Paytient Magazine - Winter 2023

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Kindbody helps employers embrace the value of family-building benefits.

family matters

A BETTER FUTURE

Meet 10 companies that are delivering meaningful innovations for their employee benefits.

EATING WELL

Better nutrition fuels

Wellory’s health mission.

IN SICKNESS AND HEALTH

Lively offers a fresh take on Health Savings Accounts.

INNOVATIVE BENEFITS SOLUTIONS FOR VISIONARY EXECUTIVES VOL.
2023
IV • WINTER

FROM THE FOUNDER

What’s In A Name?

Let me be the first person to welcome you to Paytient magazine. While we’re going by a new name for our fourth edition, I can assure you that we’re still mavericks at heart.

So what’s with the name change? We felt it was time to bring the publication under our broader Paytient umbrella and create more cohesive branding between this magazine, our website, and our podcast.

Despite the new name and fresh branding, you can still expect the same excellent content from our team. When we first started this publication, I wrote that it would focus on people rather than point solutions, plan designs, PBMs, or policy. And none of that has changed.

Paytient magazine will continue to focus on the forward-thinking, mission-driven founders, innovators, and builders who are working to redefine the status quo.

Within the pages of this issue, you’ll learn about an online marketplace for prepaid medical procedures and services. Although MDsave started to help health systems attract self-pay customers shopping for a discounted bundle of services, it evolved to become a one-stop shop for self-funded employers.

Because MDsave’s bundled prices are often lower than costs through an insurance network, employers are willing to waive an employee’s deductible to incentivize them to get care from MDsave providers. You can read all about MDsave on Page 8.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration, look no further than our list of 10 companies offering innovative benefits. Whether it’s pet-focused offerings or a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we’ve pulled together information on employers doing incredible things with their employee benefits.

To see the full list of companies and learn more about how they’re leading the way in the benefits world, head to Page 16.

You’ll also find the story of Lively, a Health Savings Account provider that differentiates itself from its competitors by focusing on the user experience. Beyond a user-friendly interface, Lively prioritizes transparency and simplicity in every facet of its business.

For instance, Lively offers users investment opportunities starting with their first dollars. This gives people more options when it comes to growing their health savings and additional control over their HSA funds. Learn more about Lively on Page 28.

We also spotlight Kindbody, a fertility benefit that provides affordable, direct-to-consumer care by contracting directly with employers. Kindbody has more than 30 clinics across the country, where it provides services like IVF, egg freezing, and intrauterine insemination, and it supports surrogacy donor and adoption services.

To read more about how Kindbody helps companies make a strategic investment in fertility and family planning, turn to Page 12.

Regardless of our name, I hope you enjoy paging through the fourth edition of our magazine. And if you know of anyone we should highlight in the future, reach out to us at press@paytient.com.

Happy reading!

Winter 2023 3

contents

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Wellory’s Jeni Fahy and Emily Hochman lead an effort to improve wellness through better nutrition.

ABOUT PAYTIENT

Paytient magazine is published by: Paytient Technologies Inc. 3601 Endeavor Ave Suite 109, Columbia, MO 65201 (573) 206-9147 hello@paytient.com

Founder Brian Whorley brian@paytient.com

Editor Ryan Gauthier

Manager of Content and Communications

Morgan Williams

Chief Marketing Officer

Laura Cave

Art Director

Carolyn Preul

Copy Editor

Sandy Selby

Contributing Writers

Lola Butcher

Olivia DeSmit

Pamela Dimmick

Amy Wilder

Photographers

Amir Karaman

Nick Starichenko

TennesseePhotographers.com

Produced by Carriage House Publishers. Copyright Paytient Technologies Inc., 2023. All Rights Reserved. Production or use of any editorial or graphic content without the express written consent of Paytient Technologies Inc. is strictly prohibited. Postage paid at New Philadelphia, Ohio. Not responsible for omissions or information which has been misrepresented to this magazine.

Winter 2023 5 INNOVATIVE BENEFITS SOLUTIONS FOR VISIONARY EXECUTIVES 6 Industry Briefs 8 MDsave changes the standard business model for health care. 12 Kindbody is built to support fertility and family-building. 16 These 10 companies are revolutionizing employee benefits. 24 Wellory puts better nutrition at the heart of its business. 28 Lively offers a fresh take on the health savings account. 32 Get to know Maven Clinic’s Isha Vij. 34 Salary Finance’s Shannon Lane shares hard-won wisdom. 36 Health advocate Deb Gordon answers our questions. 38 Lifepoint Health’s Jessie Beegle introduces health to emerging tech. 8 28
6 16

industry briefs

maternal health: mental health:

Zaya Care is a startup on a mission to establish a new standard for maternal care. The company is building a network of pregnancy and postpartum providers who offer services that are covered by insurance, making care more accessible and affordable to all. Zaya makes accepting insurance easy and rewarding for maternity care providers, which helps them grow and diversify their patient panels. Inspired by the European care model, Zaya gives parents easy access to insurance-covered pregnancy and postpartum specialists, effectively closing one of today’s most critical care gaps. For more information, visit zayacare.com.

Real is a New York City-based startup working to make caring for mental health a priority. Long wait times, stigma, and cost concerns can prevent people from getting mental health support, but Real aims to overcome these barriers. Real is redesigning mental health care through a digital platform and in-person experience, integrating empathy, design, and progressive care to build the most elevated end-to-end mental health care experience while improving the quality of care itself. Real is not simply “normalizing” mental health care—it’s celebrating it. For more information, visit join-real.com

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technology:

Rightway Healthcare is the leader in driving health care value for everyone, everywhere. Its care navigation and PBM platforms guide more than a million members to the highest quality care and optimal medication by inserting clinicians and pharmacists into the member care journey through a modern, mobile app. Powerful technology enables one-onone clinical guidance at a fraction of the cost of traditional care navigation solutions, reducing health care costs by 15%. Its transparent PBM is the first to deliver fully aligned, pass-through pricing and personalized clinical management, transforming the member experience and lowering employer pharmacy spend by 18%. Companies choose Rightway for its ability to reimagine the consumer experience, drive industryleading engagement, and decrease health care costs. For more information, visit rightwayhealthcare.com

financial solutions:

Betterment at Work is an investing and retirement savings solution designed to empower employees on their journey to financial well-being, using the company’s 401(k) solution as the foundation. Built on the same technology that powers Betterment’s digital investment advisor platform, Betterment at Work helps employees meet goals beyond retirement through customizable portfolios, student loan management, easy-to-understand advice on how to save, and more. Its automation aims to simplify offering a 401(k)—at one of the lowest costs in the industry—and Betterment takes on the fiduciary responsibility for employee accounts, supporting personalized choice with expert management. For more information, visit betterment.com/work

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. 

MDsave changes the business model for health care.

network news

At the beginning of 2022, the University of Central Oklahoma gave its employees a new benefit: $0 deductibles for medical procedures and services if they chose a hospital or provider in MDsave’s exclusive network.

When open enrollment for the 2023 benefit year started, insurance broker Jessica Beames learned just how popular the benefit was.

“Are we still getting access to our $0 bundles?” Beames, a consultant with BOK Financial Insurance, says that’s a question she got asked all the time because it makes a significant financial impact for members.

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Charlie Byrge, Chief Operating Officer of MDsave

Both the university and its employees get transparent pricing—and lower prices—for procedures and services purchased through MDsave, an online marketplace for prepaid medical procedures and services.

Charlie Byrge, the chief operating officer with MDsave, says the demand from employees “shows the power of partnerships to create solutions that work for everyone.”

“For providers looking to increase patient volume, employers wanting to offer competitive benefits, and patients looking for upfront transparent pricing so they can get the care they need, MDsave provides the connection point for all stakeholders,” Byrge says.

An Evolving Business Model

Based out of Brentwood, Tennessee, MDsave started about 10 years ago.

The company’s goal was to help health systems attract selfpay customers shopping for a discounted bundle of services, such as a colonoscopy or an MRI scan. Patients benefitted from being able to compare prices online, and they received discounted prices for prepaying.

MDsave’s clients—hospitals and health systems—were able to better compete against the typically lower costs offered by imaging centers and outpatient surgery centers.

That line of business still exists. Self-pay patients can shop on MDsave’s website for more than 2,000 fully bundled procedures at more than 340 hospitals across the country. But as the health care purchasing landscape has changed, so has MDsave’s business model.

“As we’ve grown as an organization and self-funded employers have wanted to partner with us, we need to become a one-stop shop,” Byrge says. “In markets where we do not have a health system partner, we are bringing on imaging centers and surgery centers so we offer all types of provider organizations.”

The MDsave for Employers platform offers health care bundles at discounted prices, but the network and range of procedures and services offered is much different. While health systems tend to limit the bundles available on the public site to routine, lower cost services, they list more complicated procedures—joint replacements, labor and delivery services, and much more—on the employer platform.

MDsave partners directly with a handful of employers or unions that have password-protected access to its platform. But most of the “shoppers” using MDsave for Employers are health care navigators, member experience platforms, and other parties hired by employers to help their employees make the best purchasing decisions.

Because MDsave’s bundled prices are lower than those available through their insurance network, employers waive an employee’s deductible to incentivize them to choose an MDsave provider.

How MDsave Works

MDsave does not currently charge employers for access to its employer platform, though Byrge says that will change in the future as its premium network is developed. The company makes money from its per-transaction business model with provider organizations—health systems, surgery centers, imaging centers, and laboratories—and its contracts with health care navigation firms. This business model works well for its provider partners as MDsave adds a simple “plus up” to the final negotiated price for a bundle of services.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:

MDsave works with each independent provider to create a bundled episode of care. For instance, that bundle might include the anesthesiologist fee, the physician fee, the pathology fee, and the facility fee associated with a colonoscopy. The consumer only sees the final price that includes all components of the procedure as well as MDsave’s fee.

MDsave’s bundling system protects employers and patients from unexpected bills. Instead of listing dozens of CPT codes for specific colonoscopy procedures, each health system posts a single price for a colonoscopy. This is how MDsave “consumerizes” health care for its medical providers.

That approach protects employers from getting an extra bill if, for example, a colonoscopy needs to include a polyp removal.

“We set that price in stone, and employers absolutely love it,” Byrge says. “More than the cost savings, we are told that the cost consistency is what they value most.”

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Immediately after a medical service is performed, MDsave adjudicates the bundle-of-care bill and pays each of the providers and facilities.

Meanwhile, employers are invoiced by MDsave according to the terms of their contract — generally one monthly invoice for all the services purchased by its employees through MDsave.

A Useful Ally

The University of Central Oklahoma provides benefits to about 1,600 employees. It wanted to start direct-contracting with providers to enhance its benefits and reduce the unpredictability associated with traditional health care purchasing.

“Many employers are struggling financially with the increasing cost of care,” says Beames, who consults with the university on its benefits. “To be able to expand access to care while providing a first-dollar benefit like this to their employees is really impactful.”

She recommended MDsave to the university for two reasons. The first was its pricing methodology; MDsave receives a transaction fee from providers for each service purchased.

“Its competitors may charge a percentage of savings for the self-funded employer to provide access to the services, which erodes the overall financial benefit to the employer,” she says.

The second reason is MDsave’s ability to display providerspecific quality data as opposed to general data on facilities or sites of care. This empowers patients to make informed decisions regarding their care based on quality data that is often unavailable or difficult to find in the broader consumer marketplace.

The Path Ahead

MDsave’s focus is on growing its network so it can serve more employers and provide more employee access to care in more markets.

The company started in 2022 with 330 health system partners and about 1,700 locations. By the end of the year, it had contracted with a national imaging partner that added 2,500 imaging facilities to the MDsave network. It also partnered with a national surgery chain, which will further bolster its network by the end of 2023.

Other deals are in the works, Byrge says, including the addition of a large group of academic medical centers that want direct-contracting relationships with employers.

“Our vision is to become a one-stop shop for employers,” Byrge says. 

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“More than the cost savings, we are told that the cost consistency is what employers value most.”
–CHARLIE BYRGE

family matters

For years, fertility and family-building benefits were something reserved for the wealthiest members of the population.

Shilpa Patel, chief business and legal officer with Kindbody, says the company is working to change that.

“With fertility and family-building services generally limited to the top 1% of the population, the majority can’t afford it,” Patel says. “From day one, we knew that to improve access, we needed to drive down costs.”

Kindbody is the only fertility benefit solution that provides affordable, direct-to-consumer

care without a middleman. The company controls costs and outcomes by contracting directly with employers and providing care.

The company operates more than 30 clinics across the country, providing “everything from IVF, egg freezing, and intrauterine insemination (IUI) services, to supporting surrogacy donor and adoption services.”

Over the past two decades, Patel says employers have started to see the value of offering these benefits to their employees. As a result, Kindbody is experiencing a surge in demand.

Winter 2023 13
As fertility and family-building benefits move from nice-to-have to need-to-have, Kindbody is helping employers see the value of embracing this trend.

Technology for the Win

One of the key differentiators for Kindbody is its investment in technology. The company has built a specialized fertility EMR system that it uses to maximize clinical providers’ time while reducing administrative time.

“We’re the only fertility clinic in the country offering online appointment scheduling,” Patel says. “It saves time and money because we don’t have front desk staff on the phone scheduling appointments all the time.”

The company ’s technology also helps improve patient experiences by providing contextualized information at their fingertips.

“They can follow their journey through the family-building process and chat with their care team,” Patel says. “There’s a host of educational content, a suite of prenatal and postpartum services, and telehealth supporting services such as specialized mental health services focused on infertility issues, and postpartum nutrition.”

A Strategic Investment

In many ways, the discourse on fertility and family-building has changed over the past five years. Back then, Patel says, these items were “not as openly discussed.”

Now, employers are seeking out companies like Kindbody because employees are asking for support in these areas.

“While these benefits have been table stakes for quite some time in the tech industry, they are becoming more prominent in the auto industry and industries that you don’t expect to adopt new, progressive benefits,” she says. “Employees are asking for it, and they ’re not afraid to ask for it.”

When the pandemic arrived, Kindbody expected slower growth. Instead, Patel says the company experienced a boom in business.

“Fertility and family-building benefits were still top of mind for employers, coming from the employees asking for them,” Patel explains. “Employers also focused on their diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, ensuring that if they already offered a fertility benefit, it was not unintentionally excluding same-sex couples and single parents by choice.”

Fertility and family-building benefits have become retention and recruitment tools, Patel says. Employees want to know that their employer is investing in them and cares about their well-being, especially when starting or growing a family.

A Life-Changing Difference

This period of incredible growth is seeing Kindbody working with a lot of household names.

Kindbody recently became Walmart’s exclusive fertility benefit administrator and provider. The retail chain even

created a travel program for its employees to travel to Kindbody clinics for care.

“When they announced the benefit, they received resoundingly positive feedback from their employees, particularly those who otherwise would never have been able to afford an IVF cycle,” Patel says. “It’s rewarding for us at Kindbody to make a difference in people’s lives, and I think it’s similarly rewarding for employers.”

Infertility, surrogacy, adoption, and associated services are expensive, but employers understand the value of offering these benefits.

“Over the next few years, we think more employers will add coverage and it will become—rather than a nice-tohave benefit a need-to-have benefit,” Patel says.

That was certainly the case for Medtronic, which added Kindbody to its benefits offering recently.

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Infertility, surrogacy, adoption, and associated services are expensive, but employers understand the value of offering these benefits.

“I want to see every single employee who wants to, to be able to grow their family,” said Denise King, VP of global benefits and payroll for Medtronic, a Kindbody enterprise customer.

Medtronic’s investment in Kindbody has already paid off, King says.

A single Medtronic employee didn’t want to wait to start a family and was impressed by Medtronic’s benefit.

“There is surrogacy, adoption, LGBTQ+ support. It’s just so incredible and forward thinking to help in this way,” the employee said. “I’ve never had this kind of support at previous companies.”

Supporting Every Journey

Patel says employees appreciate a benefit that considers their unique fertility journeys, though she acknowledges that adding a carved-out fertility benefit can be cost-prohibitive for some employers. Thankfully, she says, employers can offer help without footing the entire bill.

“The employer can subsidize a dollar amount, let’s say $5,000,” she says. “That doesn’t cover the complete cost of care, but it does provide some coverage. And then Kindbody offers a discounted price to the employee so that they ’re in a better position to pay for it.”

Patel believes prices will come down in the next five years or so, noting that there’s currently high demand yet relatively low supply. She says 45 fertility specialists graduate from fellowship annually, and many fertility clinics deal with long waiting lists.

“They are not seeing as many patients as they potentially could, which artificially inflates prices,” she says. “Though all fertility clinics use the same standardized protocols with similar outcomes, cash pricing varies widely from about $15,000 to $30,000 per IVF cycle. We expect that pricing discrepancy to tighten.”

As prices come down, it’s natural that more employers will begin to adjust their benefits to address fertility and family-building. By meeting the growing demand from employees, companies can create a sense of loyalty and appreciation

“I encourage employers to listen to their employees,” Patel says. “This is a meaningful benefit that truly impacts people’s lives and generates a lot of goodwill for a company that offers coverage.” 

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“Employees appreciate a benefit that considers their unique fertility journeys.”
–SHILPA PATEL

Building A Better Benefits Future

A look at 10 companies delivering meaningful innovations in their employee benefits.

If necessity truly is the mother of invention, then it shouldn’t come as a shock that so many employers are working to craft solutions to the problems plaguing the labor market.

Whether it’s inflationary pressures, rising health care costs, equity concerns, supply chain constraints, or employee attraction and retention woes, employers have no shortage of challenges at the moment. But all that necessity has led to plenty of invention, with numerous employers setting a new standard for benefits innovation.

In fact, one Mercer study found that 70% of large companies in the United States plan to expand their benefits in 2023. With HR leaders currently rolling out new offerings to solve the problems of today—and tomorrow—it’s a great time to look at some of the companies raising the bar when it comes to benefits.

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10 Benefits Leaders Showing the Way
Winter 2023 17

Boeing

U.S. Headquarters: Arlington, Virginia

Number of Employees: ~140,000

Medtronic

U.S. Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Number of Employees: ~90,000

ENSURING QUALITY CARE AND EMPLOYEE GROWTH

Beyond directly contracting with health care providers to ensure employees get high-quality care—and get it as early as possible—the multinational corporation also started offering fertility benefits with many Boeing-sponsored medical plans starting in 2022.

In addition to ensuring quality health care, the aircraft manufacturing titan is also focused on the development of its team members and their families. Boeing offers employees tuition assistance at hundreds of accredited colleges and universities, and employees are eligible for the program on the first day of the month after they are hired. Team members pursuing degrees or certificates in STEM fields enjoy no annual limit on tuition assistance, and the company also offers scholarship opportunities for their dependents.

The company pays for up to 80 hours of tutoring for school-age children, including extra resources that encourage learning and help students connect.

A HOLISTIC COMMITMENT TO DEI

Medtronic has a number of progressive policies, including flexible working arrangements, paid family care leave for time spent with a new child or family member who needs assistance, and reimbursements for adoption and surrogacy, to name a few. But the medical device company truly stands out for its strong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Actions speak louder than words, and Medtronic has taken steps to bring its DEI focus from vision to reality.

Medtronic’s holistic DEI strategy includes management representation goals for 2026, pay equity across gender and ethnic diversity lines, and strategic investments in diverse talent through differentiated development and sponsorship. The company has even tied annual incentive compensation for its top executives to DEI results, truly strengthening DEI as a priority for Medtronic’s senior leadership. This focus is why Medtronic has been placed on DiversityInc’s list of Top 50 Companies for Diversity, as well as the Human Rights Campaign’s Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.

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Amazon

U.S. Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

Number of Employees: ~1.5 million

Netflix

U.S. Headquarters: Los Gatos, California

Number of Employees: ~11,300

A TRULY PET-FRIENDLY WORKPLACE

In terms of pet-friendly environments, it’s hard to top Amazon. In its Seattle-based headquarters, the company says employees share the workspace with as many as 7,000 dogs on a given day. The company accommodates these thousands of furry friends with an on-campus dog park, designated dog relief areas, and treats at every reception desk.

Beyond having plenty of canine companionship in the company’s fully petfriendly office, Amazon employees enjoy other pet-focused benefits. They’re able to purchase discounted pet insurance benefits through Amazon, helping team members keep their pet care costs under control.

AN UNLIMITED APPROACH TO PARENTAL LEAVE

While many companies offer generous parental leave, Netflix takes it to another level. Building on its unlimited vacation policy, the company empowers its employees to take as much parental leave as they need within the first year of their child’s birth or adoption.

The company facilitates discussions between employees, their managers, and an HR Business Partner to figure out the amount of time that supports the needs of the employee, their family, and their Netflix team members. As each employee’s parental experience is entirely unique, their paid leave is also designed to meet their situation.

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Genentech

U.S. Headquarters: San Francisco, California

Number of Employees: ~13,500

PRIORITIZING MENTAL HEALTH AND INCLUSIVE CARE

Genentech provides extensive mental health support, including on-site mental health clinicians at its headquarters in addition to coaching and counseling support, resiliency training, and sleep tools. Moreover, hundreds of employees from a variety of geographic locations, departments, and backgrounds volunteer their time as mental health champions to model support for mental health and help raise awareness of the company’s mental health resources.

Genentech also stands out for its efforts to provide more inclusive health care. To create a more equitable care experience that meets every employee’s needs, it works with Included Health to provide specialized care guidance for employees and eligible dependents who identify as Black and/ or LGBTQ+. Genentech employees benefit from culturally competent care, including a dedicated care coordinator from the first appointment to the final bill. Adobe

U.S. Headquarters: San Jose, California

Number of Employees: ~28,000

A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO WELL-BEING

Adobe works to address emotional, financial, and mental wellbeing with a variety of programs, but it truly stands out for its family-focused benefits. Adobe offers services like a family concierge to help with common care challenges families might face, offering customized care plans, coaching, and backup care for children as well as adults. Adobe also provides generous adoption and surrogacy assistance—with up the $25,000 in reimbursements available to employees to help with adoption or surrogacy costs.

A few years ago, Adobe also expanded its parental leave policy. The company now offers either parent up to 16 weeks of paid parental leave during the first six months of a child’s life. But it goes a step further for birthing parents, who also get up to 10 weeks of medical leave paid at 100%. By stacking this leave on top of the standard parental leave, birthing parents are able to get up to 26 weeks of fully paid leave.

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PwC

U.S. Headquarters: New York, New York

Number of Employees: ~276,000

Chipotle

U.S. Headquarters: Newport Beach, California

Number of Employees: ~100,000

EXPERT GUIDANCE FOR NAVIGATING HEALTH CARE

Health care and insurance can be complicated to navigate, and Chipotle recognizes these challenges. The company offers a free advocacy service to answer employees’ benefits questions, research cost and care options, and even schedule appointments. This confidential discussion can answer any care questions employees might have, taking the burden of health care off the employee’s shoulders by bringing in expert advice.

Beyond helping employees get the care they need, these advocates are also available to consult with workers on the payment side of health care.

“Rather than going to speak with the doctor and maybe fighting with the insurance carrier to even understand what is going on, I can engage that advocacy service,” says Daniel Banks, Chipotle’s director of global benefits. “They can do all of that on my behalf. They will talk with the provider. They’ll actually negotiate on my behalf to try and get that bill down to a more manageable level or get that bill to disappear entirely.”

A REIMAGINED EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

PricewaterhouseCoopers is investing $2.4 billion in creating My+, the company’s “biggest and boldest reimagination” of its people experience, over the next three years. The reimagined employee experience is designed to give PwC team members the freedom to personalize their careers, choosing the types of assignments they’ll tackle, the benefits they need, and when and where they will work.

As part of My+, PwC gives employees the option to work in person, fully virtual, or in a hybrid model. The company also gave employees more protected time off work, implementing weeklong companywide shutdowns each year in July and December.

Kroger

U.S. Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio

Number of Employees: ~420,000

FREE FINANCIAL COUNSELING FOR ALL ASSOCIATES

Kroger recently expanded its benefits to include personal financial counseling for its associates. The service is completely free for Kroger employees and is being piloted in partnership with Goldman Sachs Ayco.

The grocery chain is giving both salaried and hourly associates free access to financial coaches and supportive programming. These coaches will be available to help associates get a better picture of their finances and provide advice on financial decisions. Associates will be able to get help working toward a variety of goals, such as buying a home or managing estate planning.

In a statement, company leadership said Kroger is the first retailer in the nation to offer this kind of benefit to hourly workers.

“We know financial wellness is essential to all of us,” said Theresa Monti, vice president of Total Rewards at Kroger. “This is an important way we are improving our associate experience, empowering anyone to thrive and grow at Kroger.”

AT&T

U.S. Headquarters: Dallas, Texas

Number of Employees: ~203,000

TAKING CARE OF CAREGIVERS

Whether they’re taking care of aging relatives or their own children—or sometimes both—a growing number of workers are juggling work duties with caregiving challenges at home. AT&T has put some significant resources behind caregivers on its team, with 12 weeks of paid parental leave for new parents, as well as 15 days of paid time off for employees to care for loved ones who are ill.

This benefit can be used for any family member who might need help, whether it’s a child, a parent, a grandparent, or a sibling. It can also be taken at whatever increment an employee needs, whether it’s a couple of weeks off at once or just a couple of hours.

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10 Benefits Leaders Showing the Way

eating well

Wellory CEO Emily Hochman is on a mission to transform the lives of millions of Americans through an innovative approach to health and wellness centered on nutrition. Wellory started as an app, but it has evolved into a virtual nutrition platform that offers in-network diet and nutrition care throughout the United States.

Diet-related diseases are a growing problem in the U.S. workforce, and they have measurable negative economic impacts.

“If we can help employees eat healthier, they’re less likely to miss work, more likely to perform at a better rate, and drive a higher bottom line for their employer,” Hochman says. “And $153 billion a year is lost in productivity due to diet-related disease.”

A Pillar of Health

In September 2022, the White House announced its strategy to reduce food insecurity and diet-related diseases. It outlined a three-pillar approach to the problem, noting that “at least $2.5 billion will be invested in startup companies that are pioneering solutions to hunger and food insecurity.”

Wellory falls under the second pillar of its plan, which involves integrating nutrition and health.

“This is the first time that Wellory will open its telehealth services to Americans who lack insurance coverage,” the announcement states. “This commitment amounts to a $300 million in-kind donation over the next eight years.”

This initiative and Wellory’s platform both arrive at a critical moment in American health. The shifts in work and lifestyle due to COVID-19 over the past few years have led to a rise in diet-related diseases. The American Psychological Association’s 2021 “Stress in America” report outlined concerning health trends across the U.S. For instance, 61% of participants reported undesired weight gain during the year following the arrival of COVID—with an average weight gain of 29 pounds.

“We were thrown into a catastrophically stressful experience for everyone involved,” Hochman says.

Eating habits can be deeply connected to stress and emotions. When physical and mental health are both

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Better nutrition is at the heart of Wellory’s healthy mission.

suffering, it can be difficult for people who have developed potentially damaging eating habits to break free of them.

“That’s why we are focused on nutrition care—on expert guidance and services,” Hochman says.

“Could anyone go online and download a 10-step plan to eat healthily? Yeah, absolutely. But the behavioral health component is how you stay accountable.”

A Hyperpersonalized Approach

The Wellory platform allows users to establish a relationship with a dietitian, who considers factors like food preferences, culture, socioeconomic status, and health needs to tailor a specific nutritional plan. It’s not a one-stop shop; they continue to maintain contact to help users stay on track and reach their health goals. This sets Wellory apart from similar apps and services.

Wellory members have check-in visits each week with their nutritionist to provide an opportunity to offer feedback about what is and isn’t working with their plan.

The process is smooth from a user perspective. Signing up on the Wellory website takes less than five minutes. There is an initial 60-minute consultation, which can be done by video conference or phone call, and is a collaborative process that covers health history, goals, and relevant diagnoses. The dietitian then creates a personalized plan for each patient.

“Enabling a hyperpersonalized plan is the thing that’s going to create success,” Hochman says.

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Once the plan has been created, Wellory helps keep the patient accountable. “And that second piece is really powerful.”

Wellory members have the option for check-in visits each week with their nutritionist—usually 15 to 30 minutes long—to provide an opportunity to offer feedback about what is and isn’t working with their plan. The dietitian can help the user adjust their plan as needed.

The level of detail depends on the patient’s needs.

“It can be everything from covering breakfast, lunch, and dinner recommendations to providing detailed recipes that fit their actual budget and shopping needs,” Hochman says. “We fundamentally do not believe that there is such a thing as a one-size-fitsall diet. That is core to our ethos as an organization.”

Unlocking Hidden Benefits

Wellory’s platform is designed to be widely accessible. Wellory contracts with insurance companies to provide services. Users provide their health insurance information when they register, and Wellory verifies eligibility and checks on benefits.

Wellory then communicates to the patient which services are covered by their insurer, matches the user to in-network dietitians, and submits claims to insurance companies. The parameters of a member’s given health insurance plan determines whether they’re responsible for a copay for those services.

“A really exciting development under the Affordable Care Act is that private and public insurers cover the cost of nutrition counseling if you’re at risk of a chronic, diet-related disease,” Hochman says. “But almost nobody knows that. We’re really working on unlocking and promoting the hidden benefits already included in your health plan.”

Wellory’s network continues to expand as demand

for its services increases. The company has over 200 board certified registered dietitians in their network, with national reach.

“As much impact as we’re making at the patient, employee, consumer level—we’re creating a lot of job opportunities for dietitians and a provider practice that has gone underrepresented in the medical ecosystem for many decades,” she says. State guidelines dictate whether a patient will work with a registered dietitian or a certified nutrition specialist, commonly known as a nutritionist.

Individual states regulate nutrition and dietetic practices, and Wellory follows those regulations as part of its commitment to making its services available to a broad population. The digital nature of the platform offers nutrition services to people in rural areas or to those who might not have access for other reasons.

Wellory also works to provide tailored information to employers and their team members about the benefits available to them through their existing health plans, Hochman says. “It’s really about how we message and unlock the benefits people don’t know about.”

Wellory offers in-office and virtual lunch-and-learn opportunities, which can include bringing a dietitian to the office to provide information about healthy food choices. Dietitians can also provide information about food choices that boost mental acuity and productivity.

“Most people can agree that when you had alcohol and ate poorly on a Tuesday night, when you wake up on Wednesday, you won’t feel good, you won’t be productive, and your brain will be fogged,” Hochman says. “That stems from what we’re putting in our systems, and we can better educate employees and teams how to eat to power their system. Your health is your wealth.” 

Winter 2023 27
“We fundamentally do not believe that there is such a thing as a one-size-fits-all diet. That is core to our ethos as an organization.”
– EMILY HOCHMAN

Saving for Sickness and Health

For people on high-deductible health plans, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) can be the difference between being unable to afford treatment and getting the care they need. Unfortunately, fees, a general lack of flexibility, and difficult-to-navigate processes make some wary of investing in HSAs.

Lively is changing that.

Founded in 2016 by Shobin Uralil and Alex Cyriac, Lively offers a modern and user-friendly HSA experience. Founders and friends Uralil and Cyriac realized the necessity of personal HSAs after dealing with unexpected medical bills for both their families.

Both had also worked in benefits before launching Lively, so they knew what wasn’t working for people—and they knew what needed to change.

A Different Kind of HSA

While an HSA through Lively shares some qualities with other versions of Health Savings Accounts, Lively CRO Amit Ahluwalia says the experience for users is incredibly different.

“Think of this analogy,” Ahluwalia says. “Lively built the first smartphone while the competitors were still using flip phones.”

Through its user-friendly mobile interface, transparent or nonexistent fees, and flexible investing options, Lively has changed expectations of what an HSA can be.

“One of the most common pain points we hear is people getting nickel-and-dimed trying to invest their own money and use it for health care,” Ahluwalia says. “Because of the tools we offer, more employees are able to participate and earn more money, while also providing employers with higher tax savings.”

For individuals, Lively costs nothing. For employers, it costs about $2.95 per employee per month.

Most HSA companies offer the options of keeping savings in cash, putting it in a savings account, or purchasing CDs. Lively offers investment opportunities starting with the first dollar through partnerships with TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, and Devenir. This offers

28 Paytient Magazine
Lively offers a fresh take on Health Savings Accounts.
Amit Ahluwalia, CRO of Lively

employees more options for growing their health savings, giving them additional control over their funds.

Expanded Offerings

The Alliance, a national missionary nonprofit, has been working with Lively to offer its employees HSAs since 2019.

Curtis Farmer, executive director of Alliance Benefits, says he has heard zero complaints from the nonprofit’s 700-plus HSA users since making the switch to Lively.

“When we were first onboarding, Lively went out of their way to treat our company like it mattered,” Farmer says. “They invited me to San Francisco to meet with the founders, which was huge since we were used to being treated like small fish in a big pond with national banks.”

Ultimately, The Alliance chose Lively because of its user-friendly experience. Farmer said he appreciated its U.S.-based customer service and the ability for employees to switch to an individual account at no cost if they’re no longer employed by The Alliance.

As Lively has grown over the past seven years, it has expanded beyond HSAs. It also offers COBRA coverage, lifestyle savings, Flexible Spending Accounts, and Health Reimbursement Arrangements. Through this wide array of offerings, Lively helps employers create the best health savings plans for their teams.

Often Replicated, Never Duplicated

Since its founding, a handful of other companies have followed Lively’s modern take on HSAs.

“We know that others in the industry may follow our model,” Ahluwalia says. “Ultimately, our partnerships with TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and other financial institutions set us apart.”

Lively also focuses heavily on educating account holders, offering different ways people can learn about their investment options. Whether someone prefers to

absorb information by reading or listening, Ahluwalia says Lively offers tools to accommodate different learning styles.

When it comes to customer service, Lively only employs U.S.-based service representatives and measures success based on feedback rather than call times. Customer service might not sound exciting, but it’s one of the main differentiators between Lively and its competitors.

“Before I came to Lively, I was leading employee benefits at a brokerage firm,” Ahluwalia says. “The No. 1 issue I saw was people facing atrocious wait times, apathetic representatives on the phone, and an overall low level of service from benefit account administrators. Some of the members in our industry believe they can improve profitability by not investing in great service, but that was just an opportunity for someone like Lively to come in and solve that problem.”

Lively’s top success metric is maintaining a net promoter score of 70 or higher, something Ahluwalia says is essential in the company’s field.

30 Paytient Magazine

A Quick Refresher on HSAs

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged savings account that can be used to pay for health care expenses or to save funds for retirement. Someone can only open an HSA if they’re enrolled in a federally qualified, high-deductible health plan. HSAs are funded using pre-tax dollars. Any interest gained on those funds is untaxed, and withdrawals for qualifying medical expenses are also tax-free. This is what people refer to as the triple tax advantage of an HSA.

One of the biggest challenges Lively faces is getting its name out there. Once the company has an opportunity to present its products, Ahluwalia says, it usually gains a new customer. The challenge comes from being able to get in front of employers who want the Lively experience for their teams.

“A lot of people don’t know there is someone out there like us,” he says.

Taking Control of Health Care Costs

One of Lively’s investors is Saad Siddiqui, a general partner at Telstra Ventures. Siddiqui bonded with Uralil and Cyriac over unanticipated medical expenses that were overwhelming their families.

“It has been an honor to see how mission-driven they and their teams are to provide the best ways to help families like ours nationally,” he says.

While those shared experiences provided a foundation for their partnership, Siddiqui says Telstra ultimately invested in Lively because it offered the best product and team in the HSA industry.

“As the cost of health care increases across the U.S., consumers will need to take control and start planning for their long-term health care expenses,” Siddiqui says. “Health care costs are the No. 1 reason for the highest volume of bankruptcies across the U.S., and HSAs are the primary way consumers can start saving long term.”

By continuing to provide its members with excellent customer service, low fees, and an easy-to-use portal, Lively is on track to hit $1 billion in assets under management. And Ahluwalia says they’re outpacing legacy HSA providers “because individuals usually choose Lively if they’re given the option.”

What began as an individual-only HSA company is now in the business-to-business space and working within that network to solve problems for employers and employees.

“Now people can find us through their employers instead of just one by one,” Ahluwalia says.

Winter 2023 31

Q&A

people you should know

ISHA VIJ

VICE-PRESIDENT EMPLOYER SALES, MAVEN CLINIC

mavenclinic.com

Tell us about the journey that led you to Maven Clinic. I serve as the VP of Employer Sales here at Maven Clinic. My job is to oversee our sales team that works with employers across the world and helps bring Maven to them and shares who we are, what we do, and how we can help their employee base navigate all things family-building and family benefits.

I got here through kind of an interesting path. I have been at Maven for just over a year and have spent the majority of my career working in high-growth

startups across various industries—most meaningfully in ecommerce. I joined Maven after I was introduced to our CEO and founder, Kate Ryder, by an individual in the investment community who was familiar with my work.

I joined after I acutely felt the challenges of being a working parent after having my first child in spring of 2021. I certainly get why people—particularly women— leave the workforce when they have a child, and I felt inspired and motivated to make a bit of a career change. I’m able to leverage my functional expertise in launching and scaling high-growth commercial teams, but I’m doing it in an industry that felt much closer to home given my own experience. I am an incredibly ambitious and driven individual, and I thought if I’m struggling to do this, how can other people do this?

Tell us what your company does.

Maven is the world’s largest virtual clinic for women’s and family health. Our technology platform offers 24/7 virtual care, easy financial reimbursement, peer communities, and concierge support to members across our fertility, family-building, pregnancy, parenting, pediatrics, and menopause programs. We cover over 15 million lives across 175 countries.

How does your service address the pain points of your customers?

Starting and growing a family is an incredibly personal and complicated journey. Even if you have the easiest pregnancy or have the easiest time getting pregnant, there are a lot of things that happen in starting and growing a family that people just don’t talk about. Our health care system, in particular in the United States, does a pretty poor job of helping people navigate this life stage physically, mentally, and financially.

Maven fills these gaps through our virtual care platform that brings high-quality, incredibly culturally appropriate care to the palm of your hands in a matter of minutes. Real-time care when you need it is something that you know we are able to do regardless of where you are in your life journey. Maven seeks to be that trusted advisor and guide.

Maven is the only platform to offer an end-to-end solution, from preconception, family building, fertility, and maternity to parenting, pediatrics, and menopause. For instance, 58% of Maven’s surrogacy members need

32 Paytient Magazine

help finding an agency, and 47% of adoption members need help finding an agency.

Most people would be surprised to know … how comprehensive we are in terms of our support for fertility and family-building. For example, the fact that we have a menopause offering is surprising for a number of individuals. We are really that end-to-end holistic support. And we’re not just supporting folks through one perspective—it’s not just through financial reimbursement. We can be a guide for folks regardless of where they are in that life stage.

What are the most exciting things happening in your segment of the industry right now?

There are some things that are really exciting and make me quite optimistic, as well. For example, I think we’re all experiencing and aware of a softening economic climate, but what we have seen is that employers, in particular, have made a real commitment to doubling down on their fertility and family benefits—despite external economic conditions. That’s really because we’re moving away from fertility and family-building benefits being thought of as a perk to really being thought of as standard health care.

That is quite a transformation. We are seeing a real shift toward value when it comes to fertility benefits and aligning incentives to find the shortest path to bringing home a healthy baby. At Maven, we focus on how we can help people bring home a healthy baby safely, affordably, and efficiently.

I’m really excited about a destigmatization of a lot of needs for families across things like their own reproductive health, including things like menopause support or premenopausal support. This is not something that many folks were vocalizing or felt comfortable vocalizing to their employers, but it has a meaningful impact on their ability to show up to work happy, healthy, and productive. I’m inspired to see people speaking up about their needs, and I’m inspired seeing employers really invest in meeting these needs.

What are your favorite things to do on weekends?

I’ve been in New York for a number of years, but I lived in New York as a young person—as a childless person— for the majority of my time here. As a new mom (I have a 1.5-year-old daughter), I get to experience this city

through an entirely different lens. I’m still spending time in a lot of the neighborhoods where I used to spend time in my late 20s and early 30s, but I’m there trying to find the best parks, the best museums, the best shops, and kid-friendly restaurants. I’m experiencing the city in an entirely different way, and I have found that really fun to do with my husband and our daughter.

What’s the best Netflix series you’ve watched?

Bridgerton was my favorite Netflix series. I think it’s incredibly aesthetically pleasing. The costumes, the interior, and the overall visuals were incredible. I’m a huge Shonda Rhimes fan myself—not only the content she produces but just of her as an individual and as a businessperson. I’ve always felt quite inspired by her, and so I love supporting the work that she’s doing.

What’s a great book you’d recommend to your colleagues or customers?

I love this book called Setting the Table. It is written by Danny Meyer, who is a huge restaurateur and sort of hospitality legend here in New York. He started a really famous restaurant when he was in his mid-20s that still is around and still is thought of as an incredibly special place to visit.

He wrote this book in which he describes this concept of enlightened hospitality, and it talks about relationshipbuilding. It talks about customer satisfaction. It talks about how to create special moments in business—whether you are a salesperson, an executive, or a waiter. He applies and shares so many lessons that I personally have found really meaningful in building relationships and setting up successful partnerships internally and externally.

What’s the biggest misconception about Maven?

There’s a bit of a misconception about Maven being specifically a women’s health and women’s benefit company. We cover 15 million lives globally, but actually about 40% of our member base identifies as male, and we certainly support a nonbinary population as well.

Maven is for everybody—not just for women. Women are an incredibly important part of our community. They make up 50% of the population, and they make 80% of health care decisions. So certainly, we support women, and they definitely are the lion’s share of our members here, but I think it’s a miss to not know that we support all humans—regardless of how they identify. 

Winter 2023 33

Q&A

I was buying gift cards on my 26% department store credit cards and returning them for cash so I could buy groceries for my kids, or pay for school field trips. No one knew I was broke—especially not my employer.

Despite what the above balance sheet looked like, I was not financially irresponsible; I was desperate. I was in a temporary financial crisis I never could have foreseen, which most people do find themselves in at some point in their careers. My employer certainly considered me a “well-compensated employee.” My colleagues were buying expensive watches and second homes on the same income. Meanwhile, I was walking into grocery stores a few towns away so I wouldn’t be recognized, with $12.59 in change I had scrounged from under my couch cushions and trying to figure out how I was going to feed my toddlers until my next payday.

Getting out of this financial situation was not a matter of simply “tightening my belt.” The market tanked, so I couldn’t sell my house. I didn’t understand foreclosure laws. I had no access to credit because my score had tanked, and my cards were all maxed out. I had half the income and all the bills; I could either pay my mortgage or my daycare, but not both. My cell phone or my internet. It was single mother math stuff they do not teach you in college.

I had so much shame about my financial situation that I waited until my heat was turned off in February 2008 to go ask my parents for the money. It took me three days to get up the guts to tell them I was broke and needed $300. I was mortified and weeping as my mom handed me the check. “Why didn’t you ask us this before?” they asked.

SHANNON LANE

Tell us about yourself and how you got to where you are. I became a single mom during the financial crisis of 2008. The impending divorce left me with two babies in diapers, a house $100,000 under water, $80,000 in high-interest credit card debt, $50,000 in student loan debt, $15,000 in high-interest personal loans to pay my lawyer, a broken refrigerator, a busted furnace, and a completely drained 401(k).

Today I have paid my parents back every dime I borrowed from them, along with every bill I owed. I am saving more than 40% of everything I earn. I calculate my net worth, to the penny, every day. (Weird, I know, but it makes me feel safe.) And you best believe those babies, who are now teenagers, are financially literate.

My greatest lesson from that experience was things are not what they seem. You never know what someone’s actual financial situation is, and the shame attached to it leads most people into a worse situation. If my employer had been in a position to help me while maintaining my privacy and dignity, that would have made a huge impact on the lives of my little family. That’s why I do what I do. I do it for Shannon Lane 2008.

Tell us what Salary Finance does.

We take people who are in the deep end of the pool, who are financially drowning, bring them to the shallow end and teach them how to swim. We do this by providing holistic financial well-being as a voluntary benefit at no charge to the

34 Paytient Magazine
salaryfinance.com
people you should know

employer. The platform offers financial well-being education and tools, along with incentivized savings accounts and personal loans with interest rates as low as 7.9%.

Tell us how your service addresses the pain points of your customers.

Forty-two percent of people don’t have a savings buffer of at least $1,000. This leaves them vulnerable to income disruptions and unexpected expenses. This issue is even more pronounced among already underserved and vulnerable populations. When employees are able to start a savings habit straight from their paycheck, they’re more likely to continue to build that savings buffer over time.

Most people would be surprised to know that my company ... provides our financial well-being solutions to employers at no cost to them. We’re a business driven by a social purpose and as such, we believe in keeping the barrier to entry as low as possible when it comes to helping employers offer these solutions to employees.

What are the most exciting things happening in your segment of the industry right now?

The personalization of benefits: Prior to 2022, progressive People and Benefits leaders and their brokers or consultants were starting to expand voluntary benefit strategies to include benefits like pet insurance, fertility assistance, and mental health apps. These benefits were affinity-based, allowing employees to protect or support different facets of their identities and their lives outside of work, beyond the basic health insurance plan or 401(k). And from the employer’s perspective, offering access to these benefits (and potentially even contributing employer dollars toward them) signaled a reverence toward holistic employee well-being.

What the pandemic laid bare for these same leaders and brokers/consultants is that the same lens can (and should be) applied to financial wellness as a benefits category. Cash flow management, access to affordable capital, and the ability to easily build a savings cushion are all key parts of an employee’s ability to achieve long-term financial resilience. Pre-COVID, raising wages once a year and offering a 401(k) match were seen as “enough” in this area, but if the last two-plus years have proven anything, it’s how close to the financial edge far too many working Americans are living when it comes to their money. Benefits that help bridge financial gaps when financial shocks occur or help build a savings habit are just as integral to holistic employee wellbeing as benefits more focused on physical or mental health.

We believe that holistic financial well-being programs that support emergency savings and inclusive access to

affordable loans, as well as wrap-around financial resilience programs including coaching and education, will lead the efforts to close the benefits gap. There’s also an increasing awareness of and openness to newer categories of financial well-being benefits, like salary-linked loans and earned wage access. Employers are becoming more open to benefits that directly address financial issues like high-cost debt, variable cash flow, and lack of emergency savings.

In Employee Benefits Research Institute’s 2020 survey, only 36% of respondents were offering or planning to offer loans repaid through payroll deduction, and 34% were offering or planning to offer payroll advance or earned wage access solutions. In last year’s survey (one year later), those numbers had gone up to 55% and 51%, respectively.

A focus on building emergency savings: Following the financial shocks that rocked many American families over 2020-21, and the burden of record inflation this year, building (or rebuilding) emergency savings is a top priority. Our latest research has shown that almost three in four working Americans have less savings this year compared to a year ago, with almost a third of people having completely drained their savings. Having emergency funds is the largest predictor of financial well-being, and elevating employer programs focused on building short-term savings is a critical priority. Emergency savings solutions are increasing in popularity, with 42% of employers likely to offer one in the next one to two years, according to EBRI. This aligns with what employees want: Forty percent of employees in our latest research express interest in an emergency savings benefit, prioritizing it over others, including financial education and one-on-one coaching.

Your favorite thing to do on weekends?

I’ve been an avid sailboat racer since I was 5 years old. I won our club’s season championship with my dad and brother this year, which was truly the highlight of my sailing career (despite the fact that I am also a national champion—a fact I will never let my big brothers forget).

How

does offering a financial well-being benefit like Salary Finance help employers?

Since we work with employers, this part is key! A Harvard Kennedy School case study found that employers who offered Salary Finance saw a 28% improvement in employee retention. One of our employer clients, Dawn Foods, has seen decreases of 40% in the volume of 401(k) loans after launching Salary Finance, and we were even named a finalist for Plan Sponsor of the Year in 2022. We also routinely survey our members and are able to report that employees with access to Salary Finance are happier and more loyal to their employer as a result. 

Winter 2023 35

people you should know

Q&A DEB GORDON

CO-DIRECTOR/CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, ALLIANCE OF PROFESSIONAL HEALTH ADVOCATES/ CONSUMER HEALTH ADVOCACY INC.

debgordon.com // aphadvocates.org // umbrahealthadvocacy.com

Tell us about yourself and your journey to where you are.

I like to say I’ve spent my career trying to level the playing field for health care consumers, and I’m still working on that! I started my career in public health consulting. My very first project was to support a focus group study with older, lower-income women about their attitudes and behaviors toward breast and cervical cancer screening. I was hooked on consumer insights, and I can trace my career in health care consumer marketing back to that project.

I spent nearly a decade (after getting my MBA and doing a few other roles) as head of marketing for a health plan that served lower-income consumers in Massachusetts. I helped lead membership growth and engagement through health care reform at the state level and through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. I wound up stepping off the corporate ladder to become a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government. There, I researched the changing role of consumers in the American health care system and wrote a book (The Health Care Consumer’s Manifesto) based on that research. The book explores why we don’t shop for health care the way we shop for everything else, and what might happen if we reframed financial responsibility and vulnerability into purchasing power in health care.

After writing the book, I had a plan to launch a venture that would help consumers get more value for their health care dollars. The book came out right as the pandemic was beginning, so instead of jumping right into the new venture I wound up writing (and writing and writing) for outlets such as Forbes, HealthyWomen, and others. Once I got my

36 Paytient Magazine

COVID-19 vaccine and it seemed like the world would return to some semblance of normal, I was able to refocus on how to help health care consumers in tangible ways.

Tell us what your company does.

We connect people who need help with any aspect of their health care, which is virtually everyone, with expert advocates who can help. (And yes, these people exist!)

Tell us how your service addresses the pain points of your customers.

Consumers are overwhelmed, confused, scared, and frustrated by medical bills, health insurance, and health care services. We connect them with experts who help them navigate these challenges. By accompanying people through their financial and/or clinical health care journeys, we bring them peace of mind, reassurance that they are not alone, and help to get what they need.

For every company or organization that serves consumers (as employees, patients, customers, or stakeholders), we take health care hassles off the table so consumers can focus on what matters most to them—their jobs, their families, their lives.

Most people would be surprised to know that my company … exists! Patient advocacy is health care’s hidden gem. Most people we encounter, even deep health care insiders, don’t know that you can hire an independent advocate to help you navigate health care situations.

What would you say are the most exciting things happening in your segment of the industry right now?

I think there’s not only wide recognition that health care is hard to navigate, but there’s a growing awareness that people need help from humans with inside knowledge of the system. For all the focus on technology, data and automation—all of which are vital—there’s a growing appreciation for a human touch. Technology alone is insufficient. We envision ourselves at the nexus of all those great technology advances and human intervention.

What’s your favorite thing to do on weekends?

I run (when I’m not injured), binge-watch TV with my kids, take walks, and I love to go out to eat.

What TV shows do you turn to when you’re bingewatching?

Some of my favorite series are Schitt’s Creek, Silicon Valley, Billions, Succession, The Crown, and I’m currently watching Ozark. (Yes, I’m late on this one.)

Is there a great book you’d recommend to your colleagues or customers?

The Healing of America by T.R. Reid

What’s one tip you’d offer to health care consumers for getting what they need?

Don’t give up. There’s always someone who can help you; you just have to find that person. 

Winter 2023 37
Deb Gordon’s book, The Health Care Consumer’s Manifesto, discusses the changing role of consumers in the American health care system.

Q&A

lifepointhealth.net

Tell us about yourself and your journey to where you are.

I work at the intersection of health and technology and specialize in helping companies transform and grow their businesses through the adoption of emerging technology, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, remote monitoring, and voice, in regulated environments, ranging from consumer health, to clinical care, to drug development.

At Lifepoint Health, I provide leadership and strategic direction to help the company identify and build new technology-enabled solutions that further improve quality, access, and health outcomes for patients across our nationwide footprint. Additionally, I oversee the company’s enterprise innovation strategy, drive technology investments, and lead Lifepoint’s health tech startup incubator, 25m Health, a joint venture between Lifepoint, Apollo, and 25Madison.

Prior to joining Lifepoint, I helped incubate and launch Walgreens Health, a consumer-centric, technologyenabled growth business unit launched by Walgreens Boots Alliance in 2021. Prior to WBA, I led consumer health efforts at Google, where I helped introduce new features and functionality to support a consumer’s digital health journey across Google’s

38 Paytient Magazine
“I’m excited about the advances we’re seeing in remote monitoring technology and the adoption of virtual care. These are key elements of my ‘Care Anywhere’ strategy.”
people you should know

billion-user products (such as Google Search, Maps, Android, YouTube, and Nest), and was the founding member of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Healthcare & Life Sciences business, where I helped establish AWS as the leading public cloud partner for payors, providers, medical device, pharmaceutical, and digital health companies across the globe. I began my health care career at General Electric, supporting the growth of GE healthymagination, the $6 billion cross-company global health strategy.

Outside of work, I have served as a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Agenda Council for Brain Research, Meta-Council on the Future of Health, Future of the Internet Working Group, Global Shapers, and was a constituent at WEF’s annual meeting in Davos. I am an active advisor for companies such as Science37, VisualDX, Arterys, A.Team, and the Consumer Technology Association Health Division. Additionally, I volunteer with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and the American Cancer Society to raise money for cutting-edge cancer research.

I’m a recovering esquire, having earned my juris doctor from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, and a former NCAA Division 1 soccer player, having earned my bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia. I also graduated from GE’s Executive Commercial Leadership Program and the Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School.

Tell us what your company does.

Lifepoint Health is dedicated to making the communities we serve healthier. We support patients, clinicians, and partners across the health care continuum through our diversified health care delivery network, which extends from coast to coast, and includes community hospitals, rehabilitation and behavioral health hospitals, and additional sites of care.

Most people would be surprised to know that my company … is currently the sixth largest health system in the country, made up of more than 50,000 dedicated employees, 62 community hospital campuses, more than 50 rehabilitation and behavioral health hospitals and more than 200 additional sites of care, including managed acute rehabilitation units, outpatient centers and post-acute care facilities.

What would you say are the most exciting things happening in your segment of the industry right now?

I’m excited about the advances we’re seeing in remote monitoring technology and the adoption of virtual care. These are key elements of my “Care Anywhere” strategy, which focuses on extending our team’s reach outside the traditional four walls of the hospital. Additionally, cloud computing technology is now allowing health care companies like Lifepoint to organize, normalize, and make actionable massive amounts of data from across our enterprise, allowing us to better serve our patients and empower our care teams with real-time information.

What’s your favorite thing to do on weekends? I like to stay active on weekends and recently took up boxing! I’m also working on my first book.

What’s the best television series you’ve watched lately?

Yellowstone is my favorite series. Hopefully one day I’ll be a Montana ranch owner (minus the family drama) like Kevin Costner!

Is there a great book you’d recommend to your colleagues or customers?

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? If you don’t ask, the answer is always “no.” The most memorable experiences I’ve had (personally and professionally) can all be credited to following this wisdom from my dad! 

Winter 2023 39
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