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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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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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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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On this episode of ShiftShapers, Jessica Waltman joins us for her quarterly visit. She’s an expert on all things legislative and a Principal at Forward Health Consulting. If the twists and turns on Capitol Hill have you scratching your head, Jessica will help you make sense of recent events.

The Republican led Congress and President Trump decided to pull legislation designed to reform the Affordable Care Act. Contrary to common media messages, this bill would not have repealed the ACA. As a reconciliation bill, it was inherently limited. No one really liked the bill and attempts at compromise continued to anger opposing factions in the House. Ultimately the bill was pulled. Elected leaders on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue are now making efforts to revisit health care reform. The American public will have to stay tuned.

In this first of a two-part series, Jessica explains just why the reform attempt failed. She’ll shed light on what we can expect as lawmakers return to the drawing board. Should President Trump proceed as cautioned and just let the ACA implode? Jessica walks us through that approach and explains the regulatory steps that can be implemented now to make the ACA more responsive to market realities.

 

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • What exactly happened with the Republican’s health care bill.
  • Whether or not the effort was doomed to fail from the beginning.
  • Regulatory reforms that can be made without legislative involvement.
  • Whether the PPACA is actually imploding.

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On this episode of ShiftShapers, Tobe Gerard shares valuable insight into how she built a successful agency specializing in long-term care insurance. She had 20 years of experience in the insurance industry before starting her firm, and for the past 15 years, she’s built a highly efficient, effective and successful agency using a unique strategy.

Rather than finding prospects directly – as is the case with most practices – Tobe took a different route. Instead, she cultivates relationships with other professionals, including financial planners, life insurance brokers, accountants, and others. Her network continually refers clients to Tobe as a subject matter expert in long-term care insurance. Once the prospects began flowing, she developed a multi-part strategy to convert prospects into clients.

Join us to find out how Tobe was able to shape her successful referral-based, long-term care specialty practice and how it is doing in today’s environment. Learn which tools and techniques are most effective for working with long-term care clients and prospects, and why the current trend of using riders on life plans may not always be the best solution for your clients.

 

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • How Tobe was initially introduced to the insurance industry.
  • How she was able to build a referral-only practice.
  • How Tobe creates new sources of referrals for her agency.
  • Tools and techniques for working with long term clients.
  • What “Invisible Coverages” are.

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ShiftShapersCoverArtCommunication is a critical component of personal and corporate success. We may think of conversation and communication as an art, but it turns out that the keys to effective communication are firmly rooted in science.

On this episode of ShiftShapers we explore those connections with Rachael Bosch, Managing Director of Fringe Professional Development, a Washington D.C. firm that helps organizations, teams, and individuals reach their professional learning goals.

We spend the majority of our time in school on the core business skills needed to do our job. However, the soft skills – or professional skills – that help you develop and lead teams don’t receive as much attention.

When communicating with your team it’s important to think not only about the message you need to convey but also how that message will be received. Rachael provides helpful clues into how we can communicate more effectively based on research by top neuroscientists.

From Baby Boomers to Millennials, each birth cohort approaches career aspirations in a unique manner. Learning how to communicate generously and build community will positively impact an environment where the organization’s employees can remain engaged.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Why professional skills are just as important as the core business skills.
  • The component of professional skills has the most room for improvement.
  • How different generations learn and approach professional skills in the workplace.
  • Why it is important to learn how Millennials use their drive and professional skills.
  • Four filters that can boost effective communication results.

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