HealthJoy Co-Founder Named to “40 Under 40”

HealthJoy Co-Founder Named to “40 Under 40”

HealthJoy’s Co-founder and CEO Justin Holland was recognized as one of the year’s top Chicago business leaders. Justin was named to Crain’s Chicago’s “40 Under 40,” an annual list of the city’s brightest business minds.

The “40 Under 40” shortlist was handpicked to reflect the diversity of Chicago’s business community and highlight the accomplishments and contributions of its leaders. Over its storied 30-year history, Crain’s Chicago has singled out leaders like President Barack Obama, Oprah, Chance the Rapper, and Chef Stephanie Izard.

“I’m honored to have been selected for the “40 Under 40,” especially given the incredible accomplishments of the other winners,” Justin said. “HealthJoy’s impressive benefits experience platform is changing the conversation around employee healthcare and benefits. We are making a huge difference in lowering healthcare costs while keeping things simple. This award is purely a reflection of the entire team’s accomplishment.”

Justin, a graduate of MIT, is a serial entrepreneur who had three major exits before founding HealthJoy. Prior to starting HealthJoy, Justin founded OpenInstall, which was sold to AVG; and FreeCause, which was sold to Rakuten.

In the Crain’s profile, Justin highlighted how refreshing it is to build a company that will succeed because of its ability to change lives.

“It’s different being able to come into work every day and, ultimately, our company’s future and growth depends on how much we help people. That’s an easy thing to get behind,” Justin said.

Read Justin’s full profile and learn about his fellow honorees on Crain’s Chicago Business.

Looking to 2020 growth

HealthJoy is a first-of-its-kind benefits experience platform helping companies save money while improving employee satisfaction. Through personalized guidance and AI technology, we empower employees to better use and understand their benefits.

HealthJoy keeps employees engaged and educated year-round, meaning fewer questions for HR and a better employee benefits experience. JOY even handles personalized engagement campaigns to keep benefits top-of-mind. Using transparent pricing in every recommendation, HealthJoy is empowering employees to become healthcare shoppers and fundamentally changing the dynamics of healthcare.

HealthJoy grew 600% in 2018 and doubled its headcount in 2019. With more than 200 employees spread across five offices, we expect to continue our trend of exponential growth in the coming year. Key departments including sales, engineering, and customer success will be a hiring focus over the next year.

Want to join our team? Check our list of open positions and learn more about HealthJoy’s company culture here.

The First Step in Handling Employee Substance Abuse

The First Step in Handling Employee Substance Abuse

In the years since I began opening up about my own family’s struggle with substance abuse, I’ve found that nearly everyone I know has a similar story. Nearly 21 million Americans, or 6.5% of us, have at least one addiction. Of those friends, family members, and coworkers, only about 10% will receive treatment.

As an employer, you might think that helping workers cope with substance abuse or addiction is beyond your scope. Maybe you worry that it’s too personal, just none of your business, or simply too big a problem for your company to tackle.

Getting our arms around substance abuse won’t be easy, but the workplace should try. Your employees spend one-third of their lives at work. That means you’re likely to see the effects of substance abuse in low productivity, absenteeism, increased sick leave, and distraction. More importantly, you’ll see the human toll that substance abuse exacts on your employees, their family, and your coworkers.

To offer help, many companies turn to Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s’). No, an EAP won’t solve the problem. But it can offer an entry point for employees to begin to seek treatment. In this post, we’ll discuss how EAP’s can tackle workplace substance abuse and offer our best tips for maximizing this benefit.

How does workplace substance abuse look?

The American Psychiatric Association defines addiction, or severe substance use disorder, as a complex brain disorder resulting in compulsive substance use. Those with a substance abuse problem or addiction are more likely to deal with health problems, face financial difficulties, and struggle with personal relationships. As their work performance suffers, the cycle of stress and abuse continues. That said, substance abuse and addiction don’t always fit the profiles we’ve come to expect. For example:

  • Most Americans who drink don’t do it in moderation. The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health, published in 2016, found that slightly more than half of Americans who consume alcohol binge drink (for women, binge drinking means having 4 or more drinks at a time, and for men, it’s 5), and one in 8 are heavy users (meaning they binge drink 5 or more times per month).
  • Rates of alcohol and drug use rise with increased levels of income and education. White-collar urban employees might lean on alcohol or illegal drugs to wind down after long hours at their desk. In general, jobs with higher rates of stress—across every industry—also have higher rates of drug and alcohol use.
  • About 130 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses. Rural communities, where many people struggle with job loss and falling wages, have been hit especially hard. This problem isn’t limited to rural communities, though, as 71% of US employers say they’re affected by employees misusing prescription medication.

As you build out your employee benefits package, don’t avoid creating a strategy to compassionately address substance abuse and addiction. All the free snacks and transit benefits in the world can’t help a struggling employee. Instead, let’s discuss how EAP’s can point your employees toward recovery.

EAP’s and substance abuse

Supporting employees through substance abuse might seem like an insurmountable obstacle, especially for small businesses. But an EAP benefit is usually a relatively affordable solution. Employee Assistance Programs are confidential and typically address mental health, stress, substance abuse, or family and marital problems through assessments, short-term counseling, and referrals. They’re effective, too.

In a study of one short-term counseling program, participants reported improvements in alcohol use and absenteeism after just 30 days. In the same program, 69.4% went from low or moderate productivity to high productivity during that period (see our post Does Short-Term Counseling Really Work?).

When an employee is struggling with substance abuse, their supervisor or coworkers might not know how to help. Referring to an EAP is a helpful first step. Employee Assistance Programs may also be a good entry point for more severe mental health and substance abuse concerns. In these cases, your employees will likely need longer-term, structured treatment plans that aren’t available within your EAP. An EAP counselor can help employees take the first steps toward recovery by pointing them to resources within the mental health and substance abuse (MHSA) component of a medical program.

Helping employees make the most of EAP

It’s a safe bet that you’re already offering an EAP; in 2019, 79% of employers polled by SHRM did. If so, it’s essential to ask whether your employees are using this benefit. Do they even know it exists?

Employees struggling with substance abuse may be wary of coming to their manager, coworker, or even HR about their concerns. They may worry that they can’t afford to seek help on a high-deductible health plan. It’s essential they know they aren’t alone and can always access a confidential, low-cost option like an EAP.

Relying on traditional benefits education and delivery methods isn’t enough. Some estimates put EAP utilization as low as 7%, and studies of other widely-offered benefits bare out the idea that awareness is low (see Why Employees Don’t Use Your EAP Program for more). A Gallup study found that more than 85% of large employers offer a wellness program, but 40% of their employees aren’t aware that the plan exists. You want your EAP to be an exception to that rule because this offering, perhaps more than anything else on your benefits roster, can change lives.

So, where do you start?

  • Create a plan to highlight offerings beyond OE. If employees only vaguely remember hearing about a benefit during a meeting, they won’t know to turn to it for help with a mental health or substance abuse problem.
  • Don’t rely on traditional communications channels. Ever sent a message about the EAP outside open enrollment? There’s no time like the present! Considered sending a push notification or SMS about this benefit? Go for it! The more you remind employees, the more likely they are to call on this service when they need it most. Read our post “The Best Benefits Engagement Tool You Haven’t Used Yet,” to learn more.
  • Make sure employees understand their EAP. Remind them—in all your communications—that it’s confidential, inexpensive, and requires no prior approval. Asking for help is already tough enough. Make it simpler by assuaging their fears and explaining the EAP process.
  • As an organization, work to remove the stigma associated with treatment. Share stories of the ways your EAP has helped employees. When someone celebrates their sobriety on social media, stand behind them and be vocal in your support.

If your company is one of the few in the US that doesn’t already offer an EAP, it’s high time to hop on board. Combined with a compassionate approach and organizational support, it’s a significant first step toward coping with substance abuse and addiction and improving life for struggling employees.

The Best Benefits Engagement Tool You Haven’t Used

The Best Benefits Engagement Tool You Haven’t Used

To make the most of their benefits outside of open enrollment, your employees need a more natural way to turn information into action. Yet your traditional delivery methods—benefits booklets, posters, email campaigns—aren’t cutting it. Instead, consider adding mobile notifications to your toolkit.

Whether you choose push notifications or an SMS strategy, we’ll clue you in on a secret: mobile notifications are the best benefits engagement tool you’re not using.

Notifications are the new communication standard

To understand why notifications are useful, you only have to look at a crowd of commuters, grocery shoppers, or coffee shop patrons. Nearly all Americans now own cellphones, according to the Pew Research Center. Of that number, 81% own smartphones.

We’re used to being pinged, prodded, and notified by our devices. We use them as alarm clocks and egg timers. They remind us to download our favorite podcast and let us know when it’s time to leave for work. In other words, they’re part of our lives in a way print materials never were.

Unlike paper communications, mobile notifications prompt users to take direct action. Sure, emails can serve the same purpose. They’re also easily lost in our inboxes. Notifications cut through the noise.

A Localytics study found that app users who receive push notifications had 53% more sessions than app users who didn’t get notifications. SMS notifications equally compel users. A study in the UK found that 98% of mobile users will read a branded or business-based text communication—90% within the first 3 minutes. Those statistics blow even the most optimistic email open rates out of the water.

Since it’s a good bet that every single one of your US employees has a mobile phone, notifications as a benefits engagement tool are pretty darn valuable.

Notifications prompt action

Here’s the thing: to make the most of the benefits package you put together, your employees have to remember to use it.

Sure, if your open enrollment education campaign went well, they should know they can save money by switching to a preferred pharmacy or completing their wellness exam. Actually calling the pharmacy or scheduling that exam may be a different story.

We already know that notifications can remind us to make better choices. It’s something wellness apps have used to great success. For instance, when you enable push notifications for the Fitbit app on your smartphone, you’ll get messages throughout the day, reminding you to move more.

Calm, a meditation app, enables a daily push notification reminding users to take a break and meditate. Apps like AloeBud are almost entirely built around custom push notifications reminding you to drink water, take your medication, or get up and stretch. Even iPhone’s bedtime feature makes use of push notifications to help us make good on “get more sleep” resolution.

These apps rely on the idea that push notifications drive action merely by reminding us they exist. We can apply the same concepts to benefits delivery apps. When push notifications drive users back to a centralized benefits experience platform, they can also save users the work of tracking down phone numbers, plan details, and other necessary minutia.

If your benefits exist outside an app, you can still take advantage of the power of notifications by using SMS messages as a benefits engagement tool. Though more straightforward than a push notification, SMS messages can contain much of the same information. When they include a web link, they’re just as equipped to drive action back to a site. Your employees may even be more likely to opt in to SMS notifications than to allow them from an app.

That may be one reason that, even as smartphones and app technology advances, marketers are returning to SMS messages to promote deals, offer discounts, and drive traffic directly to their sites.

Notifications drive benefits engagement

We’ve found the combination of push notifications and a centralized, app-based benefits experience is a one-two punch for year-round benefits engagement.

Let’s say a user hasn’t engaged in the HealthJoy app for 30 days. They get a push notification with a short message: “Are you maintaining your vision?” Perhaps they’ve been putting off their annual eye exam, all while ending the day with headaches and eye strain. They click through to the HealthJoy app, where our virtual assistant, JOY, guides them through a journey to schedule an eye exam using their employee benefits.

Over the course of a few minutes, they’ve learned why eye exams are critical to health, their plan’s specific coverages, and maybe even booked an appointment. This process takes only a few minutes of our members’ time, but it significantly improves our engagement rates and our clients’ employee satisfaction.

If you aren’t yet using a benefits experience platform, you should still take advantage of the power of mobile notifications. Your email marketing client or intranet provider might already offer SMS messaging, or you can employ a third-party service. Send an SMS message reminding your employees when it’s time to schedule a biometric screening, ping users who haven’t yet elected benefits during open enrollment, or include information about flu shots. Off the OE cycle, you might use SMS to promote a mid-year wellness initiative or remind employees to make HSA contributions.

The bottom line: mobile notifications are the best benefits engagement tool you’re not using yet. Whether you use push notifications to drive users to a benefits experience app or employ an SMS strategy, notifications are a surefire way to make your employees sit up and take notice. Thanks to their flexibility, affordability, and relatively high open rates, they deserve a place in your year-round benefits education strategy.

This Benefit is Vital for Rural Employees

This Benefit is Vital for Rural Employees

Keeping your rural employees healthy might be harder than ever before. Primary care is sparse in rural areas, and specialists are even less common. Hospitals are closing even as the population increases for the first time in nearly a decade.

When getting basic care means spending hours in the car, the health of your rural workers suffers. Amid these challenges, how can employers keep employees happy and healthy while lowering their healthcare spend?

Telemedicine is one solution. In this post, we’ll explain how it can provide much-needed care for rural employees and why it’s essential to your rural workforce.

Why access matters

Rural populations finally ticked up in 2018, but that trend followed eight years of decline, the first rural population decline in the nation’s history. As the number of people living outside urban centers shrank, the number of rural hospitals did, too. Right now, one-third are at risk of closure, according to the National Rural Health Association.

Nearly 20% of the population of the United States lives in rural communities. Yet the population of primary care physicians—the doctors who administer preventive care, treat sinus infections, and generally take care of us when we’re sick—isn’t meeting their needs.

There are only about 40 primary care physicians per 100,000 residents in rural areas, as compared with 53 per 100,000 in urban areas. Without local primary care services, many rural residents rely on hospitals as centers of care. Lack of choice means higher healthcare spending.

It also means worse health outcomes. Living far from medical care keeps people from getting the help they need. Rural employees may skip essential wellness exams or flu shots. They could also miss necessary screenings, ignore dangerous symptoms, or avoid treatment for chronic illnesses. All these behaviors stack up to create an unhealthy workforce, higher individual costs, and greater plan charges.

High prices climb even higher when rural employees do seek attention without finding the best option. Telemedicine can’t replace in-person care. But this valuable virtual benefit can serve as a first-call option for medical concerns— especially in rural communities.

In general, we find that telemedicine keeps healthcare costs low. Telemedicine can help the parent with a sick child who might have to drive hours—or visit a costly ER—to see a doctor in person.

In urban communities, an ER visit can mean a short trip and a bill for thousands of dollars. In rural communities, it can mean hours driving for care and still getting socked with that bill. As hospitals continue to close, savings from telemedicine is likely to become even more significant.

How telemedicine works for rural employees

Without enough doctors in rural communities, telehealth solutions are a popular way to offer virtual care without additional onsite doctors. This telemedicine technology can take many forms. For instance, telehealth solutions might allow local doctors to consult with specialists from isolated locations, or mental health counselors to work with an under-served population from a community center telehealth station.

Telehealth differs from telemedicine, which is an individual benefit often provided by employers. So, how might a telemedicine benefit the health of your rural workforce?

Unlike the advanced telehealth technology used in hospitals, telemedicine is widely accessible. It makes use of a device already in hand for most employees—the smartphone or tablet. We know that Americans of every generation have adopted this technology with zeal. Many seniors prefer to communicate with smartphones (see Why Baby Boomers are Flocking to Healthcare Apps for more).

Most telemedicine benefits exist in an app. Some even offer patients the opportunity to upload photos of visible symptoms. That gives telemedicine services the flexibility of face-to-face chat. Medical professionals can diagnose and treat illnesses by phone, even prescribing medication where appropriate.

Telemedicine can step into the gap to answer late-night questions and address concerns. In some cases, your rural employees may still need urgent care, a specialist, or an in-person visit. But for non-emergent concerns like ear infections, flu symptoms, and headaches, treatment can come from a face-to-face chat on their phones. Best of all, telemedicine costs less (often, nothing at all) than a visit to a traditional primary care provider, and represents incredible cost savings over an ER visit (see Why Telemedicine Use is Skyrocketing for more).

Of course, rural employees have to make use of their telemedicine offerings. That’s where a strong benefits communication strategy—during open enrollment and beyond—becomes essential (see How to Simplify Benefits Communication for Open Enrollment for more).

How HealthJoy increases telemedicine use

Choosing to roll a telemedicine benefit into your healthcare plan can fuel your cost-containment strategies (see HealthJoy Accelerates Your Cost Containment Strategy for more). If you employ a rural workforce, it can markedly improve access to medical care and, in turn, employee satisfaction.

HealthJoy’s telemedicine benefit boasts one of the highest rates of utilization in the industry, and we’ve learned a lot about promoting this valuable benefit.

For one thing, we emphasize telemedicine use beyond OE using custom notifications. For example, we might send an educational journey using JOY (our virtual assistant) reminding members about telemedicine a few months after OE. We also target members who haven’t engaged in the app for a few weeks, leading them through a journey that encourages understanding of their benefits and drives utilization.

With HealthJoy as your benefits experience platform, your employees gain a deeper understanding of the package you worked hard to build. That means that, when a medical need arises, they’re primed to make a decision that’s in their best interest. The result is better cost-containment, higher employee satisfaction, and a benefits experience your rural employees will love.

Want to learn more? Download our Telemedicine Buyer’s Guide e-book for step-by-step instructions on selecting the right telemedicine benefit for your rural employees.

HealthJoy Wins Best Tech Startup Award

HealthJoy Wins Best Tech Startup Award

We’re thrilled to reveal that HealthJoy was awarded the title of 2019 Best Tech Startup at Tech in Motion’s annual Timmy Awards ceremony. HealthJoy beat out its Chicago competitors to clinch the “Community Favorite” award, securing its status as the top place for tech professionals to work in Chicago.

Tech in Motion’s Timmy Awards recognizes incredible tech workplaces in ten cities across North America. We’ve strived to create a truly special workplace, but it’s nice to be recognized— especially since the Timmy title places HealthJoy among the ranks of previous winners like Audible,, Venmo, TripAdvisor, SAP, Salesforce, Casper and Asana.

“Through the Timmy Awards, we’re thrilled to recognize the startups cultivating innovation not just through their product or service, but in their everyday work environment and culture,” said Mandy Walker, Director of Marketing at Motion Recruitment, creator of Tech in Motion.

Striking that balance at HealthJoy was no mean feat in 2019, as we more than doubled our Chicago office with 50 new hires. We expect to welcome even more new teammates in 2020.

Our President and Co-founder, Doug Morse-Schindler, said maintaining an award-winning company culture amid such rapid expansion meant prioritizing our mission and values. Doug thanked the HealthJoy team and said he wasn’t surprised to see us winning big.

“HealthJoy’s company culture is outstanding because of our people. We share a set of common values and a deep sense of purpose,” Doug said. “I’m delighted to see the Chicago tech community recognize that with a Timmy Award.”

As a mission-driven, talented group, we’re motivated to take our product to the next level. We’re changing the employee benefits space by creating a centralized benefits platform that’s driven by AI technology and backed by live, personalized guidance. HealthJoy empowers employees to make the most of their benefits, meaning our clients see higher employee satisfaction, simplified cost containment, and fewer questions for HR.

That’s an incredibly motivating mission. Like most of you, we’re also motivated by a workplace stocked with on-tap nitro cold brew, company happy hours, High Five Fridays, and office dogs. Sound like fun? Good, because we’re hiring! Find out more on our careers page.