Archive for the ‘Health Insurance Reform’ Category

I confess that I’m a grammar junkie.  I proofread billboards as I drive and let servers know when menus are misprinted. 

So there I was in a waiting room yesterday, and there was a cookie warmer in the corner.  Nice.  I noted the big red warning sticker, and assumed it would say something like “Warning.  These cookies are warm”.  Not so.  In urgent capital letters, it said “Warning.  Intended for use with potentially non-hazardous foods only”   

Wow.  So, clearly, there are hazardous foods out there that take the shape of cookies?  Or, foods that have the potential to be hazardous?  Is this a part of OSHA?

Put me down as speechless on this one.  For a start, I think we need better critical thinking skills in the warning label writing department…

Vaguely threatening but makes no sense. Kind of like many of the federal regulations on HR.


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The new normal has begun – and the first scraps of new ideas in delivering health insurance are emerging.

I spotted an interesting story from the Carolinas.   You can read it here.  They are setting up state-wide cooperatives to offer group buying of health insurance.  Exchanges, anyone?  Where many states are filing lawsuits to challenge the constitutionality of the new law, others are moving forward and getting new structures in place. 

This is a time where the early adopter has an advantage.  The first states to figure out the recipe for affordable health insurance will have a real competitive advantage.  Time to act!

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I promised to keep you posted on the frontlines of the challenges to health insurance reform.  Yesterday, the first lawsuit that I know of was ruled on by a judge – and the basic constitutionality of the law was upheld.  It happened in a federal courtroom in Detroit – you can read the full story here.  As you may know, the State of Indiana has filed it’s own lawsuit challenging the law, so this first ruling is of special interest to our Attorney General…

I’ll keep you posted.

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In today’s trifecta of Webinars on Health Insurance Reform, the overall theme is handicapping the political scene in general, and the mix of the Republicans vs the Democrats in congress when the smoke clears in early November.

It really doesn’t matter, as the outcome will certainly not be a complete repudiation of everything Democratic.  There will still be gridlock.

What really does matter this week is California taking the first steps on setting up the first state Insurance Exchange, with legislation signed by a moderate Republican governor to get the basics in place.  Many other states are watching this carefully.  Others are taking another, more confrontational approach – suing the constitutionality of the whole affair. 

What REALLY matters in all of this is that the early leanings in California exclude the use of Brokers and Licensed Agents from participation in the exchanges.  I’m here to tell you that the idea of non-licensed advisors involved in something as complex as health insurance is a bad idea.  Kind of like a non-licensed financial advisor running your 401k.  Bad (or unethical) things might happen.

A good blog post on the overall subject can be read here.  I’ll be following this issue in coming months and reporting back…

Webinar survival kit - soda, smartphone, speakerphone, and a notepad. If only there was a better answer than "Yes and No"...

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As the seasons change, benefits professionals know that the first frost happens around the same time as open enrollment.  We’re here.

Grr. Time to scrape.

I love a well-timed exit in the morning.  Hot coffee, pack a lunch, head to the office a few minutes before the morning rush.  This morning was the first frost.  Grr.  Thought I would share….had to scrape the windshield and resolve to clean out my space in the garage.  Just sharing.

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Just got back from having a “wellness lunch” with a CFO friend at the state fair, which is similar to having a vegetarian over for a hog roast.  I sent an invitation out to the CFO Roundtable roster, and had several takers until the weather turned into an outdoor version of a pizza oven.  100 degrees and 100 percent humidity.

Mark Winzinread, CFO of WalkerInformation, made it.  We had a great time finding the one healthy meal served in air conditioning at the fair, and I can happily report that it was worth it.  While we were there, we were also interviewed for a short story in the Indianapolis Star on the issue of wellness and healthy behavior in modern times.  It should be in the Sunday paper.

Walking through the tunnel, heading to the mecca of deep fried everything

We agreed that we should find the healthiest food possible without being totally boring.  Mark had done some research and found that there was a “healthy cafe” in the Ag Pavilion, so we headed that way.  The lines were long at the “Cheeseburger on Krispy Kreme Doughnut” stand, the “Deep Fried Butter” stand, and the “Chocolate Covered Bacon” stand.

Yikes. Deep fried Pepsi?

We found the healthy cafe.  No line.  Our roast pork and green beans was excellent, high quality, low fat, and great flavor.  Yum.

Now, a few reasons why healthy food at the fair is often a failure.  First, fair food is best eaten as you walk.  A nice salad requires both hands or at least a table.  Second, people really like fat.  Third, they really like deep fried stuff, especially if it is fat before you deep fry it.  You could open a booth that sells deep fried kitchen sponges and make a fortune.  Fourth, people feel that all diets are kaput at fairs and on vacation.

Then there is the issue of marketing.  I swear that there is a “gross out” factor at work here, with signs detailing how they make deep fried Pepsi.

Some things are better left unsaid...

These are foods that are just plain odd for any other time of the year…

Greetings, Earthlings! We come in peace.

And then there is the giant floating Corn Dog, the oddly shaped icon that floats above a deep fry booth on the main drag like the farthest thing in your mind from a food item.

It seems vaguely alien.

I understand that the fair has a tradition of serving fresh food that can’t be found elsewhere, but if concerns me that we are spiraling out of control as we invent new “amazing food” every year that pushes the envelope to the edge every year. 

I offer two challenges – this year, go to the fair and do what Mark and I did – seek out tasty and nutritious food from the few brave vendors that offer it.  Next year, let’s push the fair to make the signature dish a little more wellness friendly.  We can try to get Indiana from 14th most obese state to 15th.  It would be a start…

My list of low fat, high quality food at this year’s fair:

Pickle on a stick

Grilled pork chop

Smoked turkey leg


…and that’s about it.  Oh, and I was able to get a lemon shakeup with Sweet ‘n low.   I asked the sweet corn guy what percentage of his customers asked for their corn without the bath in high cholesterol butter… “One percent.”  then he thought and corrected himself . “Make that one fourth of one percent.  Whaddaya, nuts?”

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