All posts by George Papagelis

About George Papagelis

George joined Ovation as a Group Benefits Consultant in 2007. He currently is the Managing Practice Leader for the Connecticut market. George is a major proponent of health improvement initiatives and continues to seek innovative health solutions for all business partners. Prior to joining Ovation, George served in a variety of roles at CIGNA Healthcare from 1999-2007, including Product Manager in CIGNA’s Product Department, Operations Manager and Senior Underwriter in CIGNA’s National Account Underwriting Department, Regional Director of Underwriting in CIGNA’s Tennessee-Arkansas-Kentucky market, and Team Leader and Underwriter in CIGNA’s Tri-State market. George successfully completed CIGNA’s six-month Underwriting Training Program. George also spent 1994-1999 in the Property Casualty Industry, working as a Director’s and Officer’s Claim Analyst at Executive Risk Specialty Insurance and as an Automobile Insurance Claim Representative at AIG Claim Services. George has a BS in Business Management from Providence College and an MBA with a Finance concentration from The University of Hartford. George also earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation from the American Institute of Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters. George resides in Simsbury, Connecticut, with his wife Karen and their three children. He is involved in youth baseball and basketball. George is active in a variety of sports, including basketball, softball, and running.

Trends in Employer Benefits: Do You Have the Right Broker?

In the 1993 movie, Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, finds himself living the same day over and over again. In the short-term, he relishes the change and uses it to his advantage, but he later comes to the realization that he is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in the same place, seeing the same people and doing the same thing every day. In one scene, Phil asks someone: “What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?”

I have often equated the premise for this movie to the traditional work conducted by benefits brokers.  Many meet the client once a year with a medical renewal that has a double digit, with some plan design changes, and with a spreadsheet of other carrier rates to show the customer. Oftentimes, employers choose the lowest cost plan regardless of carrier, communicate the changes to the employees, and move on. The same thing happens the next year…and the next…and the next…you get the picture! Continue reading Trends in Employer Benefits: Do You Have the Right Broker?

A Perspective on Health Care Industry Consolidation

The health care industry is experiencing a tremendous amount of merger and acquisition activity right now, which is impacting hospital systems, providers, insurance carriers, health care advisors, and ultimately, consumers. While stakeholders are taking sides, the recent spate of activity should not come as a major surprise as it has been occurring for many years. Do these facts sound familiar? Continue reading A Perspective on Health Care Industry Consolidation

Affordable Care Act Drives Strategic and Technology Solutions for Employers

As I’ve written in past blogs, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) like it or not, has driven a variety of positive changes in the healthcare marketplace. From an employee benefits standpoint, the ACA has enabled brokers, consultants, insurance carriers, and employers to be more innovative and strategic. The role of insurance broker has evolved from marketing the employer’s coverage to all carriers every year to see who will offer the cheapest plan to a more progressive multi-year strategic plan aimed at stabilizing long-term health care costs. These days, our strategic planning with clients centers on the following: Continue reading Affordable Care Act Drives Strategic and Technology Solutions for Employers

Prescription Drug Costs on the Rise: Specialty Drugs the Driver

For years, the cost trend of prescription drugs has been relatively low compared to the medical cost trend. However, that paradigm is beginning to tip in the other direction, driven by the proliferation and utilization of specialty drugs. If you don’t believe me, here are some mind numbing statistics:

  • Overall drugs in the development pipeline: traditional = 31%, specialty = 69%.1
  • Specialty drugs in the market: 1990 = 10, 2012 = 900.2
  • Specialty drug compounded annual growth rate: 19.5%.3
  • Specialty drug annual cost per person: 2012 = $290, 2018 = $845.4
  • Specialty drugs are expected to become 40% of prescription drug spend by 2020 (they were 17% in 2012).5

Recently, a large client of mine experienced this cost explosion. Last year their medical spending ran at a negative trend. However, after years of a modest prescription drug trend, their prescription drug spending increased by 22%, driven by a 90% increase in specialty drug costs. Yes, 90%! This large increase was driven by a relatively small group of members, using medications for multiple sclerosis, renal failure, and hepatitis C. Continue reading Prescription Drug Costs on the Rise: Specialty Drugs the Driver