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Mark Gaunya and Jennifer Borislow continue their discussion from last episode about why healthcare is so expensive and share their ideas to slow rising prices. With the release of the second edition of their book Bend the Healthcare Trend, Mark and Jennifer are advocating for consumer-driven healthcare as the solution to rising expenses.

In analyzing the healthcare system, inflation greatly outpaces the general economy. Our guests explain why the industry’s prices rise so much faster than those of other industries, largely due to a lack of transparency or tangible competition.

Opportunity will grow from greater industry transparency and responsibility, as consumers will save money and maintain better health. We need to look beyond physical health and appreciate mental, spiritual, and financial health as well.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • The three essential principles of healthcare’s oncoming trend: Transparency, Responsibility, and Opportunity.
  • Why healthcare is the only industry where consumers don’t shop around.
  • What opportunities flow from responsibility and transparency.
  • The difference between wellbeing and wellness.
  • Why there has been an uptick in interest around self-insured plans. 
  • How companies of all shapes and sizes can approach a self-funded health plan, and how an advisor can approach that conversation.

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Nine years ago, Mark Gaunya and Jennifer Borislow wrote “Bend The Healthcare Trend” to explore how healthcare consumers could counteract the damaging effect of a system with misaligned incentives, opaque pricing schemes, and unnecessary complexity. They are about to release the 2nd edition of their definitive book and ShiftShapers talks to them about how much has changed; and how little has changed!

The authors believe that what has not changed is that consumerism and transparency are still the answer to an industry that remains unnecessarily confusing, even for many folks within the industry. The average layman stands no chance in a system created by the rule makers, for the rule makers.

Our guests lay out how the government, Big Pharma, hospital systems, and health insurance companies are incentivized to stop price deflation and maintain complexity.

The second edition is peppered with actual examples of how they have used the principles in the book with their clients – and the success those clients have enjoyed in gaining control over their plans while delivering a climate of health and well-being for their employees.

Mark and Jennifer also outline what has changed since the first time they wrote about consumer-driven healthcare in 2009. The lack of transparency in the market is still an issue, but organizations are starting to deliver tools that aid consumers in making choices.

Be sure you tune in for Part 2 next week!

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • What prompted Mark and Jennifer to write the first edition of their book in 2009.
  • What has changed since then and why they’ve felt the need to update amidst our unsettled healthcare environment.
  • Who are rule makers that construct our healthcare system.
  • What it will take to de-isolate consumers from the cost of care.
  • How employers can take advantage of new legislation to provide healthcare to employees.
  • What it will take for more consumers to demand transparency.

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The move from “wellness” to “wellbeing” requires a more holistic approach which includes helping employees become financially well. Understanding the need and bringing the right technology to employers can help advisors expand their offerings and differentiate themselves.

Chris Whitlow of Edu(k)ate joins us to talk about the need, the approaches and how technology and unbiased financial advice are helping companies support all of their employees with these essential skills regardless of financial status.

Technology, data collection, and actionable information enable companies to provide scalable solutions for helping their employees feel more confident with their money. Encouraging financial wellness and literacy in the workplace allows employees to take care of their finances out of the office and feel confident when making impactful financial decisions. 

In this interview, we begin by defining financial wellness and identifying some of the common obstacles that prevent employees from achieving it. We also discuss why this holistic approach to employee engagement is essential for productivity, and why your clients should foster a corporate culture that makes it safe to ask questions about something as integral to daily life as money.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • The new definition of financial wellness clients are adopting.
  • Why the scale and need for financial guidance demands new approaches.
  • Why traditional resources for financial advice are no longer enough to help employees make good financial decisions.
  • The challenges employees and employers face due to a lack of individualized financial guidance. 
  • How technology is changing to help meet the need for unbiased financial advice.
  • How employers can drive engagement.

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Dr. Keith Smith believes that healthcare pricing in the United States is “scam” — and he’s working to change that. He is the medical director and managing partner of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. Keith’s outlook on transparent healthcare pricing is a valuable one, especially since he’s had several years putting it into practice. This is part 2 of our two-part episode series on transparency – find part one here!

Over 7 years working in big hospitals, Keith saw the price of medical care rising while the quality of care suffered. This inspired Keith and his business partner to start a private practice founded on transparency, with prices and outcomes shared with everyone. To remain true to their pricing, Keith and his business partner decided they could not work with government programs. They firmly believe that the only way to move to a truly free market is to be completely transparent with healthcare prices, and to deliver better quality care at a lower cost.

Keith discusses his journey as well as the challenges he and his partner had to overcome along the way. We also explore the disruptive consequences that his transparency is having across the country, leading patients (who bid for their non-emergent surgical care) to Oklahoma.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • How Keith started his transparent pricing surgery center.
  • The pricing structure Keith and his partner use for their medical services.
  • Why current pricing practices are a scam.
  • Why hospitals should not have non-profit status.
  • The disruptive effect of posting his prices.
  • How the Free Market Medical Association works.

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Transparency is the single topic with the most potential to transform every aspect of health and health insurance. We’ve decided to devote two episodes to this potentially innovative topic.

For part one our guest is Ralph Weber, President and CEO of MediBid. Ralph is a passionate subject matter expert and serves as a member of NAHU’s Healthcare Cost and Quality Transparency Workgroup. In this interview, we explore his belief that current healthcare pricing schemes purposefully withhold information from consumers, and why Millennials in particular won’t accept the current status quo on transparency (or lack thereof).

Ralph also describes the effects transparency has on the U.S. healthcare system, the marketplace, and the competitive environment. He shares why transparency alone won’t affect the needed changes to our healthcare system. We also learn why some hospitals charge more for the same type of treatment than others as we discuss the differences between static and dynamic pricing.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Ralph’s journey in the health insurance space.
  • The difference between dynamic and static pricing and its effect on the consumer.
  • How Ralph defines transparency.
  • Whether or not the most expensive care is the best healthcare.
  • What the future of transparent pricing and healthcare services might look like.

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Benefits advisors have a huge opportunity with individual disability. Recent estimates are that the market in the blue, gray and white collar segments is only 30% penetrated. If your clients and prospects can’t afford to retire today, you need to be discussing how they can insure their paychecks.

Patrick Irving, Managing Director of Covala Group, joins us to share his Disability Income (DI) expertise with The ShiftShapers audience. Many large corporations offer life insurance benefits, but fewer are offering DI benefits. Fewer still are offering high-quality, portable, individual DI contacts with those outstanding multi-life discounts.

There are many opportunities for augmenting your existing practice with DI sales. After covering some basic terminology, Patrick dives into the tax implications of DI benefits. Patrick also discusses the merits of group versus individual coverage for disabilities.

Whether you want to build a practice around disability income or are looking to augment other revenue streams, you will learn something from this conversation. Advisors will better serve their clients by studying up on DI coverage.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • The market opportunity available with disability income.
  • Differences between multi-life, group, GSI, and individual plans.
  • When to purchase individual or group DI plans and in what order.
  • How disability income is taxed and why this is important to understand.
  • What is generally not covered by group DI.

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Many of the precepts on which health reform efforts are based are nothing more than myths. ShiftShapers guest Greg Scandlen explodes 30 of those myths and why those incorrect assumptions continually doom efforts at health care reform. 

Based on flawed research, incorrect assumptions and flimsy evidence, these myths may make great bumper stickers but they yield miserably screwed up health care policy. Greg’s new book, Myth Busters: Why Health Reform Always Goes Away explores those false assumptions. From Roemer’s Law more than 50 years ago to the “crisis of the uninsured” to small group reform in the ’90s and today’s “reform” discussions, our guest believes that it was inevitable that we find ourselves in such a mess.

Greg discusses how academics in government agencies stir up fake crises and issue ineffective resolutions. He also digs into the oft-repeated idea that greedy doctors are the problem and other common yet flawed assumptions about healthcare. Listen in and get your myths busted!

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Why Greg decided to write Myth Busters for the current healthcare and political climate.
  • The people taking money out of the healthcare system.
  • How Roemer’s Law started the slide in healthcare policy.
  • How Medicare changed everything and skewed incentives.
  • What academics get wrong when reforming health care.
  • Why hysteria over the uninsured is misplaced, and crises are often overblown.
  • Little known facts about the “Insurance Crisis”.

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Absolute engagement can help you design a business that supports the life you really want to live. You can work less, earn more, and build a world-class business that delivers an exceptional client and team experience.

This week on ShiftShapers, Julie Littlechild joins us to talk about the concept of absolute engagement. Jullie’s new book, “The Pursuit of Absolute Engagement” outlines the process that advisors can use to accomplish that goal.  We discuss how the process creates more fulfilling growth in your business while also promoting harmony between your work and personal life. And who doesn’t want that?

Julie has examined the complicated disconnect between growth, success, and personal fulfillment that often affects benefit advisors, financial planners, and other professionals. She outlines the three daily principles of absolute engagement that help align your personal vision with your business operations.

We explore the obstacles you may face along the way to absolute engagement and discuss how successful advisors overcome those obstacles. Join us for a fast-paced conversation and then begin your pursuit!

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • The definition of “Absolute Engagement”.
  • Who needs it and why is it important.
  • How does it factor into both your business and personal life.
  • The 3 core principles.
  • Common obstacles to achieving absolute engagement.
  • Why satisfaction and loyalty are no longer sufficient to keep customers engaged with your work.
  • Why awareness and accountability are key to staying engaged with and excited about your business.

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ShiftShapersCoverArtOn this episode of ShiftShapers, Jeff Hogan shares the innovative approach his company has used to deliver an engaging, modern, and consultative approach to employee benefits. At the core of this approach lies a focus on building strong partnerships with brokers to provide better options for employers and employees alike.  

Jeff and his team encourage employers to view their benefits offerings like any other corporate asset. Once they’ve established this mindset, Jeff works closely with his brokers to bring them quarterly data and analytics about everything from core benefits to wellness and other benefit initiatives.

Jeff shares a practical example of this process in action and illustrates its financial and medical benefits. He also talks about the effects of the ACA on brokers and clients. Tune in to hear how you can adapt this model to your practice and bring greater value to clients while differentiating your agency.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • How Jeff and his team established themselves as top competitors in a challenging environment.
  • What led to their “benefits as corporate asset” strategy.
  • How they create unique partnerships with their brokers.
  • Why simplicity and logic are sought-after qualities in an increasingly fragmented market.
  • What steps they take to create long-term relationships with employers.
  • The innovative steps they have taken to bring other relevant stakeholders into the equation.

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ShiftShapersCoverArtThis week on ShiftShapers, Kevin Trokey joins us to share strategies for building a market-competitive insurance agency. Kevin is a founding partner and coach at Q4Intelligence, a consulting firm dedicated to removing the barriers that keep independent benefits and insurance agencies from reaching their full potential.

Kevin reveals how his extensive experience as a broker and a principal helped him develop the firm’s unique approach.  Kevin talks about a common mistake most agencies make: focusing their marketing on their own story, rather than that of the consumer. Consumers aren’t looking for you to look exactly like every other provider out there; they want to know which agency can creatively and efficiently help them solve their problems.

Kevin discusses importance of agencies becoming more competitive by realizing their true purpose – helping business owners achieve what they really want. He also addresses the role of increased employee engagement and improved collaboration between the service and sales parts of business in boosting overall agency success.

 

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • How Kevin’s extensive experience as an agency principal helped him to develop his transformational methodology.
  • Why the traditional website design of agencies can off-putting for consumers looking for a solution.
  • The often self-imposed barriers that keep agencies from taking control of their business.
  • The benefits of separating the product and consultative stages of the process.
  • The necessity of building community amongst agencies.

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