October 18, 2018

According to a rigorous independent comparison study by global professional services firm Aon, Accolade personalized advocacy enables self-insured employers to achieve substantial and sustainable healthcare cost savings - ranging from $527 to $782 per employee per year - over a matched multi-employer control group. The report, titled Accolade: The Effect of Personalized Advocacy on Claims Costs, is a single- and multi-year study that shows savings occur with Accolade across the entire employee population - all ages, conditions, health profiles and spend categories. These savings begin in year one and are sustainable over time. Accolade: The Effect of Personalized Advocacy on Claims Costs,

Designed and conducted by a highly respected team of Aon actuaries, the study compares the medical utilization and financial results of two self-insured employers using Accolade's personalized advocacy solution to a precisely matched control group selected from the IBM MarketScan® Research Database. The control group comprises some of the largest and most competitive benefits programs in the country.

“The report validates that to bend the employer healthcare cost trend, you need to engage the whole population, not just the highest cost or highest risk patients, and provide a deeply personalized experience through people and technology,” said Accolade Chief Actuary Carolyn Young. “While Aon analyzed two Accolade customers with 10,000 and more than 100,000 members, Accolade achieves cost savings for employers of any size. It is highly rewarding to have such prominent actuaries analyze and substantiate our model with such rigor and precision.”

“This analysis represents one of the most rigorous comparison studies conducted on employer healthcare cost drivers and savings,” said Aon Senior Vice President Todor Penev, Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. “The results demonstrate that Accolade's customers have experienced cost reductions through personalized advocacy beyond what typical employers have accomplished for the same period. Additionally, both employers were able to maintain higher than average plan design richness while utilizing Accolade without resorting to high-deductible plan strategies, resulting in more conservative cost reductions reported in the study.”

Inside Accolade Healthcare Cost Savings

To achieve significant cost savings, Accolade personalized advocacy uses a people plus technology approach that blends compassionate Health Assistants, clinical expertise, intelligent technologies and integrated partner solutions to assist people in obtaining the right care at the right time. Accolade provides highly personalized healthcare support, improving health outcomes and the employee experience while reducing costs for individuals and their employers. With tightly integrated clinical support, Accolade delivers savings across the entire population - not just the highest cost members - which is a critical factor in reducing healthcare costs, the study shows.

The Aon study found significant cost savings across both medical and Rx spend and the entire employee populations. Findings include:

  • Accolade saved between $527 and $782 per employee per year across the entire population, as compared to the matched control group, spread across multiple conditions, health profiles, ages, and risk categories.
  • Employer A - For the population of approximately 10,000 members, Aon found Accolade had lower healthcare costs by 6.5% or $782 per employee per year as compared to the matched control group.
  • Employer B - For the population of more than 100,000 members, Aon found Accolade sustained multi-year savings resulting in 2016 cost being 4.7% or $527 per employee per year lower than those for the control group. This result corresponds to an annualized trend rate of 1.3% vs 3.8% for the control group between 2014 and 2016.
  • Savings occurred across the entire population, as evidenced by cost reductions across a wide distribution of diseases and conditions - those with zero, one or multiple chronic conditions, and higher cost members.
  • Employers using Accolade are achieving material healthcare cost savings even without increasing deductibles or other cost control measures that are challenging for employees.
  • Savings for each Accolade customer are unique, reflecting Accolade's ability to adapt to each employer's distinctive population, care needs, benefit plan designs, socioeconomic footprints and demographics.
  • Reductions in cost for Employer A were driven by lowered inpatient, outpatient and professional medical spend compared to control.
  • Reductions in cost for Employer B were lowered by outpatient facility spend, lower outpatient professional spend, and lower pharmacy spend for brand and specialty drugs. In fact, spending on brand-name drugs for Employer B was 22% less than the control group.

About the Study - Rigorous Matched Design

Aon designed and conducted a meticulous and innovative study that individually matched 99.8% of more than 100,000 individual Accolade members to three most similar members from the IBM MarketScan Research Database. This matching process resulted in a comprehensive individually matched study design, creating alike cohorts with respect to more than 20 geographic and demographic variables and comorbid conditions.

The study analyzed Employer A medical utilization and financial results in 2016 and Employer B medical utilization and financial results from 2014-2016. Aon did not explicitly adjust for plan design richness and induced utilization, yet such an adjustment would have resulted in even greater reported cost reductions, as both Employer A and B maintained materially higher benefit richness compared to the control groups.

To see the complete Aon study or to discuss the report and findings with our team, please visit: