Zing will use tech and a personal touch to elevate the patient-provider relationship and alleviate barriers that impact its members’ well-being.
Zing Health Choice IL, a new community-focused, tech-enabled Medicare Advantage HMO plan available to Cook County residents starting in 2020, will feature a hands-on and data-driven approach offering members personal guidance through the complicated and stressful process of optimizing their health. All Cook County residents 65 and up can sign up for the plan, an HMO alternative to Original Medicare, during the open enrollment period from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, 2019 at myzinghealth.com or through Zing Health’s toll-free help line (866-946-4458).
“We believe that the U.S. healthcare system often focuses on the wrong priorities. Academic studies show over 80% of a patient’s health is determined by factors other than the clinical health services they receive,” Zing CEO Dr. Eric Whitaker said. “Instead, it’s critical to improve our members’ social determinants of health, such as their access to family and friends, transportation, housing and nutritious food.”
Zing Health’s team of caregivers takes the time to get to know members’ health needs and goals, coordinates with acute care providers and follows up on transportation, prescriptions, home care and other needs. The plan features community ambassadors and easy-access provider organizations and hospitals. Additionally, Zing Health’s clinical team will partner with hospitals to coordinate timely procedures and optimize discharge practices. By working closely with providers in the Cook County-Chicago Metro Area, Zing Health aims to remove authorization barriers and give doctors more support in delivering care and guiding outcomes.
Primary care visits are provided at no cost, and unlike other Medicare Advantage plans, Zing Health offers an annual limit on out-of-pocket costs. Part D prescription drug coverage is included, plus extras such as comprehensive dental; routine eye exams, foot care and hearing exams; fitness and weight management programs; and services that foster patient wellbeing and completion rates such as non-emergency transportation, in-home safety devices and strategies to address food insecurity and other social determinants of health.
Zing Health’s focus on utilizing technology to assess social determinants of health (SDOH) will be foundational in their plan; they will use the data to improve health outcomes and lower the cost of care. Technology will enable Zing to provide actionable information to the physicians and care teams so they can deliver better member care and improve population health management. “We will co-locate care teams with community partners to collect real-time, on-the-ground data about our members. This will help our members achieve the best health possible by ensuring they can access convenient, effective and comprehensive care,” Whitaker said.
Health experts will work in the community to create individual healthcare plans, answer members’ questions and make sure they’re getting the right care at the right time. Zing Health clinical teams will address contributing SODH issues such as housing quality, food availability, access to transportation and racial and gender inequality—for example, making house calls to identify asthma triggers. Members’ health team includes not only the medical provider but a nurse, behavioral health specialist and community health worker, plus a 24-hour Nurse Advice line and access to telehealth video services. By partnering with community organizations and clinics, Zing Health’s clinical care teams can connect members to lower cost or overlooked local services.
Zing Health is physician-led organization co-founded by Health2047 Inc., a business formation and commercialization enterprise founded by the American Medical Association to address issues in chronic care, value-based care, data and productivity. Its founding team has professional ties to the Chicago community in clinical care, program development, public health and academic research. Whitaker established the first Black men’s clinic in the United States and led UChicago Medicine’s Urban Health Initiative to improve access to quality health care on Chicago’s South Side. He founded Zing Health with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ken Alleyne, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon.
Seniors can get more information at Zing Health’s website, myzinghealth.com. Its call center at (866) 946-4458 will be staffed seven days a week from October 1 to March 31 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
As an approved 2019-2020 Medicare Advantage option, information on Zing Health Choice IL (HMO) also will be available on October 1st and through medicare.gov and getcovered.illinois.gov. Medicare patients can also change plans through licensed sales agents, and get advice from local family support organizations,
Social Security offices or the Illinois Department of Aging’s Senior Health Insurance Program.