First Dollar Health Rewards: Incentivizing Healthier, Happier Members

Learn how plans partner with First Dollar to offer first-class rewards programs.

Health rewards programs encourage desired member behavior by giving a financial incentive to achieve health goals. For example, one health rewards program could provide a member with $30 in general funds for receiving their annual flu shot, and another could distribute $30 for healthy groceries if a member attends their yearly checkup.

A first-rate rewards program has two primary benefits:

  • Acquisition and retention of members. Plans acquire additional accounts for member acquisition and retention, and members gain access to increased funds and a sense of accountability and motivation to maintain their health and wellness.
  • Improvements to health outcomes. By giving a financial incentive for desired member behavior, plans can accelerate care gap closures, reduce the long-term cost of care, and improve member health outcomes.
a screenshot of the Health Rewards account appearing in the Health Wallet.
Members can use their health rewards for specified products at designated merchants on the open network.

Health rewards programs are a rare win-win situation! Unfortunately, most existing solutions have failed to deliver on this promise.

Existing solutions fail to unlock the potential health rewards programs.

Most health rewards programs are built on a poor foundation of antiquated payments and benefits tech, hindering administrators' ability to design innovative benefits and members' ability to access them. Here are some causes and symptoms that we see today.

  • Closed networks limit member access to benefits. Most health rewards are built on a closed-loop network, a payment network that's directly connected to one merchant's point of sale terminal (e.g., Walmart gift card). But what if the member lives next door to a Target?
  • Lack of spending data inhibits plans' ability to learn from members. The full promise of a rewards program is the ability of plans to learn from member behavior, but plans cannot learn to improve their programs with limited data.
  • Incomplete solutions create fragmented member experiences and lost opportunities for brands. This can look like a vendor’s inability to offer APIs for all events or it can look like being unable to stack benefits on existing cards. These extra steps create friction between the user and their benefits, and a lost opportunity for brands to build brand equity or offer innovative, differentiated benefits.

First Dollar's API-first Health Rewards is built on an open-loop network, improving member access.

When built correctly, we believe in the promise of rewards programs. That’s why we’ve built our Health Rewards with fintech solutions to solve the problems of legacy solutions.

“The Health Rewards benefit adds to First Dollar’s legacy of helping people pay for and maintain healthy lives, and enables enterprise customers to differentiate themselves in a crowded market where they can customize the benefit to meet specific customer needs, not network limitations.”- Orion Severhill, Senior Product Manager at First Dollar.

Let's look at how First Dollar Health Rewards is built to help plans and their members.

A virtual card for the Health Wallet alongside a listing of eligible items for Health Rewards.
Plan members can review benefit spending rules and use either a physical or virtual card to purchase eligible items.

Open loop network improves benefit access with more eligible merchants.

We built our Health Rewards benefit on an open-loop card network where the payment network is not limited to a handful of retail merchants. Supporting more than 42,000 merchants, from grocery stores to independent pharmacies, the open-loop network is broader and more accessible to members in both urban and rural communities. And because there is no direct integration requirement, your rewards program and member experience are stable from contractual changes other vendors must maintain.

A dashboard in the Health Wallet Manager where admins can define member spending rules for Health Rewards.
Admins can define spending requirements in the Health Wallet Manager.

Transaction reporting equips admins with direct access to member spending data.

First Dollar’s Health Rewards unlocks admins' ability to make insight-driven decisions by giving direct access to retail data. Our API-first platform offers full transaction reporting and dashboards so admins can leverage retail data to personalize the member experience.

Dashboards for the member spending for Health Rewards within the Health Wallet Manager.
Plan admins can learn from member spending behavior via dashboards in the Health Wallet Manager.

Embedding and benefit stacking tools eliminate member friction, creating innovative plan design possibilities.

Our Health Rewards solution offers plans and their members an embeddable, complete solution. First Dollar's Health Rewards is:

  • 100% embeddable with documented APIs, SSO, and a library of turnkey widgets.
  • Part of a complete product offering (tax-advantaged and supplemental benefits).
  • 100% stackable—our Health Rewards can be stacked onto an existing card or benefit or on a newly branded card (virtual or physical).
  • End-to-end white-labeling capability.

These abilities create the possibility of a truly seamless experience for members (one card, one benefit) and the ability for plans to design innovative benefits.

A product marketing image showcasing how First Dollar's Health Rewards can be embedded or white labled with the Health Wallet app or the physical Health Wallet card.
Health Rewards can be embedded via APIs, widgets, and SSO, and re-branded per the plan's brand and logo requirements.

The promise of health rewards programs is one that helps plans save on health care costs and helps members be happier and healthier. That's why we're so excited to share our Health Rewards with the world!

Josh Hostetler

Josh leads content for First Dollar, a fintech company that builds infrastructure for health spending benefits. Before First Dollar, Josh led course creation at Aceable, taught First Grade, waited tables at Olive Garden, and wore many other hats. He misses the breadsticks.