An Employer Advisory Podcast

Health Care Happenings

The health care industry and benefits landscape are evolving, yet escalating health care costs make it clear there’s much work to be done to address this unsustainable system and improve the health care experience.

Tune in for the lighthearted banter, stay for the critical insights around trending topics, developments in the field, the pandemic, market stabilizers, public option and more.


Meet the Hosts

Our hosts have a unique passion for innovating in this space and sharing novel, practical solutions to help organizations make a long-term positive impact and navigate this complex environment.

Annette Bechtold Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs & Compliance

Samantha Malovrh, Esq Vice President, Compliance Consulting

Scott Wham, JD Director of Compliance and Innovation

Ron Bargatze Principal

Episode 21 | Today’s Health Care: Stress and Burn Out 

To dive a little deeper into whole health care, the team explores one of Gallup’s five essential elements of wellbeing: Career Wellbeing. With the uptick in stress, burnout in the workplace is becoming more prevalent, affecting over 75% of employees who report feeling burnt out at work some of the time. The team discusses the factors leading to burnout and how employers can support employees and address the causes to prevent burnout.

Episode 20 | Today’s Health Care: Defining Wellbeing 

This episode continues the discussion on whole health care and employee wellbeing, including the importance of thriving in all five areas of wellbeing to improve productivity. In the new world we live in, work-life and personal life have been blended, especially for those who work remotely. The team discusses how employers can help foster wellbeing and encourage their employees to thrive.

Episode 19 | Today’s Health Care: Whole Health Care and Wellbeing 

During this episode, the team introduces a new series to dive into what’s impacting the health care landscape at large. With the recent uptick in anxiety and depression, we’re finding a third of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety and depression within the first year of the pandemic. Mental health related issues have gone up 4X the amount since the start of COVID. Thinking about this trajectory and the hopeful end of the pandemic, the team discusses whether they foresee a continued uptick or de-escalation and what employers may do to help their employee population.

Episode 18 | Health Care Happenings: COVID-19 Vaccines and Compliance Implications

With Special Guest Jamie Webb-Akasaka and Sarah Burns

With the recent FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, employers may still be wondering what compliance implications surround the vaccination status of employees. During this episode, the team is joined by OneDigital HR Consulting VP of Legal Counsel Jamie Webb-Akasaka and Senior Employee Benefits Attorney Sarah Burns to discuss the various laws that apply to mandating vaccinations. They also dive into employer considerations in implementing a vaccine incentive program, return to work reminders, and what happens if an employee gets injured from the vaccine. The group closes with takeaway thoughts on how employers should balance vaccination-related business decisions with key compliance considerations.

Episode 17 | Today’s Health Care: What Do We Think Can Help Fix the System

As follow up to Episode 16, during which the team explores the challenges of the health care system today, they share how if they could wave a magic wand to “fix” the broken system, what actions they would take to change things and improve the system.

Episode 16 | Today’s Health Care: The Evolution of Health Care

On Part 5 of “Today’s Health Care” a miniseries, Ron Bargatze delves into a roadmap of the evolution of health care and how we got to the system we know today.

Episode 15 | No Surprises Act Interim Final Rule

The team is joined by Senior Employee Benefits Attorney Jesse Hansen to discuss the key aspects of the recently released No Surprises Act interim final rule and the implications for employers.

Episode 14 | Follow Up on Understanding Mental Health Parity Compliance in 2021

On this follow up episode to Mental Health Parity Compliance in 2021, the team welcomes Sarah Burns, Senior Employee Benefits Attorney, to discuss the recent Tri-Departments Mental Health Parity FAQs for group health plans having to perform comparative analysis on NQTLs. The team discusses what actions employers may want to take based of these FAQs and how they can make a good faith effort to comply with the requirements.

Episode 13 | PCORI Fee with Special Guest Anjali Radia 

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee reporting is coming. Samantha Malovrh is joined by Anjali Radia, Employee Benefits Attorney at OneDigital, to go over the basics of the PCORI fee and what employers of self-insured health plans need to be aware of.

Episode 12 | SCOTUS Decision on ACA

The third landmark decision is in. The Supreme Court’s latest decision in the ongoing saga regarding the Affordable Care Act skirts the big questions. This episode breaks down the Supreme Court’s decision, what it means to stakeholders, how it effects the future of the ACA and health care, and what, if anything, may be on the horizon.

Episode 11 | Form 5500 with Special Guest Peter Graf

On this episode, Samantha is joined by Peter Graf, senior compliance consultant at OneDigital, to discuss the basics of the annual Department of Labor’s report, the Form 5500.

Episode 10 | Today’s Health Care: Interview with Dr. Hill

As a follow up to Episode 9 where we tackled the shortage of primary physicians, we wanted to get real feedback from someone closer to the situation. Dr. Brian Hill, founder and CEO of HIPnation, an innovative company tackling better delivery of health care, joins us to share his take on defining what an effective primary care relationship looks like, pros and cons of the fee-for-service model, the reasons behind the shortage of primary care doctors, and how innovative arrangements can improve patient, employer, and overall health outcomes.

Episode 9 | Today’s Health Care: Shortage of Primary Care Physicians

The U.S. is facing a growing shortage of primary care and specialty physicians. During Part 3 of “Today’s Healthcare,” a miniseries, the team discusses the reasons for the shortage, how the shortage impacts healthcare costs, future challenges and potential resolutions.

Episode 8 | Health Care Happenings: Much Needed COBRA Premium Assistance Guidance Released

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released much needed guidance regarding the American Rescue Plan Act’s (ARPA) COBRA premium assistance subsidy. During this timely episode, Annette and Samantha highlight the guidance as it relates to common employer questions surrounding ARPA. Does reduction of hours include voluntary and involuntary? What is involuntary termination? How do employers obtain the credit?

Episode 7 | Today’s Health Care: Setting the Stage for Unnecessary Care

If we think about health care efforts and legislative efforts we see today, most of it is focused on access rather than the systemic issues associated with health care programs and costs. During Part 2 of “Today’s Healthcare,” a miniseries, the team delves into the discrepancies we see between the cost of care and outcomes, the reinforcing causes behind excess care and what consumers can do to take back some of their power.

Episode 6 | Today’s Health Care: Introduction

No matter how prepared, how healthy or careful you are, there’s no way to predict when you may need to access care, how much you’ll need and what it will cost. Yet, compared with any other consumer experience, people hardly know their options, and it’s generally not encouraged to ask what the cost is or shop around. Join our Health Care Happenings team for the introductory episode in the miniseries “Today’s Healthcare” dedicated to tackling the state of health care today, what each stakeholder wants, the concerns and opportunities for each of us.

Episode 5 | COBRA Subsidy FAQs and Model Notices Released April 7, 2021

Now that the dust (and panic) has settled, our team of compliance leaders review the latest guidance released by the DOL. Although there are still more questions than answers, they examine what we do know, the required notifications and what employers may want to consider enacting today.

Episode 4 | A Conversation About the Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Settlement

Since 2012, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has been involved in a class-action lawsuit pertaining to their alleged national anti-competitive policies. Find out what’s really going on and how to determine if it’s worth your organization’s time to take any next steps.

Episode 3 | The American Rescue Plan Act, 2021 + COBRA Premium Subsidies

Following the signing of the latest COVID-19 relief law, employers and plan managers everywhere are scrambling to understand the implications on the employee benefits program, their people and the business. While there is plenty of information in this 600-page law, our compliance team shares insights on the items that impact employers most. Their biggest takeaway? Keep calm and stay tuned for additional guidance.

Episode 2 | Understanding Mental Health Parity Compliance in 2021

Our compliance team welcomes podcast guest Compliance Strategist Ron Bargatze for episode two, where they discuss the new rules, comparative analysis and how to handle non-quantitative coverage. Walk away with quick tips for more effective carrier conversations and best practices for sharing the required information with employees.

Episode 1 | 2021 Capitol Conference Recap

During the inaugural episode of Health Care Happenings, an Employer Advisory Podcast, OneDigital’s compliance leaders share their dedication for advancing the political health care landscape, their recent virtual visit to the Hill and discussions with Congress about what the most pressing topics are for employers.


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