HR Lagniappe

Louisiana SHRM

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Unintended Consequences of Health Reform

Today’s post is from Tom Daly who is VP, Director of Technology and Marketing at Eustis Insurance and Benefits as well as President Elect of HRMA of New Orleans.  Check out Tom’s blog.  


Since the passage of PPACA, the players in the healthcare industry (which includes hospitals, clinics, physicians, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, medical materials/device manufacturers, insurance companies, employers, brokers/agents, CPAs, Healthcare IT providers, etc., etc., etc.) have been desperately trying to figure out how the elements of Healthcare Reform will ultimately impact them – both generally and specifically.  Since every man, woman and child in the United States may need to access medical care at some point in their lives, no one is immune from the impact of major changes to the healthcare delivery system.

Regardless of your political leanings, I think everyone could agree that the cost of healthcare (and therefore health insurance) is uncomfortably high for most families today AND these costs are increasing at a completely unsustainable rate.  According to the most recent Kaiser Survey, the average cost of a family’s health insurance in 2011 was $15,073 while the median family income for 2010 was $49,445.

Agreeing that there is a problem is the first step to finding a solution.  However, “fixing” this particular problem is not quite so straightforward, and there are many extremely intelligent and well-meaning people who strongly disagree about how this “fix” is defined much less achieved.  This is most evident to me as some of the unintended consequences of healthcare reform become realities.  Here are a couple of examples:

  • Limiting the purchase of non-prescribed over-the-counter medicine from FSAs and HSAs – This punishes the diligent, engaged healthcare consumer by eliminating a previously utilized tax break while clogging primary care physician offices (already stress by mandatory free wellness visits) with OTC prescription requests.
  • Issuing over 30 waivers to select companies (impacting over 1,000,000 workers) – Though I would probably prefer we all had waivers, I think it shows a tremendous lack of conviction in the principles of the law (which I also do not particularly agree with either) to issue waivers from what was supposed to be critical consumer protection features of the law.  Why were some waivers issued and others not?  What possible criteria could be used to fairly determine that?
  • Mandating coverage for children without medical underwriting – This is a very difficult concept to oppose.  How could anyone with a heart deny a child with health conditions insurance coverage?  Unfortunately, the law did not mandate that insurance companies continue to offer broad coverage options to children.  So, most carriers either stopped offering these policies or drastically reduced the number of options available.  The next step will surely be larger than average price increases.
  • Limiting pricing variance (currently based on age, sex, smoking status, etc.) from least expensive to most expensive – While this will be good news for those who are currently on the high end of the pricing spectrum, it will be relatively worse news for those on the lower end of the spectrum.  Currently, underwriting and pricing variances reward people with good health and good demographics with lower prices.  This will remove an element of consumerism that is essential to cost control.

I applaud our elected officials for taking on this challenge.  However, I think our founding fathers intentionally made it difficult to pass laws so that the Federal Government would not try to do things it cannot OR should not.  The Federal Government is NOT a good micro manager (otherwise it would never buy $50 hammers or $15 muffins).  It should recognize that about itself and govern accordingly.

Here is a thought, the Federal Government should pass NO laws that do not include both a plan AND the appropriate funding to enforce them.  That ought to keep them from dipping their toes (or doing cannonballs) into waters when they really cannot swim.

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Why I’m Going to #LASHRM12 – Collaboration

I admit it.  I’m an info junkie.  When I’m handed a book or a magazine I’ll likely lose myself in it for a few hours.  My Google reader overflows with 100s and 100s of subscriptions.  I devour news articles like a hungry man just back from a 24 hour fast.  I consume content and want to read, hear, know and ultimately understand and use that new information and knowledge.

I also admit I’m somewhat of an HR conference geek and attend as many conferences as possible; I’ve even been known to use personal time and funds to attend some over the years.  Yet I’m also fortunate to work for an organization where we live values that reflect our desire for continued Excellence by supporting and encouraging continuous learning and development.  We have an understanding that allowing people to continue to develop and refine their individual professional capabilities returns incredible value to the entire organization.

So putting these two things together it seems pretty much a natural fit that I would make every effort to attend the LASHRM State Conference. But for me, the actual conference itself is just one piece of the larger pie.  Oh sure, I come home with updates and information that I use as reference years later – just the other day I pulled out some 2011 session notes for reference when thinking through a situation/scenario at work.  But the greatest return, for me, is the ongoing collaboration that results from my attendance at any conference.

Yes.  Collaboration.

Defined as working together to achieve a common goal, collaboration is often more creative in nature and, dare I say, a bit more organic, than the typical “inside-our-companies” process.  A collaborative venture may involve just a few people, or a larger group, who work together to share knowledge, learn together and build consensus.  But just as happens “inside-our-companies,” as an outgrowth of the conference experience, we have the opportunity to share/coordinate a variety of ideas from numerous people thus further generating an ever-expanding array of knowledge for ourselves as HR professionals.

What happens, quite naturally, at the LASHRM Conference is that I make connections with people.  I have conversations, I mingle and network and interact with both the speakers and with my fellow HR professionals from across the state.  But I don’t leave those relationships at the doors of the conference venue – I take them home with me.  And what occurs is I begin to collaborate with those people.  If I see or meet a speaker who has a book or a blog or is active in online social media communities, I keep that connection going. We collaborate.  When I meet a fellow HR pro from another part of the state we remain in contact and down the road can share ideas or insight with each other.  We collaborate.


Attending the LASHRM State Conference is not a terminal event for me; something to be crossed off my calendar with an attitude of “that was good/fun/interesting, now I can put it out of my mind until next year.”  Oh sure, I like the fact that I can receive HRCI re-certification credits.  I enjoy a stroll or two through the Expo Hall.  The afternoon refreshment break is always a  highlight as there is usually chocolate of some sort being served.

But the greater value for me at any conference is the opportunity it provides for conversation.  And collaboration.

Today’s post is by Robin Schooling, SPHR, who is a Vice President of HR in Baton Rouge.  She blogs at HR Schoolhouse and you can also find her hanging out at Women of HR and SHRM’s We Know Next blog.  Robin serves on the LASHRM State Conference Committee so does have a bit of skin-in-the-game for the success of the conference.

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A Message from the State Council Director

Happy New Year!

I’m so pleased to report that Louisiana SHRM had some pretty exciting accomplishments in 2011:

  • The 2011 Louisiana Conference on Human Resources held in Lafayette during April offered more HRCI credits than ever before and registration increased by 33% from the previous year’s conference.  
  • The Louisiana SHRM 2011 Leadership Conference held during November in Marksville, LA offered training for more than 50 professionals in preparation for their leadership roles in the state and local chapters.

And now we have kicked off the New Year and are prepared for a fabulous 2012!

We hope that you will join us at the 2012 Louisiana Conference on Human Resources to be held on April 26-27, 2012 at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans.

Registration has opened and you can view the Conference Information here and here.  We hope you will join us at the conference where you will be able to meet top HR professionals in an environment dedicated to education, engagement and the sharing of ideas.  You can visit the HR Solution Center to meet with vendors and join 400+ HR professionals, thought leaders, speakers and HR bloggers at this flagship Louisiana HR event.

With best wishes for you and yours in the coming year,

Rebecca Briley

2011-2012 State Council Director

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Come for the HR. Stay for the Jazz.

We’re looking forward to a special time at the Louisiana State Conference on Human Resources this year.  We plan to educate, engage and entertain over 400 attendees from across Louisiana – and beyond.  And what better city in which to do so than New Orleans?   Our conference, which takes place April 26th/27th is, as we like to think, the “lead up” to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival – more commonly just called “Jazz Fest.”

Laura Wolfe, who will be presenting a session on Friday morning is a long-time and never-miss devotee/attendee at Jazz Fest.  If you plan on hanging in town to go, here are Laura’s suggestions to make it a great experience:

What to bring – your Jazz Fest Equipment List

  • Coozies
  • Baby wipes
  • Umbrellas
  • Sunblock – aerosol is best so your hands don’t have to get all greasy
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Large lightweight scarf or wrap
  • Gum
  • An apple or some carrots (nature’s toothbrush)
  • Hair clip
  • Water and towels in car for afterwards
  • Reading glasses (if you need them)
  • Brass pass or ticket (or you can purchase at the gate)
  • Chairs – the collapsible kind that you carry over your shoulder
  • Old towel or beach towel.  We roll our towel around the chair for transport.
  • Large garbage bag that can be used for rain coverage should it rain.  The bag our chairs go in has a little pocket on the outside where we put this
  • Print out of the schedule for the day, the food list and a map of the fairgrounds
  • Old bag to carry stuff in that you don’t mind getting dirty, wet or possibly lost
  • Lots of cash.  Food vendors do not take credit cards.  A lot of the artisans will take credit cards but sometimes the systems get overwhelmed and it can take a long time to get a cc transaction to go through.  For the 2 of us, including the admission fee, we take about $300
  • Cell phone – know how to text because that is usually all that works.

We put all our supplies in the bag but not money/ID/valuables.  When we get to the fest we set up our chairs on the right side of the Acura stage and leave the bag.  This is our home base.  From there we walk around.  I take a small travel bag with my ID, money, phone, sunglasses etc. that I always keep with me.

You want to be prepared for the elements – sun, heat, rain. I usually dress pretty bare in cool clothes but take a wrap in case it gets cool or I’m getting too much sun.  Wear shoes that you are comfortable wearing into a portalet.  The fest is on a race track and if there is any rain around the time of the festival it will be muddy (which is about 95% of the time).  I wear chackos or birkenstock sandals or old tennis shoes.  The fest involves a LOT of walking.


So come for HR goodness – and stay for the jazz!

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Hello HR

Welcome to the blog for the Louisiana SHRM State Council.

Here in Louisiana, we love lagniappe –“a small gift, especially one given to a customer who makes a purchase; something given or obtained as a gratuity or bonus”

Our intent with this blog is to provde a little something extra to YOU, our readers and visitors.  Stay tuned for HR content from HR professionals and leaders, as well as updates and information from the speakers for our upcoming 2012 State Conference on Human Resources.