Where do the presidential candidates stand in the 2020 election on medicare for all? Find out here:
You are the insurance agent for multiple small businesses. Your clients trust you and look to you for information on ways to make beenfits more affordable and simple.
Benefits and HR go hand in hand. Many times there is one person managing the payroll, the HR, the benefits, etc. etc. etc. Help ease the burden by bundling benefits with cbg|CONFIDENT and offering some help in a few areas below.
Effectively managing benefits and ensuring employees are offered the right coverage at the right time is a complex and time-consuming task to manage. That’s just the tip of the benefits iceberg.
The Affordable Care Act folds in an additional layer of complexity. If you employed an average of 50 or more full-time (or full-time equivalent) employees in the prior calendar year, you could be subject to an IRS penalty if you don’t offer medical coverage to your full-time employees. State and local health care mandates may require you to offer additional coverage or benefits.
From basic benefits like medical and dental coverage, to health care flexible spending accounts and life insurance, the list of benefits you’ll have to manage can grow quickly. cbg | CONFIDENT A+ rated carrier offers an online dashboard to manage ALL the benefits, even the ones not purchased through this carrier.
Having a rich benefits package is a healthy way to attract top talent. But without the proper technology infrastructure, you may be creating a nightmare for your HR department. Not to mention that you may be offering benefits your employees don’t value.
A sophisticated benefits management software can help take the guess work out of your benefit offerings and put powerful knowledge into the hands of your administrators, drastically reducing the occurrence of eligibility oversight and improving benefit usage rates. We can help you offer that to your clients.
Many top HR tech tools in the benefits management realm offer dashboards for a quick glimpse into benefits usage. Some offer the ability to dive into the analytics associated with your employees’ benefits usage, so you explore whether you’re offering the appropriate mix of benefits and begin to predict future costs to stabilize your fiscal planning. Request a demo for this platform here.
It should come as no surprise that many employee benefits are underutilized. Many times, the case is that employees weren’t aware of the offering or didn’t know how to enroll. The right HR technology can solve both problems, helping build stronger affinity toward your business.
A benefits management system with integrated decision-making tools can provide supplemental education to your employees so they can better understand and see the value in their benefits choices, including the cost to them or their family.
You can also be more proactive in alerting employees to key enrollment periods. Since life events such as marriage and the birth of a child are the norm, easy access to make changes through your benefits management system can provide simplicity toward helping ensure your employees’ changing families are properly covered.
Add all this together and employees can really begin to appreciate all your benefit offerings.
Your key takeaway
Estabish your goals as an agent and expanding your business. We have the tools to start conversations and instroduce quality employee benefits. As much as software and top HR tech tools can help your client’s business run better, grow faster and make more money, it’s the people who matter at the end of the day. Your ability to provide support and guidance is valuable.
Learn more about cbg | CONFIDENT and the carriers we distribute here.
Once upon a time employers took a much different approach to replacing talent and the costs associated. Unemployment are at lows not seen in two decades,1 and those old approaches are no longer working. Employers face competition for talent, and the costs associated with turnover can seriously affect the company bottom line.
- More than 20% of employers intend to increase hiring for the third straight year.2
- 75% of hiring managers have encountered or expect to encounter skills shortages in their industries.3
- Over 90% of employers note that these shortages are affecting productivity, staff turnover, engagement and employee satisfaction.4
- Voluntary turnover costs U.S. employers $536 billion annually.5
It’s more important than ever to be strategic about recruiting, rewarding and retaining talent. As a broker and benefits adviser, how can you help clients succeed in a candidate’s market?
Invest in robust, innovative benefits
Today, winning talent takes priority over benefit costs. That’s a shift for many employers, seeing as in the last decade many of them have focused on controlling primary plan costs and shifting more of the cost to employees. But consider this:
- 80% of employees would prefer a new benefit to a pay raise.6
- 84% of employees who are highly satisfied with their benefits report high job satisfaction.7
- Benefits are the #1 factor candidates consider when deciding whether or not to accept a new position.8
Supplemental expense reimbursed insurance is a powerful benefits tool to help employers drive down turnover, improve retention and attract the right talent in a tight market. This type of insured plan can be layered on top of the primary plan for select employee classes only—those for which it is difficult to recruit or for roles with high turnover.
cbg | CONFIDENT offers the ability to compare costs to multiple carriers on ancillinary benefits. There is an option for every budget and every need. In addition, these types of benefits do not need to sync with primary plans, meaning they can be put in place at any time of year.
Technology is the key to measuring the efficacy of a benefits program—communicating effectively, ease of enrollment and administration.
By Peter Marcia | December 07, 2018 at 10:22 AM
More and more benefits managers rely on voluntary benefits to fill important insurance gaps and provide essential services due to cuts in traditional benefits programs.
While the benefits department can create an attractive, holistic benefits program, that is only one piece of the puzzle. Employees need to know the what, why and how. Using technology is the key to measuring the efficacy of the benefits program— communicating effectively, ease of enrollment and worry-free administration.
As the availability of communication technology grows, benefit managers can target focused benefit information to an individual, eliminating unnecessary information and providing valuable resources that are most beneficial to the individual. It goes without saying, but when it comes to benefits, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. What may be appealing to an employee who recently graduated may not appeal to a senior-level employee who is nearing retirement. For example, employees with young children may be especially interested in accident insurance, while pet owners might look to pet insurance to help offset the costs of “well visits” and routine care.
Today’s consumers use multiple platforms (social, email, blogs, etc.) and devices (from desktops, to tablets, to smartphones), so communicate with your employees on their terms. Are your communications in a format that employees can easily share the information with his or her significant other? Reducing the jargon that typically accompanies benefit communication, enhancing relevancy, and reaching the employee where and when they want to receive information allows him or her to focus on the significant value of these voluntary benefit programs. Communications are constantly morphing, so it will be interesting to see how the advances in artificial intelligence will play out over the next few years.
With today’s technology, benefit managers can pull metrics on how employees are interacting with their communications and also help identify the natural path where employees are looking for information. By determining where employees expect to receive communications, employers can ensure that their workforce is seeing the information that is most pertinent to them.
So, you have implemented an effective communications campaign, the next technology opportunity is the enrollment medium. For years, enrollment in voluntary benefits could be likened to the Jurassic age…slow and cumbersome. Much like the way core benefit plans were enrolled during the disco era: paper application, directly with an enroller, etc. Now, most benefits can be enrolled online and allow you as the benefit manager to track your employees’ progress through enrollment.
Benefits managers can identify where employees may have abandoned the enrollment process. Utilizing this technology, benefits managers can retarget these employees with a personalized message, advising them what percent of the enrollment they’ve completed; how much time they have left to enroll; and provide support from customer service representatives.
Online enrollment technology also allows for a simplified enrollment experience by pre-populating certain required data fields and auto selecting the plan design they are most likely to select given their demographics.
One road block of voluntary benefits is the additional payroll slots for each new voluntary benefit. Payroll managers cling to payroll slots like gold. Employers know how difficult, complicated and costly it is to get payroll slots from their payroll administration systems and as the number of voluntary benefits increases, managing these benefits become difficult and expensive. Modern technology allows voluntary benefit outsourcers to offer consolidated payroll slots, giving employers the flexibility to consider multiple voluntary benefit solutions without the anxiety building the infrastructure to support it.
With diverse offers, ease of administration and modern communication technology, voluntary benefits are worth considering and should be an integral part of total rewards package.
Innovation in the insurance industry is no longer restricted or falls upon the carriers. In fact, there are a lot of things brokers can and are doing to optimize sales, automate their processes, and serve their clients better.
Marketplace models have taken over. One can only expect to see marketplace-focused platforms to continue. This increases consumer value and choice without taking any underwriting risk. As a broker, you can do a number of things to support this trend. It could be subscribing to a monthly quoting portal or creating strategic industry partnerships that provide the best benefits with the most value for your clients.
Data analytics is important for customer-centricity
It’s no surprise to insurance brokers that customer-centricity is the key to long-term relationships with brokers. Free swag delivered to the office doorstep is a thing of the past. Instead, customers look for brokers to give them actionable insights based on customer profile and data. There are a number of platforms available to provide these insights. Nothing will compare to having a distributor with key market knowledge of the area you work in and having the relationship to consult them as your business grows.
Sales optimization is the driving force.
Brokers have been rapidly adopting and should continue to embrace ways to optimize sales. BenefitsPro provides this article: analytics tools that spotlight the highest-value clients and can invest resources more efficiently. First and foremost, these tools identify accounts that have a higher probability of closing. This will allocate your time more efficiently in the long run.
Minimize the manual effort
Technology that can automate your client’s and your day-to-day processes is the gold at the end of the rainbow. Clients need better results, faster, yesterday. Brokers can work with multiple vendors to automate these unconnected processes, therefore, minimizing the manual effort of the account management and enrollment teams. Finding a distributor that already has multiple lines and carrier quoting process in place will provide your client’s the ideal benefits pricing to compare and reducing your efforts while still providing top, quality, service. Also, ensure you are providing benefits that have platforms in place to administer benefits online and the support to operate it.
Paperwork is dead.
Too much precious time is spent tracking paperwork, searching for lost client information, re-doing tasks multiple times, and correcting errors. Look for an insurance distributor that will give you the top customer service, reducing your workload and your client’s. Increase the level of comfort and enable higher collaboration between different parties. After all, insurance brokerage is a sales business, and brokers should be spending their time focusing on being the “chief communicator” rather than doing paperwork all day long.
Who’s buying short-term health insurance, and why?
By Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News | November 21, 2018 at 10:41 AM
To some insurance brokers and consumers, short-term insurance plans are an enticing, low-cost alternative for healthy people.
Supporters of the nation’s health law condemn them. A few states, including California and New York, have banned them. Other states limit them. But to some insurance brokers and consumers, short-term insurance plans are an enticing, low-cost alternative for healthy people.
Now, with new federal rules allowing short-term plans that last up to three years, agents said, some consumers are opting for these more risky policies. Adding to the appeal is the elimination of a federal tax penalty for those without comprehensive insurance, effective next year. Short-term health plans often exclude people with preexisting conditions and do not cover services mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
Colorado resident Gene Ferry, 66, purchased a short-term health plan this month for his wife, Stephanie, who will become eligible for Medicare when she turns 65 in August. The difference in the monthly premium price for her new, cheaper plan through Life Shield National Insurance Co. and the policy he had through the ACA is $650.
“That’s a no-brainer,” said Ferry, who considers the ACA “atrocious” and supports President Donald Trump’s efforts to lower costs. “I was paying $1,000 a month and I got tired of it.”
He signed up his wife for a three-month plan and said that if she is still healthy in January, he will purchase another one to last six months. But Ferry, who is covered under Medicare, said if something happens to her before open enrollment ends — which in Colorado is in January — he would buy a policy through the exchange.
Dan Walterman, who lives in Iowa, says he chose a short-term policy for himself, his wife and their 3-year-old daughter because it was less expensive and provided the coverage he needed.
There’s a lot of “political jockeying” over the value of short-term plans, said Dan Walterman, owner of Premier Health Insurance of Iowa, which offers such policies. “I think people can make their own choices.”
Walterman, 42, said he chose a short-term policy for himself, his wife and their 3-year-old daughter — at a sixth of the price of more comprehensive insurance. “The plan isn’t for everybody, but it works for me,” he said, adding that he gets accident coverage but doesn’t need such things as maternity care or prescriptions.
You get what you pay for
Essentially, short-term plans cost less because they cover less. The savings should have consumers asking, “How much coverage will I actually need?”
Some plans have exclusions that could blindside consumers, such as not covering hospitalizations that occur on a Friday or Saturday or any injuries from sports or exercise, said Claire McAndrew, director of campaigns and partnership for Families USA, a consumer advocacy group. (Note from admin: It is important to note that although these exclusions are true for some short – term medical plans, it is not true for all. )
“People may see a low premium on a short-term plan and think that it is a good option,” she said. “But when people actually go to use a short-term plan, it will not actually pay for many — or any — of their medical expenses.”
The plans can exclude people with preexisting conditions such as cancer or asthma and often don’t cover the “essential benefits” required under the health law, including maternity care, prescription drugs or substance abuse treatment. They also can have ceilings on what they will pay for any type of care. Insurers offering such plans can choose to cover — or not cover — what they want.
“Democrats are condemning them as ‘junk plans,’ but the adequacy of the health plan is in the eye of the beholder,” said Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies for the libertarian Cato Institute. “The only junk insurance is a plan that doesn’t pay as it was promised.”
The plans originally were designed to fill brief gaps in insurance coverage for people in the individual market. When the ACA went into effect, the Obama administration limited short-term plans to three months, but the Trump administration this year expanded that to 364 days, with possible extensions of up to three years. Critics fear healthy people may abandon the ACA-compliant market to buy cheaper short-term plans, leaving sicker people in the insurers’ risk pool, which raises premiums for those customers.
But some agents said the policies may be good for healthy people as they transition between jobs, near Medicare eligibility or go to college — despite significant limitations.
“It’s hard to encourage those types of people to spend hundreds of dollars extra on a health insurance plan that they are rarely using,” said Cody Michael, director of client and broker services for Independent Health Agents in Chicago.
Michael said agents also get a higher commission on the plans, providing them with more of an incentive to sell them. But he advises clients that if they do have a chronic illness, they may face denials for coverage. “This is old-world insurance,” he said. “You basically have to be in perfect health.”
Dania Palanker, assistant research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms, said preexisting conditions aren’t always well understood — or well explained. A person might discover too late that, for example, they aren’t covered if they have a stroke because an old blood test showed they had high cholesterol.
But Ryan Ellis, a 40-year-old lobbyist and tax preparer in Alexandria, Va., who is considering a short-term plan for himself, his wife and his three children, said his decision will be made “very deliberately, with my eyes wide open knowing the advantages and disadvantages.”
Some agents said they offer the short-term plan as a last resort—only after warning clients that if they have an accident or get sick, they might not be able to renew their plan. That means they could be stuck without insurance while waiting for the next open-enrollment period.
“They could really be in a world of hurt,” said Colorado insurance agent Eric Smith. “This is just a ticking time bomb.”
Roger Abel, of Marion, Iowa, said he’s willing to take the risk. He has a short-term plan for his 2-year-old daughter. Abel said he pays about $90 a month for her, compared with more than $450 that he would have paid for comprehensive coverage. He and his wife have a separate policy from before the Affordable Care Act took effect.
California resident Neena Moorjani says she wanted to buy a short-term plan, but they are now banned in the state.
But Abel, who is an investment adviser, has a backup option. He said he could always start a group health plan under his company that would provide his daughter with more coverage.
Neena Moorjani, 45, said she wanted to buy a short-term plan but can’t because she lives in California, where they were prohibited under a law signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown this year. Moorjani, a tax preparer in Sacramento, said she rarely gets sick and doesn’t need an ACA plan.
She decided on religious-based health coverage known as a Christian ministry plan. These cost-sharing programs use members’ fees to pay for others’ medical bills. Such programs are not regulated by government agencies and may not cover preexisting conditions or preventive care.
When California banned short-term plans, “I was really, really upset,” Moorjani said. “I wish I had the freedom to choose what health care insurance is appropriate for me.”
Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
cbg | CONFIDENT offers great Short Term Medical options in partnership with Pivot – Companion Life. Check out the Plan overview document by clicking here.
Check out the link to enroll new clients after agent appointment here. You may also quote actual cost of plans at this link: https://www.pivothealth.com/product/short-term-health-insurance/agent/60436