A previous article for the Huffington Post is still very relevant today.
Here is the introduction and link to the remainder of the article.
The Top Four Reasons Owners Need A Healthcare Buyer’s Advocate
Compensation, healthcare & employee benefits are often significant sources of frustration for business owners. By the end of this article, you’ll see that finding your own buyer’s advocate is not only a good idea; but, a necessity.
There is a new service called independent evaluators that focuses on helping business owners and their employees. This new service changes the purchase paradigm by offering a business owner their own buyer’s advocate. A good advocate puts control in the owner’s hands, giving them back control they may have inadvertently given away.
Here are the top four reasons to consider a healthcare buyer’s advocate:
A benefit office is supposed to make decisions for the benefit of the beneficiaries. A bus route should be concerned first for the safety of the children.
On the main road connected to my subdivision, two different school districts have bus routes running in opposite directions. The road is a two lane semi-rural, 50 MPH road. I’d add, drivers routinely move at 60 MPH or more.
Lake Orion School District buses travel southbound. Rochester Community Schools travel northbound on the very same road; it’s Adams Rd. for those interested in the particulars. In both districts, the bus stops on the road or shoulder but does not turn into the subdivision.
“This caught my eye over the weekend. Does this change our decision matrix at all?”
This customer is in the middle of making decisions today for their employees. I wrote the email that follows to help them understand what this article is really about. The customer can move ahead as planned but should know more changes are coming for Obamacare. More importantly I explain how this article is an example of how the government and insurers do not care about your health.
If that’s important to you read on.
The article includes this CEO quote,
“We cannot sustain these losses,” Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hemsley told analysts on a conference call. “We can’t really subsidize a marketplace that doesn’t appear at the moment to be sustaining itself.”
My email to my business customer asking about how this UHC article may affect their present decisions for their employees.
Short answer to your question about UHC:
No, what they’re deciding makes no difference for your decision today. Your decision today will only be good until they make more changes and they do that everyday. What you decide today could change tomorrow, that’s not a joke, that’s real.
Long answer to your question about UHC:
Still, the answer is no, this won’t affect you in the short term and you can’t plan long term.
I’ve been using the words, “shifting sands” for 5 years now. The Obamacare law is 5 years old, March 23rd, 2010. Shifting sands means continuous course corrections by all system stake holders that affects more than $2-3 Trillion of the American economy. This means, today UHC is saying they’re out. But, what it actually means is they’re lobbying for more money. What we have going on here is “lobbying for position.” In the halls of congress, the industry exerts leverage in order to get more money from the government. Welcome to modern politics.
Sad, but true, I can confidently say, I’ve never seen a bigger mess. Before Obamacare, Healthcare needed a fix because the insurance industry wouldn’t police itself. But, this isn’t a fix and national healthcare won’t fix it any better either (watch my video on, “US healthcare system in crisis”).
My guess about UHC? UHC and the feds will make up; the feds will give UHC more money (this will drag on over the next few months) and in order to give them money they have to make the fix look like they didn’t. In the end, just more rules, overhead, confusion and frustration; and cost.
Summary: The government is making massive changes everyday while the plane is flying. Thoughtless unread regulations created this mess and their fix is a daily stream of thousands of new patches, regulations, paperwork and confusion. I’ve been living in the trenches for 5 years trying to help employers understand and navigate. The reality and size of this law is starting to impact small employers like you.
There has been NO improvement in health or cost because your health doesn’t matter to them (any of them). What are we going to get if we keep doing what we’ve been doing? Do you expect a different result?
“Insurers say Obamacare changes needed soon to protect companies from losses” USA Today, 11-24-2015.
“New research out this week from Commonwealth Fund shows far fewer people think their insurance premiums and deductibles — from employer-provided or exchange plans — are affordable than the government does when it defines affordability. About 40% of 2,700 people surveyed said they delay care and prescription refills when they were sick because of high deductibles, Commonwealth found.”
“Choosing the right plan requires the knowledge to make the right choice.” I couldn’t have said it better.
During the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses classes and work I learned just how difficult it is for an owner to hear my message. It’s because when I say the word insurance, the label “insurance dude” is applied. That’s fine, except with it usually comes the connotation that I’m going to sell them insurance. It’s a logical conclusion but it would be wrong. Why?
If what I was doing was popular people wouldn’t get to that conclusion, instead they might ask, “are you selling a product or are you providing independent advice?”
So, I’m reading an article written for CPA’s on the topic, PPACA – Obamacare. It’s a 4 page article making recommendations to CPA’s on how to advise their clients on these complicated topics: insurance markets, metal levels, pricing and benefits, government sponsored exchanges, SHOP, private exchanges, self funding, pay-or-play, employer reporting, limited networks and finally underwriting.
“numerous strategies are available to businesses as they try to make the best health insurance choices for themselves and their employees in this new regulatory environment. Choosing the right plan requires the knowledge to make the right choice.”
“Health Care Reform Essentials”, Journal of Accountancy, July 2014; Dietrich, Marks.
Two critique’s I have about this, first, what a great list of all the new options in healthcare, it demonstrates what I’ve been saying now since March of 2010. The very reason I built BenStaff and BenStaff’s team built the Decoder. On one hand it’s as easy as the article states. But, to optimize the right balance between taking risk (self funding) and low cost and access (limited networks) the question is, who is better suited to advise on these matters?
My team is independent, we don’t sell insurance, and we have much deeper knowledge of benefits especially healthcare. Having former underwriters we know risk and pricing in groups and individual markets, our actuarial team provides expertise to the Decoder, our CEBS specialists cover the plan in operation requirements of the DOL, HHS, CMS and the IRS. And, we encourage a businesses advisors to offer their best thinking so don’t miss something. A small businesses CPA, CFO, HR executives, attorney’s or other advisors are welcome to contribute. No one person has all the answers but we believe we’re as close to that as possible.
Our structure gives us dominance and reach into every market and option available. Overall, our Decoder is the answer to the question posed to owners and CPA’s at the end of the article, beautiful;
“Choosing the right plan requires the knowledge to make the right choice.”