Byline: Todd Nelson
Going to a doctor every two weeks and the pharmacy weekly are signs you're likely not on the path to optimal health.
Yet that's the case for a "hidden population" of frequent health care users according to Mobe, a health management guidance startup with co-headquarters in Plymouth and Reno, Nevada.
Despite repeated doctor visits and numerous prescriptions this group generally doesn't get much better, said Eric Hamborg, Mobe co-founder and chief commercial officer. Yet its recurring use of services drives up health care costs for everyone, he said.
In Mobe's experience this group represents 5% of a commercially insured population but accounts for 15 to 20% of its health care spending, Hamborg said.
"They just keep running through the health care system and nobody's taking a chance to say, 'Can we take a step back here before we take two more steps forward?'" he said. "That's what we do."
Mobe (pronounced "mo-bee") helps individuals learn to be "independent self-managers" of choices affecting their health, Hamborg said. Individual behaviors account for 80% of what makes people healthy or sick with unhealthy choices driving increasing health care costs.
Mobe offers health management guidance in the form of educational content and one-to-one support from health professional "guides" by phone, an app or both. The guides address choices affecting diet, sleep, movement, medication and happiness.
The hidden population of frequent health care users exists in part because "the physicians or the providers don't have the time or tools to help people with what they need," Hamborg said.
Roughly 25% of the insured population Mobe serves takes six or more drugs from six or more providers, Hamborg said. "You can imagine the disconnectedness that's probably happening between all of those different providers. We have a pharmacy team that helps sort those things out."
Mobe works with large employers and insurance companies including several Blue Cross Blue Shield plans nationally.
"On average we can see as much as 8% contraction in terms of claim savings," Hamborg said. "There's a significant opportunity for Mobe to help bend the cost curve in health care and guide more people to better health and more happiness."
That's critical because Mobe's revenue comes from those savings, which it shares with customers.
"We didn't want to add more cost to the system," Hamborg said. "We're compensated based on the savings that we derive by helping...