Are you wasting money on light bulbs (and other things you buy)?

So you run a small company. You are known for your financial savvy: how to watch expenses, get great bargains on supplies, be a good steward of resources. And of course you expect everyone who works for you to be as good a steward as you are.

You even switched to high-quality $7 LED lightbulbs, knowing they will save you money in the long run. And then one day you discover an employee has been ordering those $7 lightbulbs from a catalog with prices hidden—and he’s been paying $50 for each of those $7 bulbs.

Then you find out that not once but almost a quarter of your employees bought these $50 lightbulbs, basically wasting $7000 of your money.

You would be furious but you know something like that  isn’t happening in your company.

Look again. It probably is.

We recently analyzed claims from a small company with a few hundred employees that self-funds their healthcare claims. We found 170 instances in which those employees and family members had a simple blood chemistry test called the Comprehensive Metabolic Profile, or Chem 14, for which the company paid an average of $42.

That test is available at several labs in the company’s area for less than $7. The very same test, no better or no worse, just the same. Even worse, the company’s healthplan was charged over $400 for 10 of these tests.

We see this all the time from small companies to large. Covered members have no visibility into price and wind up buying the equivalent of $50 lightbulbs. It’s not just expensive operations and procedures. It’s those everyday things like lab tests, X-rays, ultrasounds and more.

The Zero Card gives covered members a tremendous incentive—no out-of-pocket expenses—to get them to labs that offer the $7 blood chems and to get other everyday care needs met at a great savings.  You save money and they save money.

High-value healthcare doesn’t have to be complicated.

See—the light bulb just came on.

About Stan Schwartz MD FACP information

Over the course of my four decade career in medicine —as both a practicing physician and healthcare executive—I have come to realize that healthcare is first and foremost about patient care and outcomes.  And the practice of helping people feel their best and overcome illness, injury and disease happens everywhere from the doctor’s office to the patient’s kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. 

Yet, there is another strong and demanding force at play when we administer the practice of healthcare, and that’s economics.  Cost is often the 800 lb. gorilla in the room. Too often, decisions around patient care and quality have become decision about economics. When our patients are not involved in those decisions, they may forego the very care we’ve recommended.  

Check this space often because I will be writing here about the increasing collision of health care and economics.  I will look to decipher and clarify the issues and provide —at times—an alternate perspective on the issues.  At The Zero Card we work within this dynamic every day.   You could say we have a “bedside” perspective.  

The Zero Card seeks to develop the easiest way to lower employer health plan costs while simultaneously improving member benefits.  The company is built on three fundamental principles: cost, quality and convenience. The Zero Card achieves its goals of lowering plan costs and improving benefits by creating a new marketplace for a vast number of procedures such as labs, diagnostic imaging and surgeries through direct contracting with providers.  

You can follow me on twitter @stanschwartzmd and If you have feedback or reactions, contact me here:  sschwartz(at)thezerocard(dot)com