<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1602061480087256&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

R&R Insurance Blog

Individual Marketplace Exchange: 41% Rate Increase for 40 Year Olds In Milwaukee

Posted by Jane Shevey

Steth_MoneyWith the onset of Obamacare and the need for individuals to make decisions about their own health insurance purchases, I thought it appropriate to share the information we received from the Wisconsin Office of the Commisstioner of Insurance, (OCI).

Taken directly from the press release dated September 3, 2013:
The Wisconsin Office of Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) has completed its initial analysis of rate filings in the individual market.

View Percent Increase Chart published by the OCI.

"While the exchange in Wisconsin will be run by the federal government, insurers wanting to offer coverage in the exchange had to file their rates with OCI. With our review of the exchange rate filings completed, we have attempted to compare what Wisconsin consumers are paying today to what plans will cost post 2014 under the new federal health law," stated Commissioner Nickel. "The truth is that comparisons are difficult because rates are going to vary based on age and where you live."

"With that said, from our analysis, it appears premiums will increase for most consumers. And, while there is no question that some consumers will have subsidies and may not pay these higher rates," Commissioner Nickel continued, "someone will pay for the increased premiums whether it is the consumer or the federal government."

Wisconsin Health Exchanges Offer Slim Pickins

How to Get, or Keep, Health Insurance if You Are Self Employed

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Individual Health Insurance

7 Tips on How To Pick The Best Individual Health Insurance Coverage

Wisconsin residents: for more information about Obamacare, PPACA or individual health insurance, please contact knowledgebroker Jane Shevey.

Join our group on LinkedIn: Obamacare: Strategies for Business to Survive. We welcome you to join in the conversation with our LinkedIn group dedicated to discussions for business owners on Obamacare: Strategies for Business To Survive. Read articles, download documents, join the conversation, and add your expertise!

Topics: ObamaCare, Health Reform, Wisconsin Health Exchanges, Voluntary Benefits, Commissioner Nickel, Wisconsin Office of Commissioner of Insurance (OCI, Jane Shevey, Individual Health Insurance, PPACA, Individual Marketplace Exchange

Health Benefits Continue to Be Key for Employers Despite Obamacare

Posted by Jane Shevey

Emp Benefits Policy82% of mid-to-large size employers surveyed in a recent Towers Watson survey will continue to view health care benefits as a key element of their employee’s compensation in 2014. Despite the impending Obamacare mandates and ACA excise tax - known as the Cadillac Tax - employers continue to value health insurance benefits.

As employers move forward they will be looking to keep their plans affordable and viable - maintaining a sustainable plan amidst cost increases (5.2% increase projected for 2014). Full article on Towers Watson survey results.

Wisconsin based employers are considering a self-funding approach or adding additional voluntary benefits such as dental, vision, life insurance and disability insurance to offset any changes they may be implementing.

We've always known that offering quality health insurance coverage is a critical part of remaining competitive in today's talent marketplace. This news is just a reiteration of what I am seeing on the street when I talk to my customers and prospects. Smart, educated decisions moving forward will help curtail any pain PPACA might inflict.

For Wisconsin employers interested in self funding options or voluntary benefits for their plans, please contact me.

Topics: ObamaCare, Employee Benefits, Health Reform, Voluntary Benefits, Towers Watson, Jane Shevey, ACA excise tax, Self Funded Health Insurance, PPACA, ACA, cadillac tax

Top 10 Causes of Employee Disability

Posted by Donald Levings

Injured LegFor the past 12 years, Unum reports the leading cause of its long-term disability claims is cancer. “Most people who have been diagnosed with cancer are very motivated to get back to work,” says Kristin Tugman, senior director of health and productivity at Unum. “It helps create a sense of normalcy and control at a time when people often feel understandably overwhelmed.” Cancer is also Unum’s No. 6 cause of short-term disability. Here are the top five LTD and STD causes according to 2012 claims data from Unum.

Top 5 Long Term Disability (LTD) Causes

  • #1 LTD cause: Cancer
    Cancer accounts for 16% of LTD claims. Dramatic trends in recovery and return-to-work have improved this number over the past few decades.
  • # 2 LTD cause: Back Disorders
    Back problems account for 15.1% of LTD claims. Watch for them to show up again in STD claims. The lesson here: workers need to watch their back.
  • #3 LTD cause: Injuries
    Accounting for 9.8% of LTD claims, injuries are among the most difficult to prevent of any health claims. The more unexpected a health risk, the more important to have secure insurance safety nets in place.
  • # 4 LTD cause: Behavioral Health Issues
    Essentially a tie with injuries at 9.8% of LTD claims, behavioral health is often not covered under a traditional health plan. So when a disability arises from it, coverage becomes all the more important.
  • # 5 LTD cause: Circulatory System Disorders
    We all know we should take better care of our hearts, but are employees? Circulatory disorders come in 9% of LTD claims

Top 5 Short Term Disability (STD) Causes

  • # 1 STD cause: Maternity
    Normal, healthy pregnancies make up 18.9% of Unum’s short-term claims.
  • # 2 STD cause: Injuries
    Non-back-related injuries make up more than one-in-10 short-term disability claims, or nearly one-in-seven of all STD claims not related to maternity.
  • # 3 STD cause: Complications From Pregnancy
    Pregnancy complications account for 8.4% of STD claims.
  • # 4 STD cause: Digestive Disorders
    These represent 8% of STD claims, according to Unum's data.
  • # 5 STD cause: Back Disorders
    In addition to 15.1% of LTD claims, back problems make up 7.1% of STD claims

With 65% of workers living paycheck to paycheck, employers offering voluntary disability products provide their employees with a financial safety net in case any unforeseen circumstances occur. Wisconsin companies, for more in formation on offering disability insurance to your employees or purchasing disability insurance products for yourself, your professional team or your family, contact knowledgebroker Donald Levings. More information about disability products can be found on our website.

Topics: Employee Benefits, Voluntary Benefits, Disability Insurance, ltd, std, disability, don levings, short term disability, Unum, Long term disability

7 Reasons to Add Voluntary Group Products to Your Benefits Strategy

Posted by Stephanie Riesch-Knapp

ThinkTwiceVoluntary benefits enable employers to offer their employees the ability to choose from a menu of benefits that meet the employee’s needs, even if the employees pay the full cost of those benefits. Offering voluntary benefits for your employees through a group purchase platform can be better for both you and the employee.

Here are 7 great reasons to add voluntary products to your benefits strategy:

  1. Voluntary benefits are not just for large accounts.
    Today carriers are much more eager to offer opportunities to smaller or medium sized businesses, and third party administrators can be used to relieve any burden on the employer’s human resources department. (Historically, carriers were only interested in selling these plans to large employers, and only big employers had the resources to administer multiple benefit streams.)
  2. Voluntary benefits work well for both fully funded and self-insured clients.
    In either scenario, voluntary benefits are a way to fill in the coverage gaps for employees who want supplemental benefits that are not provided within the plan. Voluntary benefits can also help in the negotiation process utilizing the voluntary products that reinsurers offer. Sometimes bundling can help seal the deal or sweeten the offer for your plan negotiations.
  3. Voluntary benefits are ideal for clients moving to defined contribution plans.
    In a defined contribution model, employees receive a set amount of funding to purchase the benefits that best fit their needs. For this approach to succeed, employers need to offer a wide variety of voluntary benefits that extend beyond the primary health care coverage. These could include dental plans, vision coverage, life insurance, accident insurance, critical illness insurance and even lifestyle products such as pet insurance, gym membership, ID theft protection or legal advice. These options will make the transition from full health care coverage to defined contribution benefits much easier for employees.
  4. Voluntary Benefits can offer higher guarantee issue limits.
    A guaranteed issue limit is the maximum amount for which an insurance company will insure an individual without receiving information concerning their insurability, i.e. a medical exam. Any time you can get higher limits without proving insurability - that's a good thing!
  5. Voluntary benefits offer fewer underwriting hassles.
    Guaranteed issue limits which don't require proof of insurability reduces the paperwork and underwriting headaches associated with processing applications that require underwriting scrutiny. Therefore - faster enrollment and quicker turn-around for HR administration. With everything else on the HR plate - less is certainly more!
  6. Voluntary benefits usually offer lower premiums than can be obtained through individual policies.
    Voluntary benefits purchased in bulk - or in group packages will offer group discounts or often times better products from which employees can choose. If employees where to purchase, for instance, dental coverage on their own, the pricing for an individual policy would be prohibitive. Offering affordable voluntary benefits for employees that won't break their budget, but yet give them the coverage they need, is a terrific benefit for employers to consider.
  7. BONUS: many of these benefits can be paid with pre-tax dollars, which is a plus for both the employee and the employer.

Change always brings opportunities, and smart companies are adapting by using different strategies to continue to improve their benefit plans, and attract and retain the talent they need to succeed. Voluntary benefits are one more tool that can help them succeed.

Related articles:

Voluntary Benefits to the Rescue

 

Topics: Employee Benefits, Life Insurance, Health Reform, Voluntary Benefits, voluntary group products, critical illness insurance, dental plans, accident insurance, vision coverage, guarantee issue limit, stephanie riesch-knapp

Ease Pain of Reform for Employees: Offer Generationally Attractive Voluntary Benefits

Posted by Stephanie Riesch-Knapp

family with babyThere is no doubt that voluntary benefits have moved into the benefits mainstream. Today, voluntary benefits are rightly regarded as a high value benefit strategy by both employers and their employees. Voluntary benefits satisfy employee preference for more benefits choice without adding to a company’s benefits budget.

The biggest challenge with voluntary benefits is choosing the right products that will drive employee participation and satisfaction during this time of extreme workforce diversity – one that is multigenerational, at different life stages and experiencing different economic circumstances, and at a time of immense changes in benefits offerings. There are now four generations in the workforce with a variety of personal needs, as well as fundamental differences in attitudes and expectations that will shape the future of voluntary benefits.

How should voluntary benefits be mixed and matched to provide a flexible product suite with broad appeal? What features will drive positive participation? Psychological, emotional and economic issues come into play in any purchase decision and the decision to open one’s wallet to buy a voluntary benefit is no exception.

A voluntary benefit must offer a solution to a real-life problem that could be experienced by the employee. It is important to offer a broad and rich portfolio of voluntary benefit products to enable individuals to identify “benefits that work for me” in the available mix. Voluntary benefit options that seem more personally relevant can contribute to an employee feeling more valued by the employer and more loyal to the organization.

Insurance needs change with life transitions – a new baby, a teen driver, or divorce. Help employees navigate this by connecting their new needs with a suggested suite of relevant benefit solutions to consider as changes occur - a generational approach.

Examples of generationally appropriate features could include guaranteed issue with no eligibility restrictions for pre-existing conditions, which might be more important for an older workforce. Whereas portability of the benefits may appeal more to younger workers who expect to change jobs more often.

In the end, designing the optimal voluntary benefit strategy is not only good for your employees; it also has advantages for the business. It contributes to a robust and competitive benefits program to attract and retain talent without adding to benefit costs. And it generates goodwill towards the company which can translate into increased employee loyalty and productivity.

For more information about voluntary benefits and their increasing role within today's benefits landscape, contact knowledgebroker Stephanie Riesch-Knapp.

Related articles:

Voluntary Benefits to the Rescue!

Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Reform, Voluntary Benefits, generational approach, stephanie riesch-knapp, Business Insurance

Concern Over Health Reform Changes Causes Drop in Productivity

Posted by Stephanie Riesch-Knapp

HeadacheForty-four percent of surveyed employees are concerned that their employer may reduce their benefits. As well, two-thirds are very concerned about having access to affordable health insurance as well as having enough money to cover increasing out-of-pocket medical costs.

These concerns have a negative impact on employee productivity. Employees who report being concerned about having access to affordable health insurance are also more likely to report distraction and stress at work and a decrease in their work quality.

Here are 3 ways you can reduce the stress that reform changes are having on your employees, and preserve productivity in the face of health care reform:

  1. Offer supplemental Health Options
    Voluntary supplemental health benefits such as accident, critical illness, dental, disability and vision coverages help employees cope with unplanned medical costs.
  2. Cultivate Wellness to Promote Productivity
    Healthy employees mean fewer costly medical interventions and absences and more productive employees. Wellness programs can work with proper communication, management buy-in and education.
  3. Keep Employees in the Loop
    Health Care Reform is a complex issue, and many employees are in the dark about how it will impact them. An ongoing communication plan to keep employees informed as the company considers its options and makes decisions can reduce concerns and help maintain productivity.

At R&R, we take wellness to a whole new level. Wellness programs will increase the health and longevity of employees and their families –which means that businesses can have a lot of control over their health insurance costs and the productivity of their employees – control that they don’t know they have. At R&R Insurance, we call this program WellCompForLife!

Join the WellCompForLife discussion on LinkedIn!

For more information about WellCompForLife, about self-funding your health insurance plan, health care reform or basic employee benefits questions, contact knowledgebroker Laura Stehno.

Topics: Employee Benefits, Wellness, Health Reform, Health Care Reform, Voluntary Benefits, WellCompForLife, Reduce stress, employee productivity, Business Insurance

Improve Vision to Improve Productivity

Posted by Riley Enright

LadyComputerMaurice Evans, Jr., director of HR for Integral Group, LLC had perfect vision when he educated his workforce about the fact that diabetes can complicate vision.

If employees can't see, then they certainly can't see to do their job! Great point! Takeaway - better vision = increased productivity! Evans saw a 30% increase of vision plan participation by his employees with a little bit of education about the correlation and the benefits of good vision. read full article in Employee Benefit News.

An affordable vision plan, as well as many other voluntary benefits, can add some meat to your wellness program, increase the productivity of your employees and keep you on the front edge of competitive offerings as an employer of choice. For more information about ancillary or voluntary benefits for your employees, contact knowledgebroker Riley Enright.

At R&R, we are seeing more and more small businesses in Wisconsin having serious discussions about the link between obesity and workplace productivity. On top of that – when you factor in wellness programs that will increase the health and longevity of employees and their families – small businesses can have a lot control over their health insurance costs and the productivity of their employees – control that they don’t know they have. At R&R Insurance, we call this program WellCompForLife! Join the WellCompForLife discussion on LinkedIn!

Topics: Safety, Employee Benefits, Wellness, Voluntary Benefits

Voluntary Benefits to the Rescue!

Posted by Riley Enright

checklistAs we move forward through the stages of healthcare reform, one thing is for certain: employers need to continue to attract and retain the best employees... this has long been true. Today, differentiation will be the key. Enter Ancillary benefits also known as Voluntary benefits!

Voluntary benefits enable employers to offer their employees the ability to choose from a menu of benefits that meet the employee’s needs, even if the employees pay the full cost of those benefits.

Offering voluntary benefits for your employees through a group purchase platform can be better for both you and the employee. Here are 3 great reasons to purchase ancillary benefits through a group platform:

  1. Higher guarantee issue limits
  2. Fewer underwriting hassles
  3. Usually lower premiums
    BONUS: many of these benefits can be paid with pre-tax dollars, which is a plus for both the employee and the employer.

Voluntary benefits could very well be the rescue employers are looking for - and in the very least - your employees will have extra protection, and it will continue to set you apart from other employers.

Would you like to know where your company fits in regard to your benefits offering? Do you have a plan for Obamacare and reform? Have you considered self-funded? We have the answers to these questions and more. Contact knowledgbroker Riley Enright for an up-to-date discussion of your benefit concerns.

Join our group on LinkedIn: Obamacare: Strategies for Business to Survive. We welcome you to join in the conversation with our LinkedIn group dedicated to discussions for business owners on Obamacare: Strategies for Business To Survive. Read articles, download documents, join the conversation, and add your expertise!

Related Article:
Ease Pain of Reform for Employees: Offer Generationally Attractive Voluntary Benefits

Topics: Employee Benefits, Wellness, Health Reform, Voluntary Benefits, WellCompForLife