Tag Archives: BCBSAZ

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BCBSAZ, CPLC educate Arizonans about healthcare reform

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) and Chicanos Por la Causa, Inc. (CPLC) announced a joint effort  to help educate Arizonans about the healthcare reform law. Together the organizations aim to reach those who likely haven’t had insurance in the past and may not understand how the law will benefit them.

With a combined 117 years in the Valley, BCBSAZ and CPLC have a long history and shared commitment to the community. In the days ahead, the organizations are teaming up to:
· Make bilingual healthcare reform advisors available.
· Host healthcare reform education events.
· Conduct shared media opportunities with Hispanic outlets.
· Identify ongoing education opportunities.

“Working with CPLC, we’ll serve Arizonans in every corner of the state by providing resources and tools needed to make smart decisions in a time when healthcare is changing greatly,” said Richard L. Boals, president and CEO for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. “The open enrollment period gives Arizonans a chance to research their options and learn more about the value health insurance plays in keeping our communities healthy.”

“As one of Arizona’s largest social services organization, we are always looking for new opportunities to expand our service and support those who are historically underserved. Healthcare is a fundamental need and helping individuals understand how the Affordable Care Act impacts their lives and the best way to get coverage is our goal,” said Edmundo Hidalgo, CPLC President and CEO. Working with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, we have the opportunity not only to educate the community, but assist individuals in getting health insurance through local, personalized service.”

Healthcare reform open enrollment begins October 1 and runs through March 31, 2014. Within Arizona it is estimated that 480,000 people will be eligible for financial assistance. If a person is eligible for a subsidy, they must purchase their health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as the exchange. Health insurance plans can also be purchased directly through a broker or BCBSAZ.

More healthcare reform information can be found in English at azblue.com or in Spanish at salud.azblue.com. BCBSAZ representatives can be reached at (877) 874-9958.

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What does the Obamacare mean for small businesses?

Small-business owners who are anxiously waiting for regulators to finalize rules that will define the three-year-old Affordable Care Act remain uneasy. Their anxiety is justified since they are waiting for rules that will be enacted next year and no one knows what growing pains lie ahead.

But they shouldn’t necessarily view the ACA as a bad thing for business.

“Beginning in 2014, purchasing insurance coverage should become simpler and more streamlined,” said Jon Pettibone, managing partner of Quarles & Brady in Phoenix. “When a small business purchases a new insurance policy, insurance rates will vary only due to the following limited factors: family size, age, geography, and tobacco use. Insurers will no longer be able to base insurance rates on pre-existing conditions, claims history, gender, size of employer, and/or occupation of employees. In addition, insurers cannot deny a small business’s application for insurance if the business fails to meet the plan’s minimum participation or minimum contribution requirements as long as the small business applies for coverage between November 15 and December 15.  Although coverage may not become cheaper, increases from year- to-year will be based on a significantly larger risk pool and so may become somewhat more predictable.”

According to Scott B. Carpenter, an attorney with Carpenter, Hazlewood, Delgado & Bolen, the ACA will require all business with 50 or more employees to provide affordable, minimum essential coverage or face a penalty of $2,000 per employee, excluding the first 30 employees.

“An employer with 60 employees, for example, that does not provide coverage, will pay a penalty of $60,000,” Carpenter said. “If a small business owner decides to pay the penalty, the amount of the penalty is not a deductible business expense.”

So what happens if an employer realizes that a $60,000 non-deductible penalty is still less than what she would pay in health insurance?

“That decision will force those employees into the individual market or ‘exchange,’ where there is no guarantee that the subsidies and premium tax credits will make the insurance affordable for that employee based on the wages they receive,” Carpenter said. “In other words, employees who do not receive coverage through their employer may seek employers who do provide coverage. This is one of the biggest unknowns – the behavior of employees who do not receive coverage through their employer.”

Pettibone said a small business owner should analyze the “shared responsibility” payment it might owe if it makes no changes to its health insurance program.

“In some cases, a small business owner might discover that it could have a small — or even zero — shared responsibility payment,” Pettibone said. “In that case, the business owner may decide to make little change to its health insurance program. In other cases, the small business owner might discover that it could have a very large shared responsibility payment and thus needs to develop a strategy to minimize the amount of the payment.  Developing a plan now will help avoid an unwelcome surprise later.”

Carpenter also suggested that small business owners need to make sure that they are outsourcing non-critical functions — including payroll processing, IT support, etc. — to reduce headcount, if possible.

“From there, an attorney can be utilized to make sure that employee and independent contractor policies are ironclad and that possible business restructuring options are pursued,” Carpenter said. “ There is no question that today there is an incentive, until the Affordable Care Act and the various markets it will create — both good and bad — become more mature, to stay under 50 employees. Companies under 50 employees will have maximum flexibility.”

While the potential impact of the ACA remains anything but clear for small-business owners, there is one major misunderstanding that needs to be cleared up, even for companies with fewer than 50 employees.

“The biggest misconception out there,” said Rich Boals, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), “is that health insurance is going to be free. That’s not going to happen.”

The cost of health insurance has been a growing concern for small businesses, said Jeff Stelnik, senior vice president of strategy sales and marketing for BCBSAZ. Overall, about 71 percent of firms with 10 to 24 employees offered health insurance in 2011, compared with 77 percent in 2001, according to a 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation survey. Of firms with three to nine workers, 48 percent offered insurance in 2011, compared with 58 pecent in 2001.

“While the Affordable Care Act gives more people access to health insurance coverage, it doesn’t address the affordability issue,” Stelnik said. “In the coming year, small businesses will see higher premiums that are the result of the ACA provisions including essential health benefits, guaranteed issue, ratings and taxes/fees. These increased premiums are a weight that could have a significant impact on the bottom line of small businesses.”

Another misconception is that many small business owners don’t think there are not many requirements if they stay under the 50 full-time employee or 50 full-time employee equivalent threshold, but experts said that is not the case.

“Small employers still need to be educated on their compliance responsibilities,” said Shay Bierly, director of client services for MJ Insurance’s employee benefits department. “Those compliance responsibilities include maximum waiting periods, how to distribute medical loss ratio rebates, SBC (Summary of Benefits and Coverage) disclosure rules and reporting requirements, to name a few.”

Bierly said that all business owners — no matter the size of the business — need to educate themselves and prepare a strategic plan with a professional consultant or advisor so that they don’t fall prey to the many misonceptions that are floating around regarding the ACA.
“The law is here and is not going away before the big implementation date of January 1, 2014,” Bierly said. “Business owners need to understand the expectations, possible financial impact and prepare themselves and their employees.”

Bierly said the ACA provides an opportunity for employers to assist their employees in becoming educated consumers.

“With the possibility of moving to a consumer driven health plan, employees will have more skin in the game and, by necessity, find the need to understand the cost and quality of services they need,” she said. “It is all about working smart and staying in the know. Employers must be engaged in what the market demands from a recruiting and retention standpoint while creating a responsible, healthy workforce.”

To make sure they are ready for the arrival of the ACA, Stelnik said business owners should do these things:

* Understand if your business has a grandfathered health plan.
* Know how your business is classified under the ACA. For example, businesses with 51 or more full-time employees will have to pay a penalty if they do not offer employees health insurance. Small businesses with fewer than 25 full-time employees may be eligible for tax credits to assist with cost of insurance.
* Balance the decision to offer health insurance by weighing corporate finances, culture and the best interests of your employees.
* Begin looking into unique, new offerings specific to small businesses. Companies like BCBSAZ is tailoring plans to meet the needs of small businesses.

“For some businesses, a number of employees may be eligible for subsidies through the ACA, lessening the employer’s responsibility to offer health insurance,” Stelnik said. “Employers might also see improved employee satisfaction and quality of life as a result of the increased access to healthcare.”

Ultimately, experts said the ACA may drive small businesses in Arizona to new levels of success and innovation.

“Currently, many people who would like to start businesses do not do so because they cannot obtain affordable insurance in the private market and must rely on employer-provided coverage,” Pettibone said. “If those budding entrepreneurs can obtain subsidized coverage on the individual insurance marketplace, they might be more likely to take career risks and start new businesses. It’s thus possible that the Affordable Care Act will enable more people to pursue entrepreneurial activity and create more small businesses.”

5 THINGS TO KNOW FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

On average, small businesses pay about 18 percent more than large firms for the same health insurance policy because they lack the purchasing power that larger employers have. The Affordable Care Act provides tax credits and gives small businesses the ability to shop for insurance in the new Health Insurance Marketplace, which should help close the cost gap.
1. If you have up to 25 employees, pay average annual wages below $50,000, and provide health insurance, you may qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 35 percent (up to 25 percent for nonprofits) to offset the cost of your insurance.
2. Under the health care law, employer-based plans that provide health insurance to retirees ages 55-64 can now get financial help through the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. This program is designed to lower the cost of premiums for all employees and reduce employer health costs.
3. Starting in 2014, the small business tax credit goes up to 50 percent (up to 35 percent for nonprofits) for qualifying businesses.
4. In 2014, small businesses with generally fewer than 100 employees can shop in the Health Insurance Marketplace, which gives you power similar to what large businesses have to get better choices and lower prices. Open enrollment begins on October 1, 2013.
5. Employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from new employer responsibility policies. They don’t have to pay an assessment if their employees get tax credits through an Exchange.

Arizona Centennial Series - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Arizona Centennial Series: Looking Ahead At The State’s Next Century

Arizona Centennial — Forward thinking: Algae, solar, personalized medicine or none of the above? Some of Arizona’s greatest minds look ahead at the state’s next century

A century ago, Arizonans with an entrepreneurial spirit ventured deep into the deserts and mountains in search of gold and copper. Today, as Arizona celebrates its 100th birthday, their counterparts are exploring the unknown frontiers of biotechnology and renewable energy.

“Imagine the technologies of 100 years ago,” says Steven Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “Now, think about how far we have come. Only a very few science fiction writers even envisioned the technologies that are now a part of our everyday lives. It is very likely that (100 years from now), the mix of industries and companies will be very different. There will be subsectors that don’t even exist yet. One thing is sure, there will be more technology than ever to drive our economy and improve our quality of life.”

So with 100 years in the history books, what’s in store for Arizona’s next century? One expert says algae will be Arizona’s 21st-century gold rush. Will Arizona’s yet-to-be-written history prove him to be right?

As part of the Arizona Centennial Series, Arizona Business Magazine asks some of the state’s greatest minds how they see Arizona taking shape over the next decade and beyond.


Economy

Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University

The next 5 years will be a period of agonizingly slow recovery from the Great Recession. Arizona employment will return to post-recession levels within two to three years, but new, more frugal spending habits will put a damper on growth. The next 25 years has the potential to be a period of strong growth. Under historical growth assumptions, Arizona’s population will almost double within 25 years, as the state grows to more than 10 million residents.  Phoenix will have a population between 7 and 8 million, larger than the entire state today.  Immigration will exceed 125,000 every year by 2030.  Over the next 25 years, to accommodate growth, more than 1 million single-family homes will be needed, a seemingly impossible pace of building compared to conditions today.In the next 100 years, the gap between those with education, training and skills and those without will grow even greater as technology will benefit those who develop, control and use it.

Lee Vikre, senior vice president, organizational development and consulting, BestCompaniesAZ, LLC

In the next 10 years, the Arizona workforce will be more diverse than ever before, with wide spans in age ranges of workers and greater cultural diversity. White males may become the minority. Entrepreneurship will be ingrained in workers of all ages who were affected by the recession. This entrepreneurial, independent atmosphere will continue to define Arizona. Homegrown, innovative businesses in the fields of technology, manufacturing, healthcare, and sustainable energy will prosper. The movement towards creating great workplaces will move from a novelty to mainstream as both workers and management discover the competitive advantage of a culture of trust.

Patricia Ternes, financial advisor, RBC Wealth Management, Scottsdale

For the next 100 years, we need to address the concept that the world is flat.  Right now, we have multiple currencies and multiple stock markets. The financial services industry needs to better integrate the products and services we offer our clients worldwide. In 100 years, there will probably be huge, world-wide investment markets that are available to everyone 24/7.  This will increase the complexity of planning one’s financial future.


Technology

Steven Zylstra, president and CEO, Arizona Technology Council

In the next 10 years, the biosciences and renewable energy (and even the broader clean tech) sectors will become significant components of our economy.  Aerospace and defense, semiconductor and electronics, ITC, and optics will continue to grow.  The technology sector will be an ever-increasing component of our economic landscape, leading to more diversity.

Mark Edwards, PhD., vice president of corporate development and marketing, Algae Biosciences, Inc., Scottsdale

Arizona has the critical elements for algae production including lots of sunshine, waste and brine water for nutrients, CO2, and cheap land.  The state has a competitive advantage for algae production and will become the algae capital world. Arizona will go from two firms producing algae in 2011 to 200 algae firms in 2020. Arizona producers will cultivate algae for food, feed, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, cosmeceuticals, nutraceuticals, functional foods, medicines and advance compounds. In the next 100 years, Algae will become the leading industry in Arizona, eclipsing tourism; more than 80 percent of all medicines, vaccines and pharmaceuticals will be made predominately from advanced compounds derived from algae; our fossil-based transportation system will transform to a sustainable algae-based transportation system.

Steve Sanghi, president and CEO, Microchip Technology Inc., Chandler

Given this expansion and the number of semiconductor players that have operations in Arizona, the semiconductor industry is likely to have a significant impact in this state over the next 10 years. This expansion will lead to a sharp increase in the growth of well-paying, high-tech jobs in our state. Take the case of medical advancements.  Over the next 10 years, we will see a significant expansion in the use of semiconductors for surgical and analysis equipment; in portable, wearable and implantable medical devices; and in the cost-cutting use of remote medicine, where patients will be monitored by medical professionals in lower-cost regions.

I will, however, add one cautionary note to the optimistic picture I have just painted.  The formation of new start-up companies is driven by the availability of venture-capital funding. Arizona continues to be plagued by a scarcity of risk capital, as most venture-capital firms are located in California, Texas and Massachusetts. The result is that those states continue to attract the bulk of VC-backed startups.  While Arizona has been a technology hotbed in recent years, we must fix this problem if we are to remain the “Silicon Desert.”


Environment

Diane Brossart, president, Valley Forward Association

In the next 10 years, Arizona will diversify its economy through green jobs and technology. Renewable energy sectors will proliferate with solar leading the way. In the next 100 years, we will become the solar capitol of the world. Light rail connects Valley cities. Commuter rail takes us across the nation. Arizona is a burgeoning hub of economic activity. Parks and open space dot the landscape. Innovation and technology abound. Our legislature is enlightened and the green revolution leads to new water sources in our vibrant desert oasis, now free of particulate pollution.

Kelly Mott Lacroix, graduate research associate, Water Resources Research Center, Tucson

Over the next 100 years, our water management will need to be flexible and progressive enough to allow us to prosper in the face of supply uncertainty from changes in climate and the continuing growth of our economy.  Arizonans will have to make decisions about what we value most about this state and those decisions will dictate how the water issue changes Arizona.

Larry Howell, CEO and president of KEBAWK Response Technologies, a Scottsdale-based engineering company that responds immediately to hazardous or catastrophic disasters

Environmentally-conscious companies like KEBAWK are going to continue to grow and have a much more pivotal role in growing the economy in the next 10 years as businesses strive to be as sustainable as possible. What was once a trendy, cottage industry is now a must for businesses.


Health

Dr. Grace Caputo, director, Phoenix Children’s Hospital/Maricopa Medical Center Pediatric Residency

I see medical education as a dominant force in Arizona, especially with the growth of the University of Arizona campus downtown. Innovative pediatric care will continue to be a highlight at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, but healthcare overall will continue to improve our community as birth to age 5 is the fastest growing population in Arizona.

Catherine Niemiec, president, Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture, College & Clinic

In the future, acupuncture and oriental medicine (AOM) will fill the gaps created by high insurance rates, fewer primary care physicians, and seemingly incurable or chronic conditions. Acupuncture can be available for the same cost as a co-payment, supporting the need of those who have no insurance or who need to seek different care beyond what their insurance will cover. A report on “Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States” cites widespread use of CAM, with more future visits to CAM providers than to primary care physicians (with most of these visits paid out-of-pocket).

Kenneth J. Biehl, M.D., radiation oncologist, Arizona Oncology

Long-term changes for the use of radiation in cancer care will involve a combination of treatment directed at the molecular level and immense precision with external radiation. Targeting cancer with radiation at the molecular level has been developed for only a handful of cancers to date. The struggle to find and develop cures at the molecular level will be one of the determining factors in how the people of Arizona will receive cancer treatment for the next hundred years.

Mahesh Seetharam, M.D., medical oncologist and hematologist, Arizona Oncology

In the next decade, electronic medical records will continue to evolve to help coordinate care between the various providers to optimize outcomes. It is very difficult to predict given the current labile healthcare environment.  The concept of universal healthcare is very possible, but with that comes the need for additional providers and resources to provide the necessary care.  Personalized medicine could be a reality in the next decade or two, and this will certainly improve outcomes.


Banking

Lynn Crane, executive vice president, bank operations and services, Mutual of Omaha Bank in Arizona

Mobile devices will replace plastic cards.  This will completely change the “check out” experience at retailers. Arizona shoppers will be able to scan merchandise as they pick it up off the shelf and make payment without stopping at a checkout counter when they leave the store. On the negative side, this transition to non-traditional delivery channels will make bank branches less relevant. Online financial consultants will replace branch employees and a trip to the bank will become a thing of the past for Arizonans. Some branches will close and the industry will require a smaller workforce. The future value of currency will not rely on paper, but on digital data, so heightened security concerns and demand for data protection will prevail.  As a trusted source of security, banks will play a much larger role in helping Arizonans secure their valuables and their future.

Craig Doyle, Arizona market president, Comerica Bank

Some of the industry segments critical to our future are aerospace and defense, semi-conductor manufacturing, business services technology, health care and renewable energy.  Effectively supporting their growth requires a deep understanding of supply chains and related capital markets.  It will take time, but the Arizona banking industry should help facilitate the appropriate capital markets so that Arizona is competitive with other major economic regions in helping companies, form, grow and mature.


Education

Michael M. Crow, president, Arizona State University

Within 10 years, ASU will be America’s finest example of a widely accessible research intensive public university and in this mode it will be capable of operating at a very rapid and large scale for educational competitiveness for Arizona.  In this mode, the university will have deployed its assets to maximize the competitive position of Arizona through its role as a comprehensive knowledge enterprise producing fantastic graduates, ideas and new technologies. ASU will be a critical asset for Arizona going forward over the next 100 years as the knowledge based economy or at least knowledge driven adaptation and innovation to the uncertainties and the complexities that lie ahead in the areas of global finance, economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability and so forth will be such that what universities like ASU do will be more important than ever.  This is true specifically for ASU in the context of Arizona as Arizona in the next 100 years grows and matures into America’s preeminent example of a free enterprise driven innovation catalyzed state.

Bill Hubert, president and founder of Scottsdale-based Cology, Inc., which helps lenders enter the student loan market

At some point, the cost of education is going to have to “normalize” within the overall economy.  For decades, cost of attendance, whether private or public, traditional or trade-based, has increased at much higher than normal rate.  Our business of providing financial services that connect students and families with a broad spectrum of relationship based funding sources will certainly help increase access and drive down overall costs – of program administration, funding sources, and even institutional administrative costs.

Deanna Salazar, senior vice president and general counsel of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

I believe that by supporting community outreach efforts similar to the Green Schoolhouse Series, which makes schools healthy and green “inside and out” through the development of an integrated health and wellness curriculum and green gardens to promote nutrition and wellness in disadvantaged schools, BCBSAZ will continue to be positioned as a leader who is genuinely taking care of the health of Arizonans, in both traditional and non-traditional ways that create a better future for all. For years to come, it’s BCBSAZ’s hope for the green gardens to teach children about healthy eating and physical activity by allowing them to use and maintain the garden.


Marketing

Kristin Bloomquist, executive vice president, general manager, Cramer-Krasselt

As I look into a crystal ball, the marketing world as we know it will change dramatically in the next 100 years. It will be forever changed even in the next 10 years. However, brands will not go away. In fact, they will be even more valuable both in the next decade and in the next century if they can evolve as we evolve, as our technology evolves. Those brands that increase in value over time will have very different ways of communicating with consumers. Everything will be personalized. Everything will happen in real time. There’s a good chance that 100 years from now, as far as commercial messaging and targeting goes, “Minority Report” will be seen as an amazingly accurate forward-looking documentary rather than a work of fiction.

Rob Davidson, co-owner of Phoenix-based Advertising firm Davidson & Belluso

Think of how social media has drastically impacted communications with customers and prospects in recent years. Marketing and advertising will keep changing at an even faster rate as new technology becomes available. Smart phones and tablets have already become standard channels of any marketing plan. Companies who stay on top of the latest marketing tools and learn about their customers changing behaviors are the ones who will be successful in reaching their target markets.


Energy

Mark Bonsall, general manager and CEO, SRP

In the next decade, the growth in wind and solar will continue to be strong, but will still provide a relatively small portion of the needed energy just because the scale of what is needed is so large. It is likely most of the new baseload resources will be fueled by natural gas.  New drilling and recovery technology is providing access to vast quantities of natural gas within the U.S. at relatively low costs, at least so far.  This provides a good bridge to develop systems that can improve the efficiency of solar systems, address the intermittent nature of most renewable resources, find safe and more cost-effective ways to deploy nuclear power, and provide the time for innovative new ideas we aren’t even aware of now.

John Lefebvre, president, Suntech America

With supportive policies, the solar industry will continue to grow and flourish, creating a major employment sector for the state. Additionally, every year the cost of solar is driven down, getting closer and closer to achieving grid parity in the U.S. As solar becomes a market-driven industry, Arizona is poised to be a major global solar industry hub, particularly with the continued development of large-scale solar projects. Ultimately, I hope to see energy generated from solar grow to a significant percent of the U.S. energy supply portfolio and eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, providing a low-cost solution to power our homes and cars. With solar, the sky’s the limit.


Housing

Rachel Lang and Marcy Briggs, loan officers for the Briggs-Lang team of Cobalt Mortgage

The rental market will continue to strengthen with long-term renters. We also see a stabilization within the Arizona real estate market due to the mortgage underwriting guidelines remaining more conservative than they were five years ago, and slightly less conservative five years from now.

Alan Boughton, director of commercial operations, W.J. Maloney Plumbing

As the population in the West increases and the demand for water intensifies by a seemingly unpredictable water supply and snow pack, innovation in low-flow plumbing fixtures could be our industry’s greatest impact on Arizona as more people are forced to live with less water.

CR Herro, vice president, environmental affairs, Meritage Homes

Homes will be built to work better, use fewer resources, be healthier, and adjust to the needs of owners. On the fringe of the market today are homes that can adjust the transparency of windows, extend and retract solar shades, turn on lights, change thermostat settings over a smart phone, and achieve net-zero energy demand. These changes allow homes to adapt to the unique needs of its occupants, offer more control, and waste less energy and resources (money) in their operation.


Transportation

Danny Murphy, Airport director, Sky Harbor International Airport

The biggest evolution our industry will experience is a transformation of the entire national air transportation system to avoid gridlock in air travel, called “NextGen.” This means moving from ground-based technologies to a new and more dynamic satellite-based technology.  While airport delays are minimal in Arizona, our passengers are impacted most when traveling to and from other locations and this technology will greatly improve that. Over the next 100 years, continental investment and enhancements to the state’s main airports will be critical to serve the needs of Arizona’s growing population.


Entertainment

Brad Casper, president, Phoenix Suns

In continuing to operate at the forefront of innovation, the Suns will offer fans the most technologically advanced atmosphere in professional sports, while emerging as the most winning franchise in NBA history. Through strategic partnerships, the Suns will act as a catalyst towards creating a sustainable entertainment and business environment, unmatched by any NBA/WNBA organization.

Catherine Anaya, chief journalist, KPHO CBS 5 News

I think in the next 100 years the marriage between television and computers will be such that we will be doing everything we do on a computer. There will still be a place for television news. However, I don’t think we’ll see it in the studio format we’ve been accustomed to seeing. I think we’ll end up shooting and broadcasting our news via our smart phones or whatever those evolve into in time. As a result, I think it will create more intimacy and interaction among Arizonans. That may or may not be a good thing as familiarity lines will get blurred.

Teri Agosta, general manager, Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort

The hospitality industry will continue to drive revenue into the Arizona market through increased travelers, due to the aging demographic, who will have more leisure time and money to spend. Also business travel will continue to grow as corporations realize people need direct contact with team members and clients to build a successful business, and webinars and teleconferencing do not meet these needs.  Also, our consistent weather will become more valuable to travelers, who will scrutinize their travel spending even more.

Melody Hudson, public relations manager, Gila River Gaming Enterprises

The opportunity for new job creation will become more prevalent than ever before with potential capital expansion opportunities which could result in not only new construction positions, but new positions within the Enterprises’ casinos as well. This potential growth could also result in an increase of revenues for both local and national businesses that supply goods and services to the Enterprise. Additionally, potential growth from not only Gila River Gaming  Enterprises, but the gaming industry in general in Arizona,  would result in larger amounts of funding going to the state for education, tourism, wildlife conservation and emergency services.

Carey Pena, co-anchor, 3TV News at 10 p.m.

There is a generally accepted theory of human knowledge that says:  today, we know 5 percent of what we will know in 50 years. In other words, in 50 years, 95 percent of what we will know will have been discovered in the past 50 years.  That makes it hard to imagine what 100 years will look like.

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012

 

health care leadership awards - AZ Business Magazine 2011

HCLA 2011- Insurance

Honoree: David J. McIntyre Jr., President and CEO, TriWest Healthcare Alliance

David J. McIntyre Jr., President and CEO of Triwest Healthcare AllianceWith more than 27 years of experience in the health care industry, David J. McIntyre Jr. is the founder, CEO and president of TriWest Healthcare Alliance, which offers 2.7 million Americans associated with the military access to high-quality health care in the 21-state TRICARE West Region.

McIntyre travels around those states to meet with health care providers, military leaders, government officials and military support organization leaders to determine the current needs of the military health care system. He also keeps in touch with commanders of National Guard units, nearly 70 military treatment facilities and leaders of Veterans Affairs.

TriWest has responded to the expanding need of military health care since 2001 by educating families on military health care plans and increasing the Arizona provider network, especially in rural areas. TriWest also has initiated a case management program to ensure quality care for the military’s wounded, produced a downloadable CD set about combat stress and post-traumatic stress disorder, and supports camps for National Guard and military children. McIntyre leads a team of 1,700 employees, including 900 working in Arizona.

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Finalist: Benton Davis, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of ArizonaBenton Davis, CEO of UnitedHealthCare of Arizona

As CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Arizona’s Western States, Benton Davis oversees a staff of more than 2,700 employees. Davis makes sure to be involved in all aspects of the company, including sales, customer service, physician relations, and employee recruitment and retention. Under his leadership, patient care has improved, patient readmissions have decreased, and health care costs have been tamed.

One of Davis’ projects is PlanBien, a first-of-its-kind insurance plan targeted at Arizona employers with Hispanic work forces. It offers culturally relevant health information and customer service programs in both Spanish and English, at no extra expense to employers or recipients.

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Finalist: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Blue Cross Blue Shield of ArizonaBlue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) is a not-for-profit company based in Phoenix that employs more than 1,500 workers.

As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, BCBSAZ strives to provide quality health care to its 1.3 million customers, while also giving back to the community.

One way that BCBSAZ provides quality service is through Walk On!, its key community program. Focusing on reducing obesity among children in Arizona, the program asks fifth-graders to walk at least 10,000 steps a day during a given period of time, while tracking their progress with a tool kit provided through the program. Walk On! is recognized across the nation.

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2010 Health Care Leadership Awards

2010 HCLA – Insurance Executive

Honoree: Richard Boals

Richard Boals
President and CEO
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Richard Boals, President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of ArizonaAs president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) since 2003, Richard Boals is dedicated to ensuring that the health care needs of 1.3 million beneficiaries are met and exceeded.

He leads a team of managers and staff totaling 1,500 in Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff and Tempe. He joined BCBSAZ in 1971, and has served in a variety of capacities.

Among his initiatives, Boals pioneered a proactive program to provide health and wellness information to plan members, as well as the community. Under his guidance, BCBSAZ introduced a free online resource that provides access to certain HealthyBlue resources, including tools and services that can help individuals make better health decisions.

Boals’ trusted and effective leadership has established BCBSAZ as a health insurance leader in Arizona. He is committed to providing improved quality of life to Arizonans by delivering a variety of health insurance products and services to individuals, families, and small and large businesses.

In 2005, Boals introduced the Walk On! Challenge, a free, annual 28-day exercise challenge in February designed to motivate Arizona fifth-graders to include exercise in their daily routines. Participation in the program has increased each year by an average of 20 percent, with more than 45,000 participants in the 2009 Challenge. Since its inception, BCBSAZ has registered more than 130,000 students from 474 Arizona schools.

Boals regularly supports the fundraising efforts of nonprofits that provide programs and services to the military and their families.

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Finalist: Robert Beauchamp, MD

Senior Medical Director
UnitedHealthcare of Arizona

Dr. Robert Beauchamp, senior medical director for UnitedHealthcare of Arizona, is a member of the health plan’s senior leadership team and is its top clinician in Arizona. A major goal is to improve care while holding down costs. Robert Beauchamp, MD Senior Medical Director UnitedHealthcare of Arizona

His responsibilities include patient care, staff supervision and physician relations. He focuses on ensuring the appropriate use of medical services and improving clinical quality, efforts that promote positive patient outcomes and lower costs. He oversees three local medical directors and a team of nurses who serve patients in Arizona and Utah. Beauchamp makes weekly stops at three hospitals — Banner Good Samaritan, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and John C. Lincoln North Mountain — to review patient cases and meet with nurses and physicians.

Through his efforts, he has helped to improve patient care and limit patient readmissions. This enables patients to return home as soon as they are healthy, reuniting with family and friends.

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Finalist: Robert Flores, MD

Medical Director, Population Health Management
CIGNA HealthCare of Arizona

Robert Flores, MD Medical Director, Population Health Management CIGNA HealthCare of ArizonaAs medical director of population health management for Cigna Medical Group, Dr. Robert Flores has direct oversight of CIGNA HealthCare of Arizona’s Chronic Health Improvement Program (CHIP).

Flores and his team developed CHIP in 2007, after observing that patients with chronic conditions — especially those with certain combinations — often received fragmented care, were more likely to be seen in the emergency room, and were often hospitalized. As a result of Flores’ efforts, approximately 1,000 patients currently are enrolled in CHIP. Outcomes studies show that CHIP members have reduced their hospital admissions and bed days by about 55 percent. Flores has been working in his current position since 2001, and full time in the health care industry since 1999.

At Cigna Medical Group, his department is responsible for quality initiatives across 28 locations and more than 200 practicing doctors, nurses or health care professionals.

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