November 1, 2018

Expanding Service Offerings to Further Reduce Employer Health Costs

With a combined total of 80-plus years providing employee health benefits and services to employer groups, Western Growers Assurance Trust together with Pinnacle Claims Management continue to find additional ways to help employers save money on their health care costs each year. Below are some of the services that we have added or expanded upon in recent years:

Western Growers Assurance Trust (WGAT)

When WGAT launched in 1957, our mission was to give Western Growers members an affordable option for health care benefits by offering highly customizable benefit plans to meet their diverse needs. Six decades later, we are still committed to our original mission but continue to expand health benefit services to meet the growing needs of our clients. This includes:

•   Providing telehealth services. WGAT participants can speak with a board-certified physician or mental health professional to treat common ailments on their own schedule and at a lower cost than other care options. When employees utilize telehealth services, it reduces employer health costs by minimizing excess trips to urgent care or the emergency room. The coordination of lab services was recently added for further convenience.

•   Expanding our Cedar Network. Throughout California, we continue to expand our list of network providers and health centers as the need arises. We also have our own Cedar Health and Wellness Centers located in Oxnard, Santa Maria, Salinas and Watsonville. For nearly a decade, the Cedar Network has been an effective way for employers in the agriculture industry to offer basic health coverage and prevention care to employees at a low premium cost. WGAT was the first association health plan to create a proprietary network in response to the elimination of mini-medical plans by the Affordable Care Act. It remains a popular option, especially for employers with seasonal harvesters.

•   Adding services at our Centers. The Cedar Centers offer additional services for WGAT participants such as free annual flu shots at all locations and X-ray procedures at the Watsonville location for a $25 copay. In 2018, we recently added a private room and telehealth equipment in our Oxnard Center so local WGAT participants with a specialty condition no longer need to travel long distances to see a specialty provider. Participants can also have a video visit with a psychologist or psychiatrist.

•   Increasing communications. WGAT is committed to educating our valued employer clients on utilizing their WGAT plan, as well as sharing industry news on what changes may affect them. In 2015, we further enhanced our employer communications program by creating and distributing a quarterly employer newsletter (and two-page participant version) entitled WGAT Your Service.

Pinnacle Claims Management (PCMI)

PCMI was launched in 1996 to assist mid- to large-sized employer groups that wanted to self-fund their health benefit plans. PCMI works as a third party administrator and takes the burden off employers to administer a more flexible health plan. In the years since, we continue to expand our services to offer employers more ways to save through self-funding. For example, our clients can upgrade their plans and take advantage of Pinnacle’s affiliate companies to help them save in the areas of:

•  Pharmacy costs. PinnacleRx Solutions (PRxS) is a full-service pharmacy benefit manager that helps lower a company’s pharmacy costs while improving the quality of benefits available to employees. Through PRxS, employers receive a number of tools, reporting capabilities and solutions to help them better manage rising employee pharmacy costs. PinnacleRx Solutions is a full service.

•  High medical costs. Through Pinnacle Health Management (PHM), employers can reduce high medical costs by implementing care management and/or wellness programs. PHM employs nurses who are available to help employees with chronic conditions including asthma, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking cessation, weight management, and the recent addition of pain management and depression. PHM also added free genetic testing to participants in the care management program. Through our partner, Rxight Medicine Testing, participants will receive a free medical testing kit (valued at $300) to test which medicines are right for them and which to avoid based on their unique genetic composition.

•  Printing and credit card transactions costs. One of our newest companies, Pinnacle Print and Transaction Solutions, provides cost-effective solutions so employers can save on print services, such as ID cards and employee enrollment forms, and on e-payments transaction costs for claims paid by virtual credit cards.

To receive more information on the WGAT health plan or if you are interested in purchasing the plan, contact Western Growers Insurance Trust at (800) 333-4WGA. If you are interested in Pinnacle Claims Management or any of its affiliate companies, please contact [email protected].