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As “wellness” evolves to “wellbeing” many savvy advisors are adding a financial component. The problem is pervasive and expensive for employees and employers, but new advisor-driven solutions are coming to market.
Jameson Fauver, Director of Business Development at Kashable, joins the ShiftShapers podcast this week to discuss why financial health is the big problem that nobody is talking about. We will learn how a seemingly simple issue faced by millions of employees can be helped by new services coming to the employee benefits space.

The problem with financial wellness is surprisingly large. Seventy-six percent of American workers live paycheck to paycheck. Over half of these workers have less than $1000 in savings. When emergencies hit, employees may have limited options because traditional banks do not offer unsecured loans to consumers. Employees generally turn to high-interest credit cards, loans against retirement plans, or payday lenders. None of those options provide good choices for employees and the financial stress that comes with them impacts both wellness and productivity.

Employers can offer low-cost, socially conscious solutions that solve a needed problem. Jameson provides several solutions that benefit advisors can package into their offerings for employers. There are three channels that advisors can explore when approaching the benefits of a financial wellness program. We dive into these simple, common sense solutions that advisors should definitely consider.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • An overview of the financial problem that employees are facing that no one is talking about.
  • How employees with low credit scores can be helped with financial wellness benefits.
  • Why payday loan programs are the worst options for employees in a financial emergency.
  • How financial wellness programs integrate with other employee benefits.
  • The best way for advisors to position these benefits when approaching clients.

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This week on the ShiftShapers podcast, we speak with John Park – Chief Strategy Officer at Alegeus. As the Trump administration transitions to power in Washington, there have already been serious signals in the consumer-directed marketplace. John shares his views of how consumerism in healthcare may change and how that will impact the future of healthcare services.

Incorporating and driving more individual responsibility in health care decision-making is at the heart of the consumerism movement. We explore two elements of modern healthcare consumerism and trends that are changing the marketplace.

We also discuss the existing tools that are changing to help the consumerism evolve. We learn that while tools are an important part of helping to build consumerism confidence, there are some challenges as well. We’ll talk about both areas and look at how current products, services, and software innovations are trying to address the concerns.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • An explanation of what consumerism in healthcare means.
  • Current trends and predictions regarding the future of HSAs and HRAs.
  • Healthcare tools that consumers are currently requesting.
  • The opportunities for advisors in the HSA environment.
  • Whether employees with high deductible plans forego needed care and the impact of that behavior on future healthcare costs.
  • How plans can incentives consumerism with employees once plan maximums have been exhausted.
  • The importance of data and benchmarking in assessing plan efficacy.

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Is there a better way to position wellness programs with employers and what do advisors need to know about the evolution of those programs?

This week on the ShiftShapers podcast, we delve into strategies that advisors can use to position wellness programs and help employers improve employee engagement in those programs. Andreas Deptolla, the Cofounder and COO of Thrivepass, walks us through how first-generation wellness differs from what’s available in the marketplace today.

Companies used to view their wellness programs through a lens of return on investment. In recent years, there has been a shift from the quantitative focus on wellness to a more holistic approach some refer to as “wellbeing”. Andreas provides an expert take on how advisors can help employers determine the real-world value of wellness programs since tradition ROI metrics are difficult to calculate.

The key to the success of any wellness program lies in the rate of employee engagement. Today’s programs are much more expansive and encompassing than merely suggesting people skip the elevator and instead take the stairs. Andreas shares why the older approach is ineffective and offers tips for advisors to help their clients improve engagement. He also shares talking points for advisors to use in discussions with C-level executives so they can help prospects and clients understand the broader benefits to employees and the effect that has on their companies.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • The difference between wellness and wellbeing and how programs are transforming in the workplace.
  • Whether any wellness program can provide a reliable ROI.
  • How advisors can position wellness programs to show value for employers.
  • The importance that flexibility in wellness programs has on driving engagement.
  • What a universal benefit fund is and how will it drive the future of wellness programs.

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This week on the ShiftShapers podcast, we revisit an interview with Rick Bauman, head coach of Intellectual Capital Coaching Corporation, to discuss the importance and role of culture in our businesses. He’ll explain why culture defines your organization and is the biggest differentiator in an age where differentiation is a huge challenge for many organizations.

In many practices, the laser focus on strategy overshadows culture – a critically important component of business. Rick discusses how organizational culture develops and why it’s critically important to individual practices and organizations alike. This episode will help you understand, define and sharpen your culture to deliver superior results.

At the end of the interview, learn how to get a free copy of Rick’s Cultural Engagement Assessment Tool which will help you create a starting point for improving your culture. This is a special exclusive offer for ShiftShapers listeners.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • A precise definition of culture as it relates to operating your business.
  • How culture is created within organizations.
  • Whether culture can be measured in order to track its effectiveness.
  • The correlation between engagement and profitability.
  • The importance of giving feedback to your employees.

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Commission compression is causing advisors to rethink their business model – especially looking a few years out. One option is to shift to a more consultative fee-based motif. Our guests, Mike Grinnell and Kirsten Tudman of CPI-HR, are among the handful of advisors at the forefront of this shift.

They join us today to discuss the impetus for the change as well as some lessons learned along the way. They also take us through what the employer conversation sounds like and what kind of questions and objections advisors can expect. We also explore some of the current state regulatory barriers and how those might change. Listen in to learn more and to kickstart the fee-based discussion in your practice or agency.

All of us at ShiftShapers thank you for you continued support. We hope you enjoy holidays with family, friends, great food, and this encore episode:

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Mike and Kristen’s background as traditional commission-based producers.
  • Their “Aha!” moment.
  • How ACA affected their practice.
  • Their typical client.
  • Whether the shift to fees work with all clients.
  • How the state statutes and regulations play in the process.
  • Whether they have a written agreement and what is included.

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On this episode of ShiftShapers, we are stepping out of the realm of employee benefits, insurance and financial planning to discuss the ultimate differentiator for all businesses – customer service. Peter Shankman is the author of a new book, Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans.

As an international consultant, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, corporate speaker, founder of Help A Reporter Out and The Geek Factory, Peter knows how to create zombie loyalists and why they are key to your success. As parts of our business become more commoditized, Zombie Loyalists can be the secret weapon that will help to build and sustain your business.

We begin by asking Peter a question we never thought we would ask anyone on the podcast. Peter explains how to create zombie loyalist embryos and how to feed and care for them as they turn into single-minded advocates for your practice. We also chat about how you can lose their loyalty and what to do when that happens.

All of us at ShiftShapers thank you for you continued support. We hope you enjoy holidays with family, friends, great food, and this encore episode:

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Peter’s background as a serial entrepreneur.
  • Why he chose to use the word “Zombies.”
  • How a jacket and an airplane trip crystalized an idea.
  • How to incubate, care and feed your Zombies.
  • How to create small instances of personalized “Wow!”

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On part two of this special, post-election edition of the ShiftShapers podcast, we discuss policy ideas that may be seeing a resurgence based on the election outcome and whether these ideas can really bring down costs in the healthcare marketplace.

Jessica Waltman, Principal at Forward Health Consulting and our resident expert on all things legislative and regulatory joins us for part 2 of our look at healthcare in this post-election period.

We discuss the theory being floated that an individual healthcare marketplace will control costs better than the employer-based system currently in place.  We are also hearing a great deal about selling across state lines. Jessica walks us through a practical example of how that theory actually performed in the Georgia market. And finally, we touch on the third rail in healthcare: dealing with hyperinflated and runaway costs on the supply side.

We also explore whether to expect any initiatives that address one of the largest cost drivers – prescription drugs. We wrap up with a serious discussion of the timing – and the time – it will take to unravel PPACA and make meaningful serious reforms, as well as the possible perils of acting too quickly.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Policy ideas being proposed from conservative economists on how best to structure the health care system.
  • A practical example of whether purchasing healthcare across state lines encourages competition and brings down the price.
  • Why rural markets are inherently difficult to serve by healthcare providers.
  • What President-elect Trump has hinted about controlling drug prices.
  • The strategies in place to address the main cost drivers on the supply side.
  • Whether value-based pricing is the first step in reigning in runaway facilities costs.
  • What advisors should do in preparation for the upcoming enrollment period.

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On part one of this special, post-election 2-part edition of the Shift Shapers podcast, we look at the reality of the “Repeal and replace” strategies and tactics being discussed by the new administration and other health care constituencies.

Jessica Waltman, Principal at Forward Health Consulting and our resident expert on all things legislative and regulatory joins us for a two-part wrap-up on how November’s election results will affect the health care and employee benefits universe.  In part 1,  we focus on whether full-scale repeal and replace will happen or if other realities will make large-scale change a more complex and messier process.

For six years, the Republican party has put forward the idea of replacing the ACA and replacing it with a suitable option. With control of the Executive and both houses of Congress, the Republican majority will have an opportunity to make their move. How will HHS Chairman-designate Dr. Tom Price change the debate? Will the House Republican’s plan gain wide acceptance? And how can these changes be effected without disinsuring millions?

There are various schools of thought in play when it comes to making changes to the ACA. Jessica walks us through the opposing viewpoints and discusses the pros and cons of the various proposals. She provides context on just how they will impact consumers, businesses, and advisors alike.

Changing the law will not be a simple process. The ACA is an extensive and complex piece of legislation. Abrupt changes can have unintended consequences that impact health care access, the economy, and potentially the mid-term elections.

Listen in to find out what Jessica suggests the Trump administration can do right away that would positively impact businesses.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • The strategies and tactics that are being considered for “repeal and replace”.
  • How the appointment of Dr. Price as new Secretary of HHS will impact the “repeal and replace” discussion.
  • How Dr. Price’s “Empowering Patients First Act” will meld into any new plans.
  • Whether selling across state lines is a practical idea in today’s environment.
  • The strategies in place to address the main cost drivers on the supply side.
  • How regulatory changes can be made without eliminating effective provisions that are working well.

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This week, our subject matter expert Daniel Wells, Executive Vice President of Business Development for Endeavor Plus, joins us to discuss emerging trends in consumer-directed health care plans. We investigate what’s working well, what can work better, and the tools available that will help self-insured consumers make effective decisions about their health care options.

Join us as Daniel shares his takes on the overall state of consumer-directed health care plans. We also discuss why the network-driven, fully-insured marketplace is no longer sustainable. As an alternative, the outcome-based reimburse model may offer solutions that commercial insurance providers can leverage to increase medicare reimbursements and make more money.

Daniel explains how and why the recent election may force a pivot by insurance providers to an outcome-based reimbursement model. We wrap up the conversation by discussing his predictions on just how the initiatives in a President Trump administration will impact the way consumers approach their health care decisions.

It’s been said that when you engage consumers by their wallets, their hearts and minds will follow. Daniel’s expertise in driving health care related behaviors in a direction that saves money and improves the consumer experience will be a valuable insight for advisors.

 

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Whether CDHP Plans are working or not.
  • What the burden of consumer education will be if reference-based pricing becomes more widespread.
  • Trends on the horizon concerning networks.
  • Whether selling across state lines is actually a significant cost saver in the consumer marketplace and which groups most benefit from this concept.
  • Whether the network-driven fully insured marketplace is viable for groups.
  • Various ways HSAs might expand.

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Steve Kelly is the President and Co-Founder of ELAP Services. He’s the foremost expert in a field that a lot of people are talking about – reference-based pricing.  As our guest on this episode of ShiftShapers, Steve will help us understand the ins and outs of reference-based pricing, why it’s important, and where it will take our industry in the future.

There is a resurgence of interest in self-insured plans as companies look for ways to keep healthcare costs down for employees. Advisors can help guide their clients through the type of support and advocacy position necessary to complete a transition with the practical tips discussed on this episode.

Advisors will want to closely examine a metric-based pricing model as they’ve been shown to provide significant, year-over-year savings. Stop-loss carriers are showing significant credits on their premiums at this point. The savings will undoubtedly help employers control the facility costs – the largest component of medical expenses. You’ll learn just how to take action on today’s episode.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • An explanation of metric-based pricing.
  • Where metric-based pricing applies.
  • What we can learn from the CalPERS example.
  • The unfortunate employer dilemma.
  • The source of most high dollar claims.
  • Whether there is applicability to pharma spend.

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