In this episode, Michael introduces Steve Watson, a CFO/CHRO and founder of Trendbreakers, a community of finance, human resources, and benefit advisor professionals that are on a mission to break the trend of rising employee healthcare costs. Trendbreakers helps CFOs, CHRO’s and business owners make the best employee benefit decisions by offering support, education, and consulting.
Steve is a unique guest because he’s on the payor side of business…i.e., he is working for an employer who ultimately pays for healthcare via their insurance. He recognizes that the current healthcare system is lucrative for organizations and certain people, but also sees the problem with employers and families paying heavily for benefits they may not even use. A few years ago, his employer had a million-dollar claim that was going to increase premiums by 30% – and his broker’s commission by 30%, too. Through deeper investigation and learning, he recognized the incentive imbalance and that the system was rigged against employers.
He was able to slash his company’s benefits costs, save thousands, and allow employees to enjoy no increases and better benefits – all while drastically reducing the administrative burden of enrollments and changing plans. After doing it for his own company, Steve realized that others in his position needed the network, strategies, and best practices to do the same. So he built Trendbreakers, the educational platform that helps inform business owners, CFOs and CHROs make the best healthcare decisions for their company and its people.
Steve believes that a lack of accountability across the board has been a detriment to the system as a whole. He believes brokers must be transparent, accountable and have a high level of expertise in the exact areas their clients need so they can offer the best solutions. He also recommends brokers be conscious of the way they communicate with employers and use words and comparisons they can understand.
Brokers have an excellent opportunity to educate and be a fiduciary for the employers they serve. And it’s important that employers have a plan in place that they’re confident in and has room for continued growth and savings down the road. Trendbreakers has a promising road ahead bridging the gap between peers and colleagues to create a system where everyone benefits.
Here’s a glance at what we discuss in this episode:
- 01:00 – Introducing Steve, the CFO, CHRO, and founder of Trendbreakers.
- 05:30 – What Steve thinks about our healthcare system and when the reality sunk in.
- 09:30 – He transitioned into a self-funded plan to address the issues.
- 12:00 – Now, he can impact the results, get data, and benefit from no claims.
- 13:05 – Employees have benefited from no increases, better benefits, and they lifted the administrative burden of having to have an enrollment.
- 13:30 – Trendbreakers provides education to company leaders, executives, and HR leaders so they understand the industry and speak the same language.
- 14:50 – Broker/Consultant must-haves: Transparency, accountability, expertise.
- 17:05 – Brokers don’t always share new solutions with their clients that could save them significant dollars.
- 20:00 – Brokers must communicate concepts in a way that the CFO/CHRO/owner understands because in many cases, they’ll need someone else to sign off on it, too.
- 22:20 – CFOs want to know the internal risk and meet other people who are self-funding to feel confident about their decision.
- 24:10 – It takes peers, stories, and a group for people to feel confident about making a decision – just listening to a broker isn’t enough.
- 25:05 – If an HR leader needs to get the rest of the leadership on board, they must first do things on the back-end that won’t change anything for the employees.
- 26:30 – Have a 3-5 year plan and make incremental changes – each step will make you money.
- 27:00 – Steve is excited for the next level of savings for his company, for Trendbreakers he’s excited to see the conversations lead themselves.
- 28:00 – He’s also excited to speak onstage about Trendbreakers and continue bridging the gap between HR and CFOs.