May 19, 2020

The Real Cost of Health Care

Health Insurance
employee benefits
Kate Supino
3 min
The Real Cost of Health Care

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If you are CEO running a big U.S.-based business, one project sitting on your desk right now is probably labeled, "manage health insurance in 2015."

Well, 2015 is right around the corner, so it's time to make some fast—but smart—decisions about how your company can successfully adjust to the health insurance changes in store for the coming year.

Two Things You Need to Know

In order to masterfully handle the insurance dilemma with decisive action and measured, positive results, there are two things you need to know.

This information will help you to not only navigate the insurance plan minefield, but may even help you to chart a course for better health care for your employees for years to come.

1. As the following article shows, the cost of health care premiums varies wildly by where you live. For example, whether or not you think it's fair, people pay less for health care in Utah than residents of Washington, D.C. Insurance companies will tell you that they come up with premium costs based on complicated algorithms that calculate complicated factors like population density, pollution indexes and crime rate. But for the average employee, the increased premium isn't offset by an increased salary to help pay for the premium.

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The bottom line is, relocation of your company could be a viable way to provide lower health care costs to your employees. If region isn't a condition of your company's success, and enough employees would be willing to make the move with you so that you wouldn't have to start all over again with new people, relocation isn't an option you should quickly dismiss.

2. It isn't that bad. The fact is, limited choice plans and higher premiums just aren't that bad. The health care providers who contract with insurance companies in exchange for taking a higher volume of patients are still fully educated, certified and trained providers in their field. Insurance companies aren't asking patients to give up their specialists and go consult a witch doctor instead.

Regarding the higher premiums, they seem to be a fact of life no less surprising than the ever-increasing price of breakfast cereal or butter. If everything else is going up in our economy, why would insurance premiums be the exception?

Put a Positive Spin on the Matter

As a CEO, you've had to break bad news to your employees in the past.

Your best odds for a receptive reaction are to put a positive spin on a seemingly negative situation. Leading change in the workplace must be one of your skillsets or you wouldn't be where you are today.

Use your vast experience with people and systems to find a way to make your health care plans work for the employees who need them the most.

Related: How to Manage Health Insurance as an Employer 


This plan may involve offering a low-cost benefits plan to employees to help bear the burden of increased premiums. Some ideas include: a childcare cost subsidy, free lunch on Fridays, more frequent bonuses and more.

Now that you get the picture, you'll be able to come up with even more ways to turn this whole insurance premium problem into a genius PR move.


About the Article: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.


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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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