HealthJoy: From Personal Challenge to Industry Innovation

In this episode, Justin Holland, CEO and co-founder of HealthJoy, shares his international upbringing, entrepreneurial ventures, and the personal healthcare challenge that led to the creation of HealthJoy, a platform designed to simplify healthcare choices for employees and employers alike.

With a focus on enhancing healthcare navigation and reducing costs, HealthJoy emerges as a critical partner for employers seeking to offer better healthcare solutions to their employees. Holland's journey from a skiing accident to the inception of HealthJoy highlights the universal struggle with navigating healthcare options, underscoring the platform's mission to make quality care more accessible and understandable.

Key takeaways from the episode include:
  • The inspiration behind HealthJoy rooted in personal experience, emphasizing the need for simplified healthcare navigation
  • HealthJoy's approach to cost containment and personalized healthcare guidance, aiming to deliver savings to employers and improve employee health outcomes
  • The significant impact of virtual care and telemedicine, especially highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, and HealthJoy's adaptation to offer a comprehensive range of virtual healthcare services
  • Holland's perspective on current and emerging challenges within the healthcare industry, including pharmacy costs, high-cost claimants, and the obesity epidemic, and HealthJoy's commitment to addressing these issues through innovative solutions
  • The importance of a seamless user experience in healthcare platforms, combining digital efficiency with human support to meet the diverse needs of users
  • The need for a platform to deliver a healthcare cost containment strategy on the back of a challenging macroeconomic environment

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] David: Today, we're going to learn about an app that makes it simple for employees to choose the highest quality, most effective care. When this is possible, it can lead not only to healthier employees but also to a healthier bottom line. I'm David Pittman, Senior Director of Marketing at Springbuk.

[00:00:17] Jennifer: And I'm Jennifer Jones, vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Population Health Practice Leader at Springbuk. Our guest today is Justin Holland, who is CEO and Co-founder at HealthJoy, which is one of our inaugural Springbuk Activate partners. And if you're not familiar with Springbuk Activate, that's our new partner marketplace that matches employers with possible partners based on their population's health needs or risks, showing them potential opportunities and savings and program engagement located all in one place. Justin, thanks so much for joining us today.

[00:00:48] Justin: Cool. Thanks so much for having me.

[00:00:50] Jennifer: Yeah. So before we get into the meat about HealthJoy, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?

[00:00:56] Justin: Okay, great. My dad was in the military, so I grew up all over the place. I usually say I'm from Earth. I was born in the Philippines and moved every couple of years. Landed at MIT, for my undergrad and started my first business right outta school. My first business was a loyalty platform that, ultimately, was focused initially on trying to raise money for nonprofits.

Ultimately, that evolved to be focused on driving monetization for loyalty. So they could be United Airlines, US Airways, Coleman Foundation, you know, take a large brand, and we were, building technology to drive, to drive loyalty to it. We sold that to Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce company, in 2009.

 After that worked with for a little while, spent a lot of time in Tokyo and, and with the teams there on integration and, and trying to help, you know, build that kind of more global products. Then went off and did another business that was an ad tech software based in San Francisco.

Sold that to a company in central Europe called AVG, which was a security business, and ended up working for them, integrating that globally as well, into that platform. And then moved on and managed to, was, was skiing and managed to tear my ACL while I was, while I was skiing, and I was on an Obamacare plan.

And so that was the impetus of HealthJoy. So been all over the place. Lived everywhere, I live in Miami now.

[00:02:19] Jennifer: Very cool background. And I think it's always interesting when we talk to a lot of people that have developed software related to healthcare, there has traditionally been some type of experience within the healthcare system that has led to the impetus as far as the creation of their newest product.

So very interesting. And oftentimes when David and I talk with founders, it's always interesting to learn about how the company came to be, which I know you share with us here in just a minute. So tell us about the roots of HealthJoy. It was this, I guess, probably not necessarily the back of the napkin or coding in the basement type of story, but tells us kind of, how this skiing accident then really became the vision as far as for HealthJoy.

[00:03:03] Justin: Yes. And I, to preface what you said about, you know, always being a problem, right? I think entrepreneurs are drawn to problems, you know, inherently, you know, and we see problems. It's like, oh, there must be a solution out there. And I think that, you know, hubris typically is, oh, I can fix that.

That's no problem. And especially starting in HealthJoy, it was, you know, clearly like, oh, I'm a tech guy. I can, I can go fix healthcare just with a bunch of technology. This will be so simple. And how, you know, how stupid I was back 10 years ago. But you know, after that I was, I, I tore my ACL, I was trying to figure out how not to my deductible.

So I had, you know, I know $7,000 deductible at the time. And I was thinking, well, how do I figure this out? And it started off with MRIs, and I was like, I need to get an MRI. And I called up the place they referred me. They had no idea how much it would cost. I did my own research. No one had any idea how much it was gonna cost my insurance, a lot of places didn't even take my insurance.

And, and I'm like, this is one of the, this is, this is one of the plans everybody wants and you still don't know if you're taking this insurance. And I dunno if you remember back in the ACA, they had these very, very narrow networks and so they were incredibly challenging to navigate. You know, there are still ACA plans today, but back then it was, it was kind of the Wild West, I would say. And, and the networks were very narrow and very difficult to navigate. 

And so I saw that, and I had, a good friend based in Chicago at the time, and I was based in San Francisco that ran a company called GoHealth, which was an online health insurance exchange.

So at the time they were, they were getting very excited about ACA and I remember my first decks going out, you know, saw docking is there was only a hundred million people on these plans in 2025. That did not come true and ultimately saw this massive challenge that you had probably the hardest to navigate insurance products being now sold to the people who had never been insured before, or had not been insured in a long time.

Because initially that was the, the, the first target was individuals who did not have insurance or had some sort of, you know, special election to qualify. know, for that. And so I saw this was gonna be a massive problem. Yes, we can get all these people insurance, but they're gonna use it and have no idea what's gonna happen.

Ultimately, HealthJoy was a, okay, hey, how do we help partner with the distribution? 'cause I did something that I did not understand at the time. Partnered with GoHealth and then sat on top of these ACA plans. And then our mission was how do we get our members to more affordable, high quality care on top of the ACA. We live in this world of individuals, and it was, you know, $10 to $40 a month depending upon the package you had that people had to pay out of their own pocket to get, ultimately, a lot of the same core features. Many of the core features that we still have today at HealthJoy. 

But the same concept is that we understand your plan, you know, we were able to have all of the different elections. And the challenge back then was that there was, I dunno, we had 25,000 plans for 50,000 members. Because there were all these different costing adjustments based on your income levels.

And so it was really confusing. But we said, oh well, you know, we are good at tech so we can help orchestrate architect this to, to the individual. And so then we finally, you know, politics changed, a lot of things changed, in 2016 that really put, you know, ACA and not just politics. A lot of, you know, this was, this was both sides on not helping the situation ultimately, but, you know, it was ACA was not going to be the replacement for employer-sponsored insurance.

And I think that was just more of a testament to my, to my hubris of really not understanding the space as well that, you know, employer-sponsored was, was far more entrenched, to go to move to these exchange products. And so then, you know, basically that happened and we, and we pivoted to, to, to the group space, in 20, basically 2016.

And we saw a lot of the same type of challenges, right? People had higher deductibles. They had challenges with navigating this now kind of this, you know, we call it the Frankenstein version of the health plan where, you know, HR and the broker have brought in all these different solutions and tried to put them into, you know, into one package, which makes it really, really challenging to navigate when you have 10, 15 different places to go.

So we saw a lot of the same challenges and the same macro dynamics of course, then you still have the healthcare costs continue to increase, so the deductibles increase, et cetera. So, that was kind of, you know, then fast forward eight years, that's, that's where we are, and that's where we stayed.

[00:07:19] David: That's quite the journey. So speaking of journeys, you know, employers are on a seemingly never-ending journey to contain their costs. And that's certainly one of the challenges that our clients turn to us to for help frequently. How does HealthJoy deliver savings to your employer clients?

[00:07:38] Justin: I think the first way is to make sure it's identified, right? I, you know, ultimately there is no one size fits all. Obviously, there will be themes every year, right? We all know the theme in the last 12 months has been GLP-1s and how that's health plans. And then all of a sudden, the subsequent changes now that a lot of our consultants and brokers are going through with during the changes in the plan, sometimes not even covering it, having other different programs, in place to put those, to admit those there. 

But every year it does seem like there's something, whether it's hopefully, you know, I always think like maybe next year there's nothing's gonna happen. But then we have World War III. So I don't know how I don't know what the new benefit of that's gonna be.

Just gonna just chill out for one year. That'd be really nice. so, you know, when we identify these challenges, you know, we, take us, our approach is, typically, the HR, the brokers, and consultants we work with have a great cost containment strategy that exists within the plan, at a high level.

And that cost containment strategy could include anything from, you know, telemedicine, musculoskeletal care, cardiometabolic care, virtual primary care, onsite clinics, prescription copay programs, and international delivery programs. Could be fertility or maternity benefits. Any number of different items that may exist, that that's what we're kind of given.

We're given the, you know, I think we're, we're getting all the toppings for a pizza, right? That we have to then bring together for the employee. And our job is to take all those strategies that may exist, and if they don't exist, we, we, we offer, ones that, that we recommend that we're fully integrated with, that could be, that could be additive to that.

And so we're taking these different cost containment strategies that exist at the plan level. And then we're saying, Hey, at HealthJoy, our job is how do we help make really one simple digital user experience to help drive steerage to those items. 

And so we see our job as to drive engagement. Like how do we build a consumer-grade technology, a consumer grade experience that is expected, you know, people are using Uber or Amazon or you know, Instagram to, to consume content, to buy things. They're expecting a consumer-grade digital experience that understands who they are. They may pretend they don't like the ads that are so crazy targeted because you've been talking, and then they target you, but you do like it.

And that's the reason why you keep clicking through them. And that's why those, those, you know, those click-through rates are so high. And so a lot of the things that, the same things that I learned from ad tech and, and kind of consumer, level experiences that I built my last first two companies.

You know, how do we build something that people really want and adapt to their wants and needs? Ultimately at the employee level, how do we help bundle this unbundled set of costume team and strategies and other benefits that brokers have? And then when the user gets this digital experience, it's very personalized to them.

And then our job is when you know you have a challenge or an issue. 'cause typically you're not thinking, oh, I'm gonna go log into my cardiometabolic disease program. You are not thinking about that you have hypertension or you have, you know, diabetes that you'd like to manage better. And so, you know, typically we sit at the top of, I think of it, we sit at, at the search level, at the employees so that they don't know what program, 'cause they just shouldn't need to know what program.

Our job is to surface what's important out of those programs to the user at the right place, at the right time. So if you're searching for orthopedic surgery or you're putting in a request for something that has to do with. You know, an ankle injury, how are we surfacing MSK in those, in those instances within the experience for you to understand what that can do and if, and so that's like the primary path.

It could be one of the virtual care offices or in-person care if it was on onsite clinics that we're trying to surface those costs and the same strategies that exist within the plan. And then the secondary, if you're gonna use, you know, a brick and mortar facility or provider, which obviously we're not, that's clearly always gonna be a need, but if you're going to go to, into the provider, how do we make sure you're gonna the most high quality, most affordable option within your network and that can actually see you, you know, while yes, people would say, well, I can just go to my insurance carrier for that. Like, go for it. I welcome you too. Go try. Go try to find a mental health provider that can see you within six months that has great patient reviews that you're gonna trust, you know, treat you or a specific challenge. 

I promise you, you will not have a fun time trying to do It is very, very challenging if you do orthopedics, we looked at it in for a major, major medical plan in Tampa, and we did analysis. 25% of the orthopedic surgeons actually qualified through our first level of steerage just to send us a doctor. We wouldn't send a doctor to the other 75%. And so yes, you can go, and you'll have a one outta of four chance of finding a physician. That would hit our criteria and just be at a front level.

And then secondary, we have cost and quality integrated with partners, with Ribbon Health, through with has user care journey and Turquoise Health, additionally to give additional information about, you know, what is the right provider to use. But, you know, that work just is, is there's a lot of, there's a lot of work there that go, that goes into that and making sure you're going to a high-quality doctor is vital from a perspective of reducing complication rates. We know that there's a massive variability in procedure costs and facility costs. And so that's what we see as our job. And one of the big things that we're releasing in the next, by July 1st, is, you know, we're really excited about our partnership with Employer Direct Healthcare and integrating their center of Excellence to help do that even in more, in a more significant and supercharged way, at the individual level, across the country.

[00:13:02] Jennifer: Very exciting. And speaking of ads, I mean, I do love my targeted ads, but I think if I buy another pair of high wasted, cropped wide-leg jeans, they, they're after me. But anyways, Thinking of like, I think you had a great explanation as far as trying to simplify the healthcare experience for the end user.

Like you said, sure, anyone can go out and try to find a mental healthcare provider by searching their network, but like you said, it doesn't factor in all, the cost, the quality, the access, and trying to get into them sooner than later too, which is really, I think, pinnacle of what's necessary to get people to the right care in a timely manner.

 It's just, I think, again, so interesting from the key points as again, from that overall experience. What type of feedback do you all get at that employee level as far as the impact of that simplification of the process for them?

[00:14:01] Justin: Yeah, I, I think it comes, it comes down to utilization of care, right? As a sort of, you know, how many people just give up on, on going through that process. Once they've, once they get exhausted from trying to find a provider, hard to, hard to really measure that from a perspective of, you know, what we do, we think about impacts.

You know, on our, say, the top, top five to 20% of claimants, we dropped to 21% reduction in claims costs. And that was lower ER utilization. So we got people to telemedicine more often. We got people not to use the ER. Maybe it could be urgent care. It could have been, it could have been, it could be virtual primary care.

It could be our telemed. We increased the amount of ambulatory surgical utilization, so more people use outpatient services more optimally than before. And we reduced inpatients by several percentage points. And so I think about what is like the primary impact when we think about cost containment, that's like the crux of the job.

Like if we're doing our job right, those, those statistics. And that doesn't even include what we do on prescriptions, which is how do we help drive down, you know, prescription costs, in one of the nine different strategies that we employ upon the, on the employee base. When we think about results, we're really focused on cost containment at the claims level, the individual.

[00:15:13] Jennifer: Yeah, and definitely, those are key areas, as you mentioned, the ER utilization and and outpatient. When you, I guess can you talk a little about how you all are powered? So are you getting the claims data as well, and how that work from a user experience, too, to drive people to the right places.

[00:15:32] Justin: Sure. So we have integrations with numerous independent TPAs at this point where we're getting claims feeds from those lives that are covered with those those TPAs. We don't have a blanket across all of our full insure business, for instance.

It's a lot more challenging to get that for reasons we all know we're on this call. So in those, in those cases, we're getting the claims data. We're also typically getting all the utilization management data, case management, disease management insurance verification data when people are actually, pinging the system to see if they've, they've been involved.

And our job there is, you know, we see our job that is enabling a more proactive approach where we don't have to always be the ones asking the questions to the member. You know, when individuals come into the experience if they, if we don't have that integration. But even if they do have integration, we're asking, you know, what are your health goals?

Kind of gimme a questionnaire at the very beginning of the experience. To kind of understand what are the different elements in the plan that are important. If we have the claims data, we're able to do that algorithmically, right? To understand, hey, let's get them enrolled in MSK, let's get them enrolled in our, Teladoc, chronic care management program.

Let's make sure they're connected with the case management that's on the system because they're in the top 1% and, clearly, there's a challenge here. And so we're using that data proactively. We have a set of clinical outreach coaches. That then we will, if we're not able to engage them through the experience, because I, you, you should not trust me if I said a hundred percent of people log in, that's not, it's never gonna be the case.

There's always gonna be a segment that doesn't log in. But that's why we have people as well. They're doing that outreach to those individuals. So if they don't engage us through the app, we're able to use that data to proactively reach out to those members to try to drive them. enrollment without having to go through specifically our experience; obviously goal is to get them to drive through the experience long term.

But that's kind of the proactive approach. So, hey, we're seeing claims for imaging. How do we make sure that we're understanding what's happening? Is there a, is there a COE in the, in the plan? Maybe not. Okay. What is the second opinion product in the plan? Okay. Is there, is there opportunities for us to make sure that we're redirecting them to the to a site of care that we know will be a, you know, imaging clinic that has, that will be, you know, 80% of the price and if they go to the local hospital. and so we're using that data to help try to inform that outreach, at personalized level for the individual.

[00:17:57] David: So you've talked a lot about or you've mentioned a few times here in telemedicine. I'd like to drill into that for a second. Every year we produce an Employee Health Trends report that looks at data across our 5,600 employers on our platform. And in 2020 and 2021, as you can imagine, you don't have to imagine it, you lived through it. There was a significant surge in virtual care and telemedicine that has, at least in our data, that's drifted backwards a little bit, but it's still considerably higher than it was before the pandemic hit. So how has HealthJoy adapted to that uptick in virtual care? And explain what types of virtual programs you offer.

[00:18:42] Justin: Sure. Yeah. So, you know, definitely, I think 2020 was like a, was the o oh "Oh, crap!" moment when, like, we don't have, we don't have telemedicine in our plan, and people need to go to get doctors because clearly, people were just obviating care. They weren't going to the hospital, I mean, they were told not to go to the hospital, for the most part, right? And so, you know, we were seen as a way to of access. Is that, oh, well, easy, just plug in HealthJoy or, bring in in the product if they're already a HealthJoy customer and bring on telemedicine? 

It was, that was, I would say that was 2020, I'd say by like mid to late, maybe like late 2020 and 2021, it was clearly behavioral health 'cause it was like, oh my God, everyone's at home going crazy. This is really, really, this is really, really challenging for them. They've been socially isolated for so long, and it's, it was incredibly challenging, massive amounts of, of mental health challenges across the country.

And still today, right? That, that has still not gone, gone anywhere. And, then, clearly, the access to mental health was, was terrible. And so the same concept is, we have multiple different options, but, you know, Curalink for EAP, we have, Teladoc for telepsychiatry and behavioral health.

We have Walmart Health or previously EMD that also has a behavioral health module. And so those are different options that we can give, to customers from an access perspective. So I would say one of the dominant reasons for 2021 was how do I give access to mental health, for my employees?

Because most people are in deserts or, you know, behavioral health deserts where it's impossible to even get one. There's no, there was no access. and if you're thinking about, you know, the challenge of, I have a, a challenge, and I can't see someone in six months, like, what's the point? And so, you know, giving that access to those services when you're able to talk to, you know, a therapist or, or a psychiatrist within a matter of days was a, was a massive, benefit for a lot of employers in 2021 and, and still through today.

And I'd say it goes across the board, kind of the wider set. Now we have virtual primary care, which is not meant to be a pure primary care repair replacement, but almost basically like, you know, obviously, they can't take your blood through the phone yet. And, they can't, you know, check, you know, certain soft tissue or do other things.

But, you know, that's, that's a, you know, virtual primary care that is, that is very full service, connected with labs, et cetera, that's able to go out and get labs, imaging, et cetera, referrals that we encapsulate within HealthJoy. So, you know, basically, the way we think about it, virtual exercise business, we think of the body like a Tesla, not like a model T where, how do we help understand that the brain is just as responsible for pain as the body is.

And so we have, a, you know, some coaches that focus on how do we help drive down pain reduction, but also mobility, et cetera. That's a big portion. We also have partners in that space too, where, because there's a lot of times when it's not, you know, not our MSK, but there's a lot of, there are other great partners out there that are inside of those plans.

And so we're helping direct individuals to those, to those partners. Cardiometabolic disease, so that's Livongo, or not now Teladoc, you know, for cardiometabolic. so it could be hypertension, diabetes, et cetera. We're helping, you know, drive coaches for that. So I'm not, I'm not gonna take credit for those right now, but, but that's kind of like, I'd say the, kinda the broad scope of, of where we sit, which is, you know, we think about it as typically it's, you know, probably of your top three, you know, we've answered for the top three of your spend on your claim spend with cancer being, sorry, with a second opinion product as well. Extra medical opinions for Teladoc, that we also, that we also utilize. So it's kind of those, those are the those are the primary ones today.

[00:22:31] Jennifer: Yeah, and I think the. As you mentioned, virtual mental health and virtual primary care. We always talk typically about food deserts that exist, and I think anyone really understood the healthcare deserts related to mental health and primary care, honestly too. Especially in more rural areas.

And then, when you think about more metropolitan areas, there's just not enough to go around for the need. So I think it is, you know, huge to be able to connect people to a virtual setting like that. And, honestly, a lot of people it's probably more convenient, more comfortable for them to take some of those appointments in the comfort of their own home anyway.

So a win-win situation there, for sure.

[00:23:15] Justin: Yeah. They'll actually go to the appointment. Right? They'll show up. 

[00:23:23] Jennifer: Yeah, so David mentioned our Employee Health Trends Report and for 2024, we focused on three primary health issues that we think continue to affect HR leaders and benefit leaders. And as we think about those, the three that we focused on were pharmacy costs, not surprisingly, high-cost claimants, which continue to be, I think the, the issue that no one seems to be able to really wrap their arms around, and you alluded to this earlier, but the obesity epidemic and thinking about not necessarily just GLP-1s, but obesity as a whole and thinking about how we treat that and the impact to, to employers in the bottom line as well.

So for you, Justin, what industry-wide challenges do you really see emerging this year and beyond? Again, knowing you spoke about GLP-1s, but feel free to add more around that too.

[00:24:17] Justin: Yeah, those three clearly have been on our crosshairs. and we have partners that we're we'll be excited to talk about for, for one, and for number one and number three, coming up, relatively soon, could, high-cost claimants are a massive challenge. You have. You know, hospital systems, you know, everyone thinks, oh, the hospital systems must be doing great 'cause they've increased prices so much.

They're having such a huge challenge right now because their cost basis continually, continually has increased. I'm very hopeful that, you know, gen AI will make a large difference at the triage level, in the hospital systems to create, to, to find some additional efficiency there for them because it's becoming somewhat, I mean, it is unsustainable. The growth rates are unsustainable, the cost level for the, for the hospitals, it's really hard for 'em to be in business. And so what happens is they have to transfer that to the patient, but they can't transfer that.

And the employer's like, well, I can't afford anymore. I haven't been able to afford anymore since 2015. What are you talking about? And so they've just been, you know, pushing more of the burden over. So I think there's gonna be continued a lot of challenges, right? We saw the massive inflation last year.

We'll see a lot of inflation continuing this year. Healthcare kind of even if we see like inflation going down in the normal markets, you'll still see healthcare inflation go up for a little bit after it lags. It lags the economy by a bit. And so I think there's gonna be a lot of challenges there.

I think the biggest challenge this year is that we are not out of these macroeconomic conditions. We're not out of it. Right? And so you're, you take all those, those, those challenges you mentioned, this massive cost structure increase that we're seeing this year, which means prices increase, but you're doing it at a time employers don't have more money to spend. The squeeze is not done yet. Right. We're still seeing the squeeze happen for customers now. I, I, I, I expect them to continue to have challenges. We know many of our new customers didn't have cost-containment strategies in place.

They were just hoping putting 10 or 15 things in the health benefit plan was gonna work. It doesn't work 'cause people don't use it. You have to have a platform to help drive engagements at the last mile to the employee. You have to have something to bring your strategy to life. And so I think the challenge will be the overarching economy and how that affects plan design because something will have to give.

[00:26:34] Jennifer: Yeah.

[00:26:35] Justin: Right?

And so it's either gonna be narrow networks or increased deductibles or more complication, less coverage of, of, of medicine, right? So you're gonna have this additional, I believe, plan design challenge that more companies are gonna have this year. And that's gonna be just harder for employees every time they do that.

The amount of change management that HR has to go through with all these employees is really challenging.

[00:27:00] Jennifer: Yeah, it makes it even more challenging knowing how the labor market stands today too. Benefits are oftentimes one way that they feel is a great way to attract and retain talent. But as you said, they're at this crossroads of they can't afford to take on any more of the cost burden related to healthcare, but

they can't really afford to pass on any more costs to their employees either, and it's, it's definitely a tough position to be in, for sure.

[00:27:25] Justin: Yeah. Correct.I think it's the biggest challenge for our broker partners this year. It was at the end of last year, right? I can't, I can't talk to one broker out there who said that, oh, I had a great, I had a great renewal season. It was super simple. No, it was like, oh God. It was blood. It was blood. It was a bloodbath out there.

15% renewals across the. Right. And then everyone starts, oh, I just, I can go switch carriers, or I can go, go do this to do this. And it's like, that's not the answer the the same. You might get a deal a year, but you're gonna get, they're gonna end up getting you at some point when you make that change the fall.

[00:27:53] Jennifer: Yeah, absolutely. Well, we've talked a lot about the health part of HealthJoy, so let's, let's turn this over to the joy part and let's think

about what HealthJoy's approach to employee well-being and satisfaction is. 

[00:28:08] Justin: Start with the expectations of the consumer today is a great digital experience. So I think no matter what we do, if, if it's not, if it's not in something people want to use, they're not gonna use it. So even if I have a Ferrari, you don't know where the keys are, you're not gonna go, go, go and drive it, right?

So you have to, you have to have something that the, the experience has to be great. And the experience is not just the technology, it's also how fast we respond. It's the expectations that we set. We're very maniacal when we think about what our response times are, and what expectations we're setting within the experience. How fast we get through. 

We have to take the responsibility of all of our partners, right? No one's gonna blame x, y, or z partner if they don't have availability in rural Idaho. But we do because we're, because we're, we're the ones sitting in front. So we have to do a, we have a huge amount of monitoring that happens on our backend to understand what is that experience looking like at the member level that's happening? And so, how do we do a better job of getting in front of that? We're not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. It's really, really challenging because, you know, this, this, this space is not like, it's not like ad tech where it's a lot of tech.

It's, it's not a tech heavy industry. but it really comes down to expectations. We have, you know, nearly 200 individuals on the back end that are helping curate recommendations that are there and support needs because. You know, we work across every single plan with every single carrier, with every single PBM, and God knows how many different formats of plan, design, funding, and networks.

And so not all of that can be handled in technology. When things get really challenging for, for members, then humans are, you know, it's hard to, it's not right now, it's hard to replace that human element in those spots. And so, you know, there's a human element that is vital to driving a great experience.

You can get maybe 80% of their way digitally with technology, but you're never gonna get, you're never gonna get the full last mile without that human element and being broad. Right? I think the broadness aspect of our experience allows HR to just have a one like, oh, you have a problem? Go to HealthJoy.

Oh, we're doing this. We have HR teams put their holiday calendars in, in the app or random, you know, anything HR initiative. And it, it gives them just one simple place to tell, tell their employees like, Hey, this is how, this is how we're, you know, we're focused on it. Ultimately we believe that like healthier employees will need a healthier bottom line long term, for any organization.

So then, how do we help make sure that we're enabling our brokers, consultants, and HR team members while they're going through renewals to understand where the gaps are? You know, the claims data with programs that may make sense, you know, for the long term. Are there others, here's best practices that we see of health and wellness initiatives that may have nothing to do with HealthJoy.

But just, you know, things and how do we help get those within, within the experience. And on, on behalf of HR, because I still have not met an overstaffed HR team, still hasn't happened yet, maybe one day, but. You know, I think that that's how we, we think about it is, you know, like high level, you know, digital needs to be is important, but you can't get there without people.

[00:31:23] David: Yeah. Well, you've given us a great picture of the birth of HealthJoy and how it's grown over the last, well, gee, I guess you're coming up on 10 years now, right?

[00:31:34] Justin: 10 years.

[00:31:35] David: Wow. Congratulations.

[00:31:37] Justin: That was all my thirties. I just turned 40 a month ago. So.

[00:31:42] David: Well, good luck to you getting through the next one. But what can we expect out of you and out of HealthJoy in the future?

What's that next 10 years look like?

[00:31:53] Justin: yeah, you know, when I think about, you know, the next sequence, right? Which is when I think I think about it in kind of three-year chunks, 10 years to me is, hey, hopefully, we've, our vision is how do we make it easy, healthy, and well? How do we reduce the complexity? how do we make it so people don't say healthcare is complex, healthcare is not complex by HealthJoy.

Right? That would be okay then I, I'd say, like, we won. We'll get there in 10 years over the next three years. You know, we really understand that brokers are not just distribution in our world. The brokers, in most cases, are the customers, right? They, they're the ones, they've been outsourced this responsibility of building a plan design and making it work.

We see it as our job to have a strategy. We need to make it come to life with how the broker thinks about it, and we have to deliver that last mile to the employee. How do we help empower the broker with better decision-making upfront so they're putting their best fit forward? How do we help them retain more business?

How do we help them, you know, win more business long term? So there's a lot of intentionality that we're building within the system that's more focused on our, on our partnerships when it comes to cost containment. I mentioned Employer Direct Healthcare is our, our next one this year that we're, you know, focused on the Center of Excellence that we believe is, you know, incredibly important that how do we help, you know, drive these members. You know, people, the idea of a center of excellence where be able to get on a plane, it's really hard. People don't use it. So having a very national network where only, you know, less than 2% have to have to get on a plane, we think, could be a massive impact on the mid-market.

Doesn't exist right now, really. in a large fashion. So we think that that's a great opportunity to bring that into, into the market we're in. 

And I think, you know, ultimately, our job is to drive cost containment, drive client savings. How do we make it continue making it smarter? We have a lot of focus on trying, how do you make that Instagram-like experience, not obviously be too, you know, too, invasive.

But how do we, how do we make it so that we truly are very, very precise and adaptive? And that's a lot of the work that's happening. Well, actually coming out very, very soon, but that's some of the stuff that we're really excited about, is that, you know, making it very, very high, highly personalized, experiences is a really key point.

But, you know, you'll see for the next three years our, our job is how do we drive more cost savings? How do we take, how do we be more intentional about driving across the full continuum of cost containment? How do we make sure that we have, you know, not just coverage on your top three, what's really, probably like top seven right now, but how do we make sure we have your top 10 every single time, which is a breadth of different partners that we have to, to be really thoughtful about on bringing on, and then ultimately be a better partner to our, to our brokers that, you know, that, that we work, that we work with. 'cause ultimately that's going to drive the best possible experience for employees long term.

[00:34:31] David: Yeah. Well, I guarantee you, if you can accomplish the goal of cost containment, you will not only make brokers happy, but those employers and us, ultimately. So thank you. Good luck to you and Justin, I wanna thank you for coming on and sharing your stories about HealthJoy's past, present, and future.

[00:34:49] Justin: Cool. Thanks so much for having me. Appreciate it.

[00:34:51] David: Yeah, we are glad to have you and HealthJoy as a Springbuk Activate partner. To our listeners, just a reminder, if you wanna learn more about Springbuk Activate, you can find everything there is to know about it at our partner marketplace at 

And with that, that is it for this episode of Healthcare on the Rocks, Employee Benefits with a Twist.

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[00:35:32] Jennifer: And remember, you can find all of our previous episodes at or on your favorite podcast player. While you're loading up the other episodes, hit that subscribe button, so you certainly won't miss any of our future episodes too. Thanks so much for listening today. 

Justin, thanks again for joining us. It's been a pleasure.

[00:35:53] Justin: Yeah, thanks for having me. Appreciate it.