Private Sector Update: HHS announces partnership with technology company PayNearMe
Friday, December 12, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Department of Health and Human Services announces partnership with technology company PayNearMe to encourage consumers to visit Health Insurance Marketplace
Every PayNearMe receipt generated at U.S. 7-Eleven locations encourages sign up for health insurance coverage
To reach more Americans this open enrollment season, Health and Humans Services SecretarySylvia M. Burwell announced a first-of-its-kind partnership between HHS and the electronic cash transactions company PayNearMe to reach financially underserved and other cash-preferring consumers.
Secretary Burwell joined PayNearMe and 7-Eleven, Inc leadership today in announcing thepartnership at a 7-Eleven store in Washington D.C., where PayNearMe demonstrated how consumers would receive receipts printed with information on Open Enrollment.
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“Leveraging developments from technology companies like PayNearMe helps us to reach our consumers where they are,with the information they need to sign up and re-enroll in quality, affordable care through the Health Insurance Marketplace,” said Secretary Burwell. “With this partnership, we are using digital platforms to place Open Enrollment information in the hands of consumers who need it.”
During this year’s Open Enrollment period, all PayNearMe receipts printed at 7,800 7-Eleven stores nationwide will include a special announcement that informs consumers about upcoming Affordable Care Act deadlines and encourages them to explore beneficial options such as tax credits and newly available plans at HealthCare.gov.
Putting these reminders at the bottom of PayNearMe receipts will help get health coverage information into the hands of traditionally hard-to-reach consumers. Because PayNearMe receipts serve as a consumer’s proof of payment for important items such as rent, loans and utilities, they are more likely to be inspected and retained than a traditional receipt.
In addition to rent, loans and utilities, PayNearMe also allows cash-preferring consumers to pay with cash for online purchases and more at participating 7-Eleven stores and other retail stores across the U.S. Once a payment is accepted, the business being paid is notified immediately and the consumer receives a receipt as proof of payment.
“Banked or unbanked, cash or plastic - no matter what your preference, everyone can benefit from affordable health care,” said Danny Shader, PayNearMe’s founder and chief executive officer. “By partnering with the Department of Health and Human Services, we can help generate awareness of this open enrollment process among consumers.”
PayNearMe is the electronic cash transaction network that enables consumers to pay rent and utility bills, repay loans, buy tickets, make online purchases and do much more with cash. According to the FDIC, 28 percent (34 million) of U.S. households are financially underserved[i]. Consumers can conveniently make payments on their own schedule and in their own neighborhood in less than a minute at one of over 17,000 trusted locations including 7-Eleven®, Family Dollar® and ACE Cash Express® stores across the United States. For more information, please visit:http://www.PayNearMe.com.
About the Health Insurance Marketplace
Consumers can sign up for an affordable health plan that meets their needs and fits their budget at HealthCare.gov or 1-800-318-2596. Many may even qualify for financial assistance. Open enrollment in the Insurance Marketplace runs through Feb. 15, 2015. Health coverage can start as soon as Jan. 1, 2015 for consumers who sign up by Dec. 15, 2014. Consumers who already have health coverage through the Marketplace will generally be reenrolled into their same plan but can also shop for new coverage if they choose.
[i] 2013 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households
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HHS uses money-order kiosks to remind people to sign up for HealthCare.gov
Washington Post // Mohana Ravindranath
The Department of Health and Human Services will promote HealthCare.gov at the bottom of some 7-Eleven receipts in an effort to reach demographics that could be uninsured, the department announced Thursday.
The department is partnering with PayNearMe, an electronic payment processing app that lets businesses accept money orders and large cash payments. Stores such as 7-Eleven, Family Dollar and ACE Cash Express stores use the app to process payments to utility companies. Individuals can pay for utilities, rent, travel tickets or other large expenses in cash using the app, if the business is a PayNearMe customer. Payers select the business they’re paying through the PayNearMe app online, print out a barcode, and take the cash payment to a nearby store in exchange for a receipt of payment. PayNearMe generally usually takes a cut of each transaction, which can work out to around $3.
Starting today, and until the end of the open enrollment period for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, PayNearMe receipts printed at all 7,800 7-Eleven stores in the United States will direct payers to HealthCare.gov.
HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell demonstrated the system at a 7-Eleven in downtown Washington on Thursday in a small press event attended by Sunnyvale-based PayNearMe chief executive Danny Shader.
The partnership is an effort to reach potential customers where they already are, Burwell said.
“We know that the populations we’re trying to reach, many of the uninsured are those who . . . are unbanked,” Burwell said. “Those are the people that PayNearMe reaches. We want to try and reach those populations.”
This new campaign builds on a recent one at Westfield Shopping Centers, which agreed to let HHS employees hand out information about the health insurance marketplace on Black Friday.
PayNearMe partners with Washington to promote the Health Insurance Marketplace to the underbanked
Pando Daily // Michael Carney
With Open Enrollment season fast approaching for the Affordable Care Act, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is turning to Silicon Valley to more effectively reach eligible consumers. Later today at a live event in Washington, DC, HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell will announce a partnership with electronic cash payments company PayNearMe aimed at reaching the un- and under-banked.
PayNearMe allows consumers pay for rent, loans, utilities, public transportation, municipal government fees, and online transactions using cash at over 17,000 total payment locations, across the US, including more than 9,000 7-Eleven and ACE Cash Express stores. From now through the April Open Enrollment deadline, physical and digital receipts issued following these transactions will include a special message informing consumers about upcoming Affordable Care Act deadlines and discussing options such as tax credits and new HealthCare.gov plans. Today’s event was held at a DC-area 7-Eleven store.
“Banked or unbanked, cash or plastic – no matter what your preference, everyone can benefit from affordable health care,” says PayNearMe founder and CEO Danny Shader. “By partnering with the Department of Health and Human Services, we can help generate awareness of this open enrollment process among consumers.”
There is no commercial element to the PayNearMe-HHS partnership, meaning no money is changing hands. Rather, this is an opportunity for the five-year-old technology company to use its platform for good, while working more closely with Washington and the healthcare community in general, relationships which it believes will pay long-term dividends.
“I’m always careful not to wrap ourselves in this banner of being do-gooders,” Shader says. “But this really is a good signal for a technology company, especially one dealing with the underbanked, to do something positive for the community and help the government more effectively communicate with its citizens.”
The PayNearMe receipts are an ideal medium for high-value messaging, according to Shader, because they are typically associated with important payments and thus payees look them over closely and save them as proof of payment for their records. Each transaction results in both a printed, paper receipt, and a digital copy saved to the payee’s individual PayNearMe account, which is accessible online and via mobile app. Both versions of all receipts issued between now and April will have the HHS messages printed on them, a first for either organization.
PayNearMe was among several technology companies to participate in a series of so-called Lighthouse Business Council dinners at the White House recently, aimed at fostering public and private sector cooperation in addressing social and economic changes in the country.
HHS Director of Private Sector Engagement Rhett Buttle, and Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs Kevin Griffis point to learnings from earlier Healthcare.gov initiatives as the motivating factor behind this partnership in particular, including the need to proactively outreach to consumers through familiar channels. Secretary Matthews Burwell makes a similar point, saying:
Leveraging developments from technology companies like PayNearMe helps us to reach our consumers where they are, with the information they need to sign up and re-enroll in quality, affordable care through the Health Insurance Marketplace. With this partnership, we are using digital platforms to place Open Enrollment information in the hands of consumers who need it.
HHS previously announced partnerships with Westfield Malls, National Community Pharmacists Association, and XO Group (owner of The Bump, The Knot, and The Nest), similarly aimed at promoting the national health insurance marketplace. Griffis indicates that other similar technology industry partnerships will soon follow.
For PayNearMe, deeper ties with Washington are a direct and tangible result of the company’s recent hiring of Jotaka Eaddy, former Senior Advisor to the CEO of the NAACP, to lead government affairs. When Eaddy first joined, there was no singular objective for her role, such as “we want to process health insurance payments,” according to Shader. Rather, the goal was for her to begin building relationships in this sector and educate PayNearMe’s existing leadership about “what it didn’t know.”
“We’re very active in the regulatory environment today, the payments category in general is very highly regulated. And we work with the state of Nebraska and the city of Pittsburg, for example, processing cash payments,” Shader says. “But we’re from Silicon Valley and we know payments, not politics. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. Jotaka has been great at opening our eyes and helping us demonstrate the power of the platform.”
While nothing is set in Stone, Shader indicates that PayNearMe is working with several healthcare industry partners and could begin accepting payments in that sector in the near future, including in California, the company’s home state.
“The things we do typically have very long lead times, but I’m not aware of another system that can do frictionless cash transactions the way we can,” Shader says. “We don’t position ourselves against prepaid cards, but most of the people we work with typically don’t have a lot of extra balance they want to store. It may be surprising, but the underserved tend to be the most rational about their money, because they have to be.”
Given the long history of confrontation between Silicon Valley and regulators, it’s a welcome change to see some cooperation between the two parties. PayNearMe is a rare platform that is able to effectively reach underbanked Americans, and in this instance, the company is very much using that position for good.