Episode # 211 – Matt Ohrt Won Local, Regional, State, and National Awards for His Direct Care Leadership and Plan Design. Listen In.

This episode features Matt Ohrt, Co-Founder and Chief Healthcare Officer at Self Fund Health. Here he discusses his career background and how when he was the VP of HR at a steel company in Wisconsin, he implemented numerous game-changing improvements to employee healthcare benefits. He dives into how these changes saved $5.5M in total costs, improved employee health, and positively impacted employee retention. Matt shares how these experiences, along with a personal health issue he faced, inspired him to create Self Fund Health. Self Fund Health simplifies what is needed for employers to succeed when it comes to employee health benefits.

Matt Ohrt and Jon Baran cofounded Self Fund Health to help brokers and employers be able to write their own healthcare success stories.  Self Fund Health combines traditional TPA, PBM, Direct Primary Care, and Direct Contracts under a single technology platform to dramatically simplify what’s needed for employers to succeed. By implementing similar approaches, progressive employers across Wisconsin have saved 10-30% on overall healthcare costs.

Growing up on a farm in Iowa, Matt learned the value of hard work, integrity, and problem-solving. Throughout his career, Matt has served as an influential executive leader, working for companies such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Badger Mining (#1 Great Place to Work in America awards), and recently, as the Vice President of HR & Medical Services for Merrill Steel in Schofield, WI. He is a proven transformational leader in areas of employer healthcare, lean manufacturing, and work culture.

Matt first became known in Wisconsin for his work at Merrill Steel as the VP of HR, in which he led the company on a five-year healthcare improvement journey to implement a number of healthcare services at no cost to employees and their families, such as onsite clinics, a mobile clinic (converted ambulance), physical therapy, chiropractic, MRI, bundled orthopedic surgeries, and a world-class wellness program.

Outcomes included frozen premiums for 6 consecutive years, $5.5M in total cost savings (employees and their families saved $1.7M), reduced pharmacy costs, and reduced STD/LTD/Life costs. Additionally, these efforts had very favorable effects on recruiting and retention.

In 2018 Matt founded the Healthcare Best Practice Group and in 2022, he began holding events across the state to promote a healthcare movement in Wisconsin.  Today, there are about 1,000 employers and 3200 free-market-minded individuals who participate.

For his success in providing healthcare solutions for employers:

  • Matt was chosen as the HR Professional of the Year in 2019 by the Central Wisconsin Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM);
  • In 2020, Matt received the Healthcare Transformation Award for Wisconsin;
  • Also, in 2020, Matt was given the National Employer/Purchaser Healthcare Award, an award previously won by Disney, Boeing, and Walmart.
  • In 2022, Matt was selected by the Free Market Medical Association to receive the “Be the Beacon” Award.

Matt wrote a book called: “Save Your Company, Don’t Feed the Beast – The Employer Healthcare Success Formula.”  Based on his research of the 6 mature employer healthcare success stories in which employers saved millions of dollars, while greatly improving their health plan, Matt developed a practical and understandable guide for all employers to transform their health plans.

Matt and his wife Denise live in Mosinee, Wisconsin, and serve as Champion Foster Parents for Marathon County.  They currently have 5 children, ranging from 25 to 5, and are actively adopting children out of the social services system.  In 2018, they founded NOAH; a nonprofit foster closet that freely collects, stores, and gives supplies, equipment, toys, and clothing to foster parents in Wisconsin.

  • In 2020, Matt and Denise were selected to receive the Governor’s Foster Parents of the Year award.

Matt’s education includes an AS degree from Highland Community College, a BS degree in Psychology from Western Illinois University, a MA degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Tulsa and he has completed half of the course credits toward a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership.  Additionally, Matt holds a Healthcare Certification from the Validation Institute, a Lean Manufacturing Certification from the University of Michigan, a Six Sigma Black Belt certification, a Martial Arts Black Belt certification, and he is a graduate of Zappos Culture Camp.