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Entries in Small Group Health Insurance (5)

Saturday
Jul282012

Gallagher and Liazon Team Up on Health Insurance Exchange

Two Industry Leaders Join Forces to Simplify Health Insurance

Arthur J Gallagher, one the oldest and most respected insurance brokers announced their launch of Bright Choices®, the innovative benefits platform powered by the Liazon Corporation. Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. (GBS), their employee benefit consulting division, made official their decision to partner with Liazon Corporation in a press release where Anthony F. Hernandez, GBS Chief Information Officer, stated “We’ve selected a proven, comprehensive solution in the Bright Choices® Exchange—one that is easy to deploy, easy for the employee to use and built on outstanding technology.”

At Employers Rx, we could not agree more. We discovered Liazon’s remarkable technology, more than 3 years ago, and have proclaimed the virtues of the platform’s easy, user friendly interface from it’s inception. In May 2010, we wrote about Liazon’s unique Bright Choices® platform in a blog entitled Worried About Health Insurance Reform …. In it, I wrote how we believed then, as we do now, that Liazon’s Benefits Store and other health insurance exchanges will revolutionize the way medical plans are purchased in this country.

Liazon’s online benefits store enables employers to save money on their healthcare costs by setting predictable budgets, while enabling employees to select health, dental, vision, life and disability coverage, among other benefits, from various national and regional insurance providers.

Founded by Arthur Gallagher, a successful insurance agent in Chicago on October 1, 1927, the company was originally focused on commercial insurance and pioneered the concept of risk management. Today, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. is an international insurance brokerage and risk management services firm, with a network of correspondent brokers and consultants serving more than 110 countries. In 2010, Gallagher ranked 4th largest in the world based on revenue.

Friday
Mar162012

Employers, Healthcare and PR - Personal Responsibility

Can Employers Promote Personal Responsibility? Should They?

Business owners, CFO’s and HR executives across the country are troubled over the escalating costs of providing health insurance for their employees. Unfortunately, the statistics for the future look grim. Some estimate that the United States health-care system will cost $4.6 trillion dollars, (that’s Trillion with a T) by the year 2020. However, buried deep down among all of the statistics, may be a shining ray of light.

Bloomberg Businessweek Chairman Norman Pearlstine invited a panel of health care industry experts to address the question “How do we fix health care?”. The discussion revealed many of the issues that contribute to the cost of providing medical care in America. The most enlightening facts were not how much medical care in the US costs, but who is actually using the care … and why.  

Click here to view the panel discussion.

The Ten Percent (10%) Solution

Dr. Ralph De La Torre, Chairman and CEO of Steward Health Care System reported Medicare data which indicates that twenty to thirty percent (20% - 30%) of patients utilize eighty percent (80%) of our medical resources. Dr. Greg Curfman, Executive Editor for the New England Journal of Medicine drilled down even deeper. He states “The numbers are very clear. Ten percent (10%) of the population consumes sixty three percent (63%) of the total health-care dollars in this country. One percent (1%) consumes twenty percent (20%) of the health-care dollars. Fifty percent (50%) of them consume nothing at all. So this is the issue, and we have to get a better handle on the ten percent (10%).”

The answer seems clear, identify the ten percent (10%) of Americans that are utilizing more than sixty percent (60%) of the nation’s medical resources, then control or eliminate the causes. If we can cut the ten percent (10%) in half through lifestyle changes, patient advocacy and therapy, America’s health care costs can be reduced by thirty percent (30%).

Lower Company Medical Costs with PR

Is it the responsibility of business owners and corporations to promote personal responsibility? What can an organization gain by motivating employees to exercise, eat a healthy diet, and to get 7-8 hours of sleep? Studies have shown that improvements in mental and physical fitness contributes to a more cognitive, effective, and productive workforce. How can employers’ start to reduce their medical costs, and lower health insurance premiums?

Today, it is easy and inexpensive for companies to improve employee engagement and identify your ten percent (10%) at the same time. With no more effort than clicking on a website, anyone can discover their projected longevity. Individuals with medical conditions - present and future can receive a personalized health care protocol designed specifically for them.

Benjamin Franklin, one of the nation’s founding fathers, inventor and statesman is quoted as saying “An ounce of prevention … is worth a pound of cure”. I think it’s time America took his advice.

Here are a few ways that employers can take the lead.

The Real Age Test

A calculation of your body’s health age. Created by top doctors, including Dr. Mike Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz. It uses the latest medical research to develop personalized tips and action plans based on one’s answers. By linking behaviors to increasing or decreasing your age, the approach allows anyone to compare different lifestyle factors and prioritize their efforts.

 The Prevention Plan

    The Prevention Plan Includes:
  • Annual subscription to The Prevention Plan web-based program
  • Comprehensive online Health Risk Assessment
  • Extensive blood panel at a Quest Diagnostics® Patient Service Center including 25 results* for cholesterol (heart), fasting blood glucose (diabetes), liver, kidney and thyroid function, bones, and fluids and electrolytes.
  • Personalized Prevention Plan that explains and prioritizes your health risks and recommends the steps you should take to improve your health.
  • Recommended prevention screenings, schedule and alerts based on age, gender and risks.
  • Personal Prevention Score roadmap to track your progress and motivate you over time
  • 24/7 Nurse Line …. and much more.

We welcome your comments and contributions. Let us know how you are engaging your employees and promoting personal responsibility among your workforce.

Wednesday
Jul282010

Want To Repeal Health Insurance Reform!!! Not Likely

 Some PEO’s Think Healthcare Reform Will Just Disappear

Their are some employee leasing companies and professional employer organizations in the HR outsourcing industry, who act as if the Affordable Care Act won’t actually affect them, or  change the way they  provide small group health insurance and employee benefits. One of the reasons could be, that many of these PEO’s actually believe that the Act’s provisions, and protections will never be enacted. Like waking up from a sweet dream (or horrific nightmare), they remain convinced that the Republicans will take power in 2011, and make it all go away.

I hate to pour cold water on their dreams, but it is time to face reality.

If you still have questions about the Affordable Care Act, any of it’s provisions, and the timeline for implementation, then click on the Link below.

Sunday
Jul252010

PEO Group Health Insurance Premium Renewal Rates Increase

Professional Employers Experience Double Digit Increases Again

Group health insurance premium renewals are going out and the reports are not encouraging. It’s that time of the year when employee leasing companies and professional employers send small business owners their new health rates for the coming year. Employers across the nation are being told what to expect, and it’s not exactly what they want to hear. Especially now, when the economy is starting to stabilize.

Many of our small business clients who have been relying on their PEO partner to keep their health insurance rates low, are finding out that it’s no longer the case. Business owners with some of America’s best known and largest human resource outsourcing firms, Administaff, ADP Totalsource, and TriNet / Gevity HR have experienced another round of double digit increases. CFO’s and HR managers have complained about increases from Alphastaff HR, another “Top 10” provider. Their clients renew in September, and a few said they received cost masters with 35% rate increases across the board from Aetna.

Bait and Switch?

Many of our small business clients are learning that some of their health plan choices have been replaced with new healthcare plans that offer more limited networks with fewer in-network providers, or of medical plans that are restricted by geographical location. Just last week we were contacted by a primary care practice with 3 offices in West Virginia. They told us how  their current PEO had just informed them that an entire network of plans was  being eliminated. The majority of their employees will be left with just one  option, and a very expensive one at that. Needless to say, they are now looking to us to help the doctors find a better option for their staff.

It May Only Be RoundOne ?

The worst may be yet to come. September through January is when over 75% of group health insurance plans are set to renew. This includes most of the nation’s largest and most successful staff leasing, HR outsourcing, and professional employer services firms. Yet to announce their new health plan renewals are leading HR and employee benefits providers Advantec HR, Oasis Outsourcing, and SCI Staffing Concepts, who are scheduled to renew in the month of October, Frank Crum’s health rates are good until November, and Accord HR and Fortune Business Solutions renew in January 2011.

It is important to note that while these industry giants, and their highly compensated employee benefits advisors, are still battling it out with their health insurers, the fate of hundreds of thousands of small and midsize businesses are being decided. Combined, these PEOs and employee leasing companies represent about two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) business owners and about five million (5,000,000) employees nationwide. Let’s hope for the best.

Thursday
May202010

Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credits - Do We Qualify?

Employers With 25 Employees or Less Can Qualify … If

Now that the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HR 4872) has passed into law, what does it mean for the millions of small business owners across America? Well, the answer to that question really depends on your current practices. It could be very good news or bad news. Our focus today will be on the “Good News”.

If you are among the millions of small business owners who are currently providing health insurance for your employees, then the news couldn’t be any better. Under HR 4872, you could now qualify for the small business tax credit established by the Act to encourage small business owners to purchase group health coverage for their workforce.  Employers who contribute at least 50% of a still unspecified “benchmark premium” will be entitled to a tax credit of up to 35% of the premiums. Tax credits are also available for small non-profit organizations as well, however the amount of the credit is only 25% of their pemium contributions

To tell you more about the “Good News” click on the video from the most unlikely government agency … the IRS.

Stay tuned for the latest information on the things that matter most to organizations of all sizes, as we  help you to navigate the waters of health care reform, and issues that effect you, your company and your employees.