Monthly Archives :

December 2019

The Benefits Advisor Survival Guide for Renewal Season

The Benefits Advisor Survival Guide for Renewal Season 1004 591 Apostrophe Health

How to avoid burnout in the insurance advisor industry when your work never stops.

When 72% of sales directors work evenings and weekends, and 72% of salespeople want more time off, it’s clear we’re working against our own best interests. Insurance advisors used to have two big renewal cycles each year, and could really coast the rest of the time. Now it feels like we’re running an endless sprint that, frankly, can’t be sustained. We’re burning out, and we need to make it stop by making ourselves a higher priority. 

In this webinar, hosted by Apostrophe’s Director of Sales Ethan Merk, we talk about tactics for working smarter, not harder as we prepare for another round of back-to-back renewal cycles. 

In less than 10 minutes, we’ll cover:

  • Self-care tips like actually sleeping, which affects every aspect of our lives
  • Work-life balance that allows us to be present when it matters most
  • Using technology to work smarter, and put all of this tech to work for us
  • Apostrophe’s PowerPlan, which delivers big for clients with less hands-on time from you

Commit to even some of these tips and you’ll be more apt to bring your A-game to every situation you’re in, and maintain the stamina to show-up for your self-insured employer clients no matter what time of year it is. 

For more information about how Apostrophe’s PowerPlan can better serve you and your clients, contact Ethan Merk. 

Price Transparency to Become the Standard in American Healthcare

Price Transparency to Become the Standard in American Healthcare 1004 591 Apostrophe Health

With Apostrophe’s smart shopper, our members already enjoy the cost-saving benefits of price transparency without waiting on a new federal law.

Everything we do at Apostrophe is guided by simplicity, transparency, and love. We place the highest value on transparency, believing that every patient should know what they’re spending and what they’re saving.

That’s why we’re encouraged to see price transparency requirements issued by the Trump administration. Healthcare in America needs to be fixed, and this is a place to start that benefits every single patient. This historic effort aims to increase competition and lower costs for all Americans. 

The Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says our current system deserves an F, but that after this takes effect, the president has promised an A+. This will be “a more significant change to American healthcare markets than any other single thing we’ve done, by shining light on the costs of our shadowy system and finally putting the American patient in control,” he said.

According to CMS, the executive order for Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare outlines two rules designed to empower patients, and will take effect January 1, 2021. 

  • Price Transparency Requirements for Hospitals to Make Standard Charges Public, Final Rule

    All hospitals operating in the U.S. will “establish, update, and make public a list of their standard charges for items and services they provide.”

  • Transparency in Coverage, Proposed Rule

    Real-time access to cost information, including estimate of patients’ cost-share liability, through an online tool in order to shop and compare costs before care.

    It also requires that providers disclose, on a public website, the negotiated rates for 300 common, shoppable services (like x-rays, outpatient services, lab work, or bundled services like knee replacement or a c-section). This would include:
  • Full price before any discounts
  • Cash discounted price
  • Price negotiated with payers
  • The minimum/maximum with all payers

These disclosures are required under the ACA to some extent, but the data is hardly accessible, often too detailed and complicated. This new price transparency ruling aims to fix that by requiring accessibility and clarity by way of prominent publication and use of plain language.

This is what Apostrophe has offered its members all along through our smart shopper program. By selecting smart shopper options, which include high quality, low-cost providers, our members save enough money to result in $0 cost to them. We help them find the best possible rate from quality providers; it’s the difference between paying $2900 for a head CT, or $480 for the same service with the same (or better) results. We’re rewarding our members for making smart healthcare decisions.

That’s exactly what this price transparency ruling aims to do universally. This is a net-positive for employers who want to take control of healthcare costs (which, we imagine, is all of them!). For self-insured employers, this gives you power to help employees put published pricing information to work for both of you.

When price and quality data are available side by side, patients are more likely to opt for lower-cost care from highly-rated providers. In fact, they’re 94 percent more likely to choose the lower-priced option, according to SHRM. This can dramatically reduce healthcare costs for both employers and employees. Communicating the value of this information, and educating on how to use it, falls to the employers. 

Self-insured employers don’t have to wait for a transparency ruling to start saving their company and employees money, though. Contact us to learn more about Apostrophe.

4 Questions Self-Insured Employers Should Ask Their Insurance Advisors

4 Questions Self-Insured Employers Should Ask Their Insurance Advisors 1819 1021 Apostrophe Health

As you prepare for renewal season, learn how to take control of the cost and experience of your health plan to gain better benefits for less money.

Before you dive head-long into renewal season, stop and assess the current relationship between your company, your insurance advisor, and your legacy insurance carrier. How’s that working out for you? 

Watch this 1-minute video if you are a self-insured employer who is:

  • bracing for another rate increase
  • confident you won’t see any savings
  • certain your benefits will be worse than where you started.

Take these four simple questions to your next advisor meeting to show that you hold the power over your health plan’s cost and experience:

1: Do you run a transparent business model? 

2: Do you work exclusively with any carriers? 

3: Is your commission tied directly to my insurance rates? Or do you earn a flat rate?

4: Will you sign a document disclosing your sources of revenue on my account?

For most of the self-insured employers we speak with, the number one goal for their health plans is: “I just don’t want my rate to go up anymore.” 

That’s a sad reality.

The expectation isn’t to save money, or to get better health benefits at the same bloated rate

The goal is simply to avoid yet another rate increase. 

This is the broken thinking Apostrophe Health if fixing. Better health plan options exist for you right now, and you don’t have to lose healthcare coverage to get them. 

Learn more by downloading our eBook Sick Of It All: How American Healthcare Got This Bad and Why You Don’t Have to Accept It, or read how our Intelligent Health Benefits are Good for Your Business.

How confident are you in your rented health insurance network?

How confident are you in your rented health insurance network? 1280 854 Apostrophe Health

Legacy health carriers don’t operate with the best interest of self-insured employers. Apostrophe Health is fixing that.

United Healthcare delivered a hard blow to Houston residents who rely on Methodist Hospital: It is planning to remove the hospital system’s in-network provider designation at the start of 2020. Benefits advisor Michael Andrade called out United Healthcare for the move, highlighting how these changes create uncertainty and fear in the members who rely on their existing healthcare providers and services.

Watch as he takes two minutes to compassionately guide members on proactive steps they should take to protect themselves before January 1, 2020.  

The type of disruption United Healthcare HAS CREATED can happen anywhere; and it does all too often. Self-insured employers who rent provider networks from traditional insurance carriers take a hard hit in these scenarios. And health plan members—your employees—carry the biggest burden in cost of out-of-network expenses, time spent to find new providers or arrange new appointments and stress of upending their comfort zone.  

Can you and your employees afford to be blindsided this way? You’d need a substantial continuity plan to ensure your employees’ treatment and care could carry on seamlessly, with little-to-no interruption. Andrade describes the painstaking effort needed to feel somewhat protected in such a transition:

  • research high-quality surgeons
  • learn if existing physicians have privileges at other hospitals
  • develop treatment plans
  • hunt down lower-cost imaging services

…and do it all in the next 30 days. 

This is exactly the broken healthcare system Apostrophe is working to fix. Situations like the one United and Methodist have created in Houston aren’t serving anyone’s best interests. The alternative is what we call Intelligent Health Benefits, wherein Apostrophe treats all providers as in-network to minimize disruption in care. 

By putting our members’ needs (without limiting network rules) they’re happier, healthier and saving a lot of money. Providers love that we eliminate their AR needs. And employers love that they can take control of quality, experience and cost of their health plan. 

Ask your advisor if renting provider networks is still your best bet. If they agree it’s time for a change that protects the company’s and your employees’ interests, let’s talk.