The health insurance marketplace is ten days old, and the traffic jam at healthcare.gov still hasn’t cleared up. That’s been frustrating for Texans and the people trying to sign them up. As part of our series Obamacare 101, we take a look at some North Texas companies who are celebrating, not complaining about the Affordable Care Act.
Helping Employers Cut Health Care Costs
ACAP Health Consulting is in the business of “preserving birthdays.” At least that’s how CEO Wally Gomaa likes to put it. The Dallas-based company consults with employers on how to reduce health care costs.
And in the past few years, business has been good.
“We’ve been blessed,” Gomaa says. “We’ve grown at a very significant rate, almost doubling our business annually.
Some of the largest companies in Texas, and across the U.S., are asking for ACAP’s help to lower health care costs through a behavioral health program they offer called “Naturally Slim.” Gomaa describes it as a weight loss and metabolic syndrome reduction program.
Pre-Obamacare, companies such as Atmos Energy, SMU, Baylor and Southwest already participated in Naturally Slim. Since the law passed, Goma says employers who were reluctant to pressure their employees to get healthy have decided to take action.
That’s in part because under the ACA employers can charge employees more for insurance if they don’t meet health goals, or reward them if they shape up.
For companies looking to reign in health costs, Naturally Slim — which promises to reduce medication use and eventually diseases like type II diabetes — is an easy sell, Gomaa says.
Managing Health Care
The Affordable Care Act is intended to not only provide coverage for more people, but also to keep health costs down. For that, you need tech companies to manage patient information and coordinate care. Companies like ZeOmega. Nandani Ramgaswamy is co-founder of the Frisco-based company.
“It’s a platform that brings together all elements of information regarding an individual,” she explains, “their personal history, medical history, labs, diagnostic you name it.”
ZeOmega takes all that information, analyzes it, and provides guidance for physicians and patients.
“It could be an alert to a nurse to follow up with a patient after a discharge, or a reminder to a patient to a follow up visit,” Rangaswamy explains.
The company is one of the fastest growing tech companies in North Texas, and Obamacare is helping to keep the momentum strong.
“It’s been very positive,” she says.
That’s because the law shifts financial incentives away from paying for quantity, towards paying for quality and promotes “accountable-care organizations” (ACOs). ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together to care for patients.
“So from a business standpoint obviously it is very positive because now the addressable market has increased but it has also been positive in providing employment to the local area.”
A few years ago, ZeOmega had a few dozen employees. Now, there are over a hundred.