CaliforniaChoice Founders Receive 2002 Innovators Award
Hurricane Lili, which wreaked havoc on the plans of thousands and thousands of people, also doused what was to have been a moment of triumph for John M. Word III and Rusty Brown. The two men were to have received the Second Annual Innovators Award at the annual meeting of the Health Insurance Association of America in New Orleans last month.
In the event, neither man could fly due to the storm, and the meeting was ultimately cancelled.
The Innovators Award, established in 2001 by HIAA, National Underwriter and Witt-Kiefer, recognizes the transforming effect of visionary leadership in the health insurance industry.
Word and Brown were this years award recipients due to their founding of CaliforniaChoice, a for-profit health insurance purchasing program that gives workers at small employers the freedom to choose from a menu of health plan choices.
The program also offers a variety of other built-in and optional benefits, including life insurance, dental insurance, chiropractic coverage and benefits administration services.
CaliforniaChoice handles all enrollment and administration for each employer group, and it presents each employer with one itemized monthly bill.
Some health insurers and health maintenance organizations might prefer to do business the traditional way, by serving all or none of a small groups members.
But, in the long run, the program “satisfies the needs of all the stakeholders,” says Word, managing partner at CaliforniaChoice. “It just makes sense.”
The program helps workers by giving them choices, and it helps small employers and their brokers by improving employee morale, Word says.