Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part Q&A with MagnaCare President of Labor and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Michelle Zettergren where she talks about the company and how it is responding to clients and business partners during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.
LP: What kinds of calls are you receiving from union leaders during the ongoing pandemic? Are you hearing directly from union heads?
MZ: We are hearing from union presidents, trustees, and Fund managers. They are turning to us as a trusted source of information and updates on the coronavirus pandemic. We have always communicated regularly with our clients, but in a time of crisis you really need to be a partner. My team has been in contact with our clients literally around the clock, and our clients know they can turn to us for help. We are helping in every way we can. Our Fund clients are 100% focused on the safety and health of their members and we are supporting them with that charge. Some of the calls involve members who are sick and may be positive for coronavirus. We’re helping clients with such members navigate access to testing and care. We’re helping our clients get communications out to their members so they can keep them safe.
LP: What is your role as president during the current crisis?
MZ: I have the same role – I’ve always been in contact with clients and business partners, but there’s a much higher intensity to what I’m doing. My team and I are communicating with clients on a daily basis through texts, phone calls, daily meetings, and we’re talking to them on nights and weekends. Some communications are work-related, some are just checking in with each other to make sure things are going well. I’ve lost track of the days in the intensity of communicating 24/7 and keeping up with the number of cases and regulations.
LP: What about furloughed workers – how are they being helped?
MZ: There are several Funds that have essential workers. Some Funds have non-essential workers and had to have layoffs or furloughs. The number one concern for clients is that they are healthy and maintain health benefits for workers. We have been working with Funds to help them maintain benefits. In some cases they have had to make changes.
LP: How can clients lower costs and still get great benefits?
MZ: Funds can look at benefit changes and plan options to lower their costs. We have a lot of options in plan design and re-direction of care. We are exploring those unique options with each client if it’s something they want to do.
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