Ep #54: How to Have a Self-Funding Conversation with Employers – With Adam Russo

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In this episode, we explore some of the most common questions advisors ask about self funding and discuss concerns ranging from minimum group size to tools and techniques. Our guest on this episode of ShiftShapers is Adam Russo, Esq., co-founder and CEO of The Phia Group, as well as the founding and managing partner at a law firm, Russo & Minchoff. He believes that, in light of the healthcare reform, the current environment is full of exciting opportunities that many brokers can take advantage of.

We also have a frank exchange about what is behind recent efforts by some Departments of Insurance to try to put the brakes on certain segments of self funding and the potential impact that may have on employers seeking an alternate to the fully insured marketplace.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Adam’s journey and how The Phia Group came about.
  • How advisors can remain relevant in the current environment.
  • The minimum size for a successful self-funded group.
  • Why the government wants to stop or severely limit self-funding.
  • How can advisors begin the self-funded conversation.
  • What you need to devise a properly constructed client plan.

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Ep #53: Reinventing the Sales Cycle – With Matthew Wood

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Our guest this week believes that to it is time to reinvent the sales cycle. If we look at the employee benefits distribution process over the past fifty years, we’ll discover that it has not changed much and is still very manual, inefficient, and time consuming.

Matthew Wood, VP of Sales & Technology at Lidac, believes that technology and an end-to-end managed sales cycle is the answer for advisors who are being asked to do more with less.  On this program we explore the opportunities presented when the process is completely reimagined.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Whether the traditional product-to-sale model is obsolete.
  • How technology can help with the sales cycle.
  • Post enrollment considerations.
  • Whether this is a new motif for core medical or just for voluntary benefits.
  • If the total cycle can be shrunk to a few days.

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Ep #52: Using Innovative Solutions to Contol Costs – With Christopher Fisher

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In today’s market, employers expect their benefit advisors to bring them new ideas to control costs. Our today’s guest, Christopher Fisher, Founder & President of BenefitsAlly, finds companies that are doing unique things that can take employers beyond the traditional method of increased employee responsibility.

We discuss the three hallmarks of “intelligent health care solutions”. Chris believes that advisors who use those ideas and come up with creative solutions are going to thrive, and those who continue on the same old path will soon fade away.

Our conversation also explores new ways that benefits advisors can leverage historical data and make strategic recommendations to reduce future costs. Since this is a new conversation for many advisors we talk about how to broach that discussion with employers and how to provide them with concrete solutions based on the analysis of that detailed, granular data.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Whether or not cost shifting is a dead strategy for dealing with employer spend.
  • What “intelligent health care solutions” are.
  • How billions in venture capital will change tools in our markets.
  • The 3-step process for evaluating employers’ benefits.
  • How we can transition from a rear-view mirror use of data.
  • How to help employers use cost data at the employee level.

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Ep #51: Mastering the ACA Compliance and Regulatory Maze – With Arthur Tacchino

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ACA and its blizzard of ever-changing regulations has created a challenging environment for even the most proficient advisors. We asked Arthur Tacchino, Chief Innovation Officer & Principal of Sync-Stream Solutions, to discuss those challenges and to examine some of the ways advisors can master and profit from providing their clients with expert and timely advice.

Arthur is a lawyer by education and also serves as an assistant professor of health insurance at The American College. His concentration has been highly focused on this area of practice and has made him one of the leading subject matter experts on this ever-changing area.

In addition to discussing the compliance process, we also learn about the three phases of the process at the client level: analysis and modeling; decision making and documentation, and implementation and monitoring. Don’t miss this informative discussion that will give you some insight on how to operate in today’s evolving marketplace and help you prepare yourself and your clients in case of an audit.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • How Arthur went from a J.D. to Health Insurance.
  • The unique challenges ACA has created.
  • Supporting client discussions.
  • The three phases of compliance.
  • The impact and imprint of ERISA in ACA.

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Ep #50: Is Reference Based Pricing The Future of Sustainable Health Plans? – With Ryan Day

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Healthcare costs are rising and as we discussed in episode 48, most employers are still using cost shifting as a hedge. Ryan Day, our guest in this episode, believes that a better – and more sustainable – solution is Reference Based Pricing (RBP).  We discuss the growing interest in reference based pricing and how it can put a serious dent in health care costs in the post-ACA environment.

Ryan is the President of H.S. Technology, and a subject matter expert in reference based pricing. We begin with the basics and then explore how this methodology fits in with today’s plans, who it is for, and how advisors can discuss it with clients.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • The problem with traditional pricing.
  • What RBP is.
  • Whether all constituencies need to collaborate to make RBP work.
  • Whether RBP is currently a carrier or self-funded tool.
  • The challenges of RBP.
  • The impact of CMS’ data release.

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Ep #49: The Intersection of Property & Casualty and Employee Benefits – With Frank Pennachio

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Today, we discuss the crossover between the often separate worlds of property and casualty and employee benefits. Our guest Frank Pennachio is partner & co-founder of Oceanus Partners. Frank believes that the overlap in these two areas provides some challenges for employers and opportunities for advisors who can bridge the gap.

In this wide-ranging discussion, we begin by exploring workers compand they key for advisors to understand how to maintain eligibility during a claim. We also cover other federal laws such as FMLA, and how advisors can help to identify significant and completely avoidable risk to clients.

We also talk about the new discoveries in neuroscience and how they relate to the ability of advisors to create new sales channels and the strategies to fully profit from them.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • The crossover areas between property & casualty and employee benefits.
  • Significant and avoidable risks and threats faced by employers
  • The role of neuroscience in sales.
  • New disruptive sales channels.
  • Why ACA is not the driver of change.

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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 #47: How to Create Zombie Loyalists – With Peter Shankman

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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 Rabin 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.

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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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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