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  • Writer's pictureMichael Fox

When The Paradigm Shifts

A shift is happening in the world of medical benefits. It's time for a new paradigm.

A paradigm is viewed as a standard or set of ideas. In other words, it is a way of looking at something. A paradigm shift occurs when one paradigm loses its influence, and another takes over. When you change paradigms, you are changing HOW you think.

How often have we been in situations where the person driving in front of us is going way too slow, or the person we are talking to is not paying attention to us. Maybe the waitress totally messes up our order and our immediate response is to view these actions as attacks against ourselves?

With the limited knowledge that we possess about the current situation, we “assume” that the slow driver is a terrible driver, or that the receptionist we are talking to is rude for not paying attention to what we are saying, or the waitress deserves no tip because of their bad service.

But what if we were missing a piece to the puzzle? What if we saw the complete picture?

What's happening that perhaps we aren't seeing?

I recently heard a story told about an older man riding the subway on a quiet Sunday morning. The car was empty, and the few passengers aboard were either gazing off into thought or using the time to quietly read the paper. For a moment, everything seemed right in the world.

At the next stop, a man and his two young boys boarded the subway car. The man immediately sat down and appeared to lose focus of his children as he sat there with his eyes closed, paying no attention to the distraction that his children were becoming. They were getting louder and knocking into others - ruining what was once a calm Sunday morning ride.

An older gentleman was sitting near the father of the two unruly children, and he was becoming increasingly agitated by the situation. It was also clear that the other passengers were becoming visibly upset as well. He thought to himself, “How could this father have no concept of what his kids are doing? He needs to be disciplining them and making them sit quietly,” he thought. After what felt like an eternity, the older gentleman could not take it anymore. He leaned over to the father and in a rather snarky tone, said, “Sir, you really need to pay attention to your children, they are disturbing everyone."

The father slowly opened his eyes, as if he had been brought back to consciousness, and looked around. He saw his children running wild and in a voice no louder than a whisper, he said, “Yes, you are right, I do need to address their behavior. I am sorry, we just left the hospital where the boys lost their mother. I have been having a hard time focusing and they are obviously having a hard time with this as well.”

“Boys”, he calmingly called out, “please come sit down.”

A different perspective

Upon hearing this story, I cannot help but think - what if I was that older man on the subway that just “had" to get involved? What if the kids were bothering MY quiet ride and I wanted their dad to do something about it?

To me, it is an amazing reminder that we as people are quick to cast judgment on others and form opinions, without gathering all the facts. I cannot imagine how terrible that man must have felt for not taking the time to consider that there may be other factors involved that are not as evident. Granted, there will be times when people are simply not doing or acting as they should, but what if this is NOT one of those times?

In this story, the older man had a major paradigm shift that morning. The reality is there is always more than what appears, and it is crucial to take the time to observe, to listen, and to learn.

Paradigm shifts can occur in multiple ways and in multiple levels of significance. Prior to the American Revolution, it was widely accepted that a government would consist of some sort of ruling lineage or dictatorship of power. With the establishment of the United States, a new era of democracy was born and thus forever changed the way that most countries would enact their government. This paradigm has evolved so far that the few remaining countries that do not operate as a democracy are viewed as inadequate and in need of change.

Can you imagine trying to run a business by using only handwritten letters? Can you imagine trying to find an answer to a question by only having a book as a resource? Can you imagine having to get on your horse to run to the “grocery store” to pick up the supplies that you will need for the next few months? At one point in time, all the ideas that eventually replaced these “old” concepts were considered “crazy.” They were deemed “impossible” or “foolish.”

Oh, how times have changed!

Medical debt is the #1 reason why people file for bankruptcy

Another paradigm shift is currently happening in the United States, and it involves how companies can provide medical benefits to their employees.

The fact is that the current model needs a “refresh”.

A prime example of this is that medical debt accounts for the number one reason why people file for bankruptcy. Yet, every year employers and brokers do their typical “shopping of plans” and settle for what is considered their best option. Employers will freely admit that change is needed within their inner circle, but then will continue to make business decisions that allow for the current paradigm to remain.

As I interact with companies daily, I hear an underlying tone of hesitation, of doubt, and skepticism towards how things could really be different. It's understandable.

The good news is that there are groups of people that are working hard to create this paradigm shift.

Just as some people were leery to leave the British empire, just as people were hesitant to send letters electronically, just as countless other paradigms have come and gone - so too will the idea that companies cannot control their healthcare spend and give back to their employees the ability to protect themselves and their families from the financial stress that comes from a medical event. Science and technology have done some amazing things in the field of medicine. It is likely that enough pills and procedures will keep you alive.

But can we afford to keep you alive?

Are YOU still using the Dewey Decimal System for your employee healthcare benefits?

The time has come to gather all the facts concerning how to manage your company’s medical benefits. If you are an employee, it is your right to know that your best interests are being looked after and you should ask your company about the options that are being decided on your behalf. If you are an employer, it is your responsibility to account for your employees’ best interests. Gather YOUR facts and don’t be fooled by people that are stagnant and want things to remain the same because it only benefits them. A new paradigm is here.

If you'd like some help with gathering all the facts on your employee healthcare benefits program, give me a call. I live and breathe the healthcare landscape and am happy to share what we're seeing and helping to change.

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