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Healthcare Financing is the Next Frontier in Employee Benefits

Healthcare is a major source of stress for employees in the United States. The cost of healthcare continues to rise while options for care become more restricted than ever.

No wonder at least 50% of working Americans defer healthcare because of the cost.

Workers are increasingly choosing–or choosing to leave–employers because of their health benefits, but healthcare costs are rising for employers, too. How can employers continue to compete and provide the benefits employees are looking for — and desperately need?

All signs point to the next important category in employee benefits: healthcare financing.

The Next Evolution in Employee Health Benefits

The concept of healthcare financing isn’t new. Historically, providing financing options to patients has been the responsibility of healthcare providers, who often use outdated programs that saddle patients with high fees and interest rates in exchange for allowing patients to pay in installments over time.

In recent years, the financing industry has undergone a dramatic transformation more broadly. A new consumer-friendly version of financing known as Buy-Now-Pay-Later, or BNPL, has become a major part of how consumers pay for much of what they buy. 56% of Americans use a BNPL service for e-commerce, and nearly a quarter of e-commerce transactions are expected to happen through BNPL services by 2026. Using innovative technology and product design, these services have created a delightful user experience in what was traditionally an inflexible, predatory industry. Paying in consumer-friendly installments is now a key feature of how people exchange goods and services; extending it to healthcare is a natural next step.

Besides that, it’s a necessary next step. The way we pay for healthcare in this country is broken.

Americans don’t get the care they need because they can’t afford it — which not only worsens their health in the long term, but also increases their healthcare costs down the line. Many people are aware of these risks, but too many don’t have a choice in how they address them.

45% of Americans need financial assistance to pay for medical bills over $500, and half of all American adults (around 100 million people) are in medical debt — 67% of personal bankruptcies are the result of medical debt an individual could no longer bear.

The negative consequences don’t only apply to patients or employees — when employees can’t afford healthcare, employers end up paying the price. Poor worker health costs US employers an astounding $575 billion per year. In addition to healthcare spend, time lost to poor health is lost productivity for businesses. Employees who defer healthcare can take up to 70% more sick days than those who receive proper care, and financial stress makes an employee 10 times more likely to underperform at work.

Employers are already fighting fires on multiple fronts. Macroeconomic uncertainty, record inflation, and the effects of COVID-19 have employers facing a perfect storm of crises. Employers are also in a protracted war for talent. 40% of employees say they are at least somewhat likely to leave their current job in the next three to six months.

Employers have historically led the way in providing employees with benefits that help them live healthier lives. If employers want to continue to exist at the vanguard of employee health and wellness, all while addressing existential issues they’re facing within their budgets, they must also lead the charge on helping their employees afford care. This is a massive, broken space that needs innovators to step up — employers are the ones to fix it and guide it forward.

A Win-Win for Employees and Employers

Moving healthcare financing out of the realm of individual healthcare providers and into the workplace benefits both employees and employers:

  • Employees can afford the healthcare they need when they need it.
  • Employers can offer a sought-after benefit to lower costs, increase productivity, and compete in a tight market for talent.

At Nibble Health, we’re setting the standard for healthcare financing as an employee benefit. The Nibble Card is a zero-cost (no interest, no fees) safety net that lets employees pay for healthcare from any provider in installments over time. We’re using financial technology to build a new healthcare platform that eliminates financial barriers to healthcare for employees and reduces costs for employers across the board.

What is Zero-Cost Healthcare Financing?

At Nibble Health, we’ve built a zero-interest, zero-fee solution that employers can provide to make out-of-pocket healthcare expenses more affordable for their employees.

The Nibble Card is simple:

  1. The employee pays for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses using their Nibble Card.
  2. We pay the healthcare provider immediately for the full cost of the services.
  3. The employee splits their expense into monthly installments with zero fees or interest.
  4. The employee seamlessly repays Nibble the principal balance on their chosen timeline.

We’re able to provide the service for free to employees because we get paid by their employer. In its simplest form, we underwrite a company’s employee base and generate a risk assessment for that group based on a number of private and public statistics. We then translate that assessment into a price that the employer pays for its employees to access the service, which covers our risk and operating costs.

All of this comes with minimal employer overhead. The Nibble Card doesn’t require complex integrations or information requests, and the employer doesn’t take on any credit risk — Nibble is on the hook for the principal — so there’s no additional or unfamiliar work for the company to deliver the service.

Nibble creates an ecosystem of employees who can afford the care they need and employers who have a happier, healthier workforce — all powered by financial technology that empowers patients and eliminates barriers to healthcare.

Simplify Healthcare Decision Making

Our payments card solves existing problems with healthcare financing by reaching people at a completely unique time — before they have to decide whether to seek healthcare in the first place.

Making decisions about your and your family’s healthcare is hard when you have no financial safety net and it’s unclear what care might cost. Health insurance deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and out-of-network surprises loom in your mind as you determine when and where you can seek care — if at all. “Shopping” for healthcare is an almost impossible task.

Putting a card in your pocket that lets you receive the care you need anytime from any provider and reduces the impact of expenses without additional cost can simplify how you make decisions. The Nibble Card gives you the confidence you need to seek care without hesitation — especially in emergency situations.

Use the Nibble Card for All Healthcare Needs, Wherever You Seek Care

Employees can use the Nibble Card for any healthcare expenses — medical, dental, vision — plus areas of healthcare where there’s a clear and pressing need but the traditional insurance system doesn’t provide widespread coverage: prescription medication, medical imaging, fertility, mental health, dermatology, and more. Nibble Health is not tied to any provider network (even if your health insurance plan is), and runs on the Visa network, so employees can use it to pay for healthcare wherever Visa is accepted.

Most healthcare financing companies can only be used for a single procedure at a specific provider. This could mean that every time a patient is seeking relief to pay for care, they have to start a new application process, and they might work with a different financial institution each time.

Nibble Health presents an entirely different customer experience. Employees can use their Nibble Card to pay for multiple medical expenses at the same time across any provider. In our app, they’ll choose a monthly installment plan for each expense, and we’ll roll all overlapping plans into a single monthly payment.

Driving Real Value for Employers

Amplify DEI Initiatives

Employees won’t go through a credit check because we look at groups of employees, not individuals, and we know that the employees receive regular income to make their payments. We view this as a major positive in providing access to funds, since we know credit scores are an incomplete indicator of someone’s actual ability to pay, especially for those who are underbanked and underrepresented by financial services in the US.

What results is a benefit that can be universally used by everyone and anyone at a company, regardless of role, age, income, gender, race, or location, and for anything related to their healthcare. This is a huge win for HR and benefits leaders who are focused on bolstering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and increasing access to care, and who often spend months vetting and implementing healthcare point solutions that only apply to a small sub-segment of their workforce. And because Nibble can be used as a blanket healthcare safety net, it acts as an insurance policy against employers having to scramble to add benefits to their suite as new pockets of healthcare emerge within society.

Lower Corporate Healthcare Costs

A potential economic recession, growing healthcare spending, and the ongoing war for talent have employers re-assessing costs for everything, including employee benefits and healthcare plans.

Good news for everyone involved: Helping employees afford healthcare saves employers money.

Offering Nibble Health provides your employees with a deductible safety net that allows them to opt into more cost-effective health plans. For example, with a new way to pay for care, employees don’t need to be afraid of high deductible plans that come with significantly lower monthly premiums. Employees can now safely pick the plans that are cheaper for them, align best with their healthcare usage, and are cheaper for the company that subsidizes their care.

Plus, employees who seek regular healthcare experience less chronic illness and other poor health outcomes, which reduces their need for expensive care in the long term. This is an enormous cost saver, especially for self-insured employers, who actually pay out employee healthcare claims.

How Much Can Employers Save?

Here’s what Nibble Health might look like in action at a company.

Take a company with 1,000 employees. The cost to provide Nibble Health is determined to be $4 per employee per month, or $48,000 per year.

When an employee shifts from a low deductible to a high deductible health plan, the employer could save upwards of $6,000 a year per employee. If less than 1% of this workforce — only 8 employees — makes that shift because of the addition of Nibble’s out-of-pocket safety net, the program pays for itself in savings to the employer.

If 3% of employees shift to a high-deductible plan, Nibble Health not only pays for itself, but also offers the employer a savings of 4x its yearly cost.

Help Employees Stay Healthy

Healthcare financing is the next frontier of employee benefits, and Nibble Health is the easiest, most cost-effective way to offer this benefit to employees.

By offering an out-of-pocket safety net in the form of a zero-cost healthcare financing, employers can help increase access to much-needed healthcare for employees, regardless of their position, tenure or income. This increased affordability improves health and financial outcomes for employees, improves employee wellbeing and productivity, reduces employer healthcare costs, and increases benefits utilization.

Our employee-friendly platform is a win-win for employees and employers. We break down barriers to healthcare and support employers in keeping employees healthy, both physically and financially.

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