30 Jan

A candid interview with PAHU past President, Jill Pedersen

Name: Jill Pedersen     

Title: Benefits Advisor

Business: Columbia Benefit Solutions, Inc.

Location: Lake Oswego

City you live in: Oregon City

Worst Job: Orange Julius as a teenager – squeezing oranges on an electric juicer, hour after hour during the holidays was no fun! The palms of my hands were bruised for weeks. I learned that I am not cut out for manual labor, and then I became a mom!

Dream Job: I have it – mother to 3 amazing boys!  But, if you are referring to a “paying” job I would love to be a nurse or doctor – I just don’t have what it takes to pass chemistry and calculus…I’ve seen my kids homework!  I have wanted to be a nurse since I was a kid.  My mom would make me a nurse’s hat and pin it on my head – that dates me!

Favorite Restaurant in Portland: TBD. Still sampling my way through the culinary offerings in town.  I’m from the southwest (transplant of 8 years) and have yet to find a good Mexican spot up here – recommendations would be appreciated!

Favorite Outdoor Activities: Anything poolside! It’s what I call good, clean, fun!  I enjoy camping and short day hikes also, but laying by the pool with palm trees and sunshine trumps it all!

Finish this sentence…”I’m at my happiest when…”   I am with my family.  After 22 years, I am still married to my best friend and I look forward to our weekly dates away from the kids.  We have handsome, respectful, sharp (yes, I’m bragging) boys who are creative and make us laugh every day.  I actually look forward to going home and spending time with all of them!

Favorite movie is… “ELF” – “Smiling’s my favorite!” “Santa’s Here!” Make’s me smile and I quote it all year!

Advice for my Future Self: Keep it simple. (I was going to add something else, but then it would negate my own advice!)

Group/organization/demographic you are most driven to help: I’m a softie for kids.

I talk the most about… Right now, it’s a tossup between pediatric dental and my kids. Depends on the day!

When I have an out-of-town visitor, the top 3 things they should do in Oregon are… #1 Visit in August – you are least likely to encounter rain. #2 Multnomah Falls – it is breathtaking to whoever sees it. #3 Sellwood antique malls – shop till you drop.

How do you take your coffee  I don’t.  I’m not a coffee drinker. If I’m feeling wild and crazy at lunch time I have a Diet Coke on the rocks with a twist!

If you were a super hero what would your super power be and why? I would love to be able to fly.  Traffic is a killer….purely selfish, right?!





18 Nov

NAHU New Member Promotion Pays $250



Did you know you can earn $250 for every 4 new members you refer to NAHU between June 1st and December 31st, 2014?  Time IS running out so when you’re talking to your industry contacts ask them if they are a NAHU member already.  

Need help with your NAHU elevator speech?

NAHU represents over 100,000 agents, brokers and benefit professionals.
The small monthly dues that I pay are worth it because no other organization fights as hard for me and
my clients. NAHU continues to be a strong voice on Capitol Hill.  NAHU has an “operation shout”  that
allows me and my clients direct access to my members of congress to express our concerns over current
legislation that they are voting on.
I get email updates on news and legislation as well as powerpoint presentations that I can use for my
clients and prospective clients.  This helps me keep my business and my clients prepared for anything.  I
also have the opportunity to attend regular networking meetings that give me critical tools to help me
grow my business.
If you are in this business and making a living you owe it to your clients and your industry to support the
organization that is supporting and fighting for your livelihood!!  You need to be a member!

Membership applications can be found HERE or visit NAHU for more information.

13 Nov

Republican Election Wave Misses Oregon

Democrats Make Gains in the Legislature 

By Doug Barber, OAHU Lobbyist


In the Oregon Legislature, Democrats picked up one seat in the House and two seats in the Senate, strengthening their majorities in each chamber. For the 2015 session, the House will be 35 D – 25 R. The Senate will likely be 18 D – 12 R.  Combined with John Kitzhaber’s re-election, this gives Democrats dominant control of the legislative process in the upcoming session.

In the House, the only seat that changed parties was in Salem where Rep. Vicki Berger (R) did not run for re-election. In the Senate, Republican incumbent Sen. Betsy Close (R-Albany) was defeated and, though the final vote has not been certified, it looks like Sen. Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro) will also lose his seat.

2015 Session

Unlike the 2009, 2011 and to a lesser extent the 2013 sessions, health care issues are not expected to dominate the 2015 legislative session. Other issues will take center stage including:

  • K-12 funding, including all-day kindergarten
  • Transportation – funding for road maintenance and construction as well as non-highway transportation projects and
  • Implementation of the marijuana legalization measure.

Previous sessions, when there have been large Democratic majorities, have been challenging for business. Unions tend to have the upper hand and push bills that could be expensive for business to implement. One example of this in the 2015 session is likely to be a statewide sick leave policy.

One of the biggest health care challenges that will be on the agenda in 2015 is the health- care workforce shortage. The Oregon Health Plan is scrambling to find enough primary care providers to serve the 338,00 who enrolled in OHP last year. Another 83,800 enrolled in Qualified Health Plans (QHP) through Cover Oregon. As a result, commercial insurers are also feeling the squeeze on primary care providers.

Four state-funded programs, designed to support primary care and rural health care providers, will all be up for reconsideration:

  1. Loan Repayment provided $1 million to help doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists and others pay off their student loans in exchange for working in rural or underserved urban sites.
  2. Loan Forgiveness pays up to $35,000 in tuition for medical school and nurse practitioners who agree to serve in rural Oregon when they graduate.
  3. Rural health tax credit gives a $5,000 per year tax credit to health care providers in rural Oregon.
  4. Rural malpractice subsidy pays a sliding-scale percentage of the malpractice insurance costs for rural providers. Those who deliver babies receive the highest percentage.

So while health care will not be the focal point of the 2015 legislative session, there will be plenty of bills to keep us busy. We won’t see most of the policy proposals, including proposed new insurance mandates, which seem to pop up every session, until the new legislature meets for organizational days in January.

Upcoming dates to keep an eye on:

  • December 1 when the Governor is expected to release his proposed 2015-2017 budget
  • Late December when the House Speaker and Senate President announce the membership of the new legislative committees for the 2015 session.


For questions or comments contact Doug Barber, OAHU Lobbyist, 541-221-3072doug@lobbyoregon.com.

Doug Barber


13 Nov

A candid interview with Sally Kallianis, PAHU’s incoming President

Meet Sally Kallianis, PAHU’S incoming Board President for the July 2015-July 2016 term.  Sally has served on both the State (OAHU) and Portland (PAHU) boards and is one of the masterminds behind the Agents Are the Answer campaign.Sally has proven herself to be a stellar leader, but who knew she was so cool.

sally_interviewName: Sally Kallianis

Title: Sales Representative

Business: Willamette Dental Group

Location: Hillsboro

City you live in: Newberg

First Job: Hostess at the Chart House (Montara,CA)

Dream Job: Organic Farmer or Drag Racer

Favorite Restaurant in Portland: Café Castagna- The arancini are to die for.  Find a seat on the outdoor patio during good weather – very European.

Favorite outdoor-space in Portland: Lan Su Chinese Garden. A gorgeous oasis in the city.

Finish this sentence…”I’m at my happiest when..”   I’m with my family watching an SF Giants game.

The most funny movie I have ever seen is… Ahhhhh, it’s so hard to pick just one!  If I have to choose, Office Space.

Advice for my future self  Stay flexible – figuratively & literally.

Group/organization/demographic you are most driven to help:  I feel so honored to work on Willamette Dental Group’s $1 Million employee giving campaign to support the Knight Cancer Challenge.  We have such a unique and important opportunity to change the game when it comes to curing and preventing cancer.  And it can happen in our own backyard!

I complain the most about… Indifference & apathy. Everyone doing a little yields a lot.

When I have an out-of-town visitor, the top 3 things they should do in Oregon are…

1) Tour Willamette Valley wine country

2) Visit Bend

3) Get a scoop at Salt & Straw

The quickest way to make me mad is to… Litter/Hurt Animals/Be a Dodger Fan

If you could get tickets to any concert who would you see? A really diverse festival like FarmAid or Bonaroo.


If you have comments or questions for Sally she’d like to hear from you at  skallianis@willamettedental.com or 503-952-2185.


08 Oct

October is Healthy Workplace Month

It’s that time of year again, and we’re all busy with health plan renewals for 2015 and looking at how the Affordable Care Act, may or may not affect our customers and our own businesses.

A common topic popping up is, “What should we do about employee wellness in 2015?” Whether you call it “worksite wellness,” “employee well-being” or “population health management,” I think it’s safe to say, we’re all working towards having healthier and happier workforces, and perhaps avoiding some preventable future health related costs.

Now, there’s some controversy around this whole wellness business and its return on investment (ROI). If that’s all your customer is after, then we’re probably starting off on the wrong foot. Instead, think of ROI as the “return on individual,” what the employees will get out of the program, and how that will affect your customer’s business. One heart attack prevented, one person off depression meds, or one smoker quits, is always a win in my book!

The next time you’re sitting down with your customers, here are 5 questions I see that are often overlooked when the subject of “employee wellness” comes up:

1.     Do we have an operating plan?

As with any business strategy, start with the end in mind. What are your goals for this program? Is it simply to create a supportive environment, provide health education, improve health and/or control costs? Answering these questions can help you decide on a program framework, determine resources needed and the budget required to write your operating plan. According to both Dee Endington, PhD, at the Health Management Research Center, University of Michigan, and Larry Chapman, MPH, founder of the Chapman Institute, there are three main frameworks or levels to choose from; Traditional, Comprehensive and Champion, (though Chapman uses different terminology). Often, we see employers with a Traditional program, but are looking for Champion-level results, so understanding how these models are structured can help you set realistic expectations to senior leadership. For more information see: https://kadalyst.box.com/planning

2.     Who’s in charge?

The responsibility of wellness programs commonly fall on Human Resources, though most of them already have a full plate or may not necessarily have the expertise to develop and manage a program. Determine who’s in charge, if they have time and whether the time allotted is sufficient to meet the goals of the program. If not, you may want to consider adjusting the program goals, or outsourcing some or all of your program management efforts.

3.     How will we measure success?

Measurement requires data or a baseline. You can evaluate the effectiveness of the program from one annual health plan renewal to the next. Most companies start small and simply measure participation; others measure health improvement changes via a health assessment or job retention. Regardless of what goals you have set, make sure you have data to back up the goals rationale, so you can measure it again later.

Typically, if you’re not reaching over 50% participation in the program, you’re probably missing the employees who need the most help. In this case, you may need to reconsider how you can increase participation. And as a side note, incentives, are not always the best approach. At Kadalyst, we’ve helped groups reach over 90% participation without any incentives. At times, you simply need more time to educate the importance of the program and what’s in it for the employee and the employer. Remember, a confused mind says, “No.”

 4.     Do we have vendors or partners?

There are lots of wellness vendors out there providing all kinds of services. Some have health risk assessment tools and online wellness challenge platforms, while others include health coaching programs and biometric screening events.

Now, are these just vendors, or are they partners? The difference? Do they have any incentive or vested interest to meet the goals of the program? A simple way to ensure this is by creating a tiered pricing model based on performance.

 A common oversight is that often program participation is not measured against program costs. So what is the actual cost per participant? And is that number acceptable? If you’re paying $3.00 per employee per month (PEPM) and you have 20% participating, then your cost is actually $15.00 per participant per month. If employees are participating every other month, your cost is now $30.00 per participant. Be weary of “PEPM” pricing models, because often they do not speak to utilization. At the end of the day, when you pay for “PEPM” programs, the vendor is paid a set amount regardless of usage.

5.     How will we fund the wellness program?

There are many ways to get creative when it comes to funding wellness programs today, and it doesn’t always have to be 100% out of the employer’s pocket. I see insurance companies stepping in and providing annual “wellness credits,” benefits consultants embedding wellness into the overall healthcare budget, and there are even new private exchanges launching in 2015, that have wellness services embedded for free to their members.

No matter what, if you can help your customers come to the table with a real plan in place, someone in charge, baseline data to start from and partners instead of vendors, then you will have an “investment summary,” vs. “spreadsheet pricing” to present the business case. “It takes a village” approach is going to be your best bet, to not only get the program funded, but to see successful and long-term outcomes.

In Health,



If you have any further questions on how to best prepare a business case for wellness on behalf of your company or customers, feel free to contact me directly.

Benjamin Prinzing is the Founder and Managing Partner at Kadalyst Health Partners, a Portland-based health & safety consulting firm, that help employers develop long-term wellness strategies that deliver 80-98% engagement rates on a monthly basis, and often without incentives. Kadalyst’s core team of on-site “Personal Health Assistants,” acts as a hybrid of a health screener, wellness coordinator, health coach and care advocate. It’s like having your health & wellness department!

Benjamin is also the 2013 and 2014 chairperson for the Worksite Wellness Summit, and the co-founder of the Worksite Wellness Network, a local networking group representing over 200 local employers.


Benjamin Prinzing, Managing Partner

Kadalyst Health Partners







08 Oct

A candid interview with PAHU’s President, Tim Rasch

Meet Tim Rasch, PAHU’S Board President during the July 2014-July 2015 term.  Although Tim has been involved in Oregon’s Health Underwriters Association since 2009 there’s a few things you might not know about him.



Name: Tim Rasch

Title Employee: benefits broker

Employer:  Larry Sherwood & Assoc

Location: Oregon, Washington, and sometimes Idaho.

City you live in: Oregon City

First Job: Mowing the lawn for my Dad’s church in Seattle. I made a whopping $1.50 per hour in the 7th grade.

Dream Job: Russell Wilson’s agent

Favorite Happy Hour/Tasting Room/Bar in Portland: The Rookery at Raven & Rose, Multnomah Whiskey Library & Driftwood

Favorite Restaurants in Portland: Apizza Scholls, Ox, Taqueria Nueve & Southpark

Finish this sentence…”I know this makes me sound old but….  I wish the bar down the street from my house would stop the live music after 10pm”

The worst movie I have ever seen is:  Anchorman 2 (not even close, that movie was terrible)

Advice for my high-school self:  Don’t give up, and always treat people better than you expect them to treat you.

Group/organization/demographic you are most driven to help: Friends of the Children.  I help raise money for college scholarships and watching these kids grow into young adults with the life they have lived is nothing short of amazing!

When I have a day off I…  nap

When I have an out-of-town visitor, the top 3 things they should do in Oregon are:  visit the food carts, take a drive to the northern Oregon coast, and check out Portland’s brewery scene.

Portland really needs: Professional hockey team.

You’ve been given an airline ticket to anywhere in the world.  Where do you go? Machu Picchu, Peru


If you have comments or questions for Tim he’d like to hear from you at trasch@larrysherwood.com or 503-293-6440.