Healthcare costs are affecting retirees—financial advisors can help

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Apr 20, 2018 @ 08:04

How to help financial advisor clients save money

Healthcare costs in retirement are a huge concern for older Americans, and financial advisors are uniquely positioned to address this area of need. According to Fidelity Benefits Consulting, a 65-year-old couple retiring this year will spend $275,000 on healthcare, not including long-term care expenses.

This number has been on the rise for years, which is why smart planners are increasingly building healthcare planning into their clients’ financial goals and portfolios. But aside from asset management, there are many other intersections of healthcare and finance where consulting services are sorely needed but hard to find. 

Three areas advisors may not have considered as affecting their clients’ finances are yearly Medicare costs, high-dollar medical bills, and HSAs. Planners can help clients make more informed, cost-effective and tax-advantaged choices by partnering with insurance advisors, national consulting firms, or building expertise in-house.

Providing advisory services in these areas is to the benefit of both your clients and your practice. Here are three areas you may not have considered when it comes to retirement and healthcare costs, and how you can help your clients address them.

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Tags: Bernard Health, retirement, healthcare costs, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension, medicare costs

Is your recruitment strategy tech-savvy?

Posted by Rebekah Michel on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 @ 08:04

Three ways to use HR tech to reach recruits where they are

U.S. employers have recruitment on the brain. With unemployment at near-historic lows, finding and keeping good talent is one of the top priorities for the HR department these days.

But is your organization’s recruitment strategy tech-savvy? Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce, and finding new talent requires meeting them where they are—and that’s online.

Here are three tips for bringing your recruitment process online.

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Tags: HR, employers, hr software, hiring, employer digest, recruitment, HR tech, Small Biz Daily

Employers—here’s how to adopt HR tech

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 @ 09:04

Broker-supported benefits software is better than seeking a solution on your own

According to analytics firm Larocque Inc., venture capital investments in HR tech surpassed $1 billion in 2017, particularly focusing on talent acquisition, followed by HCM (human capital management) tools to manage core HR functions.

These tools include benefits, time tracking, applicant tracking and more.

The takeaway is that small and mid-sized employers are on the cusp of a huge move to administer HR and benefits online.

But how do you know which type of solution is right for your organization, and where can you find the right solution?

The first place to start is by asking your broker what solutions they can provide or recommend. Many brokers nationwide license software tools to streamline benefits and HR administration. Bernard Health clients have access to BerniePortal, an all-in-one benefits and HR platform.

There are a few benefits of a broker-supported platform:

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Tags: broker software, health insurance brokers, employers, solutions for employers, health insurance small employers, employer plans, broker, employer digest, HR tech

Group benefits for medical practices

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Apr 13, 2018 @ 09:04

Medical practices face challenges in building benefits plans

Do you have the right strategy for your group health plan? Medical practices face particular challenges when it comes to finding the right approach to building a sustainable group benefits package.

Bernard Health has a decade of experience working with medical practices, and we offer a suite of innovative products and services to help your employees make the best choices when it comes to healthcare.

Here are three areas of need medical practices face when it comes to benefits. For more, download the free “Benefits Guide for Medical Practices.”

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Tags: health insurance small employers, group benefits, employer digest

Tech companies tackling healthcare

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 @ 09:04

Is tech disruption coming?

Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google have revolutionized our lives. Many of us hail rides on our smartphones, run our homes with virtual assistants, and can have almost any item we need delivered directly to us.

But there’s one corner of the American economy that has, so far, held tech disruption at bay—healthcare.  Perhaps more than any other industry, healthcare has resisted the trends that have radically changed the ways we shop, bank, travel and more.

We still use paper forms at the doctor’s office, you still have to call to make appointments, competition has dwindled, and prices have skyrocketed. Sounds like an industry ready for disruption, right?

The above companies seem to think so. So far this year, several big tech companies have announced plans to tackle healthcare. While no single company could solve all of the healthcare industry’s issues, the companies are proposing solutions to different pieces of the puzzle.

Here are plans from Amazon, Apple, Uber, Lyft and Google to bring healthcare into the 21st century.

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Tags: healthcare, aca, The Tennessean, healthcare costs, amazon, apple

How Bernard Health reduces financial advising clients’ drug costs

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Apr 09, 2018 @ 07:04

How to help your financial advising clients save money

As healthcare costs continue to rise, financial advisors and wealth managers are increasingly recognizing the need for their practices to address healthcare planning from a financial perspective.

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

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

Because of this, more advisors are recognizing that healthcare plays a role in the advice they give their clients around retirement and investing.

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Tags: Bernard Health, retirement, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension, medicare costs

What is the Medical Loss Ratio?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Apr 06, 2018 @ 08:04

Is the MLR driving up employer healthcare costs?

A piece of the Affordable Care Act that seeks to cap insurer profits may be driving employer healthcare costs in some cases.

The ACA’s Medical Loss Ratio intended to cap the profits of insurance companies by requiring them to pay out 80 percent of what they collect in premiums, leaving 20 percent for administrative costs, marketing and profit.

The reasoning behind this was to put eight out of every ten insurer dollars toward claims, as opposed to other parts of their business.

However, this also means the maximum profit insurers can collect is 20 percent of premiums. As a result, the avenue to profit growth is to increase premiums altogether, especially for those not surpassing the 80 percent threshold.

Employers are left to question whether insurers are best positioned to help employers lower medical claims, and what really drives annual premium increases of 10 percent, 15 percent, 20 percent or more.

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Tags: health insurance small employers, Self-Insured, healthcare costs, Medical Loss Ratio, employer digest, employee benefit adviser, self-funded, reference based pricing, self-insurance, network discount

What is an insurance network discount worth?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Apr 04, 2018 @ 09:04

Consider the value of insurance discounts

Some self-insured employers are adopting new strategies to pay for their group benefits plan. These plans, including direct contracting with hospitals or reference-based pricing, typically do not use a traditional insurance network.

Many employers are finding they can obtain better value for the services they pay for by either negotiating with the hospital directly, or by paying an excess of Medicare’s reimbursement rate.

Why would employers want to adopt these strategies? Generally, the benefit that insurers provide to employers are their network discounts for services. But with healthcare prices skyrocketing, are employers getting the most value through this set up? Let’s look at how it typically works. 

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

Health insurance market may soon split according to healthy, sick

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Apr 02, 2018 @ 07:04

Individual mandate changes to affect individual market


For most consumers, 2019 feels pretty far away. But in the insurance world, it’s practically right around the corner. In just a few short months, carriers will have to decide if they intend to sell individual insurance next year.

These decisions will be influenced by recent proposals by President Trump’s administration that would allow carriers to offer plans that don’t meet current Affordable Care Act standards. This could result in more coverage options outside of the ACA, but it could also lead to fewer options and premium increases for ACA plans.

In other words, these health policy changes could create two separate insurance markets, one for healthy consumers, and one for sicker consumers.

To see how this could happen, let’s look into the health care crystal ball and see how these health care policy changes might play out in Tennessee and elsewhere.

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

Three benefits of offering healthcare advice through your financial planning practice

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Mar 30, 2018 @ 09:03

Integrated advice through a healthcare extension versus referrals

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 gives financial advisors access to a team of licensed, noncommissioned healthcare advisors who answer client questions, lead seminars and complete analyses delivering personalized healthcare recommendations. Through the partnership, planners can roll healthcare advisory into their practice without hiring a dedicated staff member.

We consider this a true extension of the firm’s practice, which often begs the question—why would you want to integrate these services into your firm, rather than just secure a referral partner?

Here are three benefits of offering the advice through your firm:

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Tags: Bernard Health, retirement, financial planner, financial advisors, healthcare extension, medicare costs

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