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West Fargo, Join Us for the WEX Health Career Fair

West Fargo, Join Us August 16 for the WEX Health Career Fair

08/09/2018

 

WEX Health is hiring for our North Dakota location! And you’re invited to attend the WEX Health Career Fair to learn about our fast-growing payments company, career opportunities and how you can make a difference.

 

When:

Thursday, August 16, 2018, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.

 

Where:

WEX Health

700 26th Ave. East

West Fargo (south of Costco)

 

What:

We’re seeking qualified candidates for multiple opportunities, including customer service specialists, technical roles and more. We’re looking for people who are passionate about providing great service, who like to solve problems and who deliver results in a fun work environment. WEX Health is a place where you can grow your existing skills, cultivate new ones and take your career to the next level. Please bring your resume.

 

Unable to attend our career fair? Visit our careers page or email your resume to careers@wexhealthinc.com.

Must-Listen Podcast: Opportunities for Banks in the HSA Market

Must-Listen Podcast: How Consumers View and Engage With Their Healthcare Benefits

08/08/2018

 

Jeff Bakke, Chief Strategy Officer at WEX Health, is a featured guest on Besler’s Hospital Finance Podcast. He discusses the findings of the WEX Health Clear Insights Report which looks at how consumers view and engage with their healthcare benefits.

We invite you to take a listen:

 

Visit the full blog post here

An Interview with Partner Conference Keynoter Sally Hogshead

Be Fascinating: An Interview with Partner Conference Keynoter Sally Hogshead

07/09/2018

 

This past spring, New York Times bestselling author Sally Hogshead delivered a motivational keynote at WEX Health Partner Conference 2018. Before doing so, each of our Partners in attendance took her 28-question Fascination Advantage personality test—the first personality test to measure not how you see yourself but how others see you. As a result, Sally customized her keynote about what high performers do differently to also reveal some of the traits that set the WEX Health Partner Conference audiences apart. In this interview, we asked her for more insights into our Partners’ test results as well as how her personality assessment has allowed people around the world to be more effective communicators.

 

WEX Health (WH): Tell us what you learned about WEX Health Partners in attendance at Partner Conference from reviewing their assessment results.  

 

Sally Hogshead (SH): There were very specific patterns in how that roomful of leaders communicated differently than the average population. When people take the Fascination Advantage assessment, it’s measuring the cues and signals that you send out into the world that determine how other people see you, what kind of first impression you make, and how they perceive you as adding value or not. We are measuring on seven different data points—seven different forms of communication. And after measuring 1 million people, we found that there is an average result, and the WEX Health Partners’ result was different than the average result.

 

Here is what we learned: WEX Health Partners’ scores were lower in passion and very high in trust. I had this data before I got on stage, so I knew this group did not want touchy-feely, emotionally evocative stories. They want results; they want outcomes; they want action steps. So, I presented a deep-dive analysis on the audience. Each person individually in the audience had their own personal results, but we also did the audience as an aggregate. Our two key findings: First, the group does not communicate with emotion; they communicate in other ways. So, if I was going to come up on stage and try to tell a story about pulling out hair or teeth, that wouldn’t resonate.

 

On the other hand, they scored very high in trust. Neurologically, trust is all about patterns and doing things with dependability and stability. It’s about finding a way to replicate what’s been done in the past. This group as a whole scored 48 percent higher than the average person in trust. What that means is this group is going to be dependable and stable.

 

The takeaway is that because this group scores so high in trust but lower in passion, it’s important that the leaders in the room have people on their team who score high in innovation—people who can experiment, make improvements and adopt something new. You also need people around you who score high in passion to make sure that everyone stays involved, engaged and emotionally connected to the outcome.

 

WH: It’s interesting that instead of saying that our Partners need to change to be more passionate, you’re saying they need to surround themselves with people who complement their strengths and weaknesses.

 

SH: After measuring 1 million people inside of companies like GE, AT&T, Cisco, QUALCOMM and IBM, what we see is that the highest-performing teams are not built on similarities. They’re built on differences. They are not built on group think, where everyone has one model of adding value, because then the team becomes lopsided. Instead, the groups value how different people on the team add value. For example, if somebody is really good at details, then the team supports that individual in getting hyper-involved in the details and making sure that they bring their eye for detail to every project. Don’t ask that person to be the brainstormer in charge of the big-picture vision. And conversely, people who are super creative can’t add value if they’re told to just focus on the details; that doesn’t allow that person to become a high performer.

 

WH: How does understanding your Fascination Advantage help you as an individual?

 

SH: Every time you communicate, you’re doing one of two things: You are either adding value, or you are taking up space. The people who have the most value are not only the most successful, but they’re also the most admired, appreciated and promoted. They inspire loyalty; they create evangelists. They’re bringing something to the table that wasn’t there before. If you’re just taking up space, it’s sort of like being spam. So, the question is: How are you most likely to add value? You can’t do a self-evaluation of how you think you add value. Adding value is sort of like humor. If I think I’m funny, but you don’t think I’m funny, I’m not funny. It lives in the eyes of the other person. This is true for a brand, too. The purpose of the assessment is not to understand how you see yourself or how you see the world. The purpose is to determine how other people see you so that you can do what you are already doing right, with purpose, instead of it being a happy accident. You can double down on the qualities that make you exceptional, such as detail-orientation or creativity, and then do that on purpose.

 

WH: In this era of “fake news,” short attention spans and short news cycles, would you say that it’s more important now than ever to be able to quickly get to the heart of what makes you special?

 

SH: Yes, absolutely. Authenticity is the opposite of fake news. If people perceive that you’re contrived or that you’re trying to do something that isn’t a natural fit for you, that you’re trying to create an impression instead of adding value, it’s a huge turn-off. As far as short attention spans, in 2006, I started studying attention spans and why we pay attention to one thing versus another. At the time, the research said that the average attention span was nine seconds, which is the same as a goldfish. Since then, there has been a lot of other research done, most notably by Microsoft, that says it’s eight seconds. Regardless, it’s continually getting shorter. That means we have less time and space to create those first moments when we add value. As attention spans get shorter, it’s not the listener’s job to pay attention. It’s the speaker’s job to earn attention.

 

WH: For people who work in industries that are often thought of as boring, how do you help them imagine being fascinating and to find ways for their business to be fascinating?

 

SH: When I worked in advertising, it was always really fun to work on the Nike account or the Mini Cooper account because those brands do exciting, attention-grabbing, memorable things. The problem is, the bar is so high that it’s hard to stand out and do extraordinary, world-changing, creative things for those brands, in the sense that the great stuff has already been done, to a certain extent.

 

The opposite is true with B2B brands in industries like insurance, banking, technology, health, etc., because it’s actually easier to stand out because the bar is set lower. People aren’t walking into a meeting and thinking, “How can I intentionally add value in a way that people will hear, remember and take action on?” If an individual does do that, if they think, “The way in which I will most likely add value in this meeting is by showing them ideas they’ve never thought of and helping them see the world in a different way so they can stand out, be heard and get people to take action,” then that’s a novel way of approaching it. In other words, the question is—what makes you fascinating in the ears of your listener?

 

WH: Are there any other words of encouragement that you would offer specifically to WEX Health Partners?

 

SH: I loved this audience because they are focused leaders with a savvy, big-picture understanding of the industry and how they can serve. I also saw that there was a lot of hunger for them to be able to take the Fascination Advantage back to their teams so that they could introduce this as a new technology to measure how different people add value individually. I had a lot of follow-up requests afterward asking for more tools, so I made a code available to WEX Health Partners who want to take the test. (WEX Health Partners reading this post can find information about this code within Partner Central and the Partner Pulse newsletter.)

 

My advice is to have team meetings focused on it: Have everybody in your office do the assessment, and then have a meeting around it—a lunch-and-learn, or an off-site, or even just a casual 20-minute meeting. Go around the circle and have each person describe one quality of themselves that is who they are at their best. It’s an incredibly motivating thing to show somebody what they are already doing right.

 

Employers, These are the Current Benefits Issues You Need to Know About

Employers, These are the Current Benefits Issues You Need to Know About

3/20/2018

by Chris Byrd

 

We’ve just returned from Capitol Hill, where WEX Health attended the nonprofit Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC) 37th annual conference, March 14-16, to promote choice in benefit solutions. Much of the conversation in D.C. this year was around three major issues which affect tax-advantaged health benefit accounts that are a central element of a Consumer-Directed Health strategy:

 

  1. The Excise Tax on High-cost Health Plans.

Commonly known as the Cadillac Tax, this provision of the Affordable Care Act has been delayed yet again until 2022. Although this is helpful for employers concerned by the implications of this tax – especially those in high-cost states – a delay only defers this issue and does not represent a final resolution.  Given that many employers set their benefit strategies years in advance, 2022 is not terribly far away.  Among the actions employers are already taking or evaluating is curtailing or eliminating Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) from their benefit offerings.  Employee contributions to these accounts are counted toward the computation of whether the employee’s benefit plan exceeds the excise tax threshold.  Efforts continue to repeal the tax entirely, but if full repeal cannot be accomplished, to reform the tax by excluding employee contributions to CDH accounts.

 

  1. Strengthening HSAs.

Numerous bills have been introduced in both chambers of Congress to increase the availability and utility of HSAs to help individuals and families plan for and fund their health care needs.  The focal point of discussion is around the HSA “gold standard” bills – S. 403 and H.R. 1175.  These bills include a broad range of important provisions, including an increase in contribution amounts, allowing Medicare-eligible workers to continue contributing to an HSA, and restoring the tax-advantaged treatment of over-the-counter drugs and medicines.  In addition to these bills, there is increased discussion regarding a proposal to allow HSA-qualified health insurance plans to cover certain chronic-care conditions below the deductible.  This idea actually originated with the employer community and is now gaining traction.

 

  1. Supporting and Enhancing FSAs.

As are an important option for employees, particularly since surveys indicate the vast majority of employers offer traditional health insurance that is not HSA-qualified as one of their options in their benefit plans. H.R. 1204 would raise the limit that an employee may contribute to an FSA from $2,650 to $5,000.  This would benefit individuals and families with high healthcare costs, particularly those dealing with chronic conditions.

 

Based on what we heard in D.C., prospects for near-term action on these issues are somewhat limited.  It is, after all, an election year, and as the calendar advances, the ability to move legislation that isn’t “must pass” becomes more challenging.  In the healthcare arena, the biggest issues are the opioid crisis, stabilizing the individual insurance market, and prescription drug pricing/affordability.  In addition, the administration continues to advance regulatory reform, including supporting innovation and flexibility in plan design, distribution, and state regulation and programs (e.g. Medicaid).  With all this said, however, HSAs also continue to occupy an important place in the administration’s healthcare policy, and so there may be an opportunity to advance provisions that would strengthen these accounts.

 

As we have seen in the past, the healthcare landscape in Washington is highly fluid, so the best advice is to stay tuned for updates and developments as they happen

 


Chris Byrd

Executive Vice President, WEX Health Operations & Corporate Development Officer

Chris Byrd brings more than 25 years of experience in employee benefits and banking to his role at WEX Health. A founder of Evolution Benefits in 2000, Chris played a key role in designing the proprietary architecture for the company’s prepaid benefits card.

Chris oversees the daily execution of WEX Health’s business and leads the company’s operations and service delivery, corporate development, merger and acquisition activity, and legal, industry, and government relations efforts.

He began his career in commercial banking, and prior to 2000, he focused on finance, strategy, and business development for Value Health and two start-up healthcare companies. He joined WEX Health in July 2014.

Chris, who serves on numerous industry boards, is a frequent speaker on emerging trends in financial services and benefits and is active in industry and government relations. He earned a degree in economics from Brown University.  


IRS Issues Guidance on Small Employer HRAs

IRS Issues Guidance on Small Employer HRAs

11/03/2017

by Chris Byrd

 

This week, the IRS released guidance (Notice 2017-67) addressing qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements (QSEHRA).

In the form of 79 questions and answers, the IRS explains the rules and requirements for providing a QSEHRA under section 9831(d) of its code, the tax consequences of the arrangement and the requirements for providing written notice of the arrangement to employees. A qualified small employer HRA may be offered by employers that have fewer than 50 full-time employees and do not offer group health plans to any of their employees.

The proposed guidance attempts to respond in part to President Trump’s executive order of Oct. 12, which called for expanded availability and permitted use of HRAs. It should be noted, however, that the response is only in the context of QSEHRAs and does not address potential further expansion of HRAs. The primary purpose of the proposed guidance is to address many questions that have arisen since QSEHRAs were created last December.

The guidance is intended to be incorporated into proposed regulations to be issued by the IRS and Treasury Department. It provides for public comments on the guidance and the proposed regulations through Jan. 19, 2018.

Chris Byrd, WEX Health’s executive vice president of operations, says, “The IRS ruling is proposed and not final. It answers many, if not most, of the questions that the industry had asked it to. That’s good, as it eliminates some of the uncertainty about how these accounts are to be administered, which should help adoption of QSEHRAs. Much of what is outlined is helpful, but it’s not perfect, and I would expect we and other industry participants will provide input during the comment period.”

HRAs were created by the IRS in 2002 to allow employers to fund medical care expenses for their employees on a pre-tax basis. In December 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act additionally created QSEHRAs, amending the IRS code, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and other laws to exempt QSEHRAs from certain requirements that apply to group health plans.

To read the IRS’s notice in full, go here.

 


Chris Byrd

Executive Vice President, WEX Health Operations & Corporate Development Officer

Chris Byrd brings more than 25 years of experience in employee benefits and banking to his role at WEX Health. A founder of Evolution Benefits in 2000, Chris played a key role in designing the proprietary architecture for the company’s prepaid benefits card.

Chris oversees the daily execution of WEX Health’s business and leads the company’s operations and service delivery, corporate development, merger and acquisition activity, and legal, industry, and government relations efforts.

He began his career in commercial banking, and prior to 2000, he focused on finance, strategy, and business development for Value Health and two start-up healthcare companies. He joined WEX Health in July 2014.

Chris, who serves on numerous industry boards, is a frequent speaker on emerging trends in financial services and benefits and is active in industry and government relations. He earned a degree in economics from Brown University.  


Why the Latest Healthcare Reform Defeat Shouldn’t Be a Distraction from Your Health Benefits Strategy

Why The Latest Healthcare Reform Defeat Shouldn’t Be a Distraction from Your Health Benefits Strategy

10/09/2017

by Chris Byrd

 

Now that the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill has failed, Congress will move on. We can expect it to concentrate instead on some pressing items on the calendar—things like agreeing on a continuing resolution to keep the government operating, raising the debt ceiling and reauthorizing programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program. And of course, as we all know, congressional leadership is poised to take on the very complex issue of tax reform. In other words, after a six-month-long healthcare debate during which politicians expended a considerable amount of political and emotional energy, healthcare is largely off the table for now, barring the (unlikely) inclusion of healthcare in a tax reform package.

 

This means the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land. While it is far from a perfect framework (and both sides of the aisle agree on that), the employer market has adjusted to it. The repeal and replace efforts of the past six months led some employers to place their benefit strategies on hold pending an understanding of what a new world order might look like. My advice: Don’t put off making decisions about your benefits strategy any longer. The deliberation and debate over a wholesale overhaul of the present system is finished. There will be some targeted efforts, most notably to stabilize the individual market, but the employer market framework is known—more of the same.

 

If there is disappointment among supporters of consumer-directed healthcare approaches, it is over the missed opportunity to pass reforms that would have expanded HSAs, restored the OTC tax benefit, eliminated the cap on FSA contributions and further delayed the implementation of the Cadillac Tax. In the absence of a broad reform bill, these supporters will continue to advocate for these provisions in separate pieces of legislation. But much of that effort may have to wait until after the end of the year, given that the attention of the tax-writing committees is fully focused on tax reform. The industry’s biggest priority continues to be to repeal, reform or delay the Cadillac Tax.

 

The market forces that are causing employers to continue to move toward consumer-directed, higher-deductible healthcare plans haven’t changed, and the trend of consumers having more skin in the game is inexorable because it works. Even without the legislative changes that would have been favorable to consumers with tax-advantaged accounts had the broad healthcare reform bills passed, these accounts will remain a very effective and attractive tool for both employers and consumers. Consumers should be making use of them, as they provide a significant benefit by helping them save money and become wise stewards of their healthcare dollars. Consumer-directed health approaches—and the tools and products that have sprung up around them—continue to be an effective part of the answer to the challenges presented by healthcare’s ever-increasing costs. As Congress gathers its energy for another round of discussion and debate—this time around tax reform—employers and consumers should not be distracted by what’s happening in Washington as it relates to their health benefits strategy.

 


Chris Byrd

Executive Vice President, WEX Health Operations & Corporate Development Officer

Chris Byrd brings more than 25 years of experience in employee benefits and banking to his role at WEX Health. A founder of Evolution Benefits in 2000, Chris played a key role in designing the proprietary architecture for the company’s prepaid benefits card.

Chris oversees the daily execution of WEX Health’s business and leads the company’s operations and service delivery, corporate development, merger and acquisition activity, and legal, industry, and government relations efforts.

He began his career in commercial banking, and prior to 2000, he focused on finance, strategy, and business development for Value Health and two start-up healthcare companies. He joined WEX Health in July 2014.

Chris, who serves on numerous industry boards, is a frequent speaker on emerging trends in financial services and benefits and is active in industry and government relations. He earned a degree in economics from Brown University.