Justin Donald Leader

Benefits Professional
  • Why You Need a Healthcare Hero.

    Jan 18, 2016

by Justin Leader


“With great power comes great responsibility.” – (Spiderman, Ben Parker)

When I started my career in employee benefits the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 had just been signed into law.  At the time I had not realized what this access law would mean not only for me as a healthcare user, but more so the employers I would be working with, the economy and every US citizen who was trying to understand just what the implications of this law would mean for them.  Fast forward 6 years later, I have a lot of perspective.  I am not a politician, and by no means in a place to argue the good, bad or ugly of what this law means for every one of us. What I will tell you is that this law has completely leveled the playing field for every single employer, broker/consultant, and insurer, etc. regarding just how we are going to tackle what has become one of the greatest burdens of multiple generations; the rising cost of Healthcare.

“It’s clobberin’ time!” – (The Thing)

The hits came hard and fast for employers the past few years.  Absurd annual renewals of 10%, 20% and 30% on healthcare premium, with back end deals between PBM’s and insurance carriers where employers were delivered a supposed % of savings while the pockets of drug companies, PBMs and healthcare providers grew tenfold. Wellness vendors coast to coast have promised a mythical unicorn of ROI to employers with no true claims cost control beyond some made up numbers.  If you want some more proof of this read the book “Surviving Workplace Wellness with Your Dignity, Finances and Major Organs Intact” by my dear friend Al Lewis.  Immediately I think most of my competition, the free world and every person impacted by these dramatic changes lost sight of the two things that make the US and Capitalism for that matter so beautiful: innovation and adaptation.  Not only innovation and adaptation but the results to back up what is being preached!

“Avengers Assemble!” – (Captain America)

For many years I have been attending national conference after regional conference and Fortune 1000 Executive meeting after meeting with the same common theme.  How on earth can we impact our costs, how can we truly control what we are spending and how do we eliminate the disgusting if not dirty feeling we are getting every year that we send checks to our carriers and broker/consultants?  Hell, why do we even continue to offer benefits at all as employers?  I go back to my earlier comment.  It takes innovation and adaptation, that of which most folks of the “old school” mentality are not willing to delve into. Why should they attempt to build Healthcare plans for the RIGHT reasons? Not for reasons such as greed or sheer laziness.  Not to slap a label on another “captive” model that doesn’t control cost.  Where employers are subsidizing each other in a negative fashion and a few insurance folks are lining their pockets with interest made on employer funds!  Humans fear change.  Let’s face it.  It takes a little bit of effort to overcome that and cause disruption.  Another good friend and colleague Dr. Brian Klepper has been a long term advocate of this mind set and he is absolutely right!  Disruption drives change.  Ingenuity is the key to arriving at sustainable ongoing cost mitigation.

“Truth, Justice and the American Way.” – (Superman)

So you are asking who is this Healthcare Hero that will come, wave a magic wand and fix this dilemma?  For each organization this answer is going to be completely different.  I will tell you this.  If the people you are relying on, from HR, to Brokers or Consultants and the Providers are not operating on a platform of complete and total transparency, they are doing it wrong.

If you are not aware of where every single Healthcare dollar is going as well as thevalue you are receiving for that dollar then you should consider reassessing the situation and finding that advocate!  My goal is not stay status quo.  My goal has been since day one to protect my clients, drive change and ensure that every single dollar is accounted for and every single employee (End User) has access to Healthcare.  Ask yourself, do I currently have a Healthcare Hero, or are they just another “old rat in the barn”?

“Life doesn’t give us purpose, we give it purpose.” – (The Flash)

Justin Leader is Vice President of Business Development with Benefit Design Specialists, Inc.  BDS is committed to a two-fold goal; delivering quality, cost-effective employee benefit plans coupled with hassle-free benefits management for our client’s HR departments.  Transparent Health, By BDS is a solution that drives down Healthcare costs while giving complete investment transparency.