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Offering Employee Benefits Post-Health Care Reform

By Shawn Pynes, Principal, Director of Employee Benefits Division

clock October 1, 2014 at 10:00 AM

As health care costs continue to escalate, employers are faced with a strategic challenge: How do they offer employee benefits without costing themselves a fortune?

To plan properly, mid-sized employers need alternative solutions to manage their health care costs, while attracting and retaining talent. In our view, two of the most effective approaches in achieving those objectives are self-funding or a private exchange.

Download our latest white paper on controlling healthcare costs.

The Self-funding Option

For companies with a healthy employee demographic, a growing or stable workforce, and favorable claims experience, self-funding can be an excellent long-term solution to control costs. Self-funding provides potential savings through reduced administrative and regulatory fees, decreased taxes, and improved cash flow. With a self-funded model, the employer assumes direct risk for the payment of claims, rather than contracting with an insurance company to cover claims costs.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform, Market Trends

Communicating the Health Care Reform Story to Employees

By Nora Corcoran, REBC, CLU, Client Service Executive

clock July 14, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Over the last few years, you can’t turn on the TV, read the news or listen to the radio without hearing about Health Care Reform. Information overload can easily cause confusion and stress for consumers. Since most of the American workforce access medical insurance through their company, many times they look to their employers for guidance on what the future holds.

This creates a unique opportunity for employers to not only educate employees on the facts behind Health Care Reform, but it also serves as an opportunity to remind employees of the value of their current corporate benefits and the tax advantages of electing coverage through their employer.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform, Human Resources

6 Months Until the Employer Mandate! Are You Ready?

By Christopher K. Bao, Esq, Compliance Manager

clock June 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Here’s the (not so short) list of what companies need to do before January 1, 2015

It’s actually coming this time – the Employer Mandate takes effect in just about six months. According to the Affordable Care Act, employers with 100 or more Full-Time/Full-Time Equivalent (FT/FTE) employees could face steep penalties for failing to offer affordable, minimum value health insurance to at least 70 percent of their FT/FTE by 2015. That percentage increases to 95 in 2016.

To help employers make sure their on track for the New Year, we’ve compiled a high-level list of action items to ensure your compliance:

  • Determine whether your company will be viewed as an Applicable Large Employer by 2015
  • Determine Dependent Coverage Transition Relief Applicability
  • Implement affidavits for all dependents
  • Determine non-calendar Plan Year Transition Relief
  • Determine whether to “Pay” or “Play”
  • Should you decide to “Play” you must negotiate an affordable plan that provides Minimum Value
  • Should you decide to “Pay” you should calculate your potential penalties
  • Determine Look-Back Methodology for Variable Hour Employees
  • Determine whether an Applicable Large Employer for 2016
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Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform, Legislative Compliance

Employee Benefits for Biotech Employers

By Robert D'Angelo, Manager of EB Programs

clock June 9, 2014 at 10:00 AM

With Health Care Reform in full stride, many Life Science employers are finding that even with a healthy employee population, their benefits rates are increasing. Although life science and biotech are preferred risk industries for health underwriters, small companies with younger demographics are seeing the negative impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Many employers are seeking ways to lower employee benefits rates while complying with the ACA. One opportunity for small companies to keep their costs low is to join a benefits trust, where multiple employers come together under a common entity. Our Beyond Benefits Trust, designed for Biocom member companies, does just this.

So why join? What’s in it for you? With more than 2,500 enrolled employees, Beyond Benefits delivers major advantages for Biotech employers. Specifically:

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform, Technology

How Tech Companies Can Purchase Employee Benefits

By Shawn Pynes, Principal, Director of Employee Benefits Division

clock May 19, 2014 at 10:00 AM

When is something worth doing twice?

When it works very well.

The Benefits Technology Trust is similar to a highly successful trust program we pioneered two years ago that enables life science and biotech companies to pool their purchasing power to buy employee benefits at more competitive prices.

Since the Beyond Benefits trust launched in January 2012, 185 biotech firms have saved more than $5.8 million in annual medical premium. In total, Beyond Benefits now covers more than 5,500 employees.

Opportunity For Tech Companies

The Technology Trust operates much like Beyond Benefits and addresses a genuine problem for growing tech companies: How to attract and retain the best technology talent. In California in particular, the biggest impediment to growth for many tech companies is getting the right people.

Established tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Oracle and others typically offer rich benefits programs. That’s a challenge for private or pre-IPO companies that don’t have the revenue to support similar benefits packages.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform, Technology

Individual Health Insurance

By Madalyn Altschuler, Manager, MarketLink & Benefits Communications

clock March 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Common Questions Employees Are Asking

Do you have employees who are ineligible for your employer-sponsored plan and still need help securing individual health insurance before the fast approaching deadline? Are you an individual having a difficult time deciding on a health care plan? For most individuals, if you aren’t enrolled in a plan by March 31, 2014, you may have to pay a penalty!

We sat down with one of Marsh & McLennan Agency's own Insurance Advocates to learn firsthand what questions individuals are asking when it comes to buying coverage. Maybe you’ve heard these questions too and could use our insight to respond to your employees’ inquiries:

  1. What advice would you give to individuals looking to reduce their insurance costs, while still reviewing the best plan options available?

First, let’s start with the basics by finding out how many people are in the household and what the annual household income is. Based on this information, we may be able to look at health plans on the public Health Insurance Exchange to find out if a subsidy would be given to help the individual pay for health coverage.

If the individual is not eligible for a subsidy, we would suggest looking at Silver plans through the Exchange, as these have lower deductibles and copayments for services. For an individual that just needs coverage to avoid paying a penalty for failing to have coverage, we would likely recommend a Bronze level plan.

  1. What should individuals consider when deciding on the best health plan?
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Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform, Individuals

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