Thursday, November 19, 2009

Other points of view:

Other points of view:

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. You can cover all with health insurance, but you can’t make people take care of themselves.

Here are examples of a few good changes (reforms) that have occurred over the last 30 years or so since I entered into the health insurance business. These changes gave people access and offered a way to help themselves:

  1. COBRA – Allows employees to continue coverage if they leave employment;
  2. Credible Coverage Rules – If you were previously insured, a new employer must cover your pre-existing conditions;
  3. Health Savings Accounts – Encourage thrift and wellness by insured members;
  4. Small Group Reform in most states – Permits rating up of, but not declining of, groups, thus guaranteeing access for all who choose to purchase;
  5. Rating by Medical History – Good risks pay less (encouraging wellness) and bad risks pay more but have rate ceilings;
  6. Medicare Advantage Plans – Insurance companies willing to offer coverage to Medicare-eligible individuals (take them out of Medicare) and the government gets to negotiate a cost which saves the government money. A market-driven solution.

I am in favor of reform that helps cover more people. I am in favor of covering people who want to be insured. I am in favor of requiring insurance companies to accept all who want coverage with rate caps.

I want enough reform to fix the things that are broken.

Mark Alder, President, Herbruck Alder - -

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

News Flash! AARP Supports Health Care Reform

Now isn’t that curious? Their 40 million person membership is made up of folks over age 50 - a large percentage of whom are eligible for Medicare. I understand the need for Medicare reform, but AARP’s support for health care reform goes beyond supporting Medicare. I suspect they are supporting health care reform that will result in a cost shift away from their members and to the younger and healthier population.

Let’s focus on one aspect of their support of the Legislation which passed in the House last week – community rating. The Bill would not permit rating based upon medical history by health insurance companies. Older people have more medical history (generally speaking). Medical history chronicles usage and helps insurance companies evaluate risk. A good health risk should cost less because there is less history. A high risk should cost more for the same reason.

Age rating provides an adjustment for pooling, but medical rating adds a metric to encourage good behavior by us as individuals. Studies suggest that as much as 70% of health costs are lifestyle related. Shouldn’t we retain features that encourage good behavior? Needing less medical service is good because less usage (out of need) means less cost.

If concern is over the unhealthy paying too much, most states already have reformed pricing practices that prohibit insurance companies from charging too much. In this way and other ways, health insurance companies already do pool risk. This means they don’t charge as much as they might need to any given risk. To offset losses from the high risk group, they charge more than required on a low risk individual or group. This is pooling or spreading of risk.

Is AARP’s goal to have its members pay less? Probably so. But should the outcome result in those under age 50 paying more? Why not support legislation that reforms and improves Medicare?

Mark Alder, President, Herbruck Alder - -

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pending Healthcare Reform Legislation

The pending healthcare reform legislation suggests that penalties will be levied to those not purchasing coverage. The proposed penalties are phased in and appear smaller than the premiums.

Follow this logic:

Health reform brings penalties for those that don’t buy coverage,

Some employers don’t offer, and some individuals don’t buy, coverage today because coverage is too expensive,

Won’t companies and individuals just pay the penalties?

We can only hope for income tax reform. I might choose to stop paying taxes.

- Mark Alder, President, Herbruck Alder - -

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Quick Response to this Morning’s News

My quick response to this morning’s news. I intend to write our House and Senate leaders again.

The House went first and it passed. Now it’s the Senate’s turn. We may have health reform legislation yet this year. Based upon my understanding, this new Federal Legislation would trump State Legislation and bring new “reform” to prior health “reform” initiated at the State level. As such, higher costs are on the way.

Currently in Ohio, groups with 2 to 50 employees already cannot be denied coverage. Pre-existing conditions are covered immediately if individuals can show proof of prior coverage. Groups are rated based upon medical history and rated up with a guaranteed maximum cost. Many groups are not rated up because they are blessed with healthy employees or they have worked to improve the risk of their employees via wellness programs and incentives.

Groups over 100 are rated based upon their claims experience. Is this medical history? In the words of Sarah Palin – “You bet’cha!”

Without medical underwriting to give credit for small groups’ “good health,” pricing will rise dramatically for companies in states that have health reform already. If insurance companies can only use age demographics to renew large groups, costs will rise for companies that have been active with wellness and other risk management programs.

What rewards will accrue to owners and individuals for their personal contribution for keeping costs low? Few rewards for risk management; fewer still for personal responsibility. Will companies see a need to offer wellness programs in the future? Will employees be encouraged to eat right, eat less, and exercise more?

I am fearful that government, rather than market forces, will bring costs up for all; and medical rationing will be the only tool left to reduce costs. Less for more -- was this the goal?

- Mark Alder, President, Herbruck Alder - -

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Public Option

The “left” favors it, and the “right” opposes it. The “it” is a Public Option for health insurance. I have written that I am not in favor of a Public Option. To be more specific, I am not in favor of a Public Option that does not fairly compete.

Competition is good. A Public Option is good if the rules apply to all who are competing for the health insurance business. This includes the government. If the government-run Public Option guarantees a “level playing field” then I will change my mind and be supportive of a government-run Public Option.

As of right now, here are a few of my concerns – in the form of questions:

  1. Does the Federal Government have to comply with State law and coverage mandates --as the insurance industry does for its insured plans?
  2. Does the Federal Government need individual State approval to write a national or regional plan -- as the insurance industry does for its insured plans?
  3. Does the Federal Government need to have Statutory Reserve Requirements -- as the insurance industry does for its insured plans?
  4. Will the Federal Government need to stop dictating pricing to providers (hospitals and physicians) and begin negotiating with providers -- as the insurance industry does presently?
  5. Do the health insurance rates charged by the Federal Government need to be sufficient to cover their cost of doing business -- as most private businesses must do to stay in business?

These are not complicated questions. However, if the answer to these questions is “No,” then the Public Option is a Trojan Horse for a Single Payer System – and I am not in favor of a Single Payer System either.

- Mark Alder, President, Herbruck Alder - -

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work

An article was recently posted on entitled "Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work." The article confirms what we already know and promote at Herbruck Alder “Wellness Works." At Herbruck Alder we realize that one wellness solution does not fit all organizations. If you would like to learn more about a customized wellness program though Herbruck Alder Health Advocates please contact us at 216-623-2600 or

Click here to view article.

Chris Herbruck,

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

National Health Reform cont.

I’ve reserved my comments of late wanting to give our elected officials the opportunity to legislate national health reform based upon our stated needs -- better access and lower cost.

Based upon what I have read in various articles and have heard from various “news” programs, the legislators seem to have lost their way. If quality is to remain, costs are best controlled with competition, not price controls. A public option is, in my opinion, more likely to discourage the marketplace and looks more like a Trojan Horse for a single payer system.
Here are a few suggestions to provide access to all and yet keep costs within reach:

  1. Open markets. Repeal laws that require insured plans to be controlled by each state. Large self-funded employers have special treatment which avoids state law through a “national” exemption called ERISA. Give the same exemption to all plans.

  2. Enroll all those who are presently eligible into Medicare and Medicaid, and work on reducing the fraud in these government-run programs.

  3. Level the tax playing field. Just as premiums paid for Employer-Sponsored plans are tax deductible, premiums for individual plans should be tax-deductible as well.

  4. Enact tort reform to lower the cost of doing business for health providers. Fewer tests will be ordered for defensive reasons.

  5. Repeal laws which mandate coverage for a growing number of services. Simplify the process to enable people to purchase core services and add additional coverage as riders.

  6. Make costs transparent. Help consumers understand choices and cost of services.

  7. Require guarantee issue of coverage, including coverage for pre-existing conditions. Allow a rate-up based upon current health status and proof of prior coverage to provide incentives for people to keep coverage in place and encourage healthy lifestyles.

I’ve read some good articles recently which make sense. It seems that Whole Foods, a national grocery store chain, has it right. They provide full-time employees a high deductible health plan and fund a portion of the deductible through a Health Savings Account. As a result, employees have access to health insurance; the plan design covers preventive services that are not subject to the deductible; and because of the high deductible, the premiums are low and employees are encouraged to use the program wisely. The Health Savings Account encourages thrift – save money for when you become sick. Because the account is owned by the employee, the employee chooses how and when to spend the money. Unused HSA funds remain in the employees’ accounts year after year. Whole Foods reports their costs are as much as 50% lower than the national average. Thus, they are already achieving lower costs.

Health reform is a complicated issue with many facets and is laced with emotion. Surveys say that most people like their present arrangements. Can we please focus the reform on access and ideas that will reduce cost or at least slow the rate of growth?

- Mark Alder, President, Herbruck Alder - -

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Tax on Insurance Companies is a Tax on You

Bob Laszewski addresses in his Healthcare Policy and Marketplace blog a recent idea by the Congress and the White House for paying for the proposed healthcare “reform.” They want to tax insurance companies. Let’s set aside for a moment that Ohio and most other states already have a state premium tax that insurance companies pay and instead look at what this really is. It is simply an attempt to stick somebody with the price tag for the legislation currently being discussed. And since, as Mr. Laszewski points out, everyone else has fought back against being saddled with that price tag, the Congress and the White House are picking a target that the general public would never defend: insurance companies.

Well, Mr. Laszewski is asking that you in fact defend the insurance companies against this move, and he is right. It is NOT a tax on insurance companies, it is a tax on consumers and businesses. In order to pay a new tax, which will simply be viewed as a cost of doing business, insurance companies will increase premiums by the amount of the tax. Does this action help solve the problem of rising healthcare costs?

Our leaders in Washington need to focus on addressing the waste in the current system and on the true reasons behind the rising cost of healthcare. Taxing insurance companies may be a politically convenient way to pay for universal coverage, but it hides the truth that each taxpayer will be forced to pick up the bill.


- Kevin Hignett, Herbruck Alder -

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Change Vs. Security by Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute

The following is an article written by Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute. The Galen Institute is a non-profit research organization devoted exclusively to health policy. They work to promote a more informed public debate over ideas that advance individual freedom, consumer choice, and competition in the health sector.

Grace-Marie Turner will be the keynote speaker at Herbruck Alder's event "Coming Together to Explain Changes in Healthcare Legislation" on August 20, 2009 at LaCentre. Click here for additional event information.

Ms. Turner's article -

ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson shook his head after Wednesday night's broadcast from the White House, frustrated he had not been able to draw out more details from President Obama about the sweeping health reform plan that he is pushing.

Gibson, as well as the doctors, patients, businesspeople, and others in the audience, posed some tough questions. But most of the president's answers came from his standard talking points and went unchallenged. He spoke for 45 minutes of the 75 minutes of actual airtime.

His comments about who controls medical decisions got a lot of attention. A neurologist in the audience asked the president if he would say that he wouldn't seek extraordinary help for his wife or daughters if they became sick and if the government health plan he's proposing limited the tests or treatment they could get.

Click here to read the remainder of the article.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Few Thoughts...

In an effort to provide insurance for the uninsured, President Obama appears to favor a “Federal Option” aimed to compete with private carriers. Such a plan would spell the end to competition in healthcare as we know it. I am not suggesting employers and employees don’t want change. The change most want is for the prices to come down or at least flatten out. However, the cost will not come down without rationing -- either by reducing services (rationing of care), reducing payments to providers (rationing of dollars), reallocation of services (taking from the older with coverage and giving something to those without), or reducing demand (people behaving differently and needing less service).

Presently, there is a limit on resources. If the supply is fixed (limited number of hospitals and physicians) and the demand increases, costs tend to rise. If the supply of providers increases and the demand stays the same or reduces, costs will tend to fall. To have any chance of cost stabilization as a nation (no increase to the current % healthcare represents in the GDP), we need to use the same or less service in the aggregate.

New and improved technology may reduce administrative cost but offsetting that will be new technologies which cost more money. People tend seek out treatments which save, improve and offer convenience – even if they cost money.

I live to the east of Cleveland – just the other side of 271. I have noticed that both the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals are increasing the supply of their services to Cleveland residents who live east. With the increase of supply, will our costs go down? I don’t think so, but I do appreciate how convenient these services are for my wife and me. I am just hoping I don’t have to use them.

Remember, eat less and exercise more – and try to eat an apple a day.

- Mark Alder, President, Herbruck Alder -

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2009 Mid Market Employee Benefits Survey

2009 Mid Market Employee Benefits Survey

Have you asked yourself the following questions?

  • How do my employee benefits compare to other companies in the area?
  • Are my premiums on par with similar size companies relative to my plan designs?
  • What is the prevalence of high-deductible health plans in my area?
  • What kinds of cost control strategies have other employers been using?

At Herbruck Alder, we are continually hearing these types of questions from our employee benefits clients. Although some information is available from national sources, most of it is too general to answer an employer's most important questions.

Clearly, employers need customized benchmarking - a comparison of their unique plan(s) to others of similar geographic area, industry, and size. As a participant in the survey, a customized benchmarking report is provided to you at no cost.
The survey is being offered to companies in Northern Ohio and was designed with your needs in mind:

  • Quick - it only takes an average of 30-60 minutes to complete.
  • Easy - in a user-friendly, web-based format. You can complete it at any time and even save results for later completion or editing.
  • Comprehensive - all of your benefit plans are covered.
  • Thorough interpretation - your individual results will be provided in a clear, easy-to-understand format by a qualified and knowledgeable consultant.

Click here to complete the 2009 Mid Market Employee Benefits Survey.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Author Lays Out Nutrition Tips for the CDC

Author Michael Pollan was recently invited to speak to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding U.S. food policies and the Western Diet. Among his suggestions were his 7 Rules for Eating. Normally, I’m skeptical of anything that tries to simplify a person’s diet to such a degree; and I do have some issues with Pollan’s list, like accounting for those who require more protein. However, most of it makes sense.

Some of Pollan’s rules are funny and also point out what we should already know -- things like, “Don’t buy food where you buy your gasoline.” That one is pretty obvious, I would think, but worth remembering.

Other rules seem to throw down the gauntlet to those of us who don’t eat very well and likely know it. “Don’t eat anything with more than 5 ingredients.” Have you seen the ingredient lists on the stuff you buy at the supermarket? The ingredients in bread alone (even the “healthy” wheat bread!) is enough to make a normal person check out a chemistry book at the library. We don’t even know what’s in bread anymore!

That said, in today’s society it is very challenging to avoid consuming massive quantities of chemicals, preservatives, and other junk that’s shoved into seemingly innocuous food. Pollan is essentially advocating the “whole food” approach. It’s probably the gold standard for the American diet, but not easily obtained. I would suggest starting off on the path to a whole food diet by identifying the easiest changes you can make today.

Do you like coffee? Certainly avoid the big specialty coffees at Starbucks, strictly because they are calorie bombs. Go ahead and have a cup of joe at work, but watch what you put into it. There are at least 8 ingredients listed on the container of powdered
creamer in my office. I don’t have a clue what the last 4 or 5 of them are, but they don’t sound good. So, drink it black or add actual milk to it.

Go through that sort of process for everything you eat in a given day and pick off the items that are easiest to change. Then, make it an ongoing process to push yourself towards healthier “whole food” choices and ditch the processed foods most of us grew up on.

Kevin Hignett,

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Leadership

Our new leadership hopes to get our economy back on track by spending big on a wide spectrum of government initiatives from education to healthcare. The more than 800 pages of the new stimulus package describe close to $800 billion of spending – about $1 billion per page. Some experts say that spending is medicine our economy needs now.

Healthcare spending has been an ongoing stimulus package, and most employers have been at the tipping point for years. Employers and employees want to spend less, not more -- and that would be a good thing. When people pay an ever increasing amount for their healthcare (whether employer or employee – for insurance premiums, deductibles or co-pays) it robs money from other parts of budgets, thus reducing spending flow to other sectors of the economy.

No doubt coming up with a more effective way to extend healthcare or insurance to our non-covered population will be beneficial. However, simply moving dollars around is not the solution. Rationing care on the elderly has been discussed, but if the purpose of this is only to provide care to the previously underinsured, it’s more like a very dangerous game of musical chairs.

Using and needing less healthcare service will lead to lower costs. Does the stimulus package include spending on incentives to be healthy? Eating less and exercising more with better nutrition? I hope so.

- Mark Alder, President, Herbruck Alder -

Monday, March 2, 2009

Real World Example Shows Benefits of Getting More Sleep

A recent article on MSNBC chronicled an experiment done at the Glamour Magazine office. It involved a handful of women following the simplest of regimens for 10 weeks to see what the weight loss effects would be. All they had to do was get 7.5 hours of sleep per night.

The results were pretty amazing, especially when you consider the subjects really changed nothing else in their daily routine. The women lost between 6 and 15 pounds over those 10 weeks. Three of them lost a pound or more per week. The article goes on to explain that the extra sleep allows growth hormone to break down stored fat. So, we can be sure that the weight lost was fat, which of course is what we all want.

Sometimes scientific studies have a great message, but the average person loses the point in all the technical details. That’s what I like about this article. It’s not a controlled study at all, but it’s simple enough that anybody can try it. And really, what’s the harm in trying to get more sleep? We all know sleeping more is a good thing for our bodies. Now we have a real world example that shows just how good it could be.

- Kevin Hignett,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

President – History and tall orders

On January 20th history was made when our 44th President took office. He is very intelligent, charming, and one of the best communicators I’ve ever seen. He is a family man, loves technology, and thinks big. I am 10 years his senior and a partner in a small business with 50 employees. I have a conservative’s outlook, but I am an American first. Mr. Obama is my President and, thus, I am cheering for his success and for our nation’s continued prosperity.

I recently finished the President’s book, The Audacity of Hope, and would like to recommend it to you. Though I don’t agree with the President on many fronts, I now have a better understanding of where he stands on the issues. I believe he is pragmatic and smart enough to do the right things to keep the American dream alive.

Our business is employee benefits. Most of what we do involves helping employers with their health plans. We have problems to solve for our clients – small and mid-sized companies in Ohio. For our clients, the problem is cost of coverage, not access to coverage. Mr. Obama wants to provide access to coverage to Americans who do not have it today. Affordable healthcare for all Americans is a big and complex problem and requires something from everyone. The government already has cost issues with the plans they presently manage. An aggregation of the masses into one large bucket doesn’t necessarily solve the problem.

A large part of the problem is that people are using too many services from doctors and hospitals. Demand for service is greater than supply – employing “nip and tuck” or “replace and remove” as solutions rather than eating less and exercising more. Simple, but certainly not easy.

Today, our “system” rations coverage by asking people to pay for it personally, or elect it through their employers or various government programs for which they may qualify. Relatively few get turned down. People who can’t or won’t participate don’t have coverage. Thus, service is rationed away from these folks and provided to others who do participate.

Perhaps the solution lies in people behaving differently: Slowing the demand for service, everyone paying something, all taking personal responsibility for their health issues (lifestyle), providers charging less for care, fewer lawsuits, and greater efficiency on the part of insurance companies. In short, everyone pulling on the oars to solve our common problem.

America has big problems, with health insurance near the top of the list. The solutions will need to come without the politics.

This is our business and we are willing to help.

- Mark Alder, President, Herbruck Alder -

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Health-Related Provisions to the Economic Stimulus Package Proposed by House Democrats

As expected, House committees last week approved a number of health-related provisions to the economic stimulus package proposed by House Democrats, setting the stage for an expected House floor vote this week.*

The House provisions include a 65 percent subsidy for COBRA premiums for workers laid off between Sept. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009, the right for certain workers (55-year-olds employed for a decade or more) to keep COBRA (with no subsidy) for a full 10 years as a bridge to Medicare, aid to states for low-income health programs, a 4.9 percent increase in the matching rate for federal funds for Medicaid through 2010, and incentives for Medicare and Medicaid participating doctors to purchase and use new health information technology. Beginning in 2016, health care providers who don't use certified health technology would begin to see their Medicare payments decrease, by a growing percentage each year. The horse trading will continue until the final floor votes.

* The House passed it on January 28, 2009 and it now goes to the Senate.

Source: Health Reform Weekly, Aetna. January 29, 2009.

Monday, January 26, 2009

5 Ways to Make Your Exercise Resolution Stick

As I write this, the parking lot of my gym is full. It was full this morning, and it will be even more full during the rush of the “after work” crowd. However, I know from experience that in a month a large portion of those cars will be gone, never to be seen again -- or at least not until next January. I’m talking, of course, about New Year’s Resolutioners. Traditionally, these folks join a gym because they want to get in shape and the gym offered a discount. Then, they get frustrated or distracted and quit before Valentine’s Day. If this sounds like you, don’t worry.

Here are 5 ways to make your exercise resolution last all year.
  1. Lift Weights. First of all, weight training burns more body fat than cardiovascular training. So, if you’re exercising but not lifting weights, you should be. Focus on performing compound exercises such as the bench press, leg press, and pull-ups. This works the major muscle groups and allows you to get the most value out of your time in the gym. Break up your sessions by body part or region, and then schedule your week so you have at least 1 day off (preferably 2 days off) between workouts for a group of muscles. For example, you may want to do chest exercises on Mondays and Thursdays.

    Weight training also is a nice way to add variety to your workouts. If you are used to aerobic exercises like running or biking, weight training will force your body to respond in a way that it isn’t used to. This will create positive results you can feel and see.

    I think it is easier to set and reach goals with weight training. If you run on the treadmill every day, you can try to run for a longer distance in an allotted time, or to run for a longer time. However, it usually takes awhile before you are able to do so. With weight training, I can say that I’ll do 4-6 reps of 205 pounds on the
    bench press today and that sets an immediate goal. If I don’t get 6 reps today, then the next time I do the bench press I try again to get 6 reps. Once I get 6 reps, then I change that goal to 210 or 215 pounds and keep pushing for it. It’s not uncommon to set, meet, and reset your weight training goals 3 or 4 times each month. This creates a constant positive feedback loop that should motivate you to keep working. After all, who doesn’t like meeting their goals?

  2. Use High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT requires that you do a short, intense cardiovascular workout that involves varying the intensity throughout the session. For example, you could set aside 16 minutes to ride the stationary bike. Pick a level that is about medium intensity (say 8) and go for 2 minutes. Then, increase the intensity to a level that’s very difficult (perhaps 12) for another 2 minutes. Repeat that cycle 4 times for 16 minutes total and you’re done. HIIT creates a reaction in your body that’s similar to weight training, in that more fat is burned in a short amount of time. If you like to do longer runs or rides, try replacing a couple of those workouts with HIIT and see what happens.

  3. Take a week off in mid-February. It sounds funny to suggest that you take a break, but the fact is our bodies need rest, especially under the added stress of an exercise program. If you resolve to exercise more starting January 1, after 4 to 6 weeks you will be feeling very different. If your workouts have been sufficiently intense, your body might feel tired or run down. Take 1 week off completely. Keep your diet about the same and do some stretching, but don’t exercise. Let your muscles, joints, and energy stores completely replenish. Do this every 4 to 6 weeks as a way of hitting the “reset” button. During the week off, make a journal or other written plan for your workouts over the next 6 weeks and get mentally prepared to attack. By your first day back in the gym, you’ll feel ready to take on the world… or at least a few new goals.

  4. If you use a personal trainer, hold him or her accountable. If you are brand new to exercising, personal trainers can help you get acquainted with the equipment and how to use it. They typically offer motivation and encouragement which many people need to stick with their program. However, trainers are not immune from making mistakes. Sometimes a trainer just isn’t able to get a client to their goals. Since there is an enormous amount of information on the Internet, use it to develop your own plan. Look at what is out there and make suggestions to your trainer. Keep him or her honest if you’re not seeing results. You should see your body changing after a few weeks and you should see dramatic changes after a few months. This also depends on you being honest with yourself! Just know that if you are eating the right things and exercising consistently, you will see results. If you don’t see those results, call your trainer on it. If he or she won’t change the way they train you, then you need to find a new trainer. Own the process and take control. After all, it’s your body!

  5. Use the mirror, not the scale, to track your progress. You can weigh yourself 5 times in a day and get 5 different numbers. Our bodies are largely water, which fluctuates rather wildly from hour to hour and day to day. If you look in the mirror, though, you will see your body changing, or not. That should be your indicator that what you’re doing in the gym is either working, or not. Besides, if you are weight training, you could burn a pound of fat, add a pound of muscle and GAIN weight because muscle weighs more than fat. However, if you looked in the mirror, you would look leaner and healthier. So focus on setting goals for your workouts. If you hit those goals, you will start to look different in the mirror and the scale will take care of itself.

    I have been lifting weights regularly (my wife might say obsessively!) for years, and the main reason I’m able to keep at it is because I have made exercising a part of my routine. If I get the flu and miss a few days, I feel miserable and that drives me to get started again. Be consistent and stick with it. If you aren’t seeing results, don’t get frustrated! Reevaluate your plan and try something new. Everyone responds differently to stimuli and exercise is no different. If you make it past Valentine’s Day, I’m willing to bet you can make it all year. Just think of how different you will look and feel when you sit down to make your next New Year’s resolution!

- Kevin Hignett,

Monday, January 12, 2009


Welcome to Benefits Briefs, Herbruck Alder's new blog. This blog will focus on topics regarding employee benefits, health and wellness, and financial services. We look forward to providing timely industry-specific information to you.

Herbruck Alder is a Cleveland-based, full service employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm. We specialize in providing strategic consulting services to companies who wish to maximize the value of the benefit programs they offer. Our objective advice helps our clients to structure effective group benefits, retirement and executive benefits plans.

Please click here to visit our Web site to learn more about Herbruck Alder.

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