The big picture.
That’s the frame of reference Mike Cahill, President/CEO of Physicians Health Plan of Northern Indiana (PHP), uses when making decisions. A long-term thinker and planner, he’s most concerned with communicating the company’s vision and ensuring his people are engaged and focused on how their role impacts the big picture.
I understand you worked for PHP before. What made you leave banking and return to the insurance industry?
I never completely left the health insurance field. While at Tower Bank, I served on the finance committee at PHP, as well as, serving as a consultant and board member for two firms that service the health insurance industry. I never saw myself coming back to PHP but one day in late 2014 I got a call from Don Schenkel (former president/ CEO of Tower Bank) and he asked if I was interested in returning as CEO. I had to pause and think about it. I really thought with all the changes going on in healthcare, PHP had an opportunity to make a real difference in our region, so ultimately, back I came.
What makes PHP different from other companies in your industry?
A couple of things. First, our industry is dominated by a few huge players, like Anthem® and Humana®. The fact that we’re a smaller regional plan is unusual. We’re a 501(c)(4), social welfare, non-profit organization, so at the end of the day, no one gets a shareholder’s check. We target a bottom line profit of 1-2 percent of premiums. We take the first $500,000 of net income and 15 percent of any remaining operating income and give it to the PHP Foundation.
The PHP Foundation, in turn, focuses on two things. First, we focus on providing financial support to organizations that provide direct healthcare to those in the worst financial circumstances (e.g. Matthew 25, Neighborhood Health and Dental Clinic, and Super Shot). Second, we focus on health education initiatives, which is something we’re currently trying to get more structured.
Another area of difference is our governance. Over 900 physicians in our region are members who elect the board, and our member physicians who live, work and play in our region set the medical policies, protocols and practices we follow as an insurance company. It is important that physicians who practice in our region set these policies. Finally, these member physicians put a portion of their fees at risk to insure the financial health of PHP.
Lastly, we are also concerned with economic conditions in the regions we serve. For example, we are an active member of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.
What does health/wellness mean to you?
It’s really changed in my mind over the years. The biggest change is a general awareness that it’s beyond just the physical component. It’s about a balance of both mental and physical well-being. This involves regular assessment of our overall health and practices, making sure we are following appropriate preventative measures and engaging with our physicians on a regular basis, not just when we are sick. The lowest cost health care is provided up front!
Why do you think Fort Wayne is a great place to live, work and play?
There’s really a lot going on here. At the end of the day, it’s about quality of life. The cost of living is so reasonable here. People are starting to get excited about Fort Wayne again, especially downtown. Groups like YLNI (Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana) are attracting young people and bringing a good energy to our city. There’s a lot of opportunity and a changing of the guard.
How would you describe your management style?
That’s evolved quite a bit over the years. I used to be a micromanager, but my job right now as president/ CEO is really about communicating and making sure people know the vision, while providing an encouraging hand on the back to move our people and the company forward. It’s about foresight, communication, coaching and allowing people to make mistakes, as long as they are trying to move us forward toward our vision.