In part two of our interview, Ken Goulet, recently retired president of commercial business for Anthem Inc., discusses changes in the health care industry, with an eye on health and wellness trends and new expectations of the modern-day workforce.
What role do you see health and wellness playing in health insurance and benefit offerings?
I think the focus on health and wellness will only get bigger as employers focus on the long-term health of their population and as carriers develop new products for consumers. Employers continue to look for ways to reduce health care spending and also improve the productivity of employees.
The industry will increasingly focus on both chronically ill individuals and simply keeping the healthy folks healthy. Employers will have an increasing desire for tools to help their employees understand the quality and cost of health care options, along with tools to engage employees in healthy behaviors.
Health and wellness will continue to be part of health insurance benefits, and although there are niche companies in the market, the insurance carriers will continue to evolve and, I believe, will take the primary responsibility for offering effective programs.
With a changing workforce and career/job expectations moving away from specific hours at the office, how do you think that affects company-offered benefits and individual well-being?
I’ve worked for a long time and seen many changes. Believe it or not, when I started there were no computers, no fax machines and no overnight express. Claims were calculated manually, and checks were typed and mailed to providers.
Things have changed. Over the next several years, I believe the workforce will continue to transition to more independent contractors and fewer full-time employees, which will have an impact on benefits as employers decide how to structure their offerings — and contractors will have more independence in making consumer choices.
Employers will need to decide which employees they cover — and whether to provide direct insurance or a subset (i.e., wellness) through their benefit options to contractors.
Personal question: Can you share a bit about why you decided to leave the workforce now and how you arrived at that decision?
It was a personal decision based on a number of factors. I’ve had a great ride, but I wanted to spend more time with my kids. I’m a divorced dad with three teens that live with me full-time. I felt I was traveling too much, and I wanted to spend more time with them. I could afford it, so I went for it, and I feel really good about the decision.
I depart with mixed emotions. While I’m happy on a personal front, I will really miss working with our customers and associates. I believe that Anthem has a great future. We have great leadership, the company is in good hands, and we have an opportunity to improve the services we provide to our customers.
Becki Rupp joined the health care industry 11 years ago and uses her writing skills to help translate complex topics to be better understood by all who interact with health care and insurance. She currently works for Anthem, Inc., and specializes in marketing to large multistate companies and their employees.