New York Metro – April, 2006 – With the rise of financial incentives and a multitude of decisions facing consumers regarding healthcare benefits, treatment options and behavior, employees are highly receptive to guidance of health coaches, says Phillip Micali, founder and CEO of bWell international, inc. () which brings cutting-edge products (tools and calculators) and services (consulting and coaching) to the health and wellness marketplace.
“Think of the consumer driven playing field as a baseball diamond, where professional teams maintain a battery of coaches – head coach, pitching coach, batting coach, infield/outfield coaches and others,” says Micali. “Newly empowered healthcare consumers want the same approach and welcome specialty coaching that helps them to navigate the new turf.”
According to a recent survey from Watson Wyatt Worldwide and the National Business Group on Health (March 16, 2006), 29 percent of companies in the U.S. will offer a consumer driven health plan that includes health coaching in 2006 for the 2007 plan year. This has increased from 7 percent in 2004 and 13 percent in 2005. Micali explains that employees who opt for this coverage need specialty coaching in three distinct areas that include Coverage for Health Benefits, Decision Care Support, and Lifestyle Decisions.
“While some health plans simply camouflage their old utilization review and case management programs into health coaching initiatives, more progressive managed care organizations and companies are rolling out tailored formats to assist consumers with the plethora of information available in the healthcare and wellness marketplace today,” says Micali. “Effective health coaching includes risk factor identification and well-being planning that is highly personalized and customized to the individual consumer.”
Health Benefits Coverage, an increasingly complex area that hinges upon high-deductible Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and other options, requires creative and significant educational efforts using multi-media and multi-channel tools.
“The benefit plan health coach focuses upon articulating the plan options clearly so that consumers can make a choice that best fits their individual or family needs, taking into account not only current requirements but also future plans that may impact retirement,” says Micali.
Decision Care Support focuses upon choosing the right service at the right time.
“Clinical health coaches, also known as disease management specialists, have a clinical background that helps consumers to interpret and evaluate available information,” says Micali. “Basically, they help consumers to shop for services, ask the right questions before the service is rendered, and make appropriate decisions that deliver optimal value regarding clinical, cost and quality outcomes.”
Lifestyle Decisions involve the broader context of healthy living.
“Lifestyle health coaches include personal fitness trainers, EAP counselors, dietary counselors, yoga instructors, life coaches, and any expert in managing personal health risks,” explains Micali. “They address individual and unique health risks are and provide frequent and repetitive contact and support that enables consumers to develop healthy habits. Employers are increasingly supportive of this brand of preventive health.”
bWell, the leading provider of products and consulting services designed to support the identification and implementation of appropriate paths for Consumer Directed Health Plan (CDHP) design and launch. bWell collaborates with large and mid-size employers to identify the most suitable vendor for the launch and roll-out of a CDHP offering. bWell also provides personalized consumer learning tools and calculators (bWell-Informed®) for reviewing coverage options. The company maintains an experienced, independent perspective that is vendor-neutral.
For more information, call bWell at 917.523.9068.
About bWell International, inc.
bWell International brings cutting-edge products (tools and calculators) and services (consulting and coaching) to the health and wellness marketplace. With an expert team of professionals, bWell can help you make sense of the ever-evolving beliefs, values, and needs associated with personal wellbeing. bWell is proud to support Consumers for Healthcare Choices and several other organizations that encourage thoughtful consideration of the role of the individual in the delivery of healthcare services. For more information, visit , e-mail at
, or call 917-523-9068.
Phil Micali has over 20 years’ experience designing, developing and operating innovative health and wellness companies, including HMOs and specialty managed care programs, both in the US and in Europe. Prior to his innovative work in developing, selling and implementing health savings account models of reimbursement, Micali spent over 10 years in behavioral healthcare with the nation’s leading managed mental health companies – foremost network development, account management and government programs.