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8 key takeaways for benefits leaders from The Benefits Playbook

The brightest minds in employee health are featured on Season 1 of Collective Health's podcast.

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Looking for a new podcast? 🎧

Tune in to Collective Health’s The Benefits Playbook. Over the course of Season 1, our host, Sasha Yamaguchi, Commercial Leader at Collective Health, had the privilege of interviewing some of the brightest minds in employee benefits. 

Each guest–spanning from brokers and consultants, benefits leaders, and medical professionals–shared their unique perspective and experience in the world of healthcare. They delved into how new ideas and innovative technologies are transforming the way employers approach health benefits for their workforce.

While nothing beats listening to the full conversations, we’ve provided a quick rundown of key takeaways from Season 1. Read on (and tune in!) to discover the strategies used by companies looking to improve the health of their employees and their bottom lines. 

  1. Lee Lewis, Chief Strategy Officer & GM of Medical Solutions at Health Transformation Alliance on the upside of working with a third-party administrator for self-funded health benefits:

“Every time you try to do something, you have to get, when you’re working with a big carrier, multiple layers of permission and there’s often resistance. It’s energy-sucking for people who are trying to do the right thing for their health plans and take care of their people. Whereas if you have a TPA, I’ve found that [they] don’t have the luxury of saying ‘no.’ [They] have to say yes. Sometimes when I talk to employers who are struggling with this, I say, ‘Man, wouldn’t it be amazing if when you asked a question of your carrier, the answer was yes?’”

Listen to Lee’s episode now:


  1. David Duenas, Life Science Practice Leader at HUB International, on how integrated health benefits platforms transform the healthcare experience for members:

“They’re the pipes and infrastructure that make it more seamless to say, ‘I have one place to call.’ That’s great because when I need it, and I don’t know when I’m gonna need this service, I only know that I need to call one number and that either I can self-serve or there’s a human on the other side of this saying, ‘I got you.’ And I think that’s worth its weight in gold.”

Listen to David’s episode now:


  1. Dr. Bapu Jena, distinguished economist, physician, and Harvard Medical School professor, on “good spend” vs. “bad spend” in health benefits plan design:

“Organizations think mostly about the healthcare spending bucket. But I think an interesting line of questioning is, how does how you design your health benefits affect what you do as a company, how productive your workers are, how likely you are to retain them? I think that is an avenue of inquiry that has received less attention than it probably should.”

Listen to Dr. Bapu’s episode now:


  1. John Meister, Principal and Senior Vice President of Employee Benefits at Newfront, on the power of member advocacy and navigation:

“The experience that you get when you actually talk with someone live, who quickly answers your question, really goes so far. I think at the end of the day, so many people don’t understand health insurance. There’s that baseline fear of, ‘Am I being taken advantage of? Is this right? Is this wrong?’ And so to have someone there to say “Hey, this is how it’s going,” and taking the time to do that…really goes so far.”

Listen to John’s episode now:


  1. Michael Levin, Co-founder of Ideon, on the potential for innovative companies to reshape the healthcare experience for members:

“There’s so much that we can do around creating a better member experience. We can get coverage in place in days, not weeks, so that you don’t get to the doctor and have a coverage issue. You should be able to understand the differences in real language between plans and understand the tradeoffs of making an investment in one place versus another. There’s so much we can do around education, around transparency, ‘Is this the right doctor based on their experience, their training, their outcomes for me?’”

Listen to Michael’s episode now:


  1. Serafina Miller, Senior Principal Consultant at Mercer, on the value of provider alignment:

“It encourages more people to get more engaged in their healthcare. We’re so focused on preventive care, if we have more diverse physicians, people will get more engaged in their preventive care and ideally live, the goal is longer, healthier, and therefore, happier lives.”

Listen to Serafina’s episode now:


  1. Emily Munroe, Global Head of Benefits and Wellness at Live Nation, on designing “must-have” benefits programs:

“What engages employees the most is if you build programs that are very specific to your population. You find something unique to your employee population and build it, and work with employees to build it. Those are the things that make working at [your company] unique, and those are the kinds of programs that feel braggable.”

Listen to Emily’s episode now:


  1. Ben Greene, Public Speaker and LGBTQ+ Inclusion Consultant, on why expanding access to inclusive healthcare providers is so important:

“We see a really huge avoidance of preventive medicine and of primary care for LGBTQ+ people, which means that we’re spending more on emergency care and on care for problems that have been allowed to get a lot worse because [we] will avoid going to the doctor as much as possible can because of a history of not having a great experience with healthcare providers.”

Listen to Ben’s episode now:


Ready for more insights from industry experts? Season 2 of The Benefits Playbook is premiering soon! Subscribe to the podcast on your favorite platform to catch the latest episode, right when it drops.

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