Carrying that honor is Cartersville-based employee benefits firm ShawHankins. Established in 1963, ShawHankins was featured for aggressive growth and strategic approach to issues facing health care and insurance.
“They just called us and told us we were recommended for Best in Business,” said ShawHankins President and CEO Scott Hankins. “It is very complimentary. We’ve got 40 people in six offices, and they are really just a bunch of great people that work really hard and do a good job for our clients. It’s nice to be recognized.”
A majority of ShawHankins’ employees live and work in Cartersville, but the company operates offices in Rome, Cumming, Albany and St. Simons Island as well as Birmingham, Ala. From small municipalities to the firm’s largest client with 14,000 employees, ShawHankins has carved out a niche in working with public entities, including governments and school systems. The Best In Business recognition also focuses on some of the company’s main efforts in assisting employers.
“ShawHankins is known basically for having a great deal of public-entity business — by public entity I mean cities, counties and schools — but we’re also well known for wellness and on-site clinics and for our online technology,” Hankins said. “Those are probably the three things that are most well known and that’s what’s talked about in this article. We’ve discovered that the best way to reduce and stabilize your health care cost is with a wellness plan.”
While wellness plans come in various types, the program typically begins with employees filling out a health-assessment questionnaire collecting information on pre-existing conditions and personal habits, such as hygiene and seat belt use. The questionnaire is used to create a health-risk profile, which is paired with a blood profile from a blood sample to find high-risk participants. Employees then meet with health and wellness professionals based on their health profile to recognize risks and symptoms before they become medical emergencies.
“While some employees may meet weekly, others may meet monthly or quarterly. Typically 10 percent to 20 percent will meet regularly,” Hankins said. “It can be incredibly beneficial. We find the guy that has blood pressure of 250 over 150 and had no idea, just thought he was having headaches. We find the employee that has cholesterol through the roof. Those are things that through lifestyle changes or medication can go from being a serious problem to just being a ‘risk factor.’ It’s not just all the healthy employees out in the parking lot doing calisthenics, it is the identification and treatment of serious health conditions.”
Success rates with wellness programs have historically corresponded positively with higher participation rates. As a higher percentage of participants enroll in a wellness plan, benefits for employers and employees increase. Substantial savings on both sides have been seen from the use of wellness plans incorporating more than 95 percent of all employees within an organization. ShawHankins has seen this accomplished most often with an incentive scale, Hankins giving as an example a payroll deduction of $100 for those involved in a wellness program at work as opposed to $200 for those choosing not to participate.
Health and wellness programs are administered through providers such as Cartersville-based Communit-Y Health Network. While health coaches meet with employees, other programs’ wellness providers may provide include fitness classes and on-site health clinics.
“What we’ve discovered is that over half of employees don’t have a primary-care physician, and by going through a wellness program, it makes a huge difference,” Hankins said. “Every single time we put in a comprehensive wellness program with financial incentives ... when you do that you’re able to get 98 percent to 99 percent of the population enrolled, you identify those problems and it has a very good outcome.
“A step further is if an employer is large enough or if two or more employers get together to put an employer-based, on-site health clinic.”
The inclusion of wellness plans and on-site health clinics began in earnest in 2007, a continuation of evolution for the company. Begun in 1963, ShawHankins was founded as a life insurance company before transitioning in 1998 to specialize in group health and welfare plans.
As health care evolves, ShawHankins’ latest specialization has added to the company’s competitive advantage and their work with wellness plans has contributed to several key accounts. ShawHankins is currently in the running for a large contract as a Georgia city and county merges organizational structures. Request for proposals were limited to 12 private invitations and ShawHankins has since made the cut to five finalists, one of which will be awarded the contract.
“That has become a very valuable part of our service model and is a big part of why we are chosen in certain cases. We have public entities all over the state, three now in Alabama and we continue to grow,” Hankins said. “Keeping your employees healthy reduces your health care costs, but health care reform is designed to increase the cost of health care. If you look at all the different areas of health care reform, it’s not about reducing costs of health care, it’s about increasing the cost of health care with premium taxes and layers of administration that do nothing but hurt health care.
“Wellness is just the opposite, it’s a great way to reduce cost. Like these on-site health clinics. Every time an employee steps into a clinic rather than to a provider though a health plan, that’s a reduced cost. When they pick up a prescription at the clinic, that’s a reduced cost. When they identify a problem and help with it, that reduces costs. That is the long-term solution to the health care crisis, it’s not health care reform.”
Savings from work done by ShawHankins is chronicled in the Forbes piece. Using wellness indicators and preventative tests to reduce risk, the case study outlined in Forbes reports a 10 percent reduction in costs the first year.
“A employee public sector organization asked ShawHankins to analyze its health care program and learned that far too few employees underwent important screenings such as mammograms or PSA tests,” reads the Forbes feature. “ShawHankins’ recommendation to state a wellness program led to a 10 percent reduction in claims and savings in overall employee health care costs of $800,000 in an eight million dollar budget in the first year.
“After the ShawHankins team oversaw the opening of a complete on-site wellness clinic the following year, the client continued to enjoy reductions in costs and no increase in liability.”
Forbes also made mention of ShawHankins’ efforts in customer service and technology through web-based resources and a support hotline. Utilizing online tools, large employers can manage thousands of employees by automating previously manual administrative functions. Meanwhile, a Cartersville-based call center is available to answer client questions regarding their insurance and benefits.
For more information, visit www.shawhankins.com or call 770-382-0951.