Client Stories: Alex Lee – HR Leaders, Brokers and Employees

Founded 87 years ago, Alex Lee is a family-owned self-insured business with 10,000 employees. The company, which owns Lowes Foods and MDI, began offering Bluebook to its employees in 2017.

Robert Vipperman – Chief Strategy Officer and Chief People Officer: The nature of the culture attracted me to Alex Lee. There’s a deep history of taking care of the employee, caring about the employee as a total human being.

My name is Robert Vipperman. I’m the chief people officer and chief strategy officer here at Alex Lee.

I noticed from the beginning that Alex Lee was truly interested in the employee’s welfare broadly. Coming in, while the benefits landscape and the offerings were solid, the good news is the team had a hunger to do more and I think actually Healthcare Bluebook fits well in that regard.

Kim Davis – Senior Director of Compensation and Benefits: Alex Lee’s been on a journey probably like most companies with their healthcare benefits. We had a really rich benefit plan where employees would use the plan and it took care of their families. They only had to pay their co-pay.

We started talking about that we’re self-insured. It’s actually you and your fellow employees paying for those claims. We had to make a decision as a company. We felt like we needed something to help employees understand the costs and the transparency.

Robert Vipperman: We have some experience with dealing with the carrier tools, and they were fine and they were basic, but they didn’t have the user stickiness that made the person actually want to use them, to get in there, to play with them to adopt the usage of the tool.

Kim Davis: There was a Wall Street Journal article on Healthcare Bluebook and how you guys stood out differently than any other players in the platform.

Bob McGalliard – Broker/Consultant: One of the things that Healthcare Bluebook brought to the table was a very easy tool that was both easy for an employer to understand but also very easy for an employee to understand.

Robert Vipperman: Healthcare Bluebook has significant improvements in terms of clarity, ease of use, and almost that video game-like reward for using it, so I’d say yes, we’ve used those tools other places, but they haven’t been a simple and intuitive solution prior. I’ve heard dozens of employee stories, of people shocked as they get into the tool, look at their options, see the differences in quality and price, and it’s just great to see them interested and actually excited to make informed decisions.

Kim Davis: Really, what has resonated more is employees talking about it. Word of mouth has been the biggest thing. Folks talking about how much a procedure cost and how much they save.

Cindy Blackburn – Alex Lee Employee at Lowes Foods: My name is Cindy Blackburn. I work for Lowes Foods in Wilkesboro. My husband had a triple A aneurysm. One of the places that they sent my husband for a CT scan was in the Bluebook and I received a check about a month and a half later for $25. And I was like, this is a joke. Something ain’t right here, and I actually called the number and sure enough it was real. That’s how I started using the Bluebook, and I’ve used it for every procedure that he’s had.

Robert Vipperman: I think all of us have been surprised how quickly the tool’s been adopted by the employees, how intuitive it is to use, and then how quickly we’ve seen the financial impacts. In year one, it’s been substantial.

Cindy Blackburn: If you have a procedure that costs $3,000–which some of those CT scans are at the hospital–and you go and you look up on the Bluebook and there’s a company that might charge you $1,000, that’s a very good savings for the company.

Robert Vipperman: Healthcare Bluebook has been one of the most powerful tools we’ve ever employed in healthcare. It helps focus on quality and also on cost retention in a way that’s really been powerful for us. I wouldn’t really endorse very many things, and I would happily do that for Healthcare Bluebook.