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The Founder’s Story In His Own Words
Read The Founders Story
The Founder’s Story in His Own Words
I grew up as a Midwest farm boy in a family that knows all too well how health can affect day-to-day life. We had more than our fair share of challenges. I watched my family struggle physically, emotionally and financially. I learned about health and the many challenges it can bring in a way that many don’t understand until it happens to them. It changed me; it motivated me to want to make a difference. I became determined to use my life experiences to re-engineer health care so that others don’t have to go through the same kind of pain and suffering that my family went through.
It began with my mother. She was born with rickets, a condition in which the bones fail to absorb calcium. They become softened and weak; leading to skeletal deformities, muscle weakness and pain in the spine, hips and legs.
In her early childhood, she received an overdose of calcium prescribed by her doctor to help correct the issue. Unfortunately, she went into kidney failure and lost both kidneys. At age 25 she had her second kidney transplant. I was only 3 years old.
She continued to face health challenges as a result of rickets and subsequently endured 35 more surgeries. There was one particular surgery that struck a chord.
Since childhood, her legs were bowed and unequal in length. It wasn’t until her early fifties and prior to receiving a knee replacement that she was finally able to have leg surgery for a second time to correct the deformities.
I stopped by the hospital later that day. My dad was down at the cafeteria so it was just my mom and me. I asked her how she was doing. She became teary eyed and all I could think at the moment was “Now what? “What went wrong?” Hasn’t she suffered enough? As I walked closer she pulled the sheet from her legs and said, “My legs are straight!” Her tears where of pure joy! For the first time in her life, at 50, her legs where straight and equal in length.
As I left the hospital I thought about how most of us take our health for granted. How selfish we must be to not appreciate the simple things, like having straight legs or being able to walk.
At the age of 32 my father found himself being the primary caretaker and provider for our family. Growing up on the farm he worked hard and later in life worked a second job in construction to support our family. Unfortunately, my father like many young adults felt invincible and was burning the candle at both ends. His attitude and impatience caused
him to rupture his back while lifting a portable welder. He endured 3 surgeries, which rendered his condition worse over time and was never able to return to work. In his early fifties, he suffered a major heart attack. It was out of sight, out of mind. He was not obese, nor a smoker, had an occasional drink, was about 10 lbs. over a healthy weight and his eating habits were nothing that would make a dietician jealous. Most of my uncles had heart disease or died as a result; it’s common on my father’s side.
Then there was me. I became interested in health at an early age. As a teenager, I found a sense of accomplishment in weight training thanks to high school PE. It was that one place where I had control of how hard I worked and could influence my health in a proactive way. Like many young men, I appreciated the physical change but within a few years it was the mental health and self-confidence that became the primary benefit and motivator. I then began referring to the physical change as a side effect, avoided cafeteria food for meal shakes and was determined to live my life in a way that would keep me healthy.
As an adult, I landed a career in the insurance industry focused on employer benefit programs. It only took a few years to realize that many insurance claims were self-induced by the employee. In many cases, the injuries and illnesses could have been avoided or improved through personal choice and effort.
I began to ask, “Why aren’t these employees applying wellness principles to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering?”
To answer this question, I began to reflect upon my family. My mother was born with a health condition that was no fault of her own; my father’s injury was self-induced and I was a young, healthy individual putting forth effort every day to influence my health.
I wondered, “How do you create a system that can accommodate individuals with a variety of different abilities and needs based upon their own circumstance? The answer came from my mother. It was her attitude, determination and effort to focus on what she could influence so her condition would not become worse. This became the essence of LifeCore.
I remember coming home from school every day and going swimming with my mother because it was the only kind of low impact exercise she could do. This powerful insight showed me that regardless of your health status you can always put forth effort to influence your health moving forward and make a difference.
Over the years my mother incorporated natural approaches to care such as acupuncture, massage and stretch therapy. This has helped significantly as age and transplant medications take their toll. Unfortunately, they have been limited in affordability and options.
“What if she would have had access to these options years ago? Would it have helped to improve her health outcomes? Why doesn’t her insurance support this kind of proactive care?
Reflecting back on my father’s situation of a self-induced injury and heart disease, I asked:
“What if there was a system that provided access to education, application, and guidance on prevention. Simple things like core strengthening or lifting with your legs; things that could have prevented his injury?
Would my father have changed his ways if the cost of his insurance was determined by his effort to avoid that health risk?
Today, I’m young, healthy and put forth effort every day to help reduce my risk of incurring injury or suffering from heart disease like my father and his family. I am the first generation to live a completely different lifestyle focused on prevention and healthy living as a way of life.
As for the insurance component, I understood the concept of insurance and was happy to pay in and not collect, knowing that people like my mother benefited. I know the pain and suffering that comes with needing to use insurance because it usually means something unpleasant is happening.
Throughout my 20 years in the insurance industry, I continued to notice fewer employees being health conscious and as a result insurance premiums began to increase; employee populations soon divided. Overall, less employees were putting forth effort to influence their health and the health-conscious employees who were putting forth effort everyday continued to experience rising costs and there was nothing they could do about it.
I began to question employee benefits. It was not making sense. Why was a single employer making insurance decisions for all of their employees? How could they possibly know what each employee needed or wanted? Why weren’t more employees putting forth effort and why were those putting forth effort not experiencing reduced premiums or being rewarded for their efforts?
I learned that employee benefits were born out of World War 2 and the Stabilization Act of 1942. It no longer makes sense and is not applicable in today’s market.
I learned from my mother that when my father went to work for a homebuilder prior to her transplant that his employer was offering benefits to her and my father at no cost. At that time, my mother had a private Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plan that my parents paid for each month. Because she had worked briefly for an insurance company she knew that if she dropped the private health plan to be covered at no cost on the employer plan that she would likely never get private insurance again.
Despite being young and barely making ends meet they continued to pay the premium out of their own pocket. She still has that insurance today. Had they made a different decision and taken the employer plan at no cost to them, it is likely this story would be very different. My mother chose to keep her private insurance and it gave her access to the best care available and still does so today.
This reason alone is why employer based benefits do not benefit employees. The individual consumer, should be able decide what’s best for them.
Our attitude, determination and effort to focus on what we can influence is the one common dominator amongst all of us. The difference is whether we choose to make the effort or not.
My years as a child and as an adult have served as a lifetime of experience and understanding of health care. Not just from the business side but, more importantly, the human element. The emotional and financial affects can be difficult and I wish for no one to go through such pain and suffer. You have a choice; that is why I started LifeCore!
Our Vision, Mission & Living Values
Our vision is to establish a national platform for improving the health of our nation, reducing the ever-rising costs of healthcare and support healthy living as a way of life.
To provide a health care ecosystem built upon personal accountability, affordable insurance benefits, a network of wellness providers and strong financial incentives for those being proactive and engaging in healthy behaviors.
Customers: Helping customers achieve their goals is the key to our long-term success. We must listen to what they tell us, respond rapidly by delivering new and constantly improving products and services, and build relationships based on trust, respect and mutual understanding. We will always back up our products and services with unparalleled service and support.
Innovation: In an industry where ideas are always changing, innovation is critical to our competitiveness. Our long-term approach to research and development, combined with our constant efforts to anticipate customer needs, improve quality and reduce costs will enable us to deliver the best products and services.
Partners: Helping our partners succeed and grow their businesses with the best platforms, tools and support is central to our mission.
Integrity: Our managers and employees must always act with the utmost integrity, and be guided by what is ethical and right for our customers. We compete vigorously and fairly.
Employees: Our goal is for everyone in our company to develop a challenging career with opportunities for growth, competitive rewards and a balance between work and home life. In a fast-paced, competitive environment, this is a shared responsibility between our leadership and employees.
Entrepreneurial Culture: We want our employees to wake up every day with the passionate belief that their work is contributing to the evolution of healthier lifestyles, by making a real difference in the lives of millions of people. We will always preserve the lean, competitive and entrepreneurial culture that has enabled us to grow. We encourage our people to speak out, take calculated risks and challenge conventional wisdom.
Diversity: We are committed to encouraging diversity in the workplace, not only at our company but also within our industry. We will practice equal opportunity in all hiring and promotions, and will help to expand access to technology and employment opportunities throughout our industry.
How Will My Contributions Be Spent?
Your contribution will help support consumers’ overwhelming demand for a new kind of health care. One that is simple, smart, affordable, allows YOU to choose what’s best for YOU and rewards YOU for YOUR efforts. Your contributions will be spent on the following:
- Provide you with on-going, up-to-date information about health
- Engage additional resources to further educate and support you and your needs
- Integrate tools and resources that empower you to make decisions that are right for you (i.e. HSA, HRA, financial and business advisors)
Legal & Licensing Fees
- Legal counsel to ensure compliance in a highly regulated environment
- Reserves to protect members against unpredictable and catastrophic claims
- Obtain insurance licenses so that we can provide you with policies that are compliant, affordable and can cross state lines
Incorporate Advanced Technology
- Expand our mobile applications for on-demand access
- Integration of devices and data so you can track your efforts to be healthy and manage your own health care
- Enhance our customer-relations management tools to better serve you
- Expand our network of health and wellness professionals focused on natural, alternative, and preventative approaches to health at the local, regional and national level.
- Employ additional staff to serve your needs and help you when you need it most
Marketing and Social Media
- Expand our marketing and social media efforts to engage more Partners and Members on a national level
Build a Legacy
- Provide a healthy and strong financial foundation for generations to come
Thank you for your generous support!
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