Blog

A Small Group Benefits Solution for Charter Schools

Posted by Pedro Reyes, Charter School Practice Group Leader on September 26, 2016 at 10:00 AM
A Small Group Benefits Solution for Charter Schools

Since January 1, 2016, employers with 51-100 benefit eligible employees are considered small group employers. As a newly labeled “small business,” you may see rate increases of 20-30%, depending on your group, if you haven’t already.

Why the big jump in rates?

The change is tied to rules that apply to small groups. Small groups are charged with what the insurance industry calls “age-banded” rates. Age-banded simply means age-based. In other words, cost is assessed for the age of each employee and spouse in the group. The shift adds another obstacle in the quest to offer affordably priced health care coverage.

If you are one of these employers, the following is a quick summary of things to be aware of.

For all renewals moving forward, employers with 51 to 100 benefit eligible employees will:

  1. Move from large group to small group
  2. Pay medical rates based on each family member’s age and not the employee’s age
  3. Have rates based on the ZIP code of the employer (instead of the employees’ residential zip codes)
  4. Potentially lose online administration of benefit eligibility
  5. Cease to receive underwriting discounts for industry and favorable employee demographics

Solution for CharterShield School Employers

Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits

It’s Not A Typo. Employee Benefit Rates Are Actually Going Down For Some Life Science And Biotech Companies.

Posted by Madalyn Altschuler, Regional Manager, Client Programs on September 13, 2016 at 10:05 AM
It’s Not A Typo. Employee Benefit Rates Are Actually Going Down For Some Life Science And Biotech Companies.

At a time when employee benefits are rising at almost double-digit rates, how is it possible for rates to be dropping for some firms?

You just need to belong to Beyond Benefits.

The window of opportunity, however, is quickly closing. Deadline for enrollment in the trust and access to below market rates is September 30, 2016.

Founded by BIOCOM in partnership with Marsh & McLennan Agency, Beyond Benefits enables life science and biotech companies to pool their purchasing power and secure employee benefit rates similar to organizations with a large number of employees.

In 2017, the 198 members of Beyond Benefits will see a 1.4% rate reduction. Meanwhile, companies not participating in Beyond Benefits will likely face an average rate increase of 9.2%* in 2017.

Since 2012, Beyond Benefits has saved member companies more than $89 million in medical premiums, or about $6 million annually. More than 6,500 biotech and life sciences employees are covered by the program.

Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits, Market Trends

How to Save Your Benefits Program, Your Sanity, and a Tree

Posted by Chloe Seipel, Employee Benefits Communication Coordinator on August 2, 2016 at 7:45 AM
How to Save Your Benefits Program, Your Sanity, and a Tree

For growing companies, providing competitive benefits is more than a luxury.  It’s often the difference between bringing in and keeping the talented employees you need to run your organization.  And once your benefit program is in place, its value is only as strong as your employees’ understanding of and use of those benefits. 

Employees and Human Resources teams are busy.  Put all that busy-ness together and it’s easy to see why informing employees about all they need to know about their benefits can be a challenge. Scatter employees across different locations and the challenge multiplies. 

One of our growing, multi-state pharmaceutical clients was feeling this pain more than ever, stuck in the habit of providing 40-page printed benefit guides. With 450 employees spread throughout multiple locations across the US, these guides had to be mailed to each office, sometimes only to sit unopened on employees’ desks. Any time the company needed to update the benefit information, new guides had to be printed and re-distributed across the different locations all over again.

Recognizing our client’s need for a better solution, our employee benefits team recommended a digital solution: MMA'a proprietary iBenefits app for mobile phones. iBenefits would allow the company to easily send the latest benefits information directly to their employees’ mobile phones or iPads. The client decided to give it a go and MMA provided them with a myriad of employee communication materials to promote the app. The iBenefits mobile app quickly became an effective solution, giving employees real-time access to their benefits and improving employee engagement with the benefits process. And the employees loved it.

With iBenefits, this employer is now able to:

Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits

How to Keep Your Employees Happy—Part 2: Make Benefits Enrollment Easy

Posted by Madalyn Altschuler, Regional Manager, Client Programs on June 13, 2016 at 10:00 AM
How to Keep Your Employees Happy—Part 2: Make Benefits Enrollment Easy

Researchers in the social sciences are seeking to understand the components that create the elusive condition we call happiness.   The happiness factor is coming into play in the work arena as well with studies showing the importance of job satisfaction in retention of top talent. As discussed in How to Keep Your Employees Happy—Part 1: Quality Benefits, studies suggest that employee benefits play an important role in the overall satisfaction employees experience in their jobs.

Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits, Human Resources

How to Keep Your Employees Happy Part 1: Offer Quality Benefits

Posted by Madalyn Altschuler, Regional Manager, Client Programs on May 9, 2016 at 10:00 AM
How to Keep Your Employees Happy Part 1: Offer Quality Benefits

Many employers recognize the importance of job satisfaction when it comes to finding and retaining talented workers. In simple terms, they want their employees to be happy. Competitive salaries, compelling work, and a positive environment are big drivers of the happiness factor but more and more, particularly in industries that are arm wrestling for the best talent, a strong employee benefit package is a game changer. Offering strong health benefits as well as retirement and voluntary benefits can be the difference between recruiting a key staffer and losing them to your competition.

According to studies by MetLife and Unum, quality benefits and coinciding benefit education make a measurable difference in employee recruitment, retention, and reported job satisfaction.

Quality benefits remain a key recruiting and retention tool. From a tactical perspective, benefits still play a big role in attracting and retaining employees, a recent MetLife study confirmed. Sixty percent of employees said quality benefits are the reason they remain with their company. Forty-nine percent said benefits are the reason they came to work for the organization in the first place.

Compelling benefits programs translate into employee satisfaction. Employees who are satisfied with their benefits are more likely to be loyal and satisfied with their jobs by a wide margin, according to the MetLife study. More than 70% of employees who were satisfied with their benefits were also satisfied with their job and their employer.

Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits, Human Resources

Taming the Tech Beast: Introducing Marsh & McLennan Agency's Tech Advisor Service for Human Resources Professionals

Posted by Shawn Pynes, Principal, Director of Employee Benefits Division on April 25, 2016 at 10:00 AM
Taming the Tech Beast: Introducing Marsh & McLennan Agency's Tech Advisor Service for Human Resources Professionals

The Affordable Care Act has imposed many new healthcare requirements impacting the already complex world of benefits administration and overloading human resources professionals even further. Employers have responded in a variety of ways, including implementing new technologies to manage the additional workload.

Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits, Technology

Age-Banded Rate Solution for Tech Employers

Posted by Todd Bennett, Principal, Employee Benefits Division on March 28, 2016 at 10:00 AM
Age-Banded Rate Solution for Tech Employers

As of January 1, 2016, employers with 51-100 benefit eligible employees are now considered small group employers. As a newly labeled “small business,” you may see rate increases of 20-30%, depending on your group, if you haven’t already.

Why the big jump in rates?

The change is tied to rules that apply to small groups. Small groups are charged with what the insurance industry calls “age-banded” rates. Age-banded simply means age-based. In other words, cost is assessed for the age of each employee and spouse in the group. The shift impacts many employers, especially technology companies since many employ under 100 employees, and adds another obstacle in the quest to offer affordably priced health care coverage.

If you are one of these employers, the following is a quick summary of things to be aware of.

Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform

Employee Benefits: How High-Growth Tech Companies Can Compete

Posted by Adam Moise, Principal on December 7, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Employee Benefits: How High-Growth Tech Companies Can Compete

Small and midsized tech companies face many challenges, but none may be as difficult as attracting and retaining talent. The task is especially difficult given what these high-growth companies are up against in Silicon Valley. Consider the following: 

  • Google offers one-on-one consultations to new parents to help them find child care facilities
  • Intuit has onsite fitness centers for employees and offers $650 for gym memberships and exercise class fees
  • Netflix now offers a year of paid maternity and paternity leave for salaried employees
  • Twitter employees receive Zipcar discounts, access to in-office yoga and Pilates classes, and dry cleaning and laundry services

In addition to competing against cash-rich tech companies, smaller firms are grappling with increasing healthcare costs and are stuck in a new pricing system that doesn’t allow for effective rate negotiation. According to a survey by Mercer, a Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) sister company, employers predict that health benefit cost per employee will rise by 4.2% on average in 2016 after they make benefit plan changes, such as raising deductibles or switching carriers. This is consistent with actual cost growth in 2014 (3.9%) and the expected cost growth for 2015.

Band Together

So how does a promising tech company bring in the talent it needs when the tech giants are grabbing up the skilled employees with higher salaries, generous 401(k) plans, and impressive healthcare benefits?

One way small and midsized technology companies can compete is to take advantage of a small business trust.  A relatively new way to lower employee benefit costs, tech companies are pooling their collective buying power to compete with the giants on robust healthcare benefits.

Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits, Human Resources, Technology

How to Implement a Successful Company Wellness Challenge

Posted by Happy Chan, Client Manager II, CWWPM on August 24, 2015 at 10:00 AM
How to Implement a Successful Company Wellness Challenge

On Your Mark, Get Set, Motivate!  

Savvy employers recognize the benefit of a healthy workforce. Study after study has demonstrated the increased productivity, improved morale and the health insurance savings that come with a healthy and physically active group of employees. As John F. Kennedy said, “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”

Yet knowing that something is important to the wellbeing of an organization is not the same as knowing how to implement an effective employee wellness program. The question remains: What can employers do to introduce healthy habits and keep employees motivated to stay active?

Marsh & McLennan Agency decided to test the effectiveness of our own wellness program Total Health by challenging our associates.  In June, the MMA West San Francisco and Walnut Creek offices took part in the Get Up and Go Challenge, modeled after one of the basic challenge events from our Total Health wellness program. Using this model, we measured the number of steps people took, with the goal of 10,000 per day. This might sound like a lot, but using a conversion sheet, our associates were able to log steps taken doing everyday activities such as gardening, grocery shopping, and even housework.

Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits, Wellness, Human Resources

5 Ways Technology Can Streamline Benefits Administration

Posted by Adam Moise, Principal on August 10, 2015 at 10:00 AM
5 Ways Technology Can Streamline Benefits Administration

Marketlink_FB_Graphic-01Administering employee benefits can be time-consuming, but applying technology can help dramatically improve the process.

So what are the most effective ways to manage your benefits program, both from an employer’s and employee’s perspective?

Whether you’re in the early stages of looking for an online solution for your organization or already have one in place, here are five reasons technology will support your long-term goals and what to look for in a benefits administration platform.

1. Streamline enrollment information collection

Many companies have no organized approach to collecting enrollment data. Even today, with so much technology available, many companies still rely on a paper-based process to enroll employees or update benefits information.

With an online system, data collection is aggregated centrally and can be easily accessed and managed by the HR team from any location. Online data management is particularly important for complex benefits offerings, especially for employers with multiple offices, contribution strategies, and eligibility requirements.

2. Incorporate ACA tracking and reporting into your system

The "Affordable Care Act" (ACA) created two new duties to report healthcare information.

Individuals offered company-sponsored health insurance must state whether they had coverage that met the ACA’s requirements. Companies considered an Applicable Large Employer (ALE) also must report that they have complied with the ACA. To verify that information, the IRS created two forms, IRS Form 1095 C and IRS Form 1094 C. Employers can be fined $100 per day for each 1095 C form that has not been submitted to the IRS.

An online benefits administration system can integrate payroll, time and attendance information, so all of the data can be accessed in one location and transmitted seamlessly to the IRS.

3. Provide a self-service administration option for employees

Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform

Subscribe to Email Updates

Top Posts

Follow Us