Jennifer, DriveTime and SurgeryPlus

When you are a single parent of three children, you’re constantly juggling a number of balls in your personal life—sick kids, school, accidents and the list goes on.  Personal time or luxuries are rare, “if ever” occurrences.  Plus, finances are always tight.  There’s just no way around it. And you’ll have emergencies, like ER’s for the kids periodically, but that’s almost expected.  You just don’t expect it to be you.

Jennifer is a single mother of three. She’s worked at DriveTime for over five years in customer service and customer relations.  It’s a bit crazy at times balancing kids and work, but she loves her life feeling fulfilled at home and at work.

One day her knee started to bother her. Thinking it was just sprained, she decided to “wait it out” until it felt better. There’s always something not quite working right; it will be fine.  And who has time for that kind of thing, anyway? A month later, and it’s still hurting.

So, she went to the doctor and ended up getting an MRI.  They were pretty sure it was a torn meniscus. While a fairly routine procedure and typically highly successful, it’s still surgery involving anesthesia and a 4-6 week recovery period with physical therapy.  You also have to work your way through the bewildering world of doctor’s offices, surgery centers, insurance and just the logistics of the whole mess. As she spoke with friends who had the procedure, she also was hearing about $1,000+ deductibles and out of pocket expenses. With three kids, there was no budget for “her emergencies”.  She hardly slept that night, tossing and turning her way through various worst case scenarios.

As she was getting ready for work that morning, still fretting about what she was going to do, she noticed a pile of junk mail she needed to get through. As she glanced through it, she noticed a letter from DriveTime that had been in the pile for a while.  Saved from immediate recycling, she opened and read the letter. She found a member card in her name for a service called “SurgeryPlus”, provided by Employer Direct Healthcare.  As she read the materials, she couldn’t believe it worked that way.  She was certain it was a scam, and not really something from her employer.  On a whim, she called the number.

Jennifer spoke with a SurgeryPlus Customer Care Navigator, Whitney.  Whitney explained the SurgeryPlus value proposition and assured her it wasn’t a scam (Jennifer still didn’t believe her and confirmed everything with the Benefits Department later that day).

In a subsequent email to Jennifer, Whitney explained:

“Thanks for calling to learn more about the benefit that Drivetime offers you! I have listed below the physician option that we discussed. Take some time, and think about the decision. Remember, that Drivetime cares about their employees, and offers this great benefit to them! I look forward to hearing from you!”

The value proposition? Use a SurgeryPlus provider and there is no deductible or out of pocket expenses.  Essentially, there are no additional costs other than just paying your premium; SurgeryPlus is a benefit otherwise included as part of the DriveTime Benefits program.  SurgeryPlus works with an exclusive group of surgeons nationwide to ensure best cost and quality for DriveTime and its employees. Rather than just drop the savings to the SurgeryPlus or DriveTime bottom lines, the program is structured to eliminate the emotional and financial stress for DriveTime’s employees:

  • Shared savings: eliminate deductibles, out of pocket and travel expenses for employees (high deductible plans with Health Savings Accounts are handled differently), and still drive savings to the bottom line for the DriveTime benefits program reducing DriveTime and employee costs for the procedure and long-term for employee premiums

  • Vetted surgeons: a curated national network of elite, high performing surgeons that have been rigorously screened, reducing the risk of surgical complications and ultimately leading to better outcomes and lower costs

  • Concierge service: simplify the medical experience by managing all scheduling, logistics, and transfer of medical records from start to finish

But there was one potential curveball. (Isn’t there always a curveball in this healthcare business?!) The SurgeryPlus provider was over an hour away. While not a deal breaker for anyone living in the Phoenix metro area, SurgeryPlus provided options for Jennifer:  if she did not want to drive both ways for the procedure the same day, at no cost to her SurgeryPlus would cover one night in a hotel close to the outpatient center and provide a debit card for gas and food.  Wow!

Jennifer’s follow up note to her SurgeryPlus Customer Care Coordinator:

“Thank you!! I still can’t believe this service is offered by my company. I had even emailed my Benefits team to confirm. I had stayed up the night before worried if I had to have surgery and how I would pay for it. Then in the morning, I opened up my mail and this card was my miracle. I shared my story with DriveTime. They were happy I have benefited from the service. “

At DriveTime, we have had a long-term focus on employee wellness and wellbeing.  We have a wellness program that now spans ten plus years.  One of our long-term goals is to continuously provide a comprehensive benefits package at an affordable cost for all of our employees. We do this by focusing on the cost of our healthcare providers, how our employees use the healthcare system and our employees’ wellness.  SurgeryPlus addresses all three of these pillars:  lower cost (for us and our employees), use of the system (better providers and white glove service), and wellness (better outcomes=healthier employees).

Jennifer is ecstatic:

“I love what I do at DriveTime and have always felt DriveTime consistently tries to act in the best interests of us, the employees.  SurgeryPlus is another example of what I love about DriveTime.  A cutting edge, innovative solution leading to a win-win for DriveTime and us, the employees.  I’m telling everyone about my experience, and particularly about SurgeryPlus.  I know this may sound a little dramatic, but I really felt this was a mini-miracle for me and my family.  As a single parent with three kids, I honestly didn’t know what I would do and the idea of finding thousands of dollars was daunting to me.  And then I opened the mail…. Go figure!”

Note to employees: You might want to read what we send you. Ask Jennifer how that works.

“We’re very pleased with our relationship with DriveTime and the opportunity to have been of assistance to Jennifer.  We appreciate her kind words about her experience with us.  It’s a reminder of why we do what we’re doing—at the end of the day it’s really about the Jennifers of the world.  We’ll keep working hard to deliver this level of value and service to all of DriveTime’s employees,” said John Zutter, CEO of Employer Direct Healthcare.

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