Archive for the ‘Benefits Administration’ category

Healthcare Reform – The End of Brokers?

March 24, 2010

Hell No!

This is America, the land of opportunity and entrepreneurs. It will be up to you to meet the new challenges from HCR or go the way of  the blacksmith, the buggy whip, the typewriter, black and white TV, 8 tracks and cassettes, LP’s, VCR’s and other tools that change has left behind.

I believe that healthcare reform – whether you like it or not – will be a huge boon for brokers who add true value to their customers. The students of the business and innovators who really know and understand customer needs will flourish and grow as they adapt their practices to the marketplace realities and opportunities they create.

Recent History of the Benefits Industry Evolution

In my 35 years in the industry I have witnessed a sea  change in our industry, all of which have created opportunity for quality intermediairies who developed the skills and skill sets internally to deal with the new complexities and opportunities they have created.

Lets look at the major ones:

  1. Late ’70’s/early ’80’s – decoupling of benefits from one large carrier providing them all to best of breed being chosen and put together as a “program”
  2. Mid ’80’s/Early ’90’s – Flexible benefits arrive requiring new creativity and communication skills and choices for employees
  3. Late ’80’s/mid ’90’s – The rise of managed (or mismanaged) care. HMO. POS, PPO, in and out of network et al replace major medical, wraparounds, 100% plans et al
  4. Mid 90″s on – The rise of 401K and the decline of DB and DC plans
  5. Late ’90’s on – Rise of self funding for smaller and smaller groups.
  6. 1997 on – Technology hits the industry and continues to grow in use from enrollment, admin, communication et al.
  7. Mid 90’s 0n as HIPAA comes into being and states legislate more due to managed care compliance becomes a must part of any practice.
  8. Late 90’s on – Worksite/Voluntary benefits become part of the product portfolio.
  9. 2000 on- Benefits Communication comes into its own as the web grows and becomes ubiquitous
  10. 2002 0n – As HR staffs get downsized HR and outsourcing  practices grow as new programs are introduced to help clients deal with all this complexity
  11. 2003 on- Carving out RX benefits as a separate program to get the best pricing takes hold
  12. 2007 0n – Wellness becomes a necessity for cost containment reasons
  13. 2009 on – Technology is now a core part of day to day business and servicing customers day to day. Rise of Social Media opens new doors
  14. 2010 – Healthcare Reform becomes the law. What does it mean?
  15. 2010-2014 – Reform specifics will get clarified and plan options explode from exchanges, associations, carrier innovation etc.

Many readers who are younger probably don’t even realize that the skills and work they do today didn’t exist even 20 years ago but today is an expected part of the services any quality firm delivers.

Whether you agree with the reform bill or not is not relevant now. We all agree change is needed and that change is now official at least in direction. Much will change and evolve as well before 2014 but now we all know that change is occurring.

Consolidation will continue unabated but that does not mean that reform will drive the industry into a world of just a dozen or so large entities.

The specifics and evolution of new businesses and opportunities driven by this and technology will be fast and furious making it imperative that your organization is nimble, keeps up to date and has a team that learns and adapts quickly.

Expertise and creativity driven by knowledgeable professionals using the latest technologies will be the coin of this new realm and there will continue to be great opportunities for the right people and organizations.

I hope you are all up to the challenge because it is going to be an “E” ticket ride, whether you like it or not!


ADP Wake Up – Employease Customers Are Really Unhappy!

June 30, 2009

14 years ago this September the 13th – 1995 –  I wrote the business plan for Employease, the first true SaaS application and the first online HR and benefits management application.

Myself, my fellow founders and a handful of founding employees worked hard to create something unique – starting with a lot of sweat equity and some of  my money for a year or so before we were fortunate enough to get great investors like Federal Partners and then Hummer Winblad who saw the company through to its success.

ADP bought the company nearly 3 years ago and for awhile I was hearing good things in the market.

Now all I hear everyday is unhappy customers who still “love” the easy to use Employease platform but can’t stand the service, or lack thereof, they get from ADP at every level. The lack of any new features in 3+ years is also taking a great platform and making it a dinosaur when once it was the undisputed leader in features, functionality and ease of use.

Long time employees continue to leave for the same reasons and the problems keep getting worse as a result.

I was hopeful when ADP bought the company that they could really take it to a new level of market penetration and functionality.

Sadly this isn’t happening – which is no real surprise – but is sad to see a great company whose team built something totally unique with terrific loyal customers being destroyed by the kind of poor service ADP payroll has been famous for for years.

ADP – wake up. You tried buying Employease for over 10 years before you finally succeeded – or shall we say were finally willing to pay a fair price for it.

You tried building a platform yourself. Wasted money buying other lousy technologies. God knows how much you wasted trying to do it yourselves and undermine Employease.

Now there are terrific new platforms out there built on the latest technologies that are much better and easier to use.

If you are a customer or partner that would like some suggestions for other services that will treat you like a valuable customer email me today.