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MedBen Turns 80 Today


MedBen Turns 80 Today

May 8 marks MedBen’s 80th Anniversary! Originally Hospital Service Association (HSA) of Licking County, we started out with two employees and a goal to provide employers and individuals with affordable health care coverage. And while our numbers have grown quite a bit since then, the goal remains unchanged.

MedBen 80th Anniversary

When HSA of Licking County (later HSA of Ohio) opened its doors in 1938, our business model was rather straightforward – we covered a plan member's hospital room and board, general nursing services, and drugs and dressing for up to 21 days per year. No coverage for physician or surgical fees, but at least the price was right: just a monthly premium of 60 cents for individual service (80 cents if you preferred a private room).

As we expanded our coverage to include such benefits as maternity, oxygen, and x-rays, we learned more about the specific health concerns of employer groups and how to best balance benefits and cost considerations. And it was this knowledge that ultimately led to our 1987 transition to a mutual life insurance company that provided comprehensive major medical care, including coverage of doctor charges.

Trust Building

MedBen Chairman & CEO Doug Freeman oversaw the changeover and has been instrumental in setting MedBen's direction for the past 31 years. "If our first 50 years of growth were slow but steady, I would say the last 30 were faster but focused," Freeman said. "We have always had a desire to find better solutions for our clients and expand our services to meet a wider range of employer needs."

MedBen has moved away from traditional fully-insured group coverage to offer of variety of benefits management services to self-funded employers, including third party administration and consumer-driven products like FSAs and HRAs. More recently, we introduced WellLiving, a worksite wellness program that promoted preventive care – and alters the way that employers see their health plan, says MedBen President & COO Kurt Harden.

"It's no longer just about, 'What benefits can we offer to our employees when they're sick,' to 'What steps can we take to help employees stay healthy in the first place?" said Harden, who joined MedBen in 1991 and was named President in 2012. "By approaching health coverage from a perspective of preventing disease or detecting it as early as possible, you cultivate a healthier workplace while reducing care costs."

As the business of health care has changed in the last decade, so too has MedBen. With the 2015 rollout of our MedBen Analytics service, we’ve been proactive in addressing the expected switch from fee-for-service provider payments to value-based care reimbursement. And this year, we’ve revamped our prescription drug program to address rising Rx costs by paying for drugs based on the actual pharmacy cost, rather than an inflated wholesale price.

Still, however significant this milestone may be on its own terms, it also serves as a reminder to everyone at MedBen that we play a role in the company's history... and it is our responsibility to ensure that MedBen will continue to maintain the reputation for quality, dependability, and innovation that has been established by every employee that has preceded us. Then as now, we take the business of benefits management seriously, and constantly strive to provide our customers with the best service possible.

To everyone who has shaped our last 80 years, we thank you for your contributions to our success. And to all the people we've served, we thank you for your trust and your friendship. Here's to 80 more!

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