WTIA Builds Healthcare Offering From Tech Employee Wish List

Partners with Premera Blue Cross for First Phase of Development

Aug 25, 2015, 12:00 ET from Washington Technology Industry Association

SEATTLE, Aug. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA), Washington state's unifying voice for the technology community, today announced it is building a new healthcare offering custom designed to meet the unique needs and desires of local tech employees and employers. The WTIA has partnered with the largest health plan provider in the Pacific Northwest, Premera to develop the initial phases of this healthcare offering built with the tech employee in mind.

"As a small tech company it's been difficult to find a healthcare plan that's able to meet our unique needs. It's a frustrating process because we see so much innovation across the board regarding new services that could be helpful, and yet we've had no way to access them," said Gena Cook, CEO of Navigating Cancer.

Washington state tech employers have more than 200 healthcare plan options to choose from in today's market. Yet, when the WTIA surveyed hundreds of tech companies as well as their employees to determine what they wanted from a healthcare plan, the WTIA found none of those 200 plans meet their needs. The WTIA asked for a wish list. Some benefits that made the wish list were obvious such as prescription coverage, childbirth services, and an expansive provider care network. However, others stood out, including telemedicine (the ability to consult with a doctor online), the integration of wearable technologies, and access to databases that provide insight into the best prices and service providers for specific procedures. In response to strong industry demand, the WTIA is developing a custom healthcare offering designed to match the tech community's wish list of 15 benefits that surfaced from this research.

"We consider it our job to support the tech industry and are proud to be the first to provide an innovative healthcare offering robust enough to meet the actual needs of Washington's tech employees," said Michael Schutzler, CEO of the WTIA. "The WTIA's new healthcare offering is a game changer for small and midsized tech employers – helping them competitively recruit for highly sought after talent."

The WTIA will build this plan in a phased approach through a series of partnerships with service providers and local startups. As a first step, the WTIA has partnered with Premera who will serve as the primary provider for the plan. The association chose to work with Premera because of their proven track record of delivering custom health care solutions in our region to employers like Microsoft and Boeing, and their commitment to designing one to meet the needs of technology employees.

"The healthcare industry is rapidly advancing right now and we recognize we can't take a back seat when it comes to incorporating technology into our offerings," said Jim Messina, EVP and Chief Marketing Executive at Premera. "Partnering with the WTIA allows us to create a unique set of solutions with innovative ways of delivering new services and products that will motivate those in the tech industry to stay active and manage their personal health."

Those companies taking advantage of the offering will gain immediate access to an expanded portfolio of plan options, telemedicine, consolidated billing, and a free onsite employer–employee health assessment. The remaining new healthcare offerings will be rolled out in two phases. In phase one, the WTIA will concentrate on making available the integration of wearable devices, personal health coaches, and gym memberships. The WTIA will then shift focus to create an interactive online community in phase two. This community is expected to include web tools to evaluate doctor and care performance, pricing, and customer experience.

Many of the benefits included in the WTIA's healthcare offering also reinforce current shifts in the healthcare industry driven by the Affordable Care Act including patient-centered healthcare with a strong emphasis on preventative care. The WTIA will continue to take into account these industry pivots, new health innovations, and any movement around what tech professionals want to see in their plan throughout development.

For more information about the WTIA's healthcare offering, please visit: http://washingtontechnology.org/health-insurance/

About Premera Blue Cross
Our mission is to provide peace of mind to our members about their healthcare coverage. We provide health insurance and related services to approximately 1.9 million people in Washington and Alaska. Premera Blue Cross has operated in Washington since 1933, and Alaska since 1952. Premera Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Premera Blue Cross is a member of a family of companies based in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, that provide health, life, vision, dental, stop-loss, disability, and other related products and services.

About Washington Technology Industry Association
Founded in 1984, the WTIA is the unifying voice for 8500 technology companies and 250,000 tech professionals in Washington. We inform and motivate industry, education and government leaders to help attract and develop the talent and capital required to make our region the leading technology community in the world. For more information visit: http://www.washingtontechnology.org.

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SOURCE Washington Technology Industry Association