Mindshare Group Embraces Health Insurance Reform

With a 50 percent increase in headcount, Mindshare Group recently doubled its Hacienda footprint, acquiring an additional 1,800 square feet by expanding into the suite next door at 5980 Stoneridge Drive.

Founded in Pleasanton in 2001, the employee benefits consulting and insurance services firm has been growing steadily since its arrival in Hacienda in 2008. According to President Dan Copenhagen, Mindshare Group handles the "full array of health and financial benefits for employers and individuals"-from health insurance and related plans, such as dental, vision, disability, life, accident, and critical illness; and financial services like 401(k) and pension plans. Of note is the strategic relationship established in 2012 with Pleasanton's Wealth Management Associates to offer more in-depth financial advisory services to its clients.

In large part, the physical expansion represents Mindshare Group's proactive response to the new business challenges generated by the upcoming implementation of health insurance reform. "We are working to embrace that change," Copenhagen comments.

How the health insurance exchanges fit in is still "a bit uncertain," but it is clear changes are coming that will create additional purchase options and requirements for employers, employees, and individuals, he says. As a result, he predicts that benefits and health insurance decisions will become "much more individualized" over the next five to 10 years.

Copenhagen is sure that costs and complexity will continue to rise, which creates an opportunity for Mindshare Group to introduce important new value-added services. "Unfortunately, the Health Reform Act doesn't address some of the fundamental issues to reduce or slow costs," he explains. "We can't stop the healthcare cost trend, but we can find ways to help clients restrain expenses and get full value from their health insurance coverage."

To that end, the firm is currently building out a Benefits Advocacy service to help clients "navigate the world of health insurance." The firm continues to supplement its focus on group benefits by adding staff with expertise in specific areas-a Medicare specialist for the senior market and a new hire for individual and family health insurance plans, as well as long-term care insurance.

For Copenhagen and his team, making sure clients derive the maximum value from their health insurance expenditure entails greater involvement throughout the entire cycle. "We spend quite a bit of time on the front end with employers figuring out their budget, objectives, and priorities for benefits and coverage decisions."

The firm also provides coaching on healthcare utilization so consumers can make more informed choices. "One of our key pieces of advice is to ask certain questions to be clear on what services are being provided, and at what cost. Healthcare consumers should not proceed blindly." The recommendation is especially timely as insurance plans shift more cost to individuals to keep premium increases in check.

The post-usage time frame is an equally important part of the cycle. Mindshare Group helps clients review the multiple layers of medical billing and serves as an advocate during the claims process, again to derive maximum value from insurance coverage.

Despite the many complexities of the field, Copenhagen insists that the firm's business model is fairly simple: "We act as a trusted advisor, delivering expert counsel, highly customized services, and exceptional support. We provide a valuable service to our clients and are looking to provide that same value to additional clients."

Visit www.mindsharegroup.com to learn more.

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