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Helping Employers and Employees Save Money in a Recession

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corporate healthcare savings

Whatever you believe about COVID-19, it’s clear that we’re likely headed for a nasty recession. Hence, how can we help employers reduce their outlays when their bottom line is awash in red ink? One way to do that is to tackle the high cost and ineffectiveness of orthopedic care.

Recession Planning

At the height of the great recession of 2008, we had 2.2 million excess unemployed. As of last week, we had 30 million with many believing that by the end of this week we could see 40 million. Hence, it’s clear that most companies will be hit one way or the other by this COVID-19 caused economic downturn. So how can we help companies make all of that red ink look better?

The Huge Corporate Cost of Healthcare

When manufacturing a new car, GM spends more on healthcare than it does on steel. Let that sink in for a second, because as a company, it’s not alone. Many companies have as their single biggest line-item cost the amount they spend on health insurance.

To bend that cost curve down, many employers have become “self-funded”. This means that they don’t pay a big insurance company for an insurance plan, instead, they pay their own healthcare bills out of the company and then also pay an administrator for the use of a provider network and contracts.

Bending the Cost of Orthopedic Care

Orthopedic care is hugely expensive. It’s usually the single biggest cost in that monthly health care bill. The problem is that much of it doesn’t work well or doesn’t have research to show it works. Take for example the most common elective orthopedic surgery in America, which is an arthroscopic partial meniscectomy. That procedure has been shown in multiple randomized controlled trials to be ineffective, yet it’s still routinely done in every hospital in the country. If you’re an employer with a self-funded health plan, you get to write the check for that ineffective surgery. That’s where Regenexx comes in.

Jason Hellickson on Regenexx

Jason Hellickson is a former insurance executive who saw that Regenexx could save self-funded plans big money after he decided to skip orthopedic surgery and get a Regenexx procedure himself. He tells his story here on the “Reconstructing healthcare” podcast. 

Regenexx Corporate Program

Jason helped build the Regenexx Corporate Program that allows self-funded plans to offer less invasive interventional orthobiologics to their employees. So instead of that meniscus surgery, the patient can opt to get an injection of their own platelets or stem cells and have that covered through their health plan. That can save the employee a surgery that we know doesn’t work and the employer can save up to 50% or more. To date, Regenexx has signed on companies with coverage of more than 7 million employees. We expect our ability to bring new companies on to our corporate program will accelerate during the pandemic, as these companies struggle to improve profits.

The upshot? COVID-19 will take a big bite out of corporate budgets this year. While you can’t change the price of steel if you’re GM, you can reduce your healthcare costs to improve your bottom line. One way to do that is to push down the cost of orthopedic care. On that front, we’ve got you covered at Regenexx!

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6 thoughts on “Helping Employers and Employees Save Money in a Recession

  1. Murray Sherman

    Dr. Centano certainly praises his own techniques. In science, praise can often be automatically generated with data. I remember when I consulted with an MD and ex-orthopedic surgeon about stem cell therapy for my then-painful right knee, I asked him about the chances of success. With no hesitation, he said, “No failures”. Prior to my retirement I managed a corporate R&D operation with a commercial company in a competitive environment. The notion of 100 per cent success in virtually any realistic endeavor was such an absurdity, I could not leave his office fast enough. After further investigation, I concluded that the success rate for stem cell based knee therapy is approximately 50-75 percent. I personally had uni-compartmental surgery on my left knee in 2001, when it was still experimental, and on my right one year ago. Both were successful; I am now 81, and bicycle riding about 80 – 90 miles/week. As far as I know there has never been peer-reviewed data on the success and failure rates of stem cell therapy, nor of proof that the techniques that you use produce viable long-lasting cartilage. I look forward to any data you have that would come anywhere close to the successful results (98 percent)
    of orthopedic knee replacement.
    Respectfully,
    Murray Sherman

    1. Chris Centeno, MD Post author

      Muray, the success rate of knee replacement is nowhere closer to 98%, nor is the outcome of stem cell therapy close to 100%. This is a good post to read: https://regenexx.com/blog/is-this-the-truth-about-knee-replacement-surgery/

  2. Kathi

    There are those of us who believe in your treatments but we are self employed & “just getting by”. I know from firsthand experience, your treatments cost us 1/10 of our total household income. We sacrifice a great deal to have the treatments. I know I should have yearly Prolotherapy, but cost has prevented me from this. For most of the population, it is not that we don’t believe in your procedures, we simply can’t afford them. We are the forgotten ones in every sector of this country’s economy. Just a little “food for thought”.

    1. Chris Centeno, MD Post author

      Kathi, that’s why we have been working hard to get coverage for as many people as possible. We’re up to about 8 million, but in a country of 300M+, we have a long way to go…

  3. StevefromLA

    I know that HMOs don’t cover your services, but do any PPOs from UnitedHealthcare, Aetna etc. cover any or part of your services, and/or are you working to get these large companies and their PPOs to do so? That would be great as I have UHC. Thanks.

    1. Chris Centeno, MD Post author

      We are working with one large insurer on a pilot program.

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