Modern healthcare is full of promises that don’t often pan out on delivery (ahem, Cover Oregon), and it's not hard to imagine why. Offering a system that catches—and pleases— everyone when so many dollars are on the line is a daunting task, and with new start-up contenders popping up to take on the HMO bigwigs, more crash-and-burn attempts are inevitable. But the promise of an affordable healthcare system that users actually like, complete with holistic preventative care for the whole family? That's a carrot many in search of coverage are eager to chase. Throughout the rest of 2015 and into next year, local company ZOOM+ Performance Health Insurance (the quick-stop neighborhood medical clinics formerly known as ZoomCare) will roll out a new approach to healthcare memberships that aims to meet the modern Portlander's needs—and wants—starting at $173 a month.
The new concept is based around the idea that folks buying in to health insurance costs are likely interested in receiving benefits every day, not just when they're sick or injured. Looking to the explosion of digital health monitoring, from wearable activity trackers to calorie-counting apps to mobile-based companies offering unlimited workouts around town, Zoom+ seeks to offer members to ability to check in with their "coaches" via text on a daily basis to increase performance and brain health, meet fitness goals, design custom smoothies, and even chat with doctors via Skype-style video check-ins when an in-person visit doesn't make sense.
“There have been a few ‘eras’ of healthcare," explains Chief Member Officer and Creative Director Steve McCallion. "The first generation was about illness, the ‘when you’re sick we’ll take care of you’ model. The next movement was about wellness, which had some good attempts with basic-level assessments that didn’t tell you much about how your body works. We think the next generation of healthcare will be built around human performance, not just at a physical level but also when it comes to creativity, stress relief, happiness, better sleep, and more. There's a body of knowledge that's scientifically supported that shows that food, movement, and relationships are the foundations of good health. So why is most healthcare coverage ignoring this?"
The new lifestyle-oriented system is broken down into categories, each with a brick-and-mortar location throughout the Portland area that will be added to the existing Zoom+ clinics around town. The first to roll out was ZOOM+Smile, offering a 57-minute, on-demand teeth cleaning, exam, whitening service that's free for members on SE Division. One of the next? ZOOM+Performance, based in the Pearl District, will offer free olympian-level circuit training, coaching, and deep-level evaluations of your body—think cellular health tests and VO2 Max tests combined with neuro-agility training to examine reaction time and peripheral vision—to make you faster, stronger, and healthier. Perfect for all of your ultrarunning ambitions, Portland! Members can also expect food as medicine classes in a ZOOM+Prime test kitchen, ZOOM+Brain mental health services and creativity and dexterity tests, and ZOOM+Kids' 24/7 parenting coaching and child health classes with a similar emphasis on education and performance. And what happens when medical issues outgrow the neighborhood clinics? Zoom+ gives members priority hook-ups for advanced care—like surgeries, hospital visits, and specialist appointments—with doctors at OHSU, Providence, and Legacy hospitals.
Anecdotal evidence of Zoom+'s previous foibles abound, but the growing company points to its new system's ability to attract bigwig talent (from Nike and Ziba Design execs on the development side to top cardiologists, orthopedists, and other specialists attracted to Zoom+'s preventative and performance-based approach) as a reason to check back in. Businesses with more than 50 employees can enroll now (New Seasons is already on board), and individual, family, and small business plans will be available beginning in the fall. If the model catches on here in Oregon, the system could roll out nationwide—but in the Wild West of American healthcare only time will tell if it's Zoom or Bust for this big idea.