Independence Blue Cross has partnered with Accolade to offer an innovative, personalized health assistance service designed to help members make the most of their benefits and get the right care.

“At Independence, we are strongly committed to providing an outstanding consumer experience and to pioneering new models that improve the quality and affordability of care for our members — and this includes our collaboration with Accolade,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, president and CEO of Independence. “Accolade’s demonstrated ability to engage consumers while improving outcomes, satisfaction, and costs is encouraging, and we’re pleased to introduce this innovative service to our members.”

Independence and its affiliates serve more than 9 million people in 24 states and the District of Columbia.

Accolade health assistants serve as a single point of contact to help members and their families access the benefits and health care they need and smoothly navigate the often complex health care system. Health assistants, supported by a team of nurses, doctors, social workers, and other specialists, build relationships with individual members and develop personalized and integrated plans that factor in not only the member’s health status but also the emotional, financial, and social issues that affect the member’s decisions about care.

“We’re extremely pleased to be working with an innovator like Independence Blue Cross, and we look forward to creating value and a great experience for the thousands of individuals we’re serving in the program,” said Tom Spann, chief executive officer of Accolade. “By combining our capabilities, we’re creating a new model for consumer engagement and influence, a model proven to generate delight while lowering health care costs.”

Launched in July, Accolade’s services are available to a preliminary group of 40 employers at no additional cost to participating members. Accolade health assistants help members understand their benefits, and they discuss treatment options and provide referrals to the Independence case management or disease management teams.

Brian Lobley, Independence’s senior vice president of marketing and consumer business, said the partnership is part of the company’s broader strategy to transform the delivery of health care.

“With Accolade, we’re expanding the use of tools that can positively change health care behaviors, such as getting regular preventive health screenings and prescription drug compliance, and reduce things like unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital readmissions,” said Lobley. “We’re just a few months into the program, and we’re already hearing from members that they’re happy with the service they’re receiving from their Accolade health assistants. We are studying the impacts of this innovative service, which is designed to improve the member experience while simultaneously decreasing overall health care costs.”

Since it began serving clients in 2009, Plymouth Meeting-based Accolade has steadily grown, with Accolade health assistants now serving more than half a million Americans. Using a savings calculation methodology validated by a leading independent actuarial firm, Milliman, Accolade has demonstrated that its program has consistently improved health care utilization and satisfaction and lowered the cost trend for every population served.

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