MyHealthMath and University of Chicago Announce Research Partnership to Study “Nudging for Good” in Healthcare
October 2, 2018, Portland, Maine – MyHealthMath, Inc. (MHM), developer of a unique decision support system that helps both employees and employers make more optimal health plan choices, announced today that they will be partnering with leading behavioral economists from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to study these decisions and their long-term impact on healthcare expenses.
MHM, based in Portland, Maine, combines high-touch employee engagement with proprietary predictive modeling software. Employees get “Total Cost” clarity with their health plan options, and their employers get a strategic management dashboard based on the anonymized, aggregated expected medical needs of their workforce. For employees, the process begins with MHM conducting a short, one-on-one interview to learn about their anticipated healthcare needs. The MHM system then conducts tens of thousands of calculations to determine an employee’s projected out-of-pocket costs and worst-case scenario with each health plan option. The results are shared with the employee in a personalized, easy-to-read report that clearly identifies which plan is in the employee’s financial best interest.
Over three years of data collected by MHM shows that employees who participate in their program are 2-3 times as likely to select the financially optimal plan for their individual needs compared to those making the choice on their own.
“The vast majority of employees – studies indicate 93% - enroll in the same health plan year after year. Primarily because of inertia and a lack of understanding of what the total cost implications of their health plan choice really are,” stated Bob Watterson, CEO and founder of MHM. “Our goal is not to steer employees to any particular plan, but to make it easier for them to understand the financial impacts of their selection. We believe that most consumers want this information and will become actively engaged in the decision-making process when they have access to it.”
The researchers will evaluate how the MHM decision support process impacts health plan election choice as well as design testing of the communications and structure of the reports that are delivered to employees. Longer term, they will compare the different decisions that are made and their impact on actual health spending.
Dr. Neale Mahoney, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, will be the lead investigator on the project. “This is my number one research priority right now. Health insurance costs are a tremendous financial burden for employees, employers, and the U.S. as a whole. The better we can understand how consumers make choices and what motivates their decisions, the closer we get to the root of this billion-dollar conundrum,” states Mahoney. “The MHM decision support system is unique and their initial results are promising. Digging deeper into the characteristics of those who participate in the process and whether they ultimately choose the plan that is in their financial best interest will give us insight into developing more effective healthcare decision support interventions.”
The study will include large employers in a variety of industry sectors across multiple states. Employees at the participating sites represent diverse socioeconomics, geography, and demography, which will allow the study to assess the program’s effectiveness on a broad population.
MHM clients include insurers, brokers, benefit admin platforms, and both fully- and self-insured employers. For more information, please visit www.myhealthmath.com.
MyHealthMath offers a decision support system that that helps employers develop customized benefit strategies and helps employees choose a health plan that is in their financial best interest. Through information gathered in a short, confidential interview, MHM provides employees with customized, easy-to-use reports that educate them about the financial impacts of various health plan options based on their expected medical usage. They also conduct proprietary analytics on plan enrollment, which allows brokers and employers to develop tailored benefit strategies and access to an unprecedented ability to predict and control employee benefit costs.