Tag Archives: Insurance

How Do You Hire Your First Employee? Seven Suggestions

Situation:  The CEO of an early stage company has identified a person to help her as an assistant. This will be her first real employee. Prior hires have been contractors who have been paid on revenue generated. This individual’s salary will be an expense without clear association to revenue. What guidelines do you suggest as she makes this hire? How do you hire your first employee?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Create a cash flow projection to make sure that you have the cash to afford an employee.
  • If you consistently expect 40+ hours of work from this individual, consider a salaried position which will give both of you more flexibility.
  • Paychex currently handles your payroll and benefits. Work with them to make sure that all labor law compliance issues are covered. Also, consider hiring a labor law consultant to help you avoid minefields.
  • Do a background check even if you have known this individual for a long time.
  • Consider working with a professional employment organization that can provide back-office HR support for you.
  • An employee handbook is unnecessary at this point. However, think through how you will want to handle issues that may come up including vacation, benefits and paid/unpaid leave like bereavement leave. Document these for inclusion in a future employee handbook.
  • Under the current health care law employers with less than fifty employees are not required to provide health benefits without paying a penalty. This may change as the law continues to evolve.

How Do You Introduce a New Solution Without Asking for a Change in Behavior? An Approach

Interview with Kiran Kundargi, CEO, Apsora

Situation: A company seeks the best way to introduce a novel health monitoring solution. The challenge is that people don’t want to change their routines. If you can creatively fit into existing routines with minimal behavior change this facilitates adoption. How have you introduced a new solution without asking for a change in behavior?

Advice from Kiran Kundargi:

  • As the population ages health care costs rise. A solution that can reduce healthcare costs while allowing more seniors to remain in their homes this can significantly reduce health care costs. The sticky part is making this solution a part of the elder’s and their family-caregiver’s daily routine.
  • Our solution is to seek the low hanging fruit – post-hospital discharge recovery at home. Seniors who have been discharged from the hospital following treatment or surgery often receive strict instructions to take their medication, adjust their diets and engage in regular exercise. This requires changes in the senior’s routine, and non-compliance is a leading cause of readmission.
    • Effective October 2012, Medicare will stop paying hospitals for readmissions that it deems avoidable. This forces hospitals to take a more active role in follow-up care following discharge. Our online health monitoring service, Nclaves, provides a low cost solution.
    • Nclaves facilitates communication between the elder and his or her children and grandchildren using Internet and hand-held technology. This enables family to help their senior comply with post-hospital instructions.
  • We approach this opportunity in four phases.
    • We start by using the Internet. We have made our solution easy for physicians and hospitals to find. Internet activity is supplemented with presentations to monthly meetings in hospitals. By acting as an information resource on the change in Medicare regulations, we can introduce our solution to those who will suggest it to patients. Early adopters will enable us to build case studies demonstrating both technical viability of our solution, benefit provided to patients, and impact on readmission rates and cost of care.
    • Next, we will approach large employers. Employers understand that increases in hospital costs will adversely affect the cost of insurance benefits for their employees. We want them to include Nclaves as part of their employee health and wellness programs.
    • The third step is insurance companies. These companies have the leverage to specify and suggest options to both patients and providers.
    • Our final step is broad market acceptance. Once both payers and providers are on-board, we will be ready to work through alliances, the Internet and broader public relations and advertising campaigns to build market acceptance.

You can contact Kiran Kundargi at kkundargi@nclaves.net

How Can You Use Web and Mobile Tech to Bridge Different Worlds?

Interview with Jason Langheier, MD, MPH, Founder and CEO, Zipongo

Situation: The Internet and social media provide opportunities to bridge seemingly distinct worlds through common interests. For example, grocery chains that sell healthy foods and health insurance companies might be brought together through a common interest in healthy eating habits. How can you use web and mobile technology to bridge these two worlds?

Advice from Jason Langheier:

  • Interests and industries which are at first glance distinct can be brought together using the power of the Internet and social media. For example, Let’s Move and the Partnership for a Healthy America have nudged national food retailers and grocers to improve the health of their offerings in an effort to fight childhood obesity. Success here can benefit health insurers because obesity leads to increased healthcare costs through its link to diabetes and other complications. The potential of subsidies from health insurers to promote and generate healthy food choices is interesting to food retailers, but requires new incentive and recommendation systems.
  • We want to help people harness their motivation to build lasting new eating and activity routines. We do this through rewards based commerce, supported by social networks and gamification to help reach one’s health goals. We focus on choices that people make in daily living like grocery and restaurant choices and physical activities. We highlight alternatives, create simple recommendations, and make it easy to act on those recommendations. We encourage repetition of positive choices through a feedback loop which is tailored to the individual.
  • Commitments made within a social network are more likely to stick than promises to self. We leverage existing social media networks and offer incentives for referring friends. Friends help friends make better choices by encouraging them to read labels and buy healthier foods at the moment of purchase.
  • It is important to keep the user interface simple, especially at first. Many of the most successful applications initially present simple yes-no choices. From a tracking standpoint, this also minimizes variables and improves data measurement. Featuring high contrast action buttons on our site also helps prompt decisions.  There is a sweet spot on a commerce site between presenting an overwhelming array of options, and too few choices – which we assess through A-B testing.  By starting simply and building complexity slowly we build a baseline control scenario, then vary choices simply off the baseline to improve results.
  • The entrepreneur seeking to truly achieve a social mission must plan for both the short and long-term. In the short-term, it is critical to build milestones which will demonstrate financial feasibility and sustainability for potential investors. However a long-term perspective is also essential, particularly when one is interested in long term behavioral and economic impact.

You can contact Jason Langheier at j@zipongo.com

Key Words: Internet, Social Media, Food, Insurance, Health, Common, Interest, Software, Bridge, Entrepreneur, Partnership for a Healthy America, Incentive, Tracking, Reward, Commitment, Behavior, Change, Friend, Simple

How Will You Care for Aging Parents? Four Considerations

Interview with Barbara Smith, CEO, Ask Barbara

Situation: Many executives in their 50s and 60s have parents in their 80s and 90s. When parents can no longer take care of themselves, there are important decisions to make regarding long-term care. What considerations are important to these decisions?

Advice:

  • The most important challenge is that we often don’t want to think about these decisions.
  • There are three legs of the stool when it comes to later life planning.
    • Regular life insurance for family and final arrangements.
    • Financial planning to assure that you will have the assets to provide for yourself in later life.
    • Long-term care insurance can expand alternatives and help defer the cost of later life care.
    • Also, an estate planning attorney can shield assets if Medicaid will cover the expense of later life care.
  • The aging population is rapidly changing the demographics of later life care provision.
    • In Santa Clara County, California 16% of the population is currently 60+. This will go up to 25% by 2040.
    • Baby Boomers who waited longer to have children may have small children and aging parents at the same time. If a family member currently cares for elders, what will happen if they return to the workforce?
    • Medicare and Medicaid cover hospital and skilled nursing, but not assisted living. Long-term care insurance is important for those in their 50s and 60s and is less expensive if purchased earlier.
  • Needs and alternatives are changing as the generations change.
    • In contrast to their parents, Baby Boomers are more open to late stage options. They look for amenities and social environments that will enable them to stay active.
    • The village concept is gaining momentum – communities of like-minded seniors who will move into a community, often at a younger age than earlier generations.
    • Current elders are healthier than Boomers, and even more so than younger generations due to better diet and exercise habits. This has implications for both the care needs and options available to the younger generations as they age.
    • Technology will come into play in new ways. Current products assist in tracking and dispensing medications. There are also fall-alert devices and nanny cams to monitor parents in case of emergencies. Many more will be developed.

You can contact Barbara Smith at askbarbarasmith@gmail.com

Key Words: Long-term care, Generations, Planning, Urgent, Insurance, Financial Planning, Long-term Care Insurance, Estate Planning, Demographics, Baby Boomer, Depression, Family Care, Assisted Living, Village, Health

Merging or Selling the Company – How do we Retain Key Staff? Five Suggestions

Situation: The Company has a merger / sale of the company pending. While most direct staff will be retained, roughly half of the indirect staff may be at risk. The CEO’s objective is twofold: to retain key indirect talent before and during transition, and to do right by those who have made strong contributions to the company.

Advice from the CEOs:

  • One member dealt with this a few years ago. They set up a retention fund for important but potentially impacted employees in advance of the anticipated transaction. The longer the employee stayed with the company through the transition, the larger the payout for which they were eligible. In the case of no transaction, the funds were to be returned to the company.
    • An alternate version of this option is to use insurance to fund a retention package for a group of key employees. This package may or may not be required depending upon the transition.
  • For potentially impacted employees, consider a retention package that rewards them for staying long enough to train the purchaser in their areas of expertise.
  • Look at outplacement services as part of the package for employees. Let employees know that this is part of the package if they are not retained post transaction.
  • Seek outside consultant expertise to assist in the design and administration of a retention package. Also look at your own network, and seek the advice of others who are well-versed with the technical aspects of employee transition.

Key Words: Merger, Sale, Employee Retention, Insurance, Outplacement