Building a Better Health Benefits Strategy with Beth Bierbower

Laura Cave
January 11, 2021

For our second episode, Ansel board member and former Segment President of Humana, Beth Bierbower, joins us to talk about the challenges and opportunities in 2021 for your health benefits strategy. She also shares some learnings she's gathered through her guests on her popular podcast, B-Time

The structural challenges in health benefits

It’s no secret that healthcare and health benefits is a challenging space. Costs have accelerated dramatically over the past 25 years. That's why we built Ansel.

What are the drivers of these rapidly accelerating costs? Beth points us to misaligned incentives and fee-for-service pricing models that lack transparency. These are only two structural reasons, among many, why costs have risen so much over the past couple of decades. 

3 reasons for hope

In Beth’s view, there are good reasons to hope that change is both possible and well on its way. For example, recent legislation that allows consumers to own their medical data supports interoperability. Now you to bring your records with you to new providers, avoiding expensive repeat testing. 

Price transparency will also help consumers do more shopping when it comes to getting certain kinds of tests. With a little legwork, Beth was able to save $2500 on a test her doctor prescribed just by shopping around at different facilities. 

New benefits that provide better coverage and make it easy for employees to understand and use their plans are another reason to be optimistic about the future of employer-sponsored health benefits. 

How employers and their brokers should be thinking about health benefits strategy 

It can be easy to keep doing things the way they’ve always been done, but the focus should be on the employee and what’s changing for them. COVID-19 has obviously brought a lot of disruption, and behavioral and mental health benefits are just one example of a huge and growing need. Second, employers and brokers need to be bold enough to embrace change. It takes more work, but as the horizon changes, this will become increasingly important. 

For anyone interested in boost coverage and bring down costs, Mike recently posted 3 health benefit strategies for employers to consider in 2021.

Anyone who knows Beth knows that she's more than just an insurance executive. She's a caretaker, a mom, a writer, and a mentor to hundreds of people who've worked with her over the years. Here's Beth's advice for anyone looking to grow in their career.

“Intellectual curiosity is really important. But don’t just look inside your industry; don’t just read business books. You want to be a well-balanced individual. You really want to know about what’s going on in the world around you, so don’t just focus on your immediate job or your immediate industry.“

- Beth Bierbower

Beth’s book recommendations for personal and professional growth: 

Tune in to the full episode to hear more from Beth, including the formula she uses to prioritize her time to maximize meaning for her family, her career, and her own personal well being. 
We know you’re going to get a lot out of this time spent with Beth. To connect with her, visit  And to get in touch with Ansel, you can email us at

Listen to the full episode for more—

Are you following Better Benefits?

Future guests include former President of Group Protection Business at Lincoln Financial, Dick MucciDave Chase of Health Rosetta, and more!

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