizes costs, and allows them to manage not only their profile but that of their family members. There are also privacy features available for those different profiles, says Singh.

“We’re aggressively combing the market for our customers to solve a complicated problem,” he says.

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