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Engineering Influence welcomes Pat Feyen, the President of the ACEC Life Health Trust, to discuss the new loyalty credit that will be sent to participating firms in August.  

Transcript:

Host:

Welcome to another edition of the Engineering Influence podcast by the American Council of Engineering Companies. Today we're very pleased to be joined by Pat Feyen. He is the President of the ACEC Life Health Trust and we wanted to bring him on to talk about a couple of things, especially now in our current COVID-19 environment. And also we haven't really had the Trust on since our last in-person meeting in Chicago. This is a great opportunity to kind of reintroduce the Trust for those who weren't at the conference or, or didn't hear that episode. So Pat, welcome to the show first and tell us a little bit about the Life Health Trust.

Pat Feyen:

Well, thank you Jeff and thank you for having me. I want to start with recognizing that on May 1st the Life Health Trust celebrated 55 years of supporting ACEC member firms and honored, privileged to continue that role. We have a clearly stated mission to provide healthcare benefits, solutions and services to support the business objectives of ACEC member firms and the health and wellbeing of the firm's employees and their families. We are really excited about the opportunity to recognize the loyalty that's been demonstrated over the years from our member firms and customers. And I guess the combination of the fact that we've got a singular purpose and that's to bring value to ACEC member firms. Mission statement. I shared the little do that to support their business objectives. And then finally, in light of the coven, 19 challenges to our industry and the country. The life health trust board of trustees have approved a loyalty credit totaling $11 million that we will give back in the form of a reduction of August premium invoice.

Host:

That's a big number, 11 million. And that's, that's big news. Especially for firms today who are undergoing a cash crunch and are doing their best to minimize expenses and to recoup as many costs as possible to keep their businesses afloat. That, that's really good news. What kind of an impact is that going to have on firms, especially the firms that really make up the majority of, of the trust membership?

Pat Feyen:

Yeah, that's a great question. The average credit will be right around $8,000, but and there is a range, fairly wide range depending - based on how long the firm has been with the Life Health Trust. So by way of example, a firm with 25 employees would receive up to a $10,000 credit. A firm with 75 employees, you know, up to $35,000 credit. And then our larger firms around 150 employees could receive a credit of as much as $70,000.

Host:

Yeah. So not insignificant by any means. This credit. So I mean, that's significant. As of August 1st, 2020, all active firms will receive the loyalty credit. Of course, now we're coming into the later part of May do you have a timeline that kind of you know, the firms can take advantage of this and plan for when this credit's going to come into effect?

Pat Feyen:

Yes, we do. It's a little fluid, but the week of the 18th of May, we will announce the loyalty credit. On or about June 1st, we will provide the firms and their brokers and consultants the exact amount of their credit that will show up in the August invoice.

Host:

And I also understand that there's going to be potentially some webinars and some information in a website that'll be tied to that for active life health trust members to be able to get the information they need on that and to access information online.

Pat Feyen:
Yes. Well, we'll be partnering with ACEC doing our own mailings, websites, LinkedIn announcements, webinars to make sure that this is well communicated and understood and that we're available to answer any questions.

Host:

Absolutely. And we'll do our part to get the information out there. Really that's great news. That this is happening. I think that it shows, again, the benefit of the trust and why it's so popular with our members. And of course you know, it's, it's always one of those, you know, things that's a secret weapon within ACEC. Are our three trusts and the Life Health Trust is definitely one of the most popular that, that I hear about from our membership. And it really just is, is extraordinary that you're able to do this credit is, have you, have you ever done it? Oh no. I was just going to ask if you had, have you ever done anything like this to your knowledge in the trust's history?We've reduced premiums in August of 2007 after converting all of our membership from a previous carrier to United Healthcare. We enjoyed some significant savings because of moving to United Healthcare and passed that along to our member firms. But that would have been I think the only time in other time in history where something like this has happened and I think this is a partnership. It's important. The loyalty to the Life Health Trust from our member firms really creates the opportunity to invest in the health and wellbeing of the firm's employees and families. As you might imagine, the longer members remain on the trust and trust insurance plan, the greater the opportunity, our value added services can have an impact on health and thus healthcare costs, which of course, we pass back those savings over time to our member firms. So that was the thought and the basis for a a loyalty credit. And we've got many, many firms that have been with us a long time and they're the ones that will be at the higher end of the range of credit.

Host:

Yeah. And you do have firms that have been with you for a very long time. I mean, what's the average term that you know, a smaller mid range engineering firm has been with the trust.

Pat Feyen:

Oh, we lost track of when many of the smaller, most loyal firms started when we converted to United Healthcare. And that was 13 years ago. So our records go back 13 and, but those firms have been with us 30 and 40 years.

Host:

Yeah. So there, there are firms that, that match that a 55 year anniversary that you're...

Pat Feyen:

yeah, exactly.

Host:

So let's take a look, a broader view of this because you know, healthcare costs, of course, you know, we are in a medical healthcare pandemic right now. What are the other national, the large national healthcare insurers doing what are, what are some examples of, of what you've been seeing in the marketplace in response to a COVID-19?

Pat Feyen:

Well United Healthcare announced earlier this week that they are providing one point $5 billion in support to all of their customers nationwide. It takes on many forms like waving of copays not increasing premiums. The component of their plan that's most similar to ours is a 5 to 20% reduction in employer premiums to be reflected in the, their July invoice. But they've got a lot of programs and services and resources that they're extending and waiving costs. You know, that they have incurred fewer costs as of late because of the deferral of services knowing that there's a significant reduction in elective procedures. We have not seen that yet. If in fact that's the case and when we get another couple of months down the road, you know, then we'll consider you know, an additional return or reduction of premium to our member firms. Again, we're here to provide value to the member firm, not to make a lot of money. And if we're overcharging, then sure, the trustees will once again honor our mission statement and support our firm's business objects.

Host:

Yeah, absolutely. Because again, the loyalty credit that you announced today is not tied to the lower costs is just kind of based on the, on like you said, the the commitment to serving the members, especially in this very troubled time. So that's, that's really good to know and I know that you will be taking part. I know the Life Health Trust will be taking part in sponsoring some upcoming education on the ACEC education page. We have of course, part of our larger Rescue, Recover, Rebuild effort which is ongoing right now. We have been we've gotten the great and and, and very helpful support of the Life Health Trust to a sponsor, some webinars, some informational webinars, which will be free to members. And that has now up on our website at www.acec.org.

Host:

You'll find a link to our webinar series with the R3 initiative. And of course that first webinar coming up is going to be on May 21st. It's Controlling Healthcare Costs Through Work Site Wellness with Lindsey Simone. And that's going to be at three 3:30PM to 4:30PM on May 21st. And the information to register for that webinar's going to be up on our website. Just go on acec.org. You'll see it right at the top of the page, Pat. Is there anything else going on with the life health trust that you want to update our members on? At this point, the loyalty credit is of course the biggest news item to report. But anything else new happening that you'd like to to share?

Pat Feyen:

Yeah, that would be one thing. And that's the cause we know telemedicine utilization has, well, it's more than doubled during the pandemic. We have telemedicine services and of course provide access to physicians for general medicine needs you know, from the chest up. But we've added recently telemedicine services for behavioral health. Again, perfect timing, given the anxious times that, that we're, we're living in an addition dermatology and back here. So when I continue to encourage the utilization of that during, during this time when we're isolated,

Host:

That's, that's really good information, especially now with the increased access and interest and of course, behavioral health, telemedicine of, of being able to remotely meet with someone, especially now in this time of quarantine and the different stresses and demands that are put on people for remote work. And just, just the, the nature of being locked in for so long. So that, that's a very important resource that, that people should take advantage of.

Pat Feyen:

Yes sir.

Host:

It is it is some really good news coming out of the life health trust and really appreciate Patty taking time out of your day to update on this. And again really just, just keep tuned to Life Health Trust www.aceclifehealthtrust.com for more information and follow out on, for their you know, follow them for updates and announcements for the loyalty credit. And hopefully we will have you on after the loyalty to credit takes effect, you can kind of give a status report on how it's going a couple months down the line. We'd love to have you back on the show.

Pat Feyen:

I would welcome that opportunity. Thank you, Jeff.

Host:

Well, thank you and Pat, stay safe. Stay healthy and and look forward to speaking to you again. Thank you for thank you for coming on.

Pat Feyen:

Okay. Thank you Jeff.

 

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