UCHealth discounts prices for employers, select insurance plans

Employer Value Solutions program provides double-digit discounts on care at UCHealth facilities to help create more affordable insurance plans for patients and businesses.
October 29th, 2019

Aurora, Colo.  (Oct. 29, 2019) – UCHealth is encouraging more employers to offer innovative health plan networks that can help them reduce their health care budget and lower the cost of care for employees.

When employers partner with UCHealth to develop specialized, high-performing networks for their employees, they have access to additional, double-digit discounts on medical care provided at UCHealth and partner locations, which is helping to produce more affordable health insurance premiums. More than 25 employers in the state are currently using these options; however, many businesses are unaware of the option to save costs with the Employer Value Solutions program.

Plans that have access to the discounted medical care include:

    • Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Pathway (HMO available now. PPO available January 1, 2020.)
    • Cigna LocalPlus
    • UCHealth Plan Administrators

“Health care and insurance costs are a significant problem for people throughout Colorado. Partnering with employers and insurers to offer significant discounts through high-performing provider networks is one of many initiatives UCHealth is taking to reduce the cost of health care. However, everyone – pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers, insurance companies and others – must do their part to lower premiums,” said UCHealth President and CEO Elizabeth Concordia.

In addition to double-digit discounts on health care services, some employers utilizing UCHealth’s Employer Value Solutions program have seen their annual health care prices increase at rates far below state and national averages. Services to keep employees healthy and address chronic health concerns are reducing the need for care, while Virtual Visits provide an additional, lower cost option. Some employers have seen total expenditures on hospital bills reduce by up to 30%. In the coming years, UCHealth will also provide additional integrated behavioral health options.

Though UCHealth is providing significant discounts on care in addition to the usual discounts provided to insurance plans, hospital fees are only one component of total health insurance premiums. Drug prices, physician bills, medical devices and other costs make up the majority of health care spending, so actual premium reductions will be less than the discounts UCHealth is providing.

UCHealth has other initiatives to help lower costs including:

    • Providing ambulatory surgery centers, which perform surgeries at a lower cost than hospitals.
    • Expanding access to primary care and urgent care locations.
    • Launching virtual visit options, including virtual urgent care, at a low price.
    • Educating patients on how to avoid unnecessary trips to emergency rooms and use primary and urgent care for non-emergency needs.
    • Offering an online price estimates tool, which gives patients an accurate estimate of their potential out-of-pocket bills.
    • Participating in population health and value-based care initiatives.
    • Encouraging preventive care and addressing social determinants of health, like food insecurity.

“Despite significant increases in the prices we pay for drugs, devices and other supplies, our overall expenses are increasing less than other health care providers, which allows us to offer these kinds of discounts,” said Kevin Unger, president and CEO of Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies. “Increased competition has also helped reduce prices. As UCHealth has expanded in northern Colorado, opening hospitals in Longmont and Greeley, we have lowered overall rates for patients in those areas.”

Businesses interested in discussing options should contact UCHealth or their insurance brokers, and brokers should be able to tell businesses whether their current insurance plans are receiving the full discounts being provided by UCHealth.

About the author

Dan Weaver leads UCHealth’s communications team including public relations, internal and external communications. He joined UCHealth in 2011 as media relations coordinator for University of Colorado Hospital. Prior to joining UCHealth, Weaver was a reporter, photographer and medical producer at KUSA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Denver, CO, and WLTX TV, the CBS affiliate in Columbia, SC.