Health Care Service Corporation and RAND Corporation Study Finds Employers Save Money by Encouraging Consumers to Shop for Health Care

March 27, 2019

HCSC’s Member Rewards Program Leads to a 2.1 Percent Reduction in the Average Price of Health Care Services Members Selected for Care

CHICAGO (March 27, 2019) – Researchers from Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) and RAND Corporation conducted a study that found financially incentivizing employees to seek high quality, lower-cost health care providers can help reduce overall health care spending for employers.

The study, which analyzed data from 2015-2017, evaluated results from 29 employers enrolled in HCSC’s Member Rewards program, which provides members a cash reward when a quality, more affordable provider is selected for an elective medical service or procedure. Researchers found a 2.1 percent reduction in the average price of health care services members selected for care. The lower-cost services members selected was greatest for MRIs (4.7 percent), ultrasounds (2.5 percent) and mammograms (1.7 percent). While about 8 percent of members used the shopping tool, employers saved roughly $8 per member over the study period. As a reward for shopping for care, members received a cash reward. The average payment made to members in the study ranged from $41 for ultrasounds to $409 for major surgical procedures.

“Navigating the health care landscape can be daunting, but there are programs and resources available to help if people know about them and take advantage of them,” said Kevin Cassidy, president, Employer Solutions, HCSC. “Member Rewards not only conveniently ties into our existing resources, it rewards those who take the time to research the most cost-effective options that yield the same or better outcomes for their care. We continue to work closely with our employer groups to understand how to incentivize employees to be active participants in their health care – which can lead to lower costs and a happier, healthier, more productive workforce.”

Since its inception, Member Rewards has provided employees more than half a million dollars in rewards – and that number is expected to continue growing throughout the year. The program is available through HCSC’s Provider Finder® tool and customer advocate resources.

Support for the study was provided by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Authors of the study include Lan Vu and Leanne Metcalfe of the Health Care Services Corporation, Christopher M. Whaley of RAND Corporation, Neeraj Sood of the University of Southern California and Ateev Mehrotra and Michael E. Chernew of the Harvard Medical School.

About Health Care Service Corporation

Health Care Service Corporation is the country’s largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall, with more than 16 million members in its health plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. A Mutual Legal Reserve Company, HCSC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit HCSC.com, visit our Facebook page or follow us at Twitter.

Media Contact:
Jori Fine
Health Care Service Corporation
Phone: 312-653-4256
E-mail: jori_b_fine@bcbsil.com