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Self-Funded With Spencer

Self-Funded With Spencer

By Spencer Smith
Healthcare is broken. This podcast is on a mission to fix it.
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TRUE Network Advisors - Scott Smith, President & CEO
Your Network is Your Net Worth -  Scott Smith - TRUE Network Advisors.   I took the podcast on the road to Guntersville, Alabama, home of Scott Smith and his company - TRUE Network Advisors.   TRUE is a coalition of employee benefits brokers, seeking to enhance their network and collaborate with other strategic benefits advisors to grow their practices.  TRUE is unique in that they have created an extraordinary engaging member experience, with both virtual and in-person events that are all the buzz in the benefits industry.   On this podcast, Scott shares his personal story, how he grew up incredibly poor, and used a thirst for reading and knowledge to leverage his way out to a better life.   Scott is now a highly sought after thought leader, a hilarious comedy skit writer, and one of the kindest people in our industry. Enjoy!
September 27, 2022
Data Analytics for Brokers - NavMD - Glenn Fisher
NavMD is a Data Analytics Platform for Brokers in the Employee Benefits space.  Glenn Fisher is the Managing Partner of NavMD and acquired the company back in 2018.  He is also one of the flat out coolest guys I know!   Glenn is also a serial entrepreneur, having built businesses in the waste management space, FinTech, and now in Data Analytics at NavMD.   The focus of episode 62 is the power of having a data analytics platform for your employers.  If you want to know what is driving your claims costs up, ultimately causing your premiums to increase every year, you have to know the source of those claims.   NavMD helps consultants uncover this information for their clients, using proprietary methods to identify "episodes of care", which expose opportunities for savings.  NavMD can also produce risk scores for employers, to assist stop loss carriers with underwriting the risk.  Chapters: 0:00 Intro Hook 0:37 Hello to Glenn Fisher 1:30 Glenn's Backstory 2:06 The Marine Corps 4:30 Waste Management 10:25 The Shift to Fintech 17:35 Acquiring NavMD 21:15 What is NavMD Data Analytics 35:50 The Future of Data
September 13, 2022
Spine Surgery Warranty - Jamie Rindler - CEO, Marvel Group
Can you warranty spine surgery?   Jamie Rindler, CEO of Marvel Group believes you can, and that is exactly what his company does!  Marvel Group offers a Surgical Outcome Warranty for Spine patients.   The warranty itself is actually supported by the medical device manufacturer, which augments their own product warranty.    In exchange, the device providers get data in return that helps them improve their products, and understand what is, and is not, working.   The revolutionary part is that the benefit of the warranty actually goes to the patient themselves.  The Marvel Group actually sees a surgical revision rate of only 3%, which is well below a rough average of 7-10% revision rate industry wide.  They accomplish this by having higher quality surgeons in their stewardship program, best in class devices, and their data collection program that acts as a feedback mechanism for the surgeon.
September 06, 2022
Modern Benefits Consulting - Genesys Health - Matt Monahan - Chief Strategy Officer
Modernizing Benefits Consulting at Genesys Health, with Chief Strategy Officer Matt Monahan.   Genesys puts a large emphasis on Population Health Management in their practice, helping members navigate their healthcare journey with actionable data, guidance, and support. Matt has an extensive background from the carrier world with Aetna, having spent a 12 year period as a large group rep.  He started at GE/Genworth as a group rep as well, after a short period of time playing semi-pro rugby.   Matt brought that expertise, as well as a tenure at Namely on the technology side of insurance to Genesys, where he gets to apply his diverse skillet into the benefits consulting world. Chapters:  00:00 Intro Hook  00:23 Podcast Opening Credits  00:33 Hello to Matt Monahan  04:50 Matt's Rugby Background  08:40 Matt's Early Career  15:25 Career at Aetna  20:00 Genesis of Genesys Health  28:57 Changing Employee Behavior  37:55 Approach to Consulting  41:20 The Genesys Brand  49:06 Future of Care  51:40 Closing Thoughts  
August 30, 2022
High Performance Networks - Blake Allison - CEO of EHN
What is a High Performance Healthcare Network, and how does it improve the quality of care, while delivering lower costs? Blake is a native Texan, with a history of working on the "supply-side" of healthcare within hospital systems.   This gives him a unique perspective on the problem of controlling the costs of healthcare delivery.  Blake spent time in the Navy, with his inspiration to enlist coming as a result of 9/11.   EHN's purpose is to "Provide quality health benefits for your employees while controlling costs, for them and for your business. With a thoughtful and well executed strategy, these are very achievable goals."
August 23, 2022
Emergency Transport Solutions - Will Winters - MASA MTS
Emergency Medical Transport 101.     Everything you need to know about Emergency Medical Transportation, and how MASA MTS is helping control the insanely high cost of ground, and air transportation.   Will Winters is Vice President, Broker and Strategic Partnership Sales, and is also an ex-Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).  He learned a lot on the job as an EMT, was exposed to some very traumatic events, and ultimately decided he was better suited outside of the system selling a solution to employers to help control their employees high out of pocket costs. Also, we kick off the podcast talking about Will bowling a 300 more than once! "MASA Global provides its members with two distinct benefits -- a membership program that includes the most comprehensive ground, helicopter and fixed-wing ambulance transportation solutions whether at home or abroad and protection from the financial catastrophes that unexpected medical transportation costs will cause.  Without rival in the industry, MASA Global prides itself on solving its members'​ medical transportation needs by "Any Ground. Any Air. Anywhere."​
August 16, 2022
Clinical CBD - Chad Collins, CEO of CORGANICS
How CBD Works with the CEO of CORGANICS, Chad Collins. Have you ever wondered about CBD?  What is it?  How does it work?  Is it actually real, or placebo?  Then this is the episode for you!   I sat down with Chad for Episode 57 to discuss his Company called CORGANICS, and how they are "bridging the gap between healthcare professionals and their patients when it comes to understanding and treating the endocannabinoid system."   Chad referenced a 2019 Gallup poll, that showed 1 in 5 Americans was taking some form of CBD.  In the same survey, 3 in 5 adults said they felt like it was valid medical therapy.  The main reason, he suggests, that a person would cross over from one of those 3 in 5 Americans, to the 1 in 5 taking it, would be recommendation from a medical professional.   CORGANICS "provides health care professionals with safe, high-quality CBD products that are developed with the patient in mind. They utilize the latest science-backed methods to create broad spectrum, THC-free CBD formulations and invest in ongoing research into the potential benefits of clinical CBD."
August 09, 2022
The Modern TPA - Healthsmart - Craig Julien - CEO
The Modern TPA - Tech when you need it, people when you don't.   In episode 56 of Self-Funded with Spencer, I sit down with the CEO of HealthSmart, Craig Julien.  Craig is a fascinating person, being an avid Triathlete, Mountain Climber, and a World Record Skydiver, while also running a very successful Third Party Administrator.   Throughout his career, Craig has always been willing to raise his hand to take on more responsibility, or a new opportunity, even moving to India for a few years to run a company.   I have sat down with numerous Founders and CEO's, and Craig's story is right up there with the best of them.   0:00 Intro Clip  0:33 Opening Credits  0:41 Craig's Backstory & Career  8:45 Sponsors  9:35 Triathlons, Mountain Climbing & Skydiving  18:30 What is a TPA  24:16 Applying Tech to the TPA world  28:02 Tech + People = Enablement  31:55 Direct Primary Care/Virtual Primary Care  36:52 The HealthSmart Solution  43:55 TPA Trends  47:00 Behavioral Economics  52:04 Big Picture Healthcare Trends  58:00 Closing Thoughts from Craig
August 02, 2022
Entrepreneurship & Media - Seth Denson - Head of Benefits - Acrisure
There are people that have dreams.  There are people that execute dreams that other people have.  Few people get to do both.  Those people are entrepreneurs.  That’s the core message that Seth Denson, Head of Benefits for Acrisure, delivered on Episode 55 of the “Self-Funded with Spencer” podcast. In this episode we discussed his successful journey as an entrepreneur, as well as his second career as a business analyst for some of the largest news outlets in America.  I’m grateful to call Seth a friend, and honored to feature his story on my podcast.
July 26, 2022
Resolving Workplace Misconduct - Jared Pope - CEO - Work Shield - Episode 54
Jared Pope is the Founder of Work Shield, and a self-described "recovering attorney" to discuss the origins of his company and the solution they provide.   Recognizing the gross inefficiencies in the way companies currently handle internal misconduct, Jared recognized an opportunity to deliver a better dispute resolution service, that was unbiased, faster, and easier to implement than most "Check-the-box" options on the market today.   Work Shield is on a mission to change the way organizations and their people view misconduct
July 20, 2022
The Power of SimplePay - Wally Gomaa - Co-Founder - Episode 53
The Power of SimplePay Health, a discussion with Wally Gomaa, Co-Founder.   Wally has an extensive track record of success in the healthcare and employee benefits industries, and his latest venture - SimplePay - is an exciting new solution to help bring "Price Certainty" to the health insurance world.   SimplePay Health - Where happy and health plan live together.
July 18, 2022
Mental Health, Burnout, & EAP - A Conversation with John Troutman - Episode 52
John shares his own experience with Burnout at 41, which nearly cost him his life, and we discuss the challenges that men have in discussing their mental health with others, even with the typical EAP offerings most employers provide their employees today.    It is even harder for people like John, who had been a pastor at a church for his whole career up that point, and who was perceived as a community leader, to express feelings of fear, weakness, emotional pain, etc. because of concerns of how his peers would perceive his vulnerability.  This is one of the most important conversations I have ever had on the podcast, and I hope it helps foster meaningful discussions about mental health in men.
July 12, 2022
1% Better Every Day - Jake Thompson - CEO of Compete Every Day - Episode 51
Jake Thompson started Compete Every Day as an inspirational apparel company, and over the course of a decade, has grown it into a vehicle for performance coaching, business consulting, and traveling the country to do public speaking.   The mindset of getting 1% better every day, while viewed on a micro scale may not seem much, but the aggregate effect over time on your life will have a massive impact.  Whether it is your health, your job, your relationships, focusing on the little things you can do every day, adds up.   Jake is highly sought after for his ability to effectively communicate this message through the lens of athletics, and apply that mindset to any business to help their personnel leverage their competitive spirit to become happier, and more productive employees.
June 28, 2022
Human Capital Management 101 - Chas Fields - UKG - Episode 50
Chas Fields is Senior Partner at UKG - Ultimate Kronos Group - and is also a fellow podcaster, a public speaker, a change management expert, a volunteer, and a baseball coach.  Oh yeah, he's also a really cool dude! This episode covers what Human Capital Management is, how it works, and how technology is enabling companies to better manager their Human Capital.   We cover topics like the merger of two giant organizations into an even bigger one, managing people through the pandemic, fatherhood, how to be a good person in general, and the future of HCM. Enjoy!
June 21, 2022
Insurance Captives & Innovation in Healthcare - David Voorhees - True Captive - St Louis Summit 5/5
Insurance Captives & Innovation in Healthcare with David Voorhees, CEO of True Captive Insurance.   Insurance captives have been covered quite a bit on my podcast because: 1) They are perceived to be more complex (they're really not) 2) They are an interesting vehicle for smaller employers to successfully transition into being self-funded. David Voorhees sat down with me after the True Captive St Louis Summit, to discuss the motivations for the creation of True Captive Insurance, why they decided to take risk on every group that joins their captive, and how they are partnering with other innovative solution providers to create best-in-breed options for small to mid-sized employers.   David also talks about how fear often drives the avoidance of innovation, especially for insurance brokers who at times have the misconception that they are obligated to be experts in everything.  He argues that NOT knowing something is good, as it should stimulate curiosity and a continual quest for knowledge, and I tend to agree.   David is one of the most consistently eloquent speakers I have had the joy to sit down with, and it is an honor to be affiliated with him through these conferences, and the sponsorship of my podcast.  Enjoy!
June 16, 2022
How Jumbo Employers are Solving Healthcare - Lee Lewis - Health Transformation Alliance - Episode 49
How Jumbo Employers are Solving Healthcare.   This podcast focuses on the Health Transformation Alliance (HTA) - A Co-Op - that is fully owned by about 65 Jumbo employers, whose entire mission is to create superior outcomes for their health plan.   Their goals are to save lives, and save dollars.   These employer groups need to have about 5,000 lives on their health plan and pay $500k to join, and all own an equal equity stake in the Co-Op.  This fee can be paid over time and can come out of your health budget since it is an ERISA-approved expense.   By joining, these jumbo employers get access to the HTA teams, resources, and the opportunity to collaborate with the other members of the Co-Op   There are certain outcomes that jumbo employers can achieve in healthcare due to their scale and aggregated buying power, which Lee discusses on the podcast.   There are also things that Jumbo employers CANNOT do, that a smaller employer can, and we make sure to focus on some of those solutions as well.   Enjoy!
June 14, 2022
What It's Like to Work for a TPA - Owen Paradis - Jp Farley - True Captive St Louis Summit 4/5
What is it like to work for a TPA?  Owen Paradis of JP Farley joins me on the podcast for a discussion on how he got into the insurance world after working as a Corrections Officer.    Like most of us, he didn't intend to get into insurance, but has nonetheless found a home here and embraced the learning curve with open arms.  Half of the battle is just learning the acronyms, and Owen even said he used my Stop Loss with Spencer videos to help him learn the industry lingo.  Owen talks about how much he has enjoyed the TPA space so far, and judging by the brief time I had with him, I believe he will have a tremendously successful career in Employee Benefits!
June 09, 2022
How to Plan a Conference - Tonya Crawford - True Captive St. Louis Summit - Episode 3/5
Have you ever wondered how to plan a conference?   Tonya Crawford of True Captive Insurance sits down with me to share what it takes to put together a major event.   The main thing she said is that planning a conference starts with having great partners.  Not just from a sponsorship perspective, but to provide support, as well as help market the event.   It typically would take 2-3 months to plan an event, but Tonya and True Captive were able to pull off a great event in St Louis within 6 weeks.   The event in St Louis was absolutely top notch, with outstanding presenters, great attendees, and very useful information being freely shared to better educate the market at large.  In my opinion, that is the way it should be!
June 02, 2022
Captive Insurance 101 - Stephani Manning - Innovative Captive Strategies
Everything you need to know about Insurance Captives, featuring Stephani Manning of Innovative Captive Strategies.  We discuss the Layers of Captive, how those layers interact, and which parties are responsible for each of the three layers of the captive.  Stephani is a teacher by nature, and it really comes across in how simply she explains how captives work.
May 31, 2022
How to MC a Conference - Kiera Hanselman - True Captive St Louis Summit - Episode 2/5
Have you ever wondered what it is like to MC (host) a big conference?   In this episode of "Self-Funded with Spencer" on the road in St Louis at the True Captive Symposium, I discussed this topic with the host of the event - Kiera Hanselman.  Kiera started to MC events during the pandemic at virtual conferences, and did such a good job that she kept getting asked to do it again.   She talks about how her theater training helped her prepare to be on stage, but it really comes down to understanding the conference dynamics, getting to know the organization putting the event on, as well as identifying what topics will resonate with that specific audience.   Kiera did an incredible job at the event, and I am sure you will see her on stage hosting an Employee Benefits conference near you soon.
May 26, 2022
The Science Behind Fasting - Mark Testa - Episode 47
How Fasting Can Change Your Life.   What is Fasting?  What are the benefits of Fasting?  How does a beginner get started Fasting?  What is the difference in Fasting and Intermittent Fasting?  What is Autophagy?  What is a Water Fast?  What is a Fasting Mimicking Diet?.   Mark Testa is an expert at Fasting, as well as an expert in Stem Cells.  Mark has personally gone through multiple 5-day fasts, and is a regular intermittent faster like myself.   Personally, Intermittent Fasting has helped stabilize my energy levels, provided mental clarity, helped with weight management as I approach 40, made "Dieting" simpler, and has been the single best tool I have applied to optimize my life.  I hope this episode helps you start your fasting or intermittent fasting journey.
May 24, 2022
How Does My PBM Get Paid? - True Captive St. Louis Summit - Rachel Strauss - Episode 1/5
The "PBM Princess" joins me again on Self-Funded with Spencer on the road, this time in St. Louis at the most recent True Captive Summit, held at Busch Stadium. In this mini-episode, Rachel highlights the convoluted supply chain in Pharmacy Benefit Management.  So many different entities have a hand in the Rx supply chain, from payers, wholesalers, contracts with PBM's, marketing firms, insurance companies, etc, which makes it very difficult to uncover why prescription drug trends continue to increase at a rapid rate. This had led to further scrutiny of PBMs, especially with the question "How does my PBM get paid"? Thank you again to David Voorhees of True Captive for inviting me to this industry-leading event to deliver my podcast on the road.
May 19, 2022
Stem Cells with Mark Testa of Regenexx - Episode 46
Your own Stem Cells can be extracted from your bone marrow, concentrated, and then later injected into certain areas to potentially eliminate the need for surgery.  Many people just refer to it as "stem cells", but bone marrow concentrate which contains stem cells is the most accurate way to describe what Regenexx does.   Regenexx can help self-funded employers who have employees which knee injuries, shoulder injuries, back injuries etc. as a possible intermediate step before the last hope is surgery.   Mark is a chiropractor by trade, and became aware of how this concentrate containing stem cells could help with many musculoskeletal injuries that normally would require surgery in traditional Western medical practice.   They have a very high success rate with certain MSK ailments, and some of the latest research even shows how bone marrow concentrate which contains stem cells can help regrow an ACL if torn less than 1 cm apart!   There are limits to its abilities to resolve certain injuries, with the hip joint being one of the least likely locations of the body to positively respond to this bone marrow concentrate.   Make sure to check out part 2 where Mark and I discuss all of the benefits of Fasting!   To learn more check out
May 17, 2022
Life as a Serial Entrepreneur - Mark Combs - Self-Insured Reporting - Episode 45
What is it like to be a Serial Entrepreneur?  When you hear Mark's story it becomes clear that it takes someone with a combination of drive, intelligence, will, luck, faith, and a sense of humor!  Mark Combs started his career in financial planning, moved into the employee benefits broker world, helped grow an agency into a successful acquisition, and after experiencing nothing but success in his work life thus far, that is when he said, "everything STOPPED working"!  He talks about having to re-invent himself, work through those early challenges, and really struggle until he found the right business model.   Mark is also a genius marketer, so if you are interested in watching his insurance reporting commercial that has over 330k views and was referenced in my intro, watch it here:
May 10, 2022
Private Equity Explained - Kyle Coots - Episode 44
Private Equity Explained  What is it?   How does it work?  How do you get a job in private equity?  When do you use equity vs debt?   What types of firms should go public rather than stay private?   What are the stages of growth that impact capital requirements?   All of these questions and more are answered in Episode 44 of "Self-Funded with Spencer", featuring Kyle Coots, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Miramar Equity Partners.   Kyle and I have known each other for almost 30 years, and we reconnected after he was vetting an investment opportunity for his Private Equity firm in the self-funded space.  As you can see from this episode, he is an absolutely wealth of knowledge in this space, and even breaks it down at a level that a beginner can understand.
May 03, 2022
Life, Leadership & Effort - Randy Rider - Episode 43
Life Rewards Effort.  Randy & I discussed Leadership, Faith, Family, Personal Growth, Managing Career Success, Being a Star Hurdler in High School, Moving from CA to TX, Advice for Young Salespeople, and the roles both of our Wives have played in making us the men we are today.  From a random meeting at a children's play-place called "Cheeky Monkey" two years ago during the pandemic, to having Randy sit down this week for the podcast, it has been an interesting two years for both of us.
April 26, 2022
Never Pay the First Bill - And Other Ways to Fight the Healthcare System and Win - Marshall Allen - Episode 42
“Never Pay the First Bill”  This is the title of Marshall Allen’s extraordinary book, which empowers working Americans to fight back against unfair medical billing practices and WIN.   Marshall came on Self-Funded with Spencer to discuss:   ✍️ His investigative journalism career  📚 His Substack newsletter  📽 His upcoming video series  👨‍⚖️ How to win in small claims court  🏥 His son’s recent ER visit  ⛪️ His faith and time in ministry  🏛 His new job in the federal gov  📕 and of course, the book!   “Never Pay the First Bill” is a must for the tens of millions of Americans struggling to figure out why their medical care costs so much.   It’s not just healthcare #inflation. There’s also rampant fraud, waste, abuse, up-coding, and even billing for services NOT rendered.   Marshall is educating David on how to fight Goliath, and WIN.  It’s time for us to pick that fight!
April 19, 2022
Dependent Audits - Keith Bird - Episode 41
Allergy season, muscle cars, space shuttle launches...and Dependent Eligibility Audits?     Keith Bird, VP of Sales for AmWINS came on the Self-Funded with Spencer Podcast to discuss the fiduciary responsibility that Self-Funded Employers have to ensure the dependents enrolled on their health plan are eligible to be there.     Unless you have a good way of validating the eligibility of enrollees manually (you probably don't) then you likely have dependents on your plan today that are not supposed to be there.   Keith estimates that about 3% of dependents on average on any given plan are not eligible.  Whether it is a person enrolled as a spouse when they actually aren't married, or an enrolled child on the plan that turns out to be a cousin, the cost of healthcare is so great that many people find the need to defraud their employers for coverage.
April 11, 2022
True Captive Summit - David Voorhees & Rob Gelb - 6/6
Captives, keynote speaking, employee education, client testimonials, problem-solving, and having skin in the game with your customers, were a few of the many topics Robert Gelb, David Voorhees and I discussed during the final installment of the Self-Funded w/Spencer podcast on the road at the True Captive conference.  Here is the registration link for the next Future of Benefits in Business conference in St. Louis, MO at Busch Stadium on 4/12/22.
April 07, 2022
Surgery Quality & Price - Episode 40 - Sanjay Prasad
How much does surgery cost?  How good is my surgeon?  Sanjay Prasad MD sits down with me to discuss the answers to both of those questions and more.   Sanjay is an Ear, Nose, and Throat surgeon by trade, the Author of "Resetting Healthcare", and the founder of SurgiQuality.   Sanjay is a brilliant man on a mission to create more transparency for patients around the ability of their surgeon, and the price the member will pay.  
April 04, 2022
True Captive Summit - Glenn Fisher - 5/6
"Healthcare is Fixed" - That is the message Glenn Fisher, serial entrepreneur and Managing Partner of NavMD, is delivering to the employee benefits world.  We talk data analytics, acting on these insights, FinTech, and why Glenn was attracted to the Healthcare space initially.  Beyond the technical nature of his business, he stresses the importance of delivering value to your customer no matter what you do.  We round out the discussion on pharmacy, consulting, reference based pricing, captives, and how the Shine Solar testimonial was one of the key takeaways of the conference for Glenn.  Here is the registration link for the next Future of Benefits in Business conference in St. Louis, MO at Busch Stadium on 4/12/22.
March 31, 2022
True Captive Summit - Rachel Strauss - Ep 4/6
Rachel Strauss joined me in OKC to discuss the vital role of a transparent PBM, such as her employer EHIM.  She has been a previous podcast guest (Episode 10), and she is one of the most knowledge people when it comes to Pharmacy Benefit Management. She implores employers to ask the simple question, "How does my PBM get paid"?  Rachel also relates the problem of "rebates", to getting money back on your tax return.  Is it really better to overpay, and then wait 12 months to get money back? She sees the market is now more open to change, and the "No Surprises" act is a step in the right direction towards more transparency in the healthcare marketplace. Hope you enjoy!
March 24, 2022
Episode 39 - Trey Hinson - Modern Marketing 101
Modern marketing is evolving, and Trey Hinson of Ocozzio shares everything you need to know about this changing landscape. We covered an array of topics from Self-Funding, Bourbon, LinkedIn Sponsored Posts, The Power of Video for Marketing, Personalized Prospecting, the Decentralization of Healthcare Solutions, Storytelling, and so much more! This was one of the most difficult episodes to edit because there was so much great content.  I ended up making 4 promo clips instead of 1!
March 22, 2022
True Captive Summit - Rob Gelb - Part 3/6
In installment 3 of my coverage of the True Captive Summit, I sit down with the CEO of Vālenz®, Robert Gelb. "Vālenz® simplifies the complexities of self-insurance for employers through a steadfast commitment to data transparency and decision enablement". Rob is quickly becoming one of my favorite people in Employee Benefits because of his charisma, his focus on company culture, and the "yes, and" mentality he brought over from studying improv to apply to the business he runs. In this episode we cover, keynote speaking, overcoming travel issues, music as an aid in preparation, passion for what you do, and ultimately how to deliver best in class benefit design and selection.
March 17, 2022
True Captive Summit - Part 2/6
In installment 2 of my coverage of the True Captive Summit, I sit down with Adam Berkowitz of Simpara, and his client Lance Young, of Shine Solar. In this mini-episode, we discuss Lance's experience working in Human Resources and how his partnership with Simpara inspired Shine Solar to transition from fully-insured to self-funded. Shine Solar went from experiencing annual costs increases with no ability to counteract this trend, to lowering their cost multiple years in a row, while simultaneously improving their benefits for their employees! I LOVE client testimonials, so thank you so much to Lance and Adam in sharing their success story!
March 10, 2022
Episode 38 - Jorge Arzate
Episode 38 of Self-Funded with Spencer features Jorge Arzate, CEO and Founder of MAKINA BENEFITS. Jorge joined me on the show to discuss the role of a boutique-style independent TPA and his passion for helping small employers take control of their healthcare spend. We had conversations about discipline as an entrepreneur, focusing on growth over just setting goals, and even kicked the chat off with our mutual upbringing on #heavymetal.
March 09, 2022
True Captive Summit- Part 1/6
I recently took the Self-Funded w/ Spencer Podcast on the road to Oklahoma City where I covered the Future of Business and Benefits Conference, Hosted by True Captive Insurance and Presented by Valenz.  In this mini-episode, I sat down with the CEO of True Captive, David Vorhees, to discuss the goals for the conference and what the audience should expect in terms of quality content.
March 03, 2022
Episode 37 - Daniel P. Day, CEBS
Dan is the US Head of Sales, Middle Market for Meritain Health. He has an extensive career in Employee Benefits, especially in Self-Funding, and received his CEBS designation through an affiliation with the Wharton School.   In particular, this episode focuses on the advanced role of a TPA for self-funded groups, and how they can serve as an open architecture solution for employers to customize their health plan and better control the cost of care. Dan is also an avid fitness enthusiast, participating in triathlons as well as competitive rowing, and this passion for his own personal health coincides perfectly with his career.
March 01, 2022
Episode 36 - Mike Kohl
One of the most neglected parts of our healthcare system in the last few years has been the lack of availability in virtual mental/behavioral health support for employees.   In this episode, Mike Kohl of Vida Health joined me to discuss whole person healthcare, which includes a heavy emphasis on getting members of an employer sponsored health plan access to mental health support as quickly as possible.   Mike is a great person, with an awesome story, and I hope you find this information valuable.
February 15, 2022
Episode 35 - Erik Templin
Erik Templin is Executive Vice President at Brown & Brown.   He is one of the most knowledgeable people in our industry, and the person responsible for introducing me to the concept of self-funding.   He's also an outstanding strategist, salesman, and family man, and has been a mentor for me as I go through my own career journey in this industry.  
February 01, 2022
Episode 34 - Allison De Paoli
Allison is the Founder of Altiqe Consulting, a boutique employee benefits consulting firm out of San Antonio, Texas.   Allison is easily one of the most innovative EB consultants I know, and also a podcast host herself, with her show called "Raising the Bar with Allison De Paoli".
January 25, 2022
Episode 33 - Chris Fisher
Chris Fisher is the Founder of BenefitsAlly and the creator of the 3x3x3 podcast series.   Chris has alway had a finger on the pulse of what’s new and innovative in the insurance space, and he’s one of the most connected people I know in employee benefits.   We discuss everything from new benefit solutions, carrier group school, Vonlane luxury bus travel,  and Chris’ COVID hair!
January 18, 2022
Episode 32 - LinkedIn Masterclass with Megan Chiarello & Andy Neary
Megan Chiarello and Andy Neary join me in the studio to discuss how to maximize your efforts on LinkedIn.   If you are a salesperson, an entrepreneur, a marketing specialist, and insurance broker, or just someone that wants to grow your network of prospects and clients, this special episode of the podcast is for you!   Make sure you follow all of us on LinkedIn for more great content!   Megan Chiarello -  Andy Neary -  Spencer Smith -
January 11, 2022
Episode 31 - Chetara Brisbon
Chetara Brisbon is the Director of Growth for Nice Healthcare.   Chetara flew all the way in from South Carolina to share her story, as well as her company’s value proposition.   In the show we talk family, her pursuit of a PhD, in-home healthcare visits, virtual primary care services, and so much more.
December 27, 2021
Episode 30 - Reid Rasmussen
Reid Rasmussen came on the show to discuss the origins of freshbenies, what it was like moving from Canada to the US and how our healthcare systems differ, as well as his own original employee benefits show "Brokers in Cars Getting Coffee.   freshbenies website -  Brokers in Cars Getting Coffee -
December 17, 2021
Episode 29 - David Voorhees - Captives Part 2
"Captives" Part-2 with David Voorhees, CEO of True Captive Insurance.   David stopped by Frisco, TX on his way back to Kansas City and graciously helped me complete the second part of the #captive podcast miniseries.   He brings a unique perspective having spent the majority of his career in recruiting and human resources, and his captive model has a very employee-centric approach to risk management.   David was also the person who recommended I pitch Waterloo Sparkling Water on a podcast sponsorship, so hopefully we will see some movement on that front soon!
December 10, 2021
Episode 28 - Phillip Holowka - Captives Part 1
Phil is the Chief Operating Officer of Complete Captive Management Services.  He entered the captive world more In 2010, after his 25 years as a Paramedic actually brought him into this world accidentally.   Phil was one of the early warriors out there telling the story of Employee Benefits Captives long before they became as popular as they are today. This episode is Part 1 of a 2-Part miniseries on Captives, and Phil spends a big chunk of this podcast explaining what Captives are, as well as defining a lot of jargon that surrounds this funding mechanism.
December 03, 2021
Episode 27 - Geniece Brunson
Geniece is a Principal at EPIC Insurance Brokers, and has spent her entire year in the employee benefits and consulting space.   In this episode, we discussed her perspective on self-funding, as well as her interest in cryptocurrency, nomad capitalism, and her love for music as a choir director at her church.   Enjoy!
November 19, 2021
Episode 26 - Preston Pomykal
Preston was recommended separately to me by two industry peers, so I anticipated that it would be an exciting conversation, and he certainly didn’t disappoint.   Not only is he an expert in Employee Benefits & Underwriting, but Preston also used to moonlight as a youth soccer coach for many years and has a son that’s pretty decent at the game ⚽️.    He even gave me a few pointers as a newbie soccer coach, the most important of which was don’t put “Coach Spencer” on the back of your shirt. (Too late)   Enjoy!
November 12, 2021
Episode 25 - Vince Lewis
Vince is VP of Sales at Partners MGU, a stop loss managing general underwriter with a unique business model that allows their clients an opportunity to financially benefit from the sale of the company in the future.  Vince came on the show to discuss his upbringing in Detroit as the son of a Tailor, his accidental career move into insurance underwriting, and his eventual progression into Stop Loss Sales.  Vince is a wealth knowledge, a kind man, and as you can see, a very sharp dresser as well.
November 05, 2021
Episode 24 - Matt Brost
Matt shares his journey from being an All-American Golfer at the University of Texas, to spending 5 years as a professional golfer, to eventually finding his passion in the insurance world as a Benefits Consultant.
October 29, 2021
Episode 23 - Dwight Mankin
Dwight Mankin is the President of WebTPA, a third party administrator with the tagline "We Do Weird" because they focus on large group self-funded clients that want to build a customized health plans for their unique needs.
October 22, 2021
Episode 22 - Colin McNeese
Colin is a Senior Advisors of Employee Benefits, with over two decades of experience.  He takes a technical approach to self-funded, with a degree in Management Information Systems, and he really has a strong finger on the pulse of where the industry is going.
October 19, 2021
Episode 21 - William Short
The product of two parents who were medical doctors, Will knew his future didn’t lie specifically in medicine, but rather found himself consumed by fixing the broken insurance payment model. With successful ventures in payroll, and FSA/HSA/Cobra administration, he’s now set his sights on lobbying for Direct Primary Care with the Employer Coalition for Direct Care.
September 03, 2021
Episode 20 - Chris Wilson
Chris Wilson is Executive Vice President of Business Development for Healthcare Highways - a "health plan built on by a high-performance network that delivers quality care, cost savings, and sustainable value." They are aiming to drive down cost and increase quality of outcomes simultaneously by delivering a tailored healthcare network to suit the specific needs of self-funded employers.
August 27, 2021
Episode 19 - Benjamin Prinzing
Benjamin Prinzing is the Founder & CEO of Rover Analytics, a company on a mission to help small group employers get access to claims data by scraping member EOB's (Explanation of Benefits).   Ben is a serial entrepreneur and started his journey in the healthcare and wellness world over a decade ago, motivated by the passing of a young friend due to a potentially preventable heart condition.   There is no question that Rover Analytics is making waves in the self-funded world!
August 20, 2021
Episode 18 - TJ Hutchings
TJ Hutchings is the Manager Director of Employee Benefits for Higginbotham in Fort Worth, Texas.   He's one of the absolute best people I know in the insurance industry, and he came on to share his journey into benefits, as well as a very moving story about overcoming a rare form of childhood cancer called "Ewing Sarcoma".
August 13, 2021
Episode 17 - Megan Chiarello
Megan Chiarello is Vice President of Marketing for WellNet Healthcare, who provides turnkey level-funded and self-funded solutions to small and mid-market companies.   Megan brings a fresh voice and interesting perspective to a more traditional and slow-moving industry, and she is helping spread the word about a great solution for employers who are typically underserved because of their size.   It is one thing to explain the technicals about a product or solution, and it is another thing to be able to tell the story effectively so that your buyers actually understand what it does, and that is what she does extremely well.  She helps "product-tize" the solution!
August 06, 2021
Episode 16 - Mike Massé
Today, Mike is a Benefits Consultant with Hotchkiss Insurance, but long before that, he had an incredible journey as a troubled teen, then becoming a Youth Pastor for about 15 years, then turning his sights to the private sector to succeed as one of the top sales people in the entire country at a well-known mattress firm.     Then, he took his biggest gamble of all, putting his full faith in God to move his whole family to Texas, not knowing where they would live or where he would work.  He just knew they had to come here, and the rest, as they say, is history!
July 30, 2021
Episode 15 - Anthony Russo
Anthony Russo is an Executive Regional Manager for Voya Financial, and has spent his entire carrier working on the carrier side of the insurance world.   Anthony has a wealth of knowledge to share about the value of a partnership with a large, director writer of stop loss like Voya, and he also came on to discuss the upcoming large prescription drugs making waves that employers need to be aware of.   Last but not least, Anthony was the first person to give me a shot selling stop loss, and I will be forever grateful in him giving me a chance!
July 16, 2021
Episode 14 - Dan LaBroad
Dan Labroad is the founder and CEO of Ovation Health and Life Services, a full service insurance consulting firm, with a specialty in self-funding.  Dan is also a serial entrepreneur with a long track record of building successful business, and he bought and sold his first company (a paper route) at 13!  Check out his company here -
July 09, 2021
Episode 13 - Patrick Martell
This episode features Patrick Martell of ClaimDOC.  Patrick came on the show to discuss one of my favorite topics - Reference Based Pricing (RBP)!  I love the potential of RBP to reduce plan spend, but I am no expert, so I asked Patrick to come to tell us the who, what, why, when, where, and how of moving your self-funded plan to this type of claims payment methodology.
July 02, 2021
Episode 12 - Andy Neary
Andy Near is an ex-professional baseball player, who channeled his playing experience into a successful insurance career, before finding his real calling - becoming a high performance coach for Insurance Producers.   Beyond that, Andy is an excellent storyteller and a strong advocate for utilizing content creation to build your personal brand and attract prospect's attention.    Website - -
June 18, 2021
Episode 11 - Craig Clemente
In this Episode, Craig Clemente, President & COO of Specialty Care Management (SCM), came on the show to discuss the growing problem of Outpatient Dialysis, and how his organization specializes in controlling the cost of this treatment for self-funded employers.
June 11, 2021
Episode 10 - Rachel Strauss
Rachel Strauss is Director of Strategic Development at EHIM, "national, privately held, woman-owned (WBENC) Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) and Third-Party Administrator that helps organizations proactively contain rising prescription and healthcare costs." Rachel joined me on the show to discuss the role of a PBM, the hidden costs and dark money in this space, as well as EHIM's approach to doing business the right way. She also was the person who recommended to me the Magic Merlin Sleep Suit, so if you have an infant at home that is transitioning out of being swaddled, I cannot recommend the Sleep Suit to you enough : )
June 04, 2021
Episode 9 - Seth Denson
In this episode, Seth Denson, Co-Founder and CSO of GDP Advisors joined me on the podcast to help explain Insurance Captives.  Seth talks about the right size group, the appropriate risk profile to join a captive, as well as the technical mechanics of how they work. In addition to GDP Advisors, Seth is authored the book "The Cure: A Blueprint for Solving America’s Healthcare Crisis", available where all books are sold.  Seth is a regular contributor as a market analyst for Fox News, CNN, OANN, NewsMax and Cheddar, and is one of the most sought after commentators on the healthcare industry.
May 28, 2021
Episode 8 - Jonathan Lopez, Ed.D
Jonathan Lopez, Ed.D - aka "Dr. J-Lo" joins me on this episode to cover the role of the Third Party Administrator from a different perspective than covered previously.  He views the role of the TPA as the "Adjudicator", and explains what he means using a sweet "John Wick" analogy! Jonathan has an interesting story, having gotten his undergrad degree in Kinesiology, then attending OCS with the Marine Corps, before going back to complete his Doctorate in Education Leadership.  Oh, and he also used to own a Crossfit Gym! Not the typical path towards being an RVP of sales for a TPA...but that is the beauty of the insurance industry.  There is no correct path to get in, and once you are in, you can find what interests you to carve out your own path. *Correction* - 78% of hospitalizations due to Covid were overweight/obese - not 94%.  The 94% statistic was in reference to the percentage of Covid deaths that had comorbidities".
May 21, 2021
Intro to Self-Funded with Spencer
Yo, what up gang, Spencer here… Thanks for checking out “Self-Funded with Spencer”, a podcast that seeks to educate around, and advocate for, the self-funded health insurance marketplace. It has been said that the best defense against tyranny is a well-armed populace, and my goal is to arm you with information to defend against the tyranny of being fully insured! I appreciate you stopping by. Be sure to subscribe. And I’ll talk to you soon!
May 14, 2021
Episode 7 - Lester Morales
Episode 7 of "Self-Funded w/ Spencer" with the hardest working person in employee benefits - Lester J. Morales, Founder and CEO of Next Impact! Lester is seemingly everywhere these days, both literally and virtually, as one of the most sought after and knowledgeable consultants in the self-funded space. His passion, insight, and enthusiasm are infectious, and it was a pleasure to get to spend an hour with him to hear his story. Lester joined me on the podcast specifically to discuss the role of a General Agent (GA), and how their responsibility has morphed over time.
May 14, 2021
Episode 6 - Tommy Fulmer
We have approached self-funding from many different insurance industry angles so far, but the most crucial vantage point is discussed in this episode with Tommy Fulmer - The EMPLOYER's perspective.   Tommy is responsible for accounting and finance at The Delta Companies, who has been self-funded since 2012.  He discusses his experience budgeting for monthly claims fluctuations, projecting future plan costs, and the decision-making balance that has to be struck between finance and HR.
May 07, 2021
Episode 5 - Courtney DeWitt
Courtney is a Sales Executive with ZERO, which focuses on reducing claims costs to a self-funded plan by directly contracting with providers and paying for procedures with predetermined, agreed-upon pricing bundles.   An added benefit, and also where they got their name, is if a member of a health plan uses a contracted provider, they experience zero out of pocket costs themselves.
May 03, 2021
Episode 4 - Jeff Petty
4 episodes in and I finally got to talk some stop loss again!   Jeff Petty is the President of PACE Underwriters, a Dallas-based Managing General Underwriter (MGU ) of Stop Loss Insurance.  He joined me to discuss what an MGU does, and what specific role they play in the broader marketplace.   Jeff has spent his entire career around stop loss, and is one of the few people that actually has an Insurance degree.    He is also as big of Tool fan as I am, which may be the only topic I like to discuss more than Stop Loss!
May 03, 2021
Episode 3 - Dr. Eric Bricker
Come for education on the Healthcare Navigation industry, and stay for a discussion on Alpacas!   Dr. Eric Bricker is a physician, built a successful healthcare navigation company, and is the founder of AHealthcareZ, which focuses on creating education content around the healthcare industry.   He has also written a book called "Healthcare Money Campfire Stories", and has his own podcast titled "How to Sell in Healthcare".  In short, Dr. Bricker is one of the most accomplished and passionate voices in the Healthcare space, and it was a pleasure to have him on the podcast!   For my info about Dr. Bricker, see below.   Website -     Youtube Channel -   Book -
May 03, 2021
Episode 2 - Jennifer Morgan
In this episode we begin to drill down into the self-funded conversation to look at the individual moving parts.   Today's component is the Third Party Administrator, also known as a "TPA".   Jennifer Morgan of Collective Health joined me to discuss what a TPA is, and the pivotal role they play in coordinating a self-funded health plan.   Jennifer brings a wealth of brokerage knowledge to the table as well.
May 03, 2021
Episode 1 - Dennis Fowler
This is the inaugural episode of Self-Funded with Spencer, where I am joined by the Practice Leader at Roach Howard Smith Barton (RHSB) Insurance, Dennis Fowler.   Dennis helped me define Self-Funded for this and future episodes, and brings a decade of experience as a broker/consultant in the employee benefits space.  We discussed a wide range of topics around self-funding strategies, misconceptions in this space, as well as what he believes the future holds for our industry.
May 03, 2021