Ep #99: Advocacy Helps Members Raise Their “Healthcare IQ” – With Julian Lago

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This week, we talk to the matter expert Julian Lago, co-founder and President of Benezon about how benefits advisors can help employees raise their “Healthcare IQ”. In light of recent reports that as many as three-fourths of employees don’t understand even basic benefits terminology, this offers yet another post-reform opportunity for adding value.

Julian has spent the last five years working to understand how advisors can create a concierge service for employees to help them begin to understand the complexities of their plans and their claims. We also explore how having an advocate can help employees become better consumers. He believes it boils down to three key focus areas: awareness, engagement, and improvement.

In this conversation, we talk about what you need to look for in your practice and how to keep a high touch environment while using technology to take the burden of ever-increasing client demands for higher levels of customer services off your support staff. Julian is a Regional Vice President of the National Association of Health Underwriters and spends a great deal of time talking with benefit advisors who share the same common needs: being able to find time to build their practices while delivering world-class customer service without breaking the bank.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • How you can account for the continuing high level of health care illiteracy.
  • What “Healthcare IQ” means.
  • Whether more transparency will drive greater engagement.
  • Whether “high touch” still matters.
  • Julian’s 3 three key focus areas of advocacy for plan members.
  • What’s the sword and what’s the shield?

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Ep #98: Best Employee Benefits Practices – With Russ Blakely

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At the recent Ascend! conference in Nashville, we caught up with Russ Blakely, President of Russ Blakely & Associates. In the course of our conversation, it became apparent that Russ is doing a lot of the things “the right way,” and we decided to invite him to the program to talk about best practices. Russ is a great example of the things he’s doing in the benefits arena that you can likely learn from and implement in your own practice.

In this wide-ranging discussion, we cover how taking ownership of client problems may lead you to saving money, and when it makes sense to implement onsite clinics and pharmacies and how that may impact the pharma and medical spend. We also talk about how Russ has created a proprietary physician network and what it did for their firm, as well as how they discover “at-risk” employees and what conditions they find most prevalent within a given population.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • What to do when expensive care happens outside a clinic.
  • Why it is important to leverage data and do directed mining.
  • Whether the onsite clinics in the public sector are unusual.
  • What prompted the initial physician recruitment and how that grew into a network.
  • What a “network within a network” is and why it is important.

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Ep #48: What Do Employers Expect From Benefits Advisors? – With Michelle Jackson

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A recent survey provided a glimpse into what employers want from their benefit advisors. The results offer a roadmap for savvy advisors to tailor their services to match up to those market expectations. What tools and techniques are needed to bridge that gap? That’s the question we asked Michelle Jackson, Senior Product Director at Zywave.

Michelle is a subject matter expert whose role at her company requires her to be a step ahead of advisor needs and broker trends. Market changes have driven employers to want more from their advisors. Advisors are balancing time constraints, the need for increased, in-depth, specific market, claim and plans knowledge in a lower commission environment.

Michelle believes that for advisors who can harness information and technology, the future seems especially bright. Join us to learn how you can match your client’s expectations and deal with your daily practice challenges. For a free copy of the 2014 Broker Services Survey, click the link below.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Insights from 2014 Broker Services Survey.
  • The gap between what employers want and what advisors are delivering today.
  • Why advisors need expertise across an incredibly wide range of regulatory programs.
  • How market segmentation impacts what employers want.

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Ep #46: Using Retirement Plan Data To Target Benefits Prospects – With Mark Smith

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Today on The ShiftShapers Podcast, the founder and CEO of MiEdge, Mark Smith, returns to the show to continue our conversation about Big Data. In this episode, Mark focuses on the use of retirement plan data to create opportunities and deliver value to prospects and clients.

Mark describes new ways that benefit advisors can easily visualize potential prospect relationships from massive amounts of publicly-available data. We also discuss how you can interface your data findings with LinkedIn to help create offensive and defensive strategies that deepen and strengthen existing client relationships.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • The type of information the government collects.
  • How this data can be used to play offense and defense.
  • How large the data set is.
  • How employers react to this type of research.
  • Whether it is easy to see the relationships by just looking at the data.
  • The important data points for advisors.

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Ep #24: Using Big Data as a Differentiator – With Mark Smith

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Ep #45: How To Increase Revenue and Client Satisfaction – With Julian Lago

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For many advisors, revenue is down and client expectations are up. The good news is that there are creative ways to become more productive while also delivering a higher level of service to your clients.

On this episode of ShiftShapers Podcast, we invited Julian Lago, Sr. VP of CareOne Advocates to discuss those post-ACA dual challenges. As Regional VP for NAHU, Julian travels extensively and hears first-hand the issues facing advisors in today’s lower-commission environment. Everyone is trying to do more with less. In this interview, he shares some of his observations about those conversations and chats about new opportunities for advisors to solve some of the challenges they are facing.

You will learn how to continue to differentiate your agency with employers and employees with ever-increasing service level expectations. We also discuss the importance of seeking out white-label solutions that help you to extend your brand.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Why yesterday’s differentiator is today’s “table stakes.”
  • What types of problems clients are asking advisors to help with.
  • How to maximize your selling time and still deliver outstanding employee services.
  • How outsourcing is coming on line.
  • Why advisors want a white-label solution.

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Ep #44: Understanding Telemedicine And Positioning It With Clients – With David Lindsey

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On this episode of ShiftShapers podcast, we’re excited to have David Lindsey, founder and CEO of MyHealthPass. David has been in the health insurance field for over 30 years and has been an industry pioneer and a leader in the field of telemedicine.

We invited David to talk about the history of telemedicine and how ACA has accelerated the need for advisors to understand this area and be able to discuss it intelligently with clients. We explore the 5 keys that are driving this shift. and discuss go-to-market strategies and positioning this rapidly expanding tool in your practice.

We also take the opportunity to ask David about what he sees as the future of this vertical in which more than 60% of Americans are expected to have access within just the next few years.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • David’s background.
  • The history of telemedicine.
  • What the shift was and how he is shaping it.
  • How and why ACA exacerbated the need for telemedicine.
  • 5 key things driving the shift.
  • The go-to-market strategy for benefits advisors.

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Ep #43: Concierge Medicine – A More Personalized Approach – With Thomas O’Connor, MD

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Our guest on today’s program is Thomas O’Connor, M.D., a Connecticut internist who believes that ACA is the driving force behind the unprecedented growth in the Concierge Medicine practice model. A second-career doctor, Tom originally decided to become a traditional primary care physician. As he focused on building a practice that offered more personalized care, he inadvertently became a pioneer in Concierge Medicine.

We invited Tom to share his unique journey, and to learn how his practice differs from traditional practice.  We also discuss how benefits advisors can discuss this model with clients who are looking for an alternative to dealing with longer appointment waiting times and increasingly depersonalized care.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • How Tom came to be a second-career physician.
  • What concierge medicine is.
  • How his day differs from a more traditional practice.
  • The limitations of concierge.
  • How ACA affected concierge medicine.

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Ep #41: Research Helps You To Become A “New Generation Advisor” – With Eric Rentsch

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On previous episodes we’ve talked about the different tools and pieces of technology that advisors can use in their practices. But, according to a study conducted by this week’s guest, before we deploy the tools we need to assure that our strategies and tactics are aligned with the four basic types of employers.

Today, we welcome Eric Rentsch, Founder and CEO of CodeSixFour, an online resource center that uses latest research tools to help you become a “new generation benefit advisor”.

They recently undertook a fascinating study of some of the new market realities that  advisors are facing today. We invited Eric to share more about that study and what he and his company have learned from it regarding customer relations and new opportunities for custom solutions. Join us to hear Eric explain the study’s methodology, findings and conclusions.

As a bonus to ShiftShapers listeners, Eric has allowed us to give you access to the full study. Just click on the “Special Offer” button in the right-hand column. 

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Eric’s background,
  • What “Next Generation Advisor Study” is all about.
  • Our discussion about the new era of benefit design.
  • The four types of employers.
  • The six areas of capability that a next generation benefits advisor needs.
  • Strategies and tactics for the next generation advisors.

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Ep #40: Shorten Your Sales Cycles For Maximum Productivity – With Ryan Pinney

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In today’s on-demand market, clients are looking for progressively faster solutions to their problems. So how do we, as benefit advisors, keep up with the times? Our guest on this episode has just the solution.

Ryan Pinney is VP of Sales & Marketing at Pinney Insurance Center. He is an innovator and expert at using technology to drive insurance business and shorten sale cycles.

We invited Ryan to talk about how the sales funnel has evolved in light of technological advances as well as the importance of speeding up the sales and delivery cycles. We also discuss the tools benefit advisors should equip themselves with in order to compete electronically in today’s market. Tune in to this value-packed episode to find out what you can do to get started!

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • How Ryan’s life insurance practice experience and technology is applicable in all areas of the business.
  • How far behind insurance sales professionals are in technology.
  • The tools that advisors need to have in their arsenal to compete electronically.
  • What the sales funnel looks like today.
  • Why devices don’t matter.
  • What life insurance sales in China can teach us here in the USA.

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Ep #39: Profit From the Convergence of Technology and Benefits – With Michael Lujan

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Advisors doing more and earning less need new tools to deal with today’s benefits environment. Unfortunately, according to our guest, our industry is behind the curve in the convergence of market change and technology.

Michael Lujan President and Co-founder of LimeLight Health and is also serving as President-elect of the California Association of Health Underwriters. Michael, a long time technologist, is dedicated to providing health insurance agents with a platform and tools that simplify complex proposal, renewal and benefits decisions.

Michael joins us today to discuss the current void in technology for benefits advisors and the importance of today’s insurance market catching up to other industries. We discuss how technology can help advisors become more effective and efficient while also differentiating them in their markets.  Join us to find out about the new tools available and how they can help you step up your game!

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Michael’s background.
  • His involvement in Cover California.
  • Why advisors need 21st century tools.
  • What functionality is needed in the field.
  • How to get traditional advisors “tech-ed up.”
  • The future of the intersection of technology and benefits.

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