The Case for Better Benchmarking

The Firestick has 11 buttons, with one huge on/off button. It’s a joy to use. If simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, unnecessary complexity is crude and confusing, lazy or purposeful, part of the conspiracy against the outsiders. The age of the metaphorical 3 remotes with 150 buttons of equal sizes still exists. Benchmarking healthcare benefits can cost $800/month for subscriptions, or thousands to wade through 50-100 page PDFs with details on pet insurance–very fine print compared to the 72 point font of the few key drivers. It’s akin to working 3 expensive remotes with 150 buttons of equal size. A

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September’s Index

As a nod to the clever and entertaining Harper’s index, here is September’s healthcare and finance index.   The decline in 2nd quarter hospital admissions for HCA Healthcare: 20% The decline in emergency room visits in the same quarter: 33% The number of times Covid-19 was mentioned in HCA’s second-quarter earnings report: 70 The 2nd quarter increase in payments per stay: 10% The fiscal year 2019 increase in costs for charity care compared to 2017: 153% The income ceiling for a family of four to be eligible for charity care for non-elective procedures: $100,000 Total yearly direct costs of uncompensated

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GoodRx’s IPO and the $450 Story

Many great founders have started companies after an annoying experience. Netflix’s lightbulb moment began with founder Reed Hastings waiting in line at Blockbuster to pay $40 after losing Apollo 13. For Doug Hirsch, co-founder of GoodRx, it was a $450 prescription back in 2010–years earlier he followed his parents’ advice on getting a job with good insurance. He learned price variation was more than theory. Doug went from pharmacy to pharmacy comparing prices. Even with good insurance, prices were all over the place. Lived experiences make powerful stories. Due to layers of complexities pharmaceutical ‘milk’ can be proverbially priced at

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An Interview with Dr. Eric Bricker

Dr. Eric Bricker, MD is a physician, a co-founder of Compass Professional Health Services, now part of Alight, and the founder of both AHealthcareZ and Texas Family Insurance. His content is rich and deep and he’s a must-follow for those in healthcare. Q: Tell me about AHealthcareZ and what you’re working on this month.  AHealthcareZ posts 3-5 educational videos per week on healthcare finance. I have several thousands of email subscribers and close to 100,000 viewers on Linkedin. It’s a fantastic cross-section of healthcare. We have major hospital system CFOs, the Chief Medical Officer of a major health plan, executives

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Financial Broccoli

Kellogg tells you their cereal is natural and has whole grains. There are no broccoli lobbyists or marketers (other than moms). Some good things do need reminders. One trigger for some of my favorite healthcare and financial housekeeping tips starts with a fresh door: a new job. Switching Jobs Over a 10 year period, an employee’s biggest medical expense is likely payroll contributions toward premiums (median: $100 per month; $400 for families) while median out-of-pocket expenses are $60 per month. Generous firms often charge employees $2,000 to $8,000 less per year and offer lower deductibles. This knowledge means negotiating power.

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Valuing a Piece of Americana

Baseball cards are part of Americana. The slotted binders, stats, and bike rides to shops evoke nostalgia too. The investment merit of cards fit is another question. An index of the rarest of cards may have outperformed the S&P 500 by 2.3x over the last 10 years but that’s a small niche with gated access. Though investment returns on cards and collectibles are hard to find details on, they lag bonds, stocks, and real estate. To sell cards is to accept the current market value. An extra dose of home-centeredness has opened a door to explore the liquidation of boxes

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