How one employer saved $100,000 with reference-based pricing

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 @ 10:03

A more cost-effective way to pay for healthcare

Reference-based pricing is a new payment model for employer-sponsored healthcare. Through reference-based pricing, self-insured employers forgo the traditional insurance contract. Instead, employers pay employee claims directly to hospitals and providers, typically in excess of Medicare. In other words, employers pay the hospital 140 percent of what Medicare would reimburse for the same service.

This strategy can save employers thousands of dollars per year—below is a case study of one of our clients who saved $100,000 on premium and plan costs by transitioning to this strategy.

But why would an employer want to forgo the traditional insurance contract? A piece of the Affordable Care Act is the reason why.

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Tags: health insurance small employers, Self-Insured, employer digest, employee benefit adviser, self-funded, reference based pricing, self-insurance

Which kind of healthcare advisor will you be?

Posted by Ryan McCostlin on Wed, Mar 21, 2018 @ 09:03

Check out this article in ThinkAdvisor:

Not all financial advisors and wealth managers are cut from the same cloth. Some focus almost exclusively on growing clients’ liquid assets. Others encourage clients to call them before making any big financial decision—”Don’t buy a car without calling me first!”

But whether you take a more hands-on or hands-off approach with your clients' financial planning, healthcare should be included in comprehensive retirement planning.

According to the most recent estimate from Fidelity Benefits Consulting, a 65-year-old couple retiring this year will spend $275,000 on health care, not including long-term care expenses.

This is up by $15,000 from 2016, and as health care costs continue to rise, this number is likely to increase substantially every year.

Because of this, more advisors are recognizing that health care plays a role in the advice they give their clients around retirement and investing. There are two approaches advisors are taking. The first approach takes clients’ expected and unexpected health care costs into consideration. The second, more hands-on approach, adds additional customized consulting. This ensures clients not only plan for their expenses, but that they choose the most cost-effective health care strategies.

Here’s what advisors should know about each approach.

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Tags: Medicare Advice, healthcare advice, financial advisors, healthcare extension, wealth managers, ThinkAdvisor

Bernard Health is hiring!

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 @ 08:03

Positions open in Nashville, TN, Austin, TX and Campbellsville, KY

We’re growing quickly here at Bernard Health and BerniePortal, and we’re looking for highly motivated individuals to join our team.

Positions are open at our Nashville, Tennessee headquarters, as well as in Austin, Texas and Campbellsville, Kentucky. If you’re looking for a great job in the healthcare, benefits and software industries, keep reading.

First, who are we?

Bernard Health and BerniePortal

Bernard Health provides industry-leading health benefits advice to employers and individuals in Nashville, Austin, Atlanta and Indianapolis, and through provider and financial advisor partners around the country. Our mission is to be the world’s most trusted advisor when it comes to helping people plan for their healthcare.

A key part of that is our sister company, BerniePortal, an all-in-one HR and benefits administration software platform. We license BerniePortal to brokers all across the country who use it to help their own clients maximize value in their health and benefits packages.

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Tags: BerniePortal, Bernard Health, hiring, recruitment

How does Bernard Health’s ‘Healthcare Extension’ work?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Mar 16, 2018 @ 09:03

Frequently asked questions

Making the right healthcare decision can be critical for consumers, but there’s a lack of good advice available. Smart financial planners are embracing this as an opportunity to provide better service and win new business by stepping up and filling the gaps in healthcare advice.

Bernard Health’s Healthcare Extension allows financial advisors to roll healthcare advisory into their practices and provide personalized healthcare advice to clients without hiring a dedicated staff member.

We often get questions from advisors on how the Healthcare Extension works. Here are a few frequently asked questions:

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Tags: Bernard Health, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension

UnitedHealthcare to share drug rebates with consumers

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Mar 14, 2018 @ 09:03

Industry responds to growing consumer frustration

UnitedHealthcare announced this week it will begin sharing the rebates it receives from drug companies with consumers next year.

According to UnitedHealthcare, the savings will apply to plan participants who are filling a prescription for a drug where the manufacturer provides a rebate. The savings from rebates will be provided at the time of sale to reduce members’ out-of-pocket costs.

Currently, UnitedHealthcare keeps those rebates, using them to “keep premiums lower for the benefit of all member and customers,” rather than distributed to individual consumers.

Manufacturers do not provide rebates for every drug, but for those that do, the expanded pharmacy discounts will begin for UnitedHealthcare plan members January 1, 2019.

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Tags: employers, health insurance small employers, UnitedHealthcare, employer digest, employee benefit adviser, drug rebates

Three ways Congress could reduce health care costs in the U.S.

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Mar 12, 2018 @ 09:03

Employers teaming up to address healthcare

America’s legislators have been debating health policy for years, but very few proposals have addressed the one issue consumers say they are most concerned about — the high cost of receiving health care in the U.S. 

Americans pay more for health care than anyone else in the world, even for the exact same services and prescriptions. For example, consumers in the U.S. pay $2,669 for a 28-day supply of the rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira, while the Swiss pay just $822 — less than a third of the U.S. price.

The reasons are numerous and complicated, but pricing issues have largely been ignored by Congress in the past decade.

Here are three policy ideas that would affect healthcare pricing. While these proposals would represent a shift, they could lead to more affordable health care in the U.S. 

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Tags: healthcare, aca, rising healthcare costs, The Tennessean, healthcare costs, pricing

How to help employees file taxes with an HSA

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Mar 09, 2018 @ 08:03

What employees need to know

Filing taxes with a Health Savings Account can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are tips to share with employees about how to file taxes with an HSA.

As you gather all the necessary paperwork to file your taxes, here are three forms you’ll need to have on hand:

Year End Status Filing Report
This report shows account activity for the previous calendar year, and is not an official tax document.

IRS Form 1099-SA
This report provides you with ‘distributions made,’ or where you spent HSA dollars during the tax year.

IRS Form 5498-SA
This form provides you with the contributions you made to your HSA during the tax year.

These three forms are necessary to complete the IRS Form 8899 on your taxes. Typically, these are sent to you from the HSA administrator, such as HSA Bank.

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Tags: HSA, HSA taxes, health savings accounts, HR, employers, health insurance small employers, employer digest, employee benefit adviser

Tax bill reduces HSA contribution limits

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Mar 07, 2018 @ 07:03

What employees need to know

The IRS published information this week describing changes to the contribution limits for family health savings accounts due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

The new limit will not affect individual consumers with self-only coverage, but the HSA contribution limit for family coverage has been reduced to $6,850 from $6,900.

What does this mean for employers and employees?

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Tags: HSA, HSA taxes, health savings accounts, HR, employers, health insurance small employers, employer digest, employee benefit adviser

How to successfully bring on a new hire

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Mar 05, 2018 @ 07:03

Strategic Onboarding with BernieHR

According to the Society for Human Resources, onboarding a new hire represents a significant financial and administrative burden. In a new survey, SHRM reported that the average cost-per-hire is $4,129 and the average time to fill a position is 42 days.

Because hiring represents such an undertaking for most organizations, prioritizing effective onboarding to improve retention is a key goal for many HR departments in 2018.

However, there is significant opportunity for organizations to refocus onboarding to emphasize high-impact training and development activities, rather than administrative tasks and new-hire paperwork, resulting in improved onboarding and retention.

Bernard Health provides a solution to onboarding challenges in two ways—BerniePortal and BernieHR—which allows HR to become more strategic and valuable. To learn more, download our e-book, “Strategic Onboarding with BernieHR,” or read on.

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Tags: BerniePortal, HR, onboarding, employer digest, BernieHR

Nashville’s healthcare tapeworm

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Fri, Mar 02, 2018 @ 09:03

Employers teaming up to address healthcare

Any consumer who has experienced a major medical event has probably been unpleasantly surprised at America’s high healthcare costs. It can be truly shocking to see the sticker price for surgeries, hospital stays, and prescriptions.

Even one of the richest men in the country, Warren Buffett, can relate. In January, Buffett called healthcare costs “a hungry tapeworm” on the American economy.

Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, is teaming up with Amazon and JP Morgan to tackle healthcare costs for their employees and, potentially, all Americans.

In other words, three of the country’s biggest employers are teaming up to take on the tapeworm, and Nashville is paying close attention.

Why? Healthcare is Nashville’s biggest industry, and any disruption to healthcare costs will affect the many healthcare companies that call Music City home.

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Tags: healthcare, aca, The Tennessean, Medical Loss Ratio, individual mandate

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