Sutter Health Plus has been offering affordable health coverage with access to high-quality care through a respected network of clinicians and hospitals since January 2014. When the health plan launched, the first employer group to offer Sutter Health Plus to their employees was the County of Sacramento. Dave Comerchero served as the County’s employee benefits manager during that time through early 2022. Now, as a retired public servant, Comerchero continues to maintain a relationship with the plan, bringing his vast experience and knowledge of the benefit needs of Northern California employees to the Sutter Health Plus Board of Directors.
In this article, Comerchero shares his perspective as a former large group benefits manager and current health plan member.
“It’s incredible seeing the plan grow from its humble beginnings to now serve more than 100,000 members—it’s a fantastic achievement,” Comerchero said.
In 2013, the County was shopping for employee coverage for its 11,000 employees and retirees and their 15,000 dependents. Comerchero’s role was to ensure that the plan options he recommended met the health needs of the County’s robust and diverse workforce. This required careful assessment and dialogue to gain a deep understanding of each carrier’s ability to provide the right coverage, convenient ways to access care, and benefit offerings that set them apart. He said Sutter Health’s high-quality delivery system is what initially attracted him to their provider-sponsored HMO.
“I knew Sutter would bring smart people, infrastructure stability, and a premium quality of care,” he said. “The County selected Sutter Health Plus because it also offered affordability—particularly a savings in payroll deductions. It included access to employee wellness features, an excellent member experience, and a team that was very easy to work with.”
Access to Sutter’s network of providers was a win for employees too, said Comerchero.
“It’s important for employees to keep their Sutter doctors with the transition from a previous carrier. Sutter’s integrated system consistently shows high-quality metrics for care.
One important differentiator for Comerchero was that Sutter Health Plus offered a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) compatible with a health savings account (HSA).
“At the time, that type of option wasn’t something that many health plans were offering. When I departed the County, 57% of employees were selecting HDHPs,” he said. “I’m proud that as a benefits purchaser and educator, I was able to bring that cost-saving option and guide employees in understanding its value.”
Over the years, Comerchero has worked closely with the health plan’s leadership team to build products that add value to an employer’s competitive strategy for attracting and retaining top talent. One of those leaders is Rob Carnaroli, Sutter Health Plus Vice President of Sales.
“It’s exciting to continue collaborating with our clients and partners like Dave,” said Carnaroli. “Whether it’s enabling new digital capabilities, or innovating in healthcare access, these relationships help us find solutions that meet the changing needs of our clients and members.”
In addition to being a former employer client, Comerchero is also a health plan member and Sutter patient. He speaks highly about the care he’s received through the network.
“Sutter’s clinicians are fantastic. I’ve been seen at Sutter Walk-In Care, urgent care, and emergency care with no issues. In my many years as a benefits manager, I’ve only had employees report how glad they were to switch to Sutter Health Plus. Even my wife says she’s had great experiences with Sutter.”
Comerchero has no plans of stepping away from advocating for the health plan, saying, “I’m looking forward to seeing continued momentum in delivering value to employers and members alike. From 50 to 1,000+ employees, Sutter Health Plus is an obvious and easy choice for employer groups in Northern California.”
To learn what Sutter Health Plus can offer your employees, visit sutterhealthplus.org/employer.