David Contorno: Transforming Employee Benefits Through Innovation at E Powered Benefits

In an era of unprecedented challenges and innovations within the healthcare industry, extraordinary leaders emerge to steer the course toward excellence and transformation. These individuals go beyond conventional boundaries, driving change and making a lasting impact on healthcare delivery, research, and policy.

One such extraordinary leader is David Contorno (Founder and CEO), the innovative mind behind E Powered Benefits, a dynamic company revolutionizing the landscape of employee benefits. With a keen eye for industry trends and a passion for empowering businesses, he has built the company into a leading authority in the realm of employee benefits management.

David’s 30-Year Journey of Insurance Innovation

David has been involved in the insurance industry since he was 12, mainly focusing on benefits and health insurance since he was 17. For over 20 years, he provided traditional broker services, primarily dealing with traditional health plans. Additionally, the extraordinary leader pursued an interest in photography, attending college for it and working at a camera store chain that has since closed down.

Despite these diversions, the majority of his career has been within the insurance sector. Subsequently, he entered the realm of group health insurance sales to small and medium-sized businesses. “That was my first entrée into the area of insurance. I am still here today. That occurred nearly 30 years ago,” states David.

Crafting Transparent and Cost-Effective Health Plans

E Powered Benefits crafts personalized health plans for various employers across the United States. These plans typically cost 40%-60% less than what they are currently spending. Plus, the company offers employees and their families the ability to access many services and medications without any out-of-pocket expenses.

Its services cover everything from creating plans and benefits to managing risks, educating employers and employees, handling day-to-day administration, and overseeing the renewal process. What sets E Powered Benefits apart is its commitment to transparency. While most employers feel they are paying into a mysterious black box, its plans offer complete transparency.

David and his team only charge their clients for the health plans they create, and their fees are openly displayed on the company’s website. “And we tie our money to delivering savings by capturing a small piece of how much we save from the employer from their prior plan,” shares David. 

Additionally, E Powered Benefits offers training through a course validated by The Validation Institute. Its annual conference, attended by over 450 brokers, plan partners, and doctors, serves as a platform for collaboration with others in the industry who are either already implementing similar plans or are interested in doing so soon. The company believes in the idea that when one part of the industry succeeds, it benefits everyone involved.

Earning Trust After Broken Promises

Every leader has to face numerous challenges. The main challenge David faces is convincing employers whom big brokers or carriers have let down in the past. These companies promised significant savings but failed to deliver, especially over the long term. So, he needs to earn their trust and overcome their skepticism about smaller entities like his company.

Moreover, the extraordinary leader must help them understand the distinction between healthcare and health insurance. To simplify, his company’s approach involves altering who pays and how much, but this concept can still evoke fear in employers, even if it’s unwarranted. In essence, his challenge lies in building trust, clarifying misconceptions, and making their solution easy to grasp for employers.

Continuous Learning in Healthcare

For leaders, continuing to grow and develop is crucial for staying ahead in today’s dynamic environment. David believes achieving this goal is possible through education. The extraordinary leader is heavily involved in teaching and mentoring, and often finds that he receives back much more than he gives. David provides one-on-one mentoring to consultants, instructs the CHVA course developed by his partner, Emma Fox, and regularly speaks in educational settings.

Perhaps more importantly, I apply the very same metrics we ask our clients to apply when consuming healthcare for myself and my family.  It is important to me that people know I walk the walk, not just talk the talk.  There is a lot of talk in our industry.  When a Third Party Administrator, for example, asks to meet with me to expose how they support the things we do, I ask them if they know the tag line to the Capital One commercial, which is “What’s in your wallet?”.  If they pull out a carrier ID card, then I know they feel that what’s good for the goose isn’t so good for the gander,” states David.

Help Alleviate The Burden Of Healthcare Expenses

As a key player in the healthcare industry, David has seen many hospitals operate as non-profit organizations. This means they must adhere to IRS Code 501r, which mandates the presence of a financial assistance program benefiting both insured and uninsured patients. Surprisingly, a significant portion of Americans, around 70-80%, could qualify to have a substantial portion, if not all, of their hospital bills waived under this program.

However, hospitals often incentivize their financial counselors to steer patients away from this option. They may offer discounts for immediate payment or propose monthly installment plans, diverting attention from the available financial assistance. Moreover, hospitals frequently bury information about these programs deep within their websites, making them difficult to find.

So, David suggests that by being informed and knowing where to look, patients can potentially save considerable sums on their hospital bills. This is just one example of how individuals can protect themselves from exploitation within the healthcare system. It’s essential not to sympathize excessively with hospitals, as they receive substantial tax breaks, indirectly affecting the community through higher taxes or rents.

Vision For a Health-Centric Society

When prompted to discuss three areas for improvement in society, healthcare insurance, or people’s lives, David highlights that he aims to contribute towards establishing a healthcare system that prioritizes health over profit, ensuring access to quality care for everyone at affordable rates. This doesn’t mean eliminating for-profit healthcare entirely but instead shifting the focus to maximizing profit by keeping people healthy rather than treating illness.

In such a society, the fear of financial burden due to illness would be alleviated, allowing individuals to focus solely on their physical well-being. He believes that currently, our healthcare outcomes lag behind other industrialized nations despite significantly higher costs. Hence, his goal is to help improve these outcomes and create a more equitable healthcare system for all.

Success Formula

When asked to define his success formula, David replied that, “Getting patients to higher quality care for lower costs to all. Helping people get expensive life-long medications for nothing out of their pocket (which can put HUNDREDS of dollars per month per drug back into employees’ pockets!

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