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Member Medical cuts prices in reaction to Obamacare increase

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent

August 06. 2017 6:14PM




BEDFORD — With rates expected to increase an average of 44 percent on the state’s Obamacare exchange, a New Hampshire company has decided to lower its membership prices.

“We want to make health care more accessible and more affordable,” said Nicole Lane, chief operating officer with Member Medical, which was founded by Nick Vailas, also the founder and CEO of Bedford Ambulatory Surgical Center in Bedford.

Member Medical does not provide health insurance. It does offer a membership program that provides participants with access to urgent care services at a network of participating providers, an annual flu shot and care concierge to help steer them to lower cost medical facilities for services that must be done outside of the urgent care setting, said Lane.

According to the company’s website, the membership covers five urgent care visits with a $10 fee per year. Additional visits at a participating urgent care center would cost $75.

Last week, after the federal government confirmed that premiums for individual health insurance policies in New Hampshire sold on the Obamacare exchange at healthcare.gov will rise by 44 percent or more for coverage in 2018, the Member Medical team met to discuss the problem.

“Even on the exchange there are high deductibles and high premiums. Many people cannot afford to pay their deductible if all of their money is going to premiums,” said Lane.

The company decided last week to drop its individual membership rate from $29.99 to $19 per month (plus a $10 sign up fee), and decrease its rates for employers offering the benefit to their employees from $24.99 to $10 per month.

“We chopped it pretty low because we want people to have access to it,” said Lane.

Member Medical currently has 50 members, but Lane said the company is hoping to expand its membership significantly.

This concept of membership access to participating medical providers is fairly new, however the ultimate goal is to find better and more affordable access to urgent care services so that people can get healthy, get back to work and get back to normal as quick as possible, according to Lane.

“Urgent care is becoming a fast-growing market, but New Hampshire is just now seeing the influx. Even between urgent care (facilities) the costs will vary,” said Lane, adding that because health care is so expensive, it is critical to talk about the subject and explore all financial options.

Member Medical is affiliated with ExpressMed and ClearChoice MD urgent care clinics. For more information, visit www.membermedical.com.

khoughton@newstote.com


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