Innovations to make care and coverage simple and affordable

In a time of great complexity and opportunity in health care, we strive to make all that we do simple and affordable. Clear and certain. We’ve worked to realize our vision of health as it could be, affordability as it must be, through relationships built on trust. The following examples highlight our continued focus on making care and coverage simple and affordable.

Helping our members better understand their health care costs can help them make informed choices, find care that meets their budget – and reduce surprises.

In early 2023, HealthPartners introduced new online tools to help members estimate expected costs of care. When they log in to or use the HealthPartners app, members can find personalized information to help them better understand their health care costs and manage their health care spending.

  • With the Medical Cost Estimator, commercial medical members can estimate out-of-pocket costs for 500 common procedures and health care services.
  • Using the Drug Cost Estimator, members can compare the costs of medicines at different pharmacies to help find prescription prices that fit their budget.

“We work closely with our members to understand what information they find most useful and relevant when it comes to health care costs. We’ve designed our tools so the information is easy-to-understand and actionable. This helps our members feel more confident that they’re choosing care that is right for them.”

Time is valuable – that’s why we’re helping our patients save time when they need same-day care. In 2022, HealthPartners introduced a new digital tool, Save My Spot, to increase wait time transparency for urgent care and orthopedic urgent care visits. With Save My Spot, patients can find the nearest urgent care location, check wait times, reserve a spot in line, and wait from anywhere before heading to the clinic.

“Our patients have come to expect these conveniences in their lives. Save My Spot is a great example of how we’re making it simpler for our patients and members and delivering on our mission.”

Save My Spot is helping our patients get more time back in their day.

  • More than 100,000 completed urgent care and orthopedic urgent care visits in 2023
  • Patients have saved an average of one hour and 15 minutes per visit
  • More than 120,000 hours saved from waiting in waiting rooms in 2023

Prescription drug costs continue to drive up overall health care costs. We manage our pharmacy benefits differently from many other health plans, which means our members get a better value from their prescription drug coverage. We’re committed to passing savings along to our members and our employer groups, and we’re transparent about how we manage pharmacy benefits. A recent evaluation found that pharmacy costs for HealthPartners members were 20 percent lower than the Midwest average.

Some of the ways we’re able to lower costs are with Pharmacy Navigators, medication therapy management programs and an award-winning cost management program. In a recent example, one of our pharmacy colleagues saved a member’s employer $600,000 a year by suggesting the member receive his specialty drug from a different care system close to his home. The member could receive the same treatment – closer to his home – at half the cost. This benefited the employer and the member and is an example of how we make health care simple and affordable.

Colorectal cancer screenings save lives – but unfortunately, they often get missed or delayed. HealthPartners gives members a choice of simple, affordable options to act on overdue colorectal cancer screenings.

In 2021, we began offering members who were overdue for their colorectal cancer screening and don’t have a primary care doctor the opportunity to order an easy-to-use, at-home stool sample test through our online clinic, Virtuwell. The at-home tests, called a FIT kit, are less invasive than a colonoscopy and require no prep. Easy-to-use instructions and text message reminders have helped increase the number of returned kits.

The simple process is helping us connect more members with this important screening.

  • Since 2021, we’ve identified more than 158,800 members overdue for their colorectal cancer screening.
  • More than 7,800 members ordered a kit, and 4,615 were returned.
  • Of those, 204 had positive results and were referred for further testing.

Staying up to date on recommended health screenings is an effective way to stay healthy and keep health care costs affordable.

We’re helping our patients and members stay current on routine preventive care, like breast cancer screenings and well-child checks, with personalized reminders.

A new mammogram reminder campaign launched in 2022 lets patients choose how we reach them – through email, text message or letter – and ensures they receive messages in their preferred language. The reminder campaign was expanded to well-child visits in 2022 and will soon be available to remind patients to schedule their colorectal cancer screenings.

  • 250,000 mammogram reminders sent since the campaign began in late 2021, with 33% conversion rate for scheduled or completed screening
  • 220,000 well-child visit reminders since late 2022, with 46% conversion rate for scheduled or completed appointments

Helping patients go from positive COVID result to treatment at home

At the onset of the pandemic, many patients who had COVID-19 weren’t eligible for any treatment. Those who were had to make a trip to see their doctor to get treated in person with an injection or infusion. It was inconvenient, forced them to leave isolation and cost them valuable time getting treatment started.

When the oral medications Paxlovid and molnupiravir became available in late 2021, HealthPartners developed a simple, fast process for patients to receive a prescription over the phone. Patients who test positive for COVID can now call a nurse and get a prescription, without visiting a clinician.

In 2022, we prescribed more than 48,500 antiviral courses – about 30% of all the prescriptions in Minnesota for these medications. Our unique process was recently recognized by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

“It was a game-changer to have these therapies that patients could take in their own homes. Our teams showed incredible partnership to get these medications in the hands of patients efficiently and without delays, so they could recover safely at home.”