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Out of Our Minds
Friday, April 09, 2004 10:11 AM
Is This Healthy?
Anita Sharpe on Business

I just heard from another friend who is being held hostage by work she hates because of the health benefits. She longs to go out of her own and do, as Tom Peters advocates, project work. Sure there's COBRA, but once that lapses, insurance companies are known to hike premiums consistently and prohibitively for solo customers, even if no claims are made against the policy.

This is a business problem waiting for a solution. Once this piece is fixed, watch the workplace landscape change dramatically.


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Paul J. Cancelliere - 4/17/2004 9:22:12 AM

I think the business community has defined a new reason to work. The new answer to the question “Why do I work?� seems to be to pay the health care bill. Forget mission, goals, objectives, profit and fulfillment. My fear concerning this problem is the impact on pensions. Pensions are typically based on salary and not benefits. What we tend to see today are increasing benefit packages that will soon exceed the salary many employees receive. I suspect many already fit this category.

One trend I see in the near future is the hiring of independent contractors as opposed to salary employees. What are the benefits? Independent contractors deliver product or service to the corporation without the firm incurring the cost of benefits. The independent contractors provide their own benefits offering a reduction in costs to the firm while potentially increasing revenue to the contractor. There are tax differences that fit the bill also. The independents file their own 1099. A third variable deals with management. The independents fill a macro need for the company and tend to perform cyclical services each possessing a beginning, middle and an end. Employees tend to be task orientated and are managed by the officers of the firm. Knowing these trends will assist the entrepreneur. I am not certain there is a large opportunity for profit solving this dilemma. Understanding the options and applying thought towards mission accomplishment will serve to keep the business generating profit and support the needs of those who choose to work.

Great question.

My bio is attached below.


Paul J. Cancelliere


Paul J. Cancelliere, Major, United States Army, retires after 22 years of active duty

BOSTON, MA. - Major Paul J. Cancelliere, United States Army, Infantry, announces his plans to retire after twenty-two years on active duty. Currently Major Cancelliere is an assistant professor of military science at the Boston University Department of Military Science, United States Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). ROTC is a part of the United States Army Cadet Command supporting over 270 programs nation wide that commissions nearly 75% of the Army officers currently on active duty.

Major Cancelliere attended LaSalle Military Academy, Oakdale, Long Island, NY and earned a BBA from Hofstra University in 1981. He was commissioned as an Infantry Second Lieutenant, at Hofstra University and entered active duty. Major Cancelliere’s military career includes numerous overseas assignments such as: Infantry Platoon Leader, Weapons Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer and Battalion Adjutant assigned to the 1-16th Infantry, First Infantry Division, Boeblingen, Germany; Battalion Logistics Officer and Infantry Company Command assigned to 3-7th Infantry, currently the Third Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia; Observer Controller assigned to the Combat Maneuver Training Center, Hohenfels, Germany; Deputy Operations Officer for the 1st Brigade of the 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany; Brigade Logistics Officer, Plans Officer, Operations Officer and Executive Officer assigned to the newly designated 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vicenza, Italy; and an assignment in Saudi Arabia with the United States Army Security Assistance Training Management Organization (USASATMO), based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Highlighting his deployments abroad, Major Cancelliere served as the director of logistics supporting operations in Rwanda immediately following the civil war in July 1994. Here Major Cancelliere worked with a talented team of experts to establish the logistics hub in Kigali implementing America’s strategic policies for peace during “Operation Support Hope.� He empowered hundreds of citizens to re-establish their civil and social infrastructures, bringing economic stability to this war-torn region transitioning from war to peacekeeping operations.

In northern Iraq Major Cancelliere conducted operations that coordinated safe transport of senior officials and statesmen into high-risk areas keeping negotiating teams secure. His efforts opened the gates for humanitarian relief workers and non-governmental operators to enter into the region bringing much-needed material and services to the region. He supported “Operation Provide Comfort� security operations for both the ground and air cap missions for the region.

Major Cancelliere was called to serve in Saudi Arabia to lead a diplomatic mission supporting American strategic military interests assigned to the United States Army Military Training Management Organization, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He monitored terms assisting the Defense Acquisition Agencies supporting over $85B in foreign military sales over the past fifteen years to the region. Major Cancelliere developed and implemented long-range training concepts that broadened the professional development of the Royal Saudi Infantry Officer Corps. His programs continue to be applied today, reducing dependency on American military in the region.

Eager to return home, Major Cancelliere accepted an assignment in Boston with the United States Army Cadet Command to develop cadets into leaders and commissioned officers. He accepted a position as the Assistant Professor of Military Science, Northeastern University and Boston College. Here he had the privilege of implementing the Colin Powell Scholar Award program at Boston College, linking the values found in Army Reserve Officer Training Corps with those held in Jesuit Universities. While in Boston he pursued his interest in studying business practices completing his Masters of Business Administration, Northeastern University.

In addition to his personal academic accomplishments, Major Cancelliere’s military education includes Graduate of the Command and General Staff College, Combined Arms Service Staff School, Infantry Officers Advanced Course, the Infantry Officers Basic Course, and the United States Army Airborne School. He is published in Infantry Magazine, lectures on Cold War operations in Rwanda, Middle East and the Balkans. He assisted the Navy League, Boston University, and helped to form the Weston Military History Group, Weston, Massachusetts. He is a member of the Military Officers Association of America.

Major Cancelliere earned numerous awards and decorations throughout his distinguished career that include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Expert Infantry Badge and the Parachute Badge.

While in transition from active federal service, Major Cancelliere seeks an opportunity to continue in public service combining the disciplines of business operations with public needs. He serves as an advisor for the WMD Task Force Inc., a consulting company in the Homeland Security industry. He is grateful to spend time with his lovely wife, the former, Catherine Elizabeth Taylor of Simsbury, Connecticut and their five children Joseph, Thomas, Michael, Elizabeth and Francesco. He and his family are proud residents of Wakefield, Massachusetts.

Mike Duffy - 4/9/2004 5:07:02 PM
In the meantime, Medical Savings Accounts, which allow you to pay for medical expenses with pre-tax dollars, and recently expanded by the Feds, are a useful alternative. They require a high-deductible 'catastrophic' policy (I get mine from Blue Cross). More from http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p969.pdf
anita - 4/9/2004 4:10:05 PM
I completely agree with everything that has been said. At the same time, I think there is a tremendous entrepreneurial opportunity here for some creative person in the health care/insurance world.
Myke Myers - 4/9/2004 12:53:32 PM
I've been independent since 1993. I have castastrophic health insurance because we don't know when an accident might occur (I've used it once for a biking crash).

As for illness, we have to invest in preventive maintenance. We cannot depend on the medical system to keep us healthy. Their incentives are to keep us alive, not healthy. Exercise, eat right, take vitamins, and read the latest research. Being an independent is more than taking responsibility for your income -- it's about taking responsibility for your life!
Frank Paynter - 4/9/2004 11:26:02 AM
I've been independent for the last seven years. When I take a vacation, I pay for it in non-billable hours. My office space costs me money. My telecom costs are part of my overhead. Ditto insurance. Cost recovery is simply a matter of setting appropriate prices. The health care delivery system problems skew our pricing structures. They are also symptomatic of a deeper problem in the market-place, namely the religiosity with which we attach free market values to social services. Until we retreat to a mixed economy that values a government contribution for social services such as broad health care delivery, individual costs will be too high.
Elizabeth Albrycht - 4/9/2004 11:03:28 AM
As a solo customer, I am well acquainted by the lack of affordable health insurance. I've finally just decided, after being uninsured for two years, to get a catastrophic policy. Even that is pricy, however, for what you get (nothing except for emergency big stuff).

I can confirm the post above anecdotally from conversations with fellow independents and wanna-be independents. I would say insurance is one of the major, if not THE most important, barriers to people signing off the corporate crap and declaring their independence.

It is even worse if you are a women and single. Basically, you can forget ever having a child, as maternity insurance is ridiculous.

Sadly, I am not holding my breath about a solution any time soon given the state of the insurance industry.


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