What drives this adviser to improve the benefits business

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Very early on, Austin Wilcox says he learned that employers are the ones financially responsible for a majority of what is going on in healthcare today and sit in a unique spot to influence and improve the health of populations.

He knows an average patient will go to the doctor once or twice a year, but will spend 40 plus hours a week in an office setting. “What attracted me to the employee benefits industry,” he says, “is the ability to influence an organization, which can then have an impact on hundreds of thousands of people.”

It is what has driven Wilcox, vice president of business and product development at ACAP Health Consulting, to keep moving forward in his career. In just 10 years he has moved from intern at Holmes Murphy to account executive to consultant to senior consultant at ACAP to director of business and product development and on to his current position. In 2015, he was one of the firm’s top 10 new business producers, out of more than 200 people.

He has recently been invited to begin the initial phases of becoming a partner/shareholder within the firm. “This invitation was extended because Holmes Murphy sees Austin as a rising star,” says Tan Ward, marketing manager at ACAP Health.

“The new normal of healthcare and employee benefits is seemingly a continuous loop of added complexity and rising costs in the system,” Wilcox explains. “And the speed at which preventable disease is being produced in our country has us all, employers and taxpayers alike, on an unsustainable financial trajectory.”

“As an adviser to our clients, our generation is challenged with leading in a way that helps stakeholders prioritize the finite time and energy they can invest in order to make the biggest impact to cost and complexity in healthcare,” he says. “Many benefits professionals either don’t recognize, have time for, believe in, and/or feel paralyzed by the fear of failure to activate the significant position of influence they can have in measurably changing the health trajectory of the populations they serve.”

In 2106, Wilcox was instrumental in leading and consulting on the implementation of a successful, large-scale population health initiative as part of his work with The University of Texas system. The impact of this initiative changed the lives of thousands of plan members and their families, measurably improving the trajectory of their health risk for future preventable diseases like type-II diabetes, Tan explains.

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Laura Chambers, director of employee benefits for the University of Texas system, explains that the system which encompasses 14 educational institutions in the Texas, including eight academic universities and six health institutions, which more than 125,000 faculty and staff has had the “distinct pleasure of working with Austin over the course of the last year and have seen nothing short of stellar contributions to the insurance industry.”

“Austin has a unique and much appreciated approach to his clients ensuring that each client is his number one focus,” she says. “The University of Texas System is fortunate to have a business partner, who we very much consider part of our team, delivering high quality, measurable results to our population.”

Through their partnership, the faculty and staff at the University of Texas has seen their employee’s health and well-being improve, their quality of life positively change and seen them develop a greater appreciation for the exceptional benefit programs we deliver as part of their overall compensation package, Chambers says. Through Wilcox’s programming, the faculty and staff have together lost more than 16,000 pounds lost.

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