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Annual Keenan Summit Addresses Challenges and Opportunities in Health Care
Date:3/19/2009

Experts Address Timely Trends and Best Practices at NorCal and SoCal Events

TORRANCE, Calif., March 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Keenan & Associates, the largest privately-held insurance brokerage and consulting firm in California, convened its fifth annual Keenan Summit on March 4 in Pasadena and on March 5 in Berkeley. The theme for this year's summit was "Navigating in an Uncertain Economy: Health Care, Risk Management and Public Policy in a New Administration."

The Keenan Summit event brings together representatives from school districts, municipalities, and health care organizations for a daylong agenda designed to provide them with the latest information on important trends in public policy and health care, as well as practical information on effectively managing programs such as employee benefits, workers' compensation, liability and risk management.

"Our goal in providing the annual Keenan Summit is to assemble a powerful set of experts who can address the significant long-term trends as well as the day-to-day challenges facing those who are tasked with providing innovative and effective insurance solutions for their organizations," said Henry Loubet, Chief Strategy Officer for Keenan & Associates.

This year's Summit featured a distinguished panel of experts addressing the topic of "Health Care Reform and the New Administration: What Does the Future Hold?" Moderated by Keenan's Henry Loubet, the panel included Ann-Louise Kuhns, Vice President, State Affairs, and Anthony Mader, Health Policy Manager, Anthem Blue Cross; Jerry Fleming, Senior Vice President and National Health Plan Manager, Kaiser Permanente; David Joyner, Senior Vice President, Large Group and Specialty Benefits Business Unit and Michael Johnson, Director, Public Policy, Blue Shield of California; Steven Sell, President, Health Net; Benjamin Slocum, Chief Executive Officer, and Joy Higa, Vice President, Government Affairs, United Healthcare.

The panel was unanimous in observing that there is a critical need to address health care reform in the United States along with an unprecedented level of appreciation among all the players involved that a unique opportunity is available to achieve that reform. Among the specific aspects of health care that require innovative approaches, the panel identified alignment of cost and value, preventive care, affordability and access, and incentives driven by research-based outcomes. When asked for their expectations of action on reform, the panel consensus was for little movement in California in 2009 due primarily to state budget constraints with a strong hope for movement nationally this year with incremental steps in the short term and legislation for full implementation in three to four years.

"We are facing extraordinary times in our economy and in healthcare, and have a chance to finally achieve real health reform and extend coverage to millions of Americans," said Joyner of Blue Shield. "By working together as health insurers, providers, brokers and employers we can find pragmatic solutions. The Keenan Summit was a great start in beginning this important dialogue."

They keynote speaker for the Summit was Fred Keeley who addressed the very timely topic "Is California Governable?" A former member of the California State Assembly, Keeley is a member of the bipartisan Leadership Council for California Forward, a foundation-supported organization whose goal is to improve the state's political, fiscal and governmental systems. He is also a member of the Governor's Commission on the 21st Century Economy. Keeley focused on the need for the state to adopt contemporary approaches to governance in order to overcome ongoing dysfunction, particularly in the state budgeting process. He cited four issues in particular as keys to addressing these challenges: smoothing out state revenue volatility due to a heavy reliance on income and sales taxes; the very high percentage of the state budget that is now predetermined due to ballot initiatives; the two-thirds majority required for budget approval; and moving from a one-year to a two-year budget cycle.

In addition to these important presentations on trends with significant impact on health care, two segments of the Summit addressed concrete practices for "Containing Legal Costs in Employment Issues" and "Cost Savings Opportunities." The first segment addressed statistics on employment related claims, the types of employment related claims, signs of potential claims, and best practices in handling claims with case studies. The second segment outlined cost saving programs including dependent eligibility auditing, electronic enrollment, volume purchasing and early retirement incentives.

Cost saving measures have been a tremendous asset for Catholic Healthcare West. According to Karen Zelenak, CHW's Benefits Director, the company has experienced significant savings through Keenan's Dependent Eligibility Audit program, which ensures accountability and cuts unnecessary expenses by identifying employee dependents who are ineligible to receive benefits.

The Keenan Summit was sponsored by the following companies: Platinum Sponsors - United Healthcare, Prudential, Verify Solutions, Healthplace America, Health Net, Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente, Asset Works, TelaDoc, Bay Actuarial Consultants and Express Scripts. Gold Sponsors - Blue Shield of California, Delta Dental, Cushman & Wakefield, Morgan Stanley, Johnson Rooney Welch, Vision Service Plan, MetLife, HCC Life Insurance Company, Aetna, and SafeSchools.

For information on Keenan insurance solutions, visit www.keenan.com.

About Keenan & Associates

Founded in 1972, Keenan is the 17th largest insurance brokerage firm in the United States and the largest independent broker in California. Keenan is dedicated to providing superior insurance products and services to schools, community colleges, municipalities and healthcare organizations for employee benefits, third-party claims administration, workers' compensation, integrated disability, risk management, and property and liability. Keenan has a network of offices located throughout California with a staff of more than 650 insurance specialists. For more information, call 800-654-8102 or 310-212-3344, email info@keenan.com, or visit www.keenan.com.


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