The Proof is In: Tandem Health Advantage Saves Money

The Proof is In: Tandem Health Advantage Saves Money

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) made the move to a self-insured health insurance program in 2012, its aim was to reduce costs. The addition of the personal shopping service Tandem Health Advantage has helped in reaching that goal. 

The program guides employees in finding more affordable facilities for certain tests and procedures, and rewards them for searching out a lower-cost option. As of January 2013, employees’ use of Tandem Health Advantage had saved USNH nearly $140,000. And with the total cost of providing employees health insurance topping $60 million in 2012, any savings is welcome.

Using Tandem Advantage, offered through Tandem Care, has shown the variances that can exist between receiving care at different facilities. For example, a bone density scan and mammogram at Portsmouth Hospital costs $703 while a free-standing facility in Dover charges $451, a difference of $252. A colonoscopy at Portsmouth is $2,400 and in Stratham, at a free standing facility, it’s $1,600, for a savings of $800. And an MRI costs $2,837 at Exeter Hospital but only $1,317 at a facility in Lee, a difference of $1,520. 

At UNH, more than 640 workers called Tandem Care in 2012 before scheduling blood work, colonoscopies, x-rays, or other eligible tests, accounting for 64 percent of the use of Tandem systemwide. 

Tandem referrals to UNH’s Employee Clinic resulted in a savings of about $24,000, with $14,609 saved through lab tests and $5,320 in x-rays done at the clinic. Mammograms done at UNH saved an additional $4,415.

And while using Tandem Advantage saves the university money, it can help employees earn it; employees who call Tandem receive cash rewards if they opt to use a lower-cost provider. (Rewards are taxable as income, regardless of amount, and will be subject to withholding.)

Here’s how to use Tandem Advantage:

  • When your doctor orders outpatient tests such as an MRI, CT scan, mammogram, colonoscopy, ultrasound or lab work, call Tandem Care (1-866-797-4100 or and the nurse on staff will help you select a low cost provider.
  • The nurse will make an appointment for you at the new provider and make sure that your medical records are waiting for you when you arrive for your appointment.  
  • If you already had an appointment scheduled by your doctor’s office with the higher priced provider, the nurse will cancel that appointment for you as well.
  • Go to your new appointment.

Call 1-866-797-4100 for more information.