More and more employers are being overwhelmed by all of the compliance requirements associated with managing employee benefits.
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America's "Benefits Balancing Act" study found that 60% of employers are feeling overwhelmed with the increased complexity of managing their benefits programs. One of the main reasons for the additional burden is the Affordable Care Act, with its myriad of compliance and reporting requirements.
The employer mandate and the documentation and new filing requirements with the IRS are high on the list of compliance issues, as are evolving Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and ERISA requirements.
Employers do all they can to keep their employees' health insurance and health care outlays to a minimum. And while most of the effort is focused on the upfront cost of insurance, copays and deductibles, employers are now trying to help their employees control the very costs they actually have the most control over - and one of those areas is prescription medication.
Helping employees become wise consumers of health services may also reduce overall insurance costs, as well as help employees conserve more of their own funds if they have high copays and deductibles. The cost of drugs can vary greatly between pharmacies. And while your employees may have low copays for some drugs, if they go to the most expensive option when the insurance is covering the tab, it basically adds to the cost drivers for your insurance plan.
Having a medical condition doesn't automatically disqualify you from buying life insurance. While finding coverage can be more difficult than it is for others, individuals with challenging medical histories and even severe conditions can usually find at least some coverage.
Wearable medical devices such as the Fitbit are making increasing inroads into all aspects of life. Corporate wellness programs are embracing them as a way to encourage activity. In some cases, incentives may be provided to employees who meet certain activity and other health targets.
Insurance companies are also getting more interested in collecting biometric data from customers via wearable medical devices and other forms of monitoring. For example, John Hancock now offers "interactive" life insurance policies, under which customers can submit to optional fitness and activity tracking via wearable devices and smartphones.
Many employee benefits advisors have been recommending that employees with health savings accounts use them as savings vehicles that can be tapped for future medical care; however, studies show that most people are spending the bulk of the funds.
A new study by EBRI found that while more Americans are using Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to save and pay for medical expenses, few are investing the funds, maxing out contributions, or otherwise using it as a retirement savings tool. In short, many people are not taking full advantage of these plans. But all is not lost, an HSA education plan can help employees who have HSAs understand how to get the most out of them and also how to use them to prepare for the future when they will at some point need the money for medical procedures.
LMC Insurance and Risk Management (LMC Insurance) announced today the launch of a new health insurance solution that is underwritten by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield for Iowa-based employers with 51-500 eligible employees. The program, referred to as the Employer Coalition, will be available beginning Jan. 1, 2019. It will provide a more predictable insurance pool with features designed to stabilize costs long term, simplify administrative burdens and help employees better understand and utilize their benefits.
“Our goal is to create an innovative, new health insurance offering derived from the results of information shared from employers across the state of Iowa in our Midwest employer benchmarking survey, Share to Compare,” said Richard DeBartolo, Senior Vice President of LMC Insurance. “Today, employers in the fully insured market are asking for more influence in the decisions impacting their health insurance programs. Employers are looking at plans and technology designed to drive better consumerism.”
Health literacy refers to the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Health Literacy Month, observed each October, aims to close the gap that exists between the way healthcare is communicated and the ability of most people to understand the information. According to the National Action to Plan to Improve Health Literacy, nearly 9 out of 10 adults don’t fully understand routine health information. People who have difficulty understanding how to prevent and manage their health are more likely to skip needed medical treatment, go to the emergency room more often, and tend to make mistakes with their medications.
Today’s employers face two certainties: rising healthcare costs and difficulty optimizing preventive care dollars. With growing pressure to deliver results, the real challenge is unifying the data to identify and measure effective health strategies.
Solving this modern day problem requires a modern day solution, which is why LMC has partnered with Springbuk to provide employers with comprehensive insight into historical and future health expenditures, wellness vendor performance, intervention program efficacy, and population health strategy.
Springbuk’s platform enables LMC to work in tandem with our clients to unify wellness, claims, demographic, and biometric data to identify immediate savings opportunities and track efficacy of wellness intervention programs. With this data LMC is able to provide actionable recommendations, including: guideline gap analysis, chronic and acute impact analysis, risk profiles, potential cost aversion analysis, physician profiling, and utilization analysis.
“LMC’s partnership with Springbuk enables us to help our clients to better manage the health of their insured population, which in turn leads to reduced healthcare costs, healthier employees, and more strategic allocation of resources,” states Rick DeBartolo, LMC senior vice president.
About Springbuk Springbuk works with leading consultants and wellness solution providers to improve reporting, engagement and results for employer clients. The platform has processed over $7 billion in claims and uncovered nearly $250 million in health savings opportunities within employer groups. More than 1,500 employers turn to Springbuk for trends and best practices in population health.
Did you know that one third of all households would feel adverse financial impacts within one month if a primary wage earner died? Life insurance isn’t a fun thing to think about, and it may seem like an unnecessary expense. But if you have people who depend on you for financial support, then life insurance is really about protecting them in case something happens to you – your designated beneficiary would collect a financial benefit upon your death. Life insurance can be confusing, so here’s a rundown of the basics.
Richard P. DeBartolo Senior Vice President, Certified Employee Benefit Specialist
If you have been paying close attention to the pharmacy cost and utilization in your health plan the last few years, you likely noticed that utilization and cost are rising at an alarming rate. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) projects that by the year 2022 prescription drug costs will grow to $355 billion. In contrast, $40.3 billion was spent on prescription drugs in 1990.
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