Partner, President

As a business leader, there are an overwhelming number of options out there for how to insure your business. However, what about providing great business strategies that offer excellent employee benefits and being involved with like-minded leaders across the country to brainstorm innovative solutions? In this installation of CenterStage, Chris Johnson, the JA Benefits President and a Partner, offers company founders a viable alternative – healthcare purchasing coalitions (HPCs). 

HPCs have a major, fundamental requirement: participants typically all have pro-active leadership who are tired of the status-quo benefit plans and related results. 

Common misconceptions are that member organizations need to be in similar industries, geographical locations or have a common association membership. Coalition members maintain the ability to create customized, individual, strategic plans for their company benefits, while maximizing savings through the power of group purchasing. Additionally, HPCs allow for unused premium dollars to be returned to coalition members. Members are united in their commitment to leveraging cost savings strategies, having a shared passion for actively improving how things work, and not accepting status quo benefits as the only option. 

Chris commented, “HPCs are comprised of like-minded, business leaders looking to become more proactive in their plans. These coalitions are not just another tool for financing healthcare expenses; they’re about a journey toward continuously predictable results for employers and seamlessly improving the member experience.”

Eligibility & Advocacy 

Besides having the willingness to become self-insured, it’s critical to recognize three general rules:

  • Adopt Appropriate Strategies for the Market. Such as optimizing prescription drug purchasing through high performing pharmacy benefit managers, providing advanced biometric screenings, and access to direct primary care. Business leaders should be willing to adapt to their market through beneficial, high-quality strategies.
  • Have a High-Preforming Pharmacy Manager. Business leaders should provide the best of the best to their employees, allowing them to offer those services at a value price because of their involvement with the coalition. Chris said, “For JA Benefits, we work with several PBMs, providing unique, custom solutions to our clients.”
  • Protect the Coalition. A well-run coalition seeks business leaders who are willing to not only leverage processes that proactively manage risks today, but who also are pursuing continuous improvement in the future.

There are two ways to look at advocacy for HPC – the organization experience and the member experience.

  • For an organization, it’s about looking for more than a quick plan fix, having continuous plan evolution in mind and focusing more on the long-term solutions. Organizations with that mindset can join a HPC and be guided through accomplishments and milestones that enable company success.
  • For the members, it’s about engagement. Health Plan members will only experience the positive impacts of the coalition; sustainable plan costs, lower prescription drug costs, and improved care coordination. Their HPC works hard to do everything possible to provide value inside each program offered. HPCs aim to create a path of least resistance for their employees to get the highest quality care, at the right time, and at a value price.

Chris expressed, “When an employee needs clarity or help walking through different steps of how to get the most out of their plan, we create a path and provide services to help lower costs. There’s an expectation that being in a Coalition causes difficulties, but the reality is the exact opposite. Difficulty only arises if a member or organization isn’t willing to step away from the status quo, and in that case, they wouldn’t be in the coalition anyway.”

Ultimately, the healthcare purchasing coalition strategy can disrupt the status quo, predictably lowering long-term plan costs while enhancing the employee’s experience.

If you’d like to sit with Chris and talk more on healthcare purchasing coalitions, please contact him at 812.329.6050 or send him an email at