From the Trust Perspective: Health Benefits Trust Pool Readies for 2020

Bryan Leaird, NCLM Associate Executive Director of Risk Management Services

The League’s Health Benefits Trust pool, and the health insurance industry in general, is a complex field to navigate. At all three levels of government, the parts—from provider to patient—are constantly moving, and the path to providing exceptional service can be a labyrinth of hitches and hurdles.

These challenges, however, are not a deterrent to providing exceptional coverage. If anything, they are an inspiration, and the League is up to the task.

It starts at the top. The League has made a strong addition with our Director of Strategic Health Operations, Youssou Fall, an analytical and problem-solving expert with nearly two decades of management and leadership experience in the health insurance industry. Fall will provide not only stable guidance, but also a level of innovation that will be required in the years ahead.

The goal is to stay ahead of the curve. Everything from pharmaceuticals to networks to medical care is evolving, and the danger of falling behind is always present. However, with new leadership and a high-level strategic vision, we can better forecast the industry’s future and prepare to thrive.

The benefits of this approach will be numerous. First and foremost, it will keep the pool competitive and affordable. Strong forecasts will result in a strong pool, and from that position of strength, we can smooth out the annual health insurance premium trends. With a robust pool, we’ll be able to keep rate increases below those national trends.

How? Through managed health programs, services to help participants navigate the health insurance process, efficiency, and streamlined processes. For example, even with similar procedures, there can be a dramatic difference in cost from one place to another. An MRI here will not imitate an MRI there. Our goal, through partnerships and information sharing, is to achieve the best possible price in all situations. By working with our providers and partners and trying to better direct those services, we can drive down costs. In doing so, we will lower the premiums that our members see.

Most importantly, this will improve care. With our analytical approach, we can look at the types of claims that our participants are experiencing and understand where the best care can be provided for those claims. Our direction is evolving, but our goal is the same: for the members to be well.

These improvements, which will be achieved through strong, forwardthinking leadership, will be a boon to all. For members, costs go down. For the League as a whole, the HBT pool continues to strengthen. And moving into the future, as we establish ourselves on the forefront of this constantly changing industry, we all will benefit from the flexibility and adaptability that our strengthened position will afford.