New York, N.Y.—Local 338 Health & Welfare Fund, a Fund affiliated with the labor union Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW (Local 338) the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union has entered into a contract with the health-care data analytics company High Line Health, the company announced Feb. 7.
“High Line will integrate Local 338’s medical and pharmacy claims into a dedicated, secure data platform that will greatly improve its reporting capabilities,” the company said in a statement. Local 338’s Health & Welfare Fund provides health-care coverage for about 7,000 members, primarily in New York and New Jersey.
“By leveraging data, our customers gain greater visibility to cost drivers and are able to make changes accordingly,” said High Line Health president Bernadette Kelleher. “We look forward to partnering with Local 338 to find new ways to manage their benefit costs.”
High Line specializes in integrating complex data from multiple insurance carriers to flag what Kelleher calls “readily identifiable” instances of high costs. Some examples, she tells LaborPress, could be people going to emergency rooms for ailments that could be handled by their regular doctor or an urgent-care facility; identifying providers that charge significantly more for certain services, such as magnetic-resonance imaging scans; and prescribing brand-name drugs instead of generic drugs. The insurance plan can then use that information to give people incentives to avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room, to try to add doctors to its network, or urge people to use in-network providers.
The data can also be used to identify medical “conditions driving the costs,” such as asthma or hypertension, Kelleher adds. The plan can then try to develop preventative or care-management programs to reduce those costs, she says.
“We’ll now be able to identify trends and patterns to improve management of benefit costs and ultimately, better serve our members,” Local 338 funds administrator Charles Hamilton said in the statement. “These trends will enable us to pinpoint members, such as someone in need of complex care, and help them receive the services they need.”