A look at the people behind the numbers in area business.
Title: operation coordination
Katie Hufnagle, newly hired operations coordinator at True Choice Services, said working at the employee benefits advisory company fulfills her passion for helping people.
That passion was inspired in part, Hufnagle said, by conditions she saw while studying abroad in Africa. "I saw how truly important it is to have access to health care and to make sure that we are all able to receive preventive care," Hufnagle said.
Hufnagle serves as the main contact for client company owners, resource managers and employees working with Burnsville-based True Choice Services on employee health care plans.
Hufnagle helps companies, typically small businesses of five to 75 employees, transition from group health insurance plans to individual employee plans using a Health Reimbursement Account. Typically with these accounts, employees choose an individual policy and employers deposit money into those accounts for employees to pay individual insurance policy premiums. Switching to an individual policy can save employees on premium costs, Hufnagle said, in part because they're no longer part of a group that may include other employees with health conditions that drive up premium costs.
She offers employee education on individual policies and changes in regulations under the federal health care law, as most elements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are phased in by January 2014.
Hufnagle, a Lakeville native, graduated earlier this year from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor's in health education and promotion. She previously interned with the American Red Cross, worked as a health care coordinator for Stillwater Group Homes and worked at a domestic violence shelter.
QWhat interested you in working at True Choice Services?
A[Founder] John Butler's passion for what we do. He is so wholeheartedly focused on helping companies and their employees ... and helping people save money. I never saw myself working in insurance when I was in college but now that I'm here, I can't imagine myself anywhere else.
QThis sounds like a new approach, so how do you pitch this to prospective clients?
AWhen we put that rate comparison together of their group premium vs. what it could be on the individual market and show them that we can not only reduce their costs but also help their employees reduce their cost, that's what people really want. When they see what the cost savings is, people are immediately interested.
QHow did your experience in Africa influence what you're doing now?
ABeing there in Africa and seeing hundreds of people sharing one water pump and not having access to natural resources and dying at such younger ages and the prevalence of disease and what having access to health insurance could do for them, I just hope that someday we can help those underprivileged populations as well.