Our practices came together, educated themselves on the options, and built an insurance captive program that will lower costs and improve flexibility for our member groups. In exercising an ownership mentality, Strategic Radiology member groups will reap significant cost savings and plan control.
Strategic Radiology (SR) stepped into the health insurance business on Jan. 1, 2023, when it launched SR Health to provide coverage for the shareholders and employees of its 32 independent private practice member groups. In creating a self-funded captive insurance plan—totally owned by members—the coalition anticipates that members will achieve up to 30% or more savings on premiums, greater control of coverage options, and visibility into plan data.
“The cost of health insurance has become a pain point not just for private practice radiology, but for all employers in the U.S.,” said Scott Bundy, MD, FACR, CEO and Chair, Strategic Radiology (SR). “Our practices came together, educated themselves on the options, and built an insurance captive program that will lower costs and improve flexibility for our member groups. In exercising an ownership mentality, Strategic Radiology member groups will reap significant cost savings and plan control.”
Nine member groups with 2,000+ covered lives are currently receiving benefits under the plan. For Adam Fogle, CEO, Quantum Radiology, Marietta, GA, with 85+ radiologists, it was an opportunity to assume control over a costly employment benefit and gain insight into expense trends. “For years Quantum Radiology felt powerless as premiums for health insurance, our largest single overhead expense, marched higher,” he said. “SR Health gives us an option to provide employees the exact same health benefits while curbing the growth of this major expense item. We retained the same provider choices and will receive quarterly reports on utilization. This level of transparency and control is something we never had with commercial health insurance.”
United Imaging Consultants, a 33-radiologist group based in Mission, KS, was also among the initial practices covered by SR Health. Said David Smith, UIC CEO: “We elected to participate in SR Health because it represents an opportunity to leverage Strategic Radiology’s scale to gain control of a major expense and ensure that our team members continue to have the benefits they want.”
Share Risk to Reduce Costs
SR member groups will share risk in the captive layer and partner with best-in-class vendors to significantly reduce overall costs. With the guidance of a seasoned captive management advisory team, the plan was built to maximize value and control at the local individual practice level, minimize disruption of access to existing providers, and maintain economic fairness between high-claims and low-claims groups. By leveraging scale and sharing a reasonable portion of risk, the participating groups have effectively eliminated third-party costs on all but the catastrophic portion of risk.
For Radiology Associates of North Texas (RANT), SR Health coverage represents an evolutionary step. “SR Health spawned from the broader group purchasing power concept within SR and adds hard dollar value for SR members in the highest benefit cost-category of health care,” said Kirt Wolsey, CFO, RANT. “This is a natural progression for RANT—we participated in a health-care captive for years but with little voice in the overall process. With SR Health, RANT now partners with like-minded radiologists in managing health-care costs and allowing a higher degree of customization and potential cost savings.”
Member practice Radiology Associates of Richmond (RAR) came into the plan on March 1. “Radiology Associates of Richmond was eager to participate in the Strategic Radiology Health plan,” reported Mark Canada, COO, RAR, a 62-radiologist practice based in Richmond, VA. “We recognized the potential benefits it offered to our own employees and to other participating SR practices. By pooling resources with partner groups, we believe we can achieve greater costs savings through shared risks and will ultimately have more control of our health care expenditures without sacrificing quality or access.”
Built for Independence
The plan was researched and built during 2022 by the SR Captive Governance Committee, with representation from member groups and led by Dr. Bundy and Barbara Perez Deppman, FRBMA, FACHE, SR COO. “Our team worked with insurance brokers and consultants to identify and interview potential partners with deep experience in the independent insurance market,” said Ms. Deppman. “This program is a testament to the collaborative effectiveness of our owner-members.”
The work of the committee was guided by carefully considered founding principles adopted to protect the independence of individual members: maximize value; gain control; make practices and SR more attractive; implement economic fairness among plan participants; and remove fully insured profit.
Member practice ARA Health Specialists, a 50-radiologist group based in Asheville, NC, began 2023 under SR Health coverage with an eye on the health insurance cost trajectory. “ARA Health’s decision to participate in the SR captive is a proactive measure to mitigate escalating costs while tailoring our coverage needs,” explained Joseph Guiffrida, COO, ARA Health Specialists. “The captive will allow us to manage our risk and protect our business, while potentially reducing our overall insurance costs more effectively.”
Nine member groups with a total of 2,000+ covered lives are currently receiving benefits under the plan with many more of the 32 member groups expected to be onboarded throughout 2023 when existing contracts expire. Five fully vetted best-in-class contracted companies provide the following services: a captive analyst and program manager; a reinsurance provider; a pharmacy benefits manager; a third-party administrator; and a national broker.
If you are interested in learning more about SR membership and SR Health, click here.
Hub is the monthly newsletter published for the membership of Strategic Radiology practices. It includes coalition and practice news as well as news and commentary of interest to radiology professionals.
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