The concept of patient advocacy isn’t new, but current trends are shining a spotlight on the growing need for this critical service.

Forty years ago, Anne Llewellyn was a hospital-based nurse. She has seen every aspect of care up close – including a stint as a patient herself. Over that time she has developed a deep understanding and a passion for patients to have the help of an advocate who can help them navigate the incredibly complex medical landscape.

In this episode, Anne discusses how the need has grown and why she and other colleagues are pushing for standards and certification for patient advocates. There is more to the patient experience than the treatment alone. Learn how having an advocate puts patients at the center of the healthcare universe.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • The definition of patient advocacy and how it’s different from case management.
  • Tools and resources that both patients and advocates need.
  • What it means to put patients at the center of the healthcare universe.
  • Why it’s so important to have patient advocate standards and certifications.
  • What Anne predicts as the future growth track of the patient advocacy movement.
  • How patients can find advocates.

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Eric Silverman is one of the most disruptive forces in the area of “enhanced benefits”. You may have been calling them “voluntary” or “ancillary”, but Eric is passionate in his belief that neither of those words make the case for a benefit offering that is more important to clients and employees than ever before.

In this fast-paced interview, Eric explains how advisors interested in enhanced benefits fall into four distinct classes and delves into which group you want to be in for maximum productivity and client satisfaction. If you are currently active in this space or if you have been on the sidelines thinking about how to incorporate these solutions into your practice’s offerings, make sure to listen to this episode.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • Why language is important and the specific messages it sends when it comes to benefits.
  • What the four classes of advisors are as it pertains to enhanced benefits.
  • What two keys are for success.
  • If and when using professional enrollers is practical and advisable.
  • Why the current marketplace and today’s plan designs are driving enhanced benefits.

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Al Lewis, our guest on this episode of The ShiftShapers Podcast, is a serial entrepreneur, author, renaissance man, and the CEO of Quizzify. Quizzify is a healthcare education app that uses fun and games to teach employees how to buy and use healthcare. The service makes for smarter consumers and saves their companies a lot of money in healthcare costs.

In this interview Al shares his interesting journey, beginning with his time at Harvard Law School and culminating in the creation of Quizzify. We discuss current healthcare literacy issues, how to get employees excited about learning, and Al’s unique approach to solving these problems. We also cover how Quizzify integrates with a company’s wellness program and what employer conversations about healthcare and education look like.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • How got Al credited with inventing Disease Management.
  • What it will take to increase health care literacy.
  • How to engage employees in learning more.
  • The crucial difference between wellness and wellbeing.
  • The risks of doing too many CAT scans.

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The story of our industry over the last decade has been one of mergers and acquisitions. The ACA has propelled new levels of activity as benefit advisors are leaving the industry and selling their practices. This episode’s guest is in the middle of the action, and here to share his expertise and opinions on the advantages some firms have found by becoming part of a larger organization.

Brett Rosen is the Executive Vice President of Mergers & Acquisitions at One Digital, formerly Digital Benefit Advisors. In this interview, we discuss the most important things driving the M&A wave and how advisors are finding opportunities to join forces with other practices to create new practice models that deliver incredible value to their clients.

Later, we lay out the steps that agencies and their owners can take to prepare for merging, and why being acquired might be a good future strategy. Equally important, we also consider the view of larger firms and what they consider when they are buying another business.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • What is driving the recent uptick in M&A activity.
  • How PPACA has impacted the process.
  • The advantages that come along with a merger.
  • What agencies can do right now to prepare for a future merger or acquisition.
  • What purchasers look for when buying a practice.

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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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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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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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