How Surest helps a tech company better manage the cost of care

Hiring and retaining talented colleagues has become increasingly difficult over the last few years with employees expecting more from the companies they choose to work for, including the benefits they’re offered.

But how can you offer more valuable benefits without breaking your budget?

That was a question asked by the leaders at Lumen Technologies, a multinational tech company, looking for a technology-powered health plan that could help employees live healthier lives, while managing health care costs and providing high-quality benefits. They found UnitedHealthcare’s Surest™, an innovative health plan designed to help simplify how people navigate the health system by eliminating deductibles and providing upfront cost and coverage information.

For Lumen, the Surest health plan helped address a few challenges, including:

  • Empowering people through technology with an app-based design, which aligned with their goals
  • Improving health journeys by providing care options in advance of treatment
  • Encouraging more informed decisions with a focus on higher-value, quality care

The results

After making the switch to Surest in 2020, the company reported 62% of employees surveyed said the new plan helped make them healthier.

Lumen’s health care costs per member dropped by up to 16% in 20211, while employees had 52% lower average out-of-pocket expenses2 compared to traditional plans.

“Lumen has not increased our out-of-pocket health insurance costs in five years, and our Surest partnership  has been a key contributor to that achievement. During those same five years, we’ve added improved technology, additional quality benefits and greater control over health care costs and care, accomplishments that demonstrate our commitment to retaining and attracting employees to our company.”

— Marina Pearson, vice president, benefits and policy at Lumen

In fact, a recent study showed Surest members had an increase in preventive care and lowered their overall out-of-pocket costs. Surest members also reported being more actively engaged with their health plan, as compared to traditional offerings.

The Surest health plan does not include a deductible, so coverage begins working for employees right away. The Surest plan also makes it easier to comparison shop for care. Lower prices displayed on the Surest app or website indicate providers evaluated as high-value options based on quality, efficiency, and overall effectiveness of care. Members can review and consider their care options in advance of treatment, with this upfront pricing helping avoid billing surprises that, with a traditional health plan, might show up weeks or months after a service or procedure.                        

Many Lumen employees found this upfront cost and coverage information helped contribute to:

  • A 17% increase in utilization of primary care physicians3
  • 18% lower emergency department use3
  • 18% lower costs for maternity facility deliveries3

This trend is also seen in overall Surest member data from the latest impact study, which led to higher rates of preventive physician exams, colonoscopies, and mammograms, along with lower health care costs for individuals and employers.

“More employers and their employees are selecting the Surest plan, recognizing the value of first-dollar coverage and our intuitive, digital-first experience,” said Dan Kueter, CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s commercial business. “By equipping people with actionable cost and coverage information before making medical appointments, Surest is more effectively supporting the care needs of members while making health benefits more affordable and sustainable for employers.” 

Learn more about Lumen’s experience with Surest.

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