Phoenix, AZ, The Camby Hotel (February 7, 2022) – A group of seven healthcare industry professionals announced the formation of the Paid Benefits Advisors Committee. The committee’s mission is to make direct compensation the only standard in the benefits industry.
Darren Fogarty, executive director of the committee, explained in a statement: “Traditionally, health insurance brokers have been paid primarily through commissions as well as premiums from insurance companies. This compensation is positively correlated with an employer’s total health care spending, so as spending increases, broker compensation also increases. This does not serve employers, employees (patients) or the country well. »
Fogarty continued, “However, in recent years, forward-thinking brokers have begun to change their
compensation for fee agreements, and some have even moved to direct client fees
entirely (“paid only”). These transparent and straightforward fees align the interests of the broker and the
employer. They are consistent with consulting relationships in other professions, such as law and accounting.
The committee seeks to provide leadership and guidance on the benefits of paid services
compensation, both for the benefits brokers themselves and for the employer clients they represent. AT
To provide this guidance, the committee plans to host quarterly webcasts with leading thinkers and publish position papers on dealer/advisor compensation and fee transparency.
David Contorno, Founder and CEO of EPowered Benefits, a fee-based healthcare benefits consulting firm in Charlotte, North Carolina, shared his thoughts on the importance of the advisor-client relationship: “The broker is the first link in the chain of guidance for employers, who provide half of all health care coverage in the U.S. When a broker’s payout is realigned from the status quo, it sets the stage for an opportunity to correct most – if not all – of the perverse incentives that persist in almost every segment of the healthcare system.The results are nothing short of remarkable.Transparent compensation is redefining the way brokers provide advice. »
Gayle Brekke, a doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas Medical Center and a longtime employee benefits actuary, made the connection between how a broker gets paid and how patients experience health care on field: “The root of all dysfunction in our health care system is that we think about health care differently than we think about other goods and services. We demand transparency in the purchase of all other goods and services, and when we demand transparency in healthcare, we enable a dramatically better and healthier healthcare system. The importance of restoring the relationship between benefits broker and employer to one based on transparency and fiduciary trust cannot be overstated. Paid benefits advisors are in the best position to incorporate the cornerstones of sound health care funding and delivery, such as direct primary care, into the health plans they advise.
Emma Fox, Partner and COO of EPowered Benefits, highlighted how direct compensation restores control and transparency to the health care system as a whole: requiring two things: (1) control and (2) transparency. This includes brokers who need to be able to control how they are compensated so that they truly reflect their high value. This includes employers who have the right to know exactly where their company’s and employees’ money is going and why. It also includes employees who, as patients, should have the tools and ability to consider quality health care options from a list of names printed in a directory. Finally, it includes physicians who provide care and have a responsibility to refrain from harming the patient clinically and financially. Everyone in healthcare has the opportunity and obligation to align with the goal of achieving better healthcare outcomes.
Committee mission, vision and agenda
Vision- A benefits consulting profession recognized for its client-focused fiduciary principles
on the basis of a clear and transparent fixed remuneration.
Mission – The mission of the Paid Benefits Advisors Committee is to make transparent and paid compensation the industry benchmark.
Strategy – Identify thought leaders, academics, experts and industry practitioners to become
founding members of a committee to advance the vision and mission.
Sense – Advancing the vision and mission through research and education
the healthcare industry, policy makers and benefits advisors on why fee-only
the remuneration is the best for the employer client.
Tactics – Produce quarterly activities and programs on paid benefits advice and its importance, including virtual roundtables, thought leadership documents and educational materials. Operate the informal “committee” to a not-for-profit standard. Get the committee on track
to official 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
Operations – The committee is initiated by a group of seven healthcare industry leaders as
voluntary effort. The Executive Director is Darren Fogarty.
Biographies of committee members
David Balat, MHA, MBA is the director of the Right on Healthcare Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a nonprofit think tank in Austin, TX that promotes conservative policymaking. Balat has extensive experience across the entire healthcare spectrum, with expertise in healthcare financing and over 20 years of experience in industry leadership and executive management. He is a strong patient advocate, a staunch health care reformer, and is often featured in an array of media on health care issues.
Gayle Brekke, FSA, MBA, PhD Candidate is a sixth-year doctoral student at the University of Kansas Medical Center and a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (SoA). Brekke has nearly 20 years of experience as a health actuary and business leader with Assurant Employee Benefits and Sun Life. She uses actuarial and economic principles to explore the frontier of health care delivery and financing, with her upcoming thesis focusing on direct primary care, an innovative way for patients to directly receive and pay for their health care.
David Contorno is the Founder and CEO of EPowered Benefits, a fee-based healthcare benefits consulting firm in Charlotte, NC and Portland, OR. Contorno has 21 years of experience in employee benefits and is an outspoken critic of the status quo brokerage business model. He is a member of the advisory board of the Validation Institute, a strategic coach at Q4intelligence and one of the first Health Rosetta advisors. Contorno is regularly featured in leading media and in high-profile books on thought leadership in healthcare. He is also a frequent co-advisor to benefits brokers.
Darren Fogarty, MEM is an analytics and strategy consultant at Adept Benefits, a health benefits consulting firm in Seattle, WA, and is director of the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, DC. Fogarty has four years of benefits consulting experience and spent six years researching fiduciary advice and compensation for fee-only advisors in financial services. He has (co)authored dozens of articles on the nature of sales, advice, fiduciary duty, employee benefits, and health care and insurance economics and policy.
Emma Fox is COO of EPowered Benefits, a paid healthcare benefits consulting firm in Charlotte, North Carolina and Portland, OR, and CEO of Signal Health Consulting, a data analytics company on health care which ensures the transparency of employer group plans. Fox has over 15 years of experience in employee benefits, is a strong believer in transparency in health care, and advocates for women in benefits. She is the founder of Empowered Leadership, a mentoring organization for the professional development of minority groups.
Mike Hanlon, PhD, MA is founder and CEO of Abett, a SaaS technology company in Seattle, WA that enables employers to transfer benefits and healthcare data across an array of providers. Previously, Hanlon was the seventh employee at Amazon where he worked in business and software development. He also has six years of experience as a lecturer in economics and statistics and as an assistant professor of global health at the University of Washington.
Leon Wisniewski is the founder of Health Cost Labs, a technology and data analytics company that provides transparency in health care pricing from insurers and hospitals, and is the director of pricing at Medxoom. Wisniewski has over 20 years of experience as an actuary, health care cost modeller and forensic auditor. Prior to Health Cost Labs, Wisniewski worked at BlueCross BlueShield, which introduced him to fee schedules, billing models, and the inefficiencies created by information blocking.