Exciting stuff to report about my new company, Sherpaa

First, I’m super happy to say that Cheryl Swirnow (Greenhill) has joined me as a co-founder of Sherpaa. Cheryl was head of HR at The Barbarian Group so she knows pretty much everything to know about health insurance for companies. Prior to that, she worked at Quintessentially, a 24/7 global concierge service. So she pretty much knows everything about making things happen. She’s awesome and I’m honored to be working with her on building Sherpaa.

In the past four months, we’ve learned a ton about companies and health. We’re universally seeing that most companies are overinsured and spending way too much on health insurance. Here are some numbers to back that up. Seventy-five percent of all-comers will spend less than $2,000 on medical expenses per year. Ninety-six percent will spend less than $10,000 per year. These stats are for all-comers, not the typical tech and creative companies we’re focusing on here in NYC. Therefore, it just makes sense for these kinds of companies to have a high deductible health plan with a deductible of at least $2,000. 

And then here’s the kicker. We’re recommending that companies then give their employees a debit card with $2,000 loaded on it (that’s a health reimbursement account). At the end of the year, whatever the employee doesn’t spend gets rolled back into the company. Essentially, it’s the poor man’s version of self-insurance.

But by doing this we’re finding that we can save companies up to $4,000 per year per employee. And that, my friends, is wonderful news. It’s extremely frightening to peer in to the backend of healthcare and realize there is just so much unnecessary waste.

And then…on top of saving companies a ton of money, we then give each of their employees 24/7 access to our doctors. So when any of their employees have a health issue, they contact us via email or phone and we then do everything we can to solve their problem. About 70% of the time, we’re solving the problem over email. For the other 30%, we personally connect them with one of our carefully chosen specialists here in NYC. Or sometimes we send them to the urgent care center or the ER. It’s basically like having a 24/7 doctor on your side who’s trying to save you as much hassle as possible. 

So, to sum it all up, we analyze your company’s health strategy, secure the best health insurance plan for your company, and then give you 24/7 access to our group of doctors. We save companies a ton of money and offer them an amazing service.

We’re off to a great start and signing up multiple companies a week. I can’t wait to report more good news.

My friend Jay is shaking things up again. Would love our company to use Sherpaa!

I’ve always been a single person…well, at least musically. Guns ‘n Roses’ “Patience”? Tape single. (Actually, two of them…7th grade birthday party fail.) “More Than Words” by Extreme? Had my first kiss to that tape single, which I manually flipped every 4:14 seconds. Only took around seven plays to get Jon McConnell to finally kiss me, a feat he performed most likely to stop the annoying strains of Nuno Bettencourt. (HIS NAME WAS NUNO??) With a handful of exceptions – The National, Frightened Rabbit, Bon Iver – I usually get hooked by a song from a band, buy the entire album, and then listen to a few songs on it. 

So it’s especially noted when an album comes along that I like in its entirety, as I do with Bad Veins’ much-anticipated release, “This Mess We Made”. It officially came out today, but I’ve had it for a few months and have been counting down the weeks until I could feature it on my site or add a song to my mix. I’ve heard the new tunes performed live twice in the past few months, and the energy that Benjamin Davis & Sebastien Schultz bring to a live show is infectious. (Seb has actually broken a cymbal on stage – twice – from his performance.) Their first album was strong but this, THIS is a whole new level. The first song – “Dancing on TV” – is a catchy ditty that has you tapping your feet and finding yourself humming the tune all day. “Don’t Run” is my current favorite, though “Chasing” often wins top billing on my near-daily listen. It’s unique in that the lyrics affect me (and I find myself quoting them) but don’t interfere with the music so that it’s one of the few albums that I can listen to on repeat when writing. 

Check it out; you can stream the album on Spinner for the next week, and by then it’ll be in your rotation that you can’t imagine not purchasing it in its entirety (Spotify & RDIO for you cloud-dwellers)…which is also how it deserves to be consumed. 

Last Friday, my dog Lila Belle & I were going to my friends’ house in Brooklyn. She was sitting on my lap in their car, as she’s apt to do, and in holding her, I noticed a growth on her front leg. Since Lila considers herself a(n overgrown, 32 lb.) lap dog, she’s often jumping up on me so I have a pretty good idea of what is (and is not) on her squirmy little dog body. This thing on her leg, this was new. It was big, it was (somewhat) fleshy, and it seemingly came out of nowhere.

I called the vet immediately.

We went in on Monday morning; I was hoping the vet would immediately discount it, as it didn’t seem to hurt Lila at all, but she didn’t. Instead, she ordered a cytology, which she said often comes back inconclusive. If that was the case, we’d have to give her anesthesia and take a biopsy of this thing on her leg. For now, I’d just have to wait; results would come back at some point this week.

So for the last six days, I’ve been in a constant state of concern. “I’m sure it’s nothing,” I’d tell myself, and yet I’ve had this gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’ve been overly doting on her, feeling guilty that I was at work, that the dog walker was taking her out vs. me, in case – God forbid – there was something more seriously wrong. Lila is only seven, and for the first time, I began to think about her mortality. I’ve lost three cats in the last three years, so the death of a pet is not foreign to me. But Lila? No. Not her. Not now. I can barely even think about her slowing down as she gets older. This is my puppy, this crazy, energetic, sweet, loving, floppy-eared gal. This is my dog. This is my future husband’s dog. This is my future children’s dog. No. She must be ok.

And, she is. The vet just called; I nearly burst into tears when she told me that the results came back and Lila is absolutely fine. It is simply fat cells. There’s really no rhyme nor reason why she has this thing on her paw; I’m supposed to monitor it and if it changes or starts to bother her, we can have it removed. But for now, she’s fine.

Celebratory drinking at lunch is acceptable, right?