Who's That Gal: Jasmit Anand, Health Insurance Consultant
Name: Jasmit Anand
Hometown: Wethersfield, CT
Current ‘hood: West Roxbury
Currently reading: Becoming by Michelle Obama
Favorite workout: strength training with my trainer
I never leave home without: my Apple Watch
Let’s start with the basics. What made you decide to go into the health insurance world?
I’m from Connecticut and Hartford is the insurance capital of the world. I was intrigued by the types of careers in the industry and how they all fit into place so I accepted an underwriting role right out of college. Since then I have been in this industry in underwriting, and then in benefits consulting. These roles have proven to be challenging, but rewarding and (learning a lot) Insurance has provided me the flexibility of moving to Boston when I got married and also starting a family.
How do you balance client needs with vendor options and healthcare costs?
It is important to look at the client’s budget and the needs of their organization and their employees. There are so many vendors out there so it’s really about seeing which ones can offer our clients the best benefits program in terms of offering the best networks for their demographics, and competitive price, and syncing with their Ben admin system. Different vendors fit better for different clients. For example, a client with employees only in MA may want a more local carrier versus a company with employees all over the US may want a larger medical insurance carrier with a national presence.
We look at a group’s demographics and history with their current health benefits to see what vendors might be a good fit based on cost, type of plan, funding type and provide the least amount of disruption for members. We try to get creative with offering plans like high deductible health plans which usually appeal more to younger healthier people and help drive consumerism and lower overall costs for the employer. Also providing voluntary benefit options for employees to choose from. I work very closely with my account managers to come up with creative solutions for our clients. For example, if my client really wants to focus on wellness but has a limited budget, our team tries to utilize resources that will not cost the employer anything additional like using a wellness fund from their current medical insurance carrier, or arranging voluntary wellness vendors for employees to utilize if desired.
What are some of the most important things to look for when picking a benefit program for employees?
The biggest thing is the cost, quality of the benefit and if it’s a good fit for the company. A lot of clients want to offer richer benefits to their clients but with the rising cost of healthcare, they cannot afford to. One of my favorite parts of my job is offering my client creative solutions to create more flexible and unique plans but also save money.
What does your typical day look like?
My typical day starts early. I am at work before 8 am and typically start my day catching up on emails and urgent items. The rest of the day is a mix of meetings, emails, client phone calls, training, and right now I am mostly working on my 2019/2020 strategies for my clients. I will have a debrief with my associate consultants on my accounts to make sure we are on the same page and review any issues. My favorite days are when we have different vendors or companies come in for lunch and learns because it gets me away from my desk for a break, but also I learn something new that I may be able to introduce to a client.
At least once every couple weeks I have a client meeting that I travel for which is a huge part of the consultant role. Sitting face to face with my clients going over their needs, strategizing on benefits, and finding solutions that fit their needs is my favorite part of the Consultant role.
I’m lucky my company gives me the flexibility to leave when I need to pick up my 7 month old daughter from daycare but I end up spending a few hours online in the evening to catch up on any outstanding work. It is all about balance.
Heather Slugaski is a clinical social worker living and working in North Carolina. You can follow Heather on Twitter @heatherlynnsw.