Getting the Big Company Advantage on Healthcare

In describing how I can help small- and medium-sized businesses with their health care cost while keeping exactly the benefits they have, sometimes the challenge is to help the business owner understand the difference between insurance and healthcare. We’re all conditioned to just think about the former, when really what we need is the latter.

That’s why I’m grateful to the good people at Irrigation Leader magazine, who kindly sat down for an interview with me recently. They asked the right questions. Read the entire article here (page 32), but meanwhile I’ll call out some of my favorite sections.

Howard Danzig, president of Employers Committed to Control Health Insurance Costs (ECCHIC), has been working on these problems for the last 25 years. His solution is simple: Educate employers about the economics and dynamics of the health care system and place control of employer dollars back into their own hands. The ECCHIC management team has been providing health care solutions to employers for 15 years.

I know what you’re thinking – something that was this complex even before the government got involved can’t possibly be simple. Well, that’s what “they” want you to think. We’ve helped scores of business owners figure this out and save a lot of money – but don’t take my word for it, check out their testimonials here.

The article did a great job laying out the twofold foundation of our business:

First, an employer must know what its costs are. [ECCHIC] positions the employer to know where every penny is going. Most employers do not have this information. So we provide transparency and accountability. Second, whoever controls the cash for a program, controls the system. So when an employer gives up control of its cash to a third-party insurance company, it has disenfranchised itself from getting value from its benefit dollar. [The employer] has empowered the insurance company to make the employer subordinate to the mandates of the insurance company. ECCHIC works to shift the power the other way, creating accessibility to health care options and enhancing affordability of employer health care programs.

I’m proud of my team, and we work really hard to manage your costs for you and I must say we do a damn good job at it. We’re all about leveraging the playing field, and breaking the myth that so many of you have been convinced is true: you can’t have the benefits you want at a reasonable price. And at zero risk:

ECCHIC provides a no-cost, no-obligation evaluation of what can be done. We would need a copy of the irrigation district’s or water agency’s current benefits structure; a listing of plan participants by gender, age, and family members covered; and exact location. We would then look at the market rate premium in that area. We will then show the employer what insurance is needed and what is not. Every employer group with whom we have had the privilege of working is spending less than they had been—all without cutting their benefits. We have dozens of employers with benefits budgets benchmarked to their premiums, whose premiums are the same as they were five years ago and surpluses accumulating every year. Employers can do whatever they want with those savings—it is their money. Our goal is to keep the money in the hands of the employer.

At the end of the day, I’m just like you. I love being my own boss running my own business surrounded by great people. So why can’t you and I have all the advantages of a big company dealing with a big insurance company?

We can.


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