Checking in with BenefitFocus

It's been a little while since I checked in with the folks at BenefitFocus. They essentially create a system that allows employees to sign up for benefits all at once. They market it via a lead health plan in each area, and then give the employer HR department the ability to glom their other benefits plans onto it, saving lots of time and trees during open enrollment and for new employee hires. (The really old reader may remember that this was the very first business model of Healtheon in 1996 and funnily enough Healtheon's first "client" for that version of their business model, Blue Shield of California, is a decade and a half later using BenefitFocus for the same thing).

They also have an interesting side business making videos and selling that service to HR departments for internal education, and have a public side to their video business, a sort of Youtube for health called ICYOU, who of course come to every Health 2.0 Conference (Hi, Nina & crew!)

Last week I caught up with Shawn Jenkins, the CEO of BenefitFocus. This is a guy who started a business in the middle of the dotcom bust in the technology backwater of South Carolina (cue abusive emails!), and now has 500 employees, lots of clients and a very profitable company. And of course they are well positioned to be at the hub of the forthcoming exchanges–the state of Maryland has already signed on the dotted line. And now they're moving into analytics.

Interested in what they're up to? Listen in.

Shawn Jenkins, BenefitFocus

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2 replies »

  1. Humans go beyond borders to obtain relief of their pain. Sometimes that means doing drugs and consuming alcohol and liquor. The relief, unfortunately, is shortlived and when the physical pain is relieved, the emotional pain can be taxing. Coping with chronic pain by using illicit drug and drinking alcohol is a losing battle. It will temporarily “fix the problem” but will damage several other areas. This is in addition to the deleterious effects of alcohol and drugs such as Heroin and Cocaine on health, the brain, and the heart. Also there is evidence these interfere with pain medications and complicate things with your physician. Remember you signed a pain agreement stating you will not use any illicit substances or alcohol.
    The negative effects of addiction are long lasting, if the patient over-lives that. Addiction is defined as a pathological, almost obsessive-compulsive disorder, where you know these substances cause harm you, nevertheless, you continue using them despite the presence of adequate pain relief and analgesia. Addiction is not as common as we may think. Using more medications does not mean the patient is addicted: increased use of pain medications because the patient has now increased physical activity, or there is recurrence of the disease causing worsening of the pain, may justify increasing pain medications.
    To cope with pain, street drugs are never a good idea. The patient will develop tolerance, and he/she will need more and more drugs to achieve the same initial effect of relief.
    There has been significant debate about the medicinal use for marijuana for pain relief and in chronic illness, such as in cancer and with chemotherapy. The controversy that is ongoing. For now it is not legal to use it.
    Some of the negative effects of drugs and alcohol, other than health problems and financial ruin, fatigue, confusion, loss of interest in usual hobbies or people, emotional flatness, memory issues, interference with sleep, and increasing irritability and anger. Homicide, suicide and auto accidents are higher as well.
    How to Resolve Drug/Alcohol Abuse:
    1. If you suspect drug or alcohol abuse, get help as soon as possible. Consult your physician or a psychologist, AA, or the county for further help.
    2. ‘Detoxification’ is an integral part of the treatment; the sooner, the better.
    3. Avoid encouraging the use of medication for pain relief or for other effects: e.g., sedation, sleep, or ‘relaxation’
    4. Avoid the use of “prn medications” and use medications that are long-acting. This can be done with consultation of your physician.
    5. Invest your time in constructive things rather than destructive habits.
    6. Learn coping skills and relaxation techniques.
    7. Improve your spirituality and fill in the blanks in your personality and life

  2. Licorice – Uses and Benefits
    Licorice is a botanical an ancient herb (Glycyrrhiza glabra) that has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Licorice (often spelled “liquorice” in ancient herbals) is a member of the legume family, whose cousins include beans, peas and the herb broom. its roots have two primary desirable qualities: first, some varieties of licorice root are fifty times sweeter than sugar and may be chewed or eaten as a sweet and making it a useful component of candies and flavorings; second, licorice has been for thousands of years sought after for its reputed medicinal qualities. Licorice is one of those herbs that crosses the lines among fragrance, flavor and medicinal herb.
    It is widely use in many parts of the world. In sanskrit, it is called sweet stalk. The Greeks named it sweet root. And the Chinese its gancao, which means sweet grass.The most familiar licorice is European licorice Glycyrrhiza glabra. The plant is often found under the name Liquiritia officinalis . The Latin name Liquiritia, is derived the English name Liquorice (Lycorys in the thirteenth century), is a corruption of Glycyrrhiza, as shown in the transitional form Gliquiricia. The Italian Regolizia, the German Lacrisse or Lakriz, the Welsh Lacris and the French Reglisse have the same origin. Licorice was so valued in ancient Egypt that even King Tutankhamen was buried with a supply. Licorice is the second most prescribed herb in China, where it is suggested for treatment of the spleen, liver and kidney.
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