What’s your company worth? part 2

A couple weeks ago I shared a post on company valuation – how to figure out what your company is worth to a potential buyer or investor.

We focused on customer value as a key driver.  Sure, There’s a lot more to this than just customer value – some obvious and some not. And it has been done with a lot of success by work comp service providers…one is referenced below.

External factors such as interest rates, industry attractiveness (for some reasons work comp is kind of hot again), success of other investments in the space,  Not much you can do about that – but there is a lot you can do to maximize the value of your customers.

A big part of that calculation is how long customers stick around – and how their “value” increases over time.  Customer longevity – or lifetime customer value – is much more than how many cases you get per month times the price per case times the length of time you keep a customer.

In fact, that’s a very limiting way to view your customers, especially if you show that calculation to potential investors.  Those investors want to see how you are going to manage, grow, improve your business. If you aren’t strategic enough to think about how you can deliver more to those customers so they drive more revenue, that isn’t going to impress smart investors.

Briefly, here’s a better way to think about customers…(thanks to Harvard Business Review)

Our customers become much more valuable when…

  • they give us good ideas
  • they evangelize for us on social media
  • they reduce our costs
  • they collaborate with us
  • they try our new products
  • they introduce us to their customers
  • they share their data with us

Even if you aren’t going to be selling your company anytime soon, you should be thinking about this – a lot.  A far-too-common mistake – and one I make all the time – is not focusing on the important stuff because I’m caught up in the urgent.

Final comment – the “old” One Call Imaging was very good at this.  OCI got their customers to share data with the company so it could figure out where “leakage” was going, and then worked to identify why and where and who was involved.  From there, OCI and their payer customers worked together to close gaps and plug the holes. This led to OCI dominating the workers comp imaging space for quite a while.  It also maximized the company’s value when it was sold to Odyssey, and later when Apax bought the next gen OCCM.

What does this mean for you?

I don’t know ANYTHING more important than thinking about your customers – what do they want, why, how do they want to get it, what makes them successful, how you can help them be successful – all will help you determine where you need to go.

What’s in the House version of AHCA?

Here’s the quick summary of the Republican bill. Lots of details here.

Net is the bill attempts to give states much more leeway in establishing and regulating health insurance policies and programs – sort of returning to the world we had pre-ACA.

While the bill was passed without a CBO evaluation/score, it is similar enough to the original bill. My guess is we could expect at least 15 million people will lose insurance coverage under this bill…but remember it’s not going to pass the Senate.

  • It replaces income-based subsidies (basing financial subsidies on a person’s income) with age-adjusted tax credits of fixed amounts.
    This means – wealthy and near-poor people of the same age get the same $ amount
  • Eliminates the individual and employer mandate
    This means – no requirement that people have health insurance.
  • Increases premiums for older people and reduces them for younger folks who get their insurance from small employers or in the individual market
    This means – more young people may sign up, more older folks will find insurance unaffordable
  • Ends funding for Medicaid expansion and caps future federal Medicaid payments
    This means – fewer low-income people will have coverage, states will have to come up with more money.
  • Penalizes individuals and families that don’t maintain continuous insurance coverage
  • Allows states to let insurers drop coverage for different types of medical care
    This means – consumers may not be able to get coverage for their condition or the type of care they need (e.g. drugs, behavioral health, maternity)
  • Eliminates taxes and tax increases from ACA
    This means – Medicare will run out of money in a couple of years instead of 10+

This is just what’s in the actual bill – which is already under fire by Senate Republicans; Portman, Heller, Graham, Scott, and Snowe have all voiced objections.

Instead of adopting or modifying the House Bill, expect an entirely new bill from the Senate. If the Senate bill is passed (which may – or may not – require 60 votes), then the House and Senate will have to figure out how to move forward and which bill is the vehicle.

 

 

ACA Deathwatch: No, AHCA is not going to pass Congress

AHCA is not going to become law.

IF it passes the House, there’s no way it gets enough votes in the Senate.  Two reasons.

  1. Senate Republicans are opposed to the bill.
  2. Enacting AHCA without massive changes would alienate core Trump voters.

Passing AHCA – without drastic changes – would be political suicide for politicians who voted for passage. And while pre-existing condition coverage is a big issue, the big issue is loss aversionmillions of Trump voters would lose coverage under AHCA.

The biggest winners – young, healthy people – don’t vote.

Oh, and AHCA keeps current ACA subsidies and protections for Congress and Congressional staff while chopping both for regular Americans

This from Nate Silver:

Republicans whose families make less than $30,000 a year were nearly three times more likely than those in families making at least $75,000 to say it was the government’s responsibility ensure Americans had health care coverage.

And from Jonathan Cohn – voters who stand to lose the most in insurance subsidies under AHCA are – by a wide margin – Trump voters…

Subsidy amounts lost by voters in 2016 election

AHCA drastically cuts assistance to older, lower-income Americans in rural areas, a demographic that overwhelmingly supported Trump. And, most of these voters earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, so they’ll be left:

  • with far lower subsidies
  • without coverage for pre-existing conditions
  • facing insurance premiums that are much higher than today’s because AHCA allows insurers to charge older folks much higher premiums.

Some may cynically hope AHCA passes as it will doom the GOP in the 2018 elections. But the cost of that political calculation is far too high; the millions will lose coverage are those most in need of healthcare coverage.

Of course, Congress won’t suffer – they keep subsidies, pre-ex coverage, and all the other goodies.

Congressional Republicans win; ACA repeal is NOT going to happen.

It’s official – Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace ACA are done.

Finished.

Over.

And boy are they relieved!

I don’t know why anyone is surprised by this.  Only in the world of fantasy that exists inside the Washington Beltway would one think that changing legislation to appease far-right Freedom Caucus types wouldn’t cost votes from somewhat-more-moderate Republicans.

The latest defection is a big one – Fred Upton of Michigan said “I cannot support the bill with this provision (eliminating protection for individuals and small groups with pre-ex medical conditions) in it…”

What’s truly bizarre is this happened about the same time that Speaker Ryan was telling reporters “There are a few layers of protections for pre-existing conditions in this bill,”

Leaving aside the fact that the Speaker is wrong, think about the political implications for Republicans if they passed this legislation.  Their core voters in many states would find health insurance unaffordable, if available at all.

This isn’t liberal blather, it’s reality.  The best thing that can happen to Congressional Republicans is this bill isn’t going to pass.

And that’s before one contemplates the fate of the proposed bill in the Senate; if the House passes the AHCA repeal bill, their members will be hanging way out on a political limb as there’s no way the bill would ever get thru the Senate.

What does this mean for you?

Ignore the pundits.  AHCA is deader than this guy…

Do laws directing injured workers to providers matter?

It’s about the details.

Anyone reading the quick headline from WCRI’s just-published analysis of employer direction may well draw the conclusion that there’s no difference in costs between states where the employee or the employer has the ability to choose the treating physician – a conclusion that would superficially right – but actually wrong.

A summary of the study notes it addresses “injuries that occurred mostly between 2007 and 2010 across 25 states in which either employers or workers control the choice of provider. It excludes states where workers can choose a provider within their employers’ established network.”

(I’m not sure if we’d see a difference if more current claims data were used as after 1/1/2014, full implementation of ACA may have affected claim allocation to work comp or non-work comp insurance.)

Note the nuance here; WCRI is careful to describe the “direction” metric as one dividing states into those where employers or employees have the MOST control. The “line” between employer-choice and employee-choice is really not a line at all, but rather a shading of white to black, with many permutations of grey.

For example, there are states where the employer can direct the patient to a specific doctor, others where the patient can choose from a panel, and still others where direction is only allowed if the employer has some sort of state certification.

Then there’s the ability of the patient to “opt out” for a course of treatment (Illinois) or change physician to another one, perhaps inside the panel or maybe completely outside the employer panel – after some defined period of time.

And let us not forget that employers can suggest, soft-channel, encourage, provide transportation to, or otherwise get an injured worker to a particular doc or facility in almost every state without violating the law – they just can’t FORCE the employee to go to a doc or choose from a panel of docs.

Or, as authors David Neumark and Bogdan Savych state; “it is common for employees to choose the medical provider when policies give employers control over provider choice, and for employers to choose the provider when workers have the right to direct this choice.”

A key statement: states that give “workers the most control over the choice of provider were associated with higher medical and indemnity costs among the small share of the most expensive back-related injuries…” In other words, claims that are harder to diagnose and where there is less unanimity in agreement on preferred treatment tend to be more expensive in employee-choice states. 

What does this mean for you?

My main takeaway is as it’s been for years – employers should do their damndest to get their employees to high quality physicians who know and understand workers comp.  And then get out of their way.