Planning to offer group benefits?
If you are planning to offer group benefits to your organization, the first step is to evaluate and select a group benefits broker to help design and implement a cost-effective, valuable benefits strategy.
But what do group benefits brokers actually do, and how do you find one?
There are many different strategies for providing health, dental, vision, and other ancillary benefits to your employees. There are multiple funding methods, types of coverage, and numerous ways to structure these plans. Group benefits brokers are experienced in the spectrum these strategies, and work with employers to develop the best strategy for the business and their employees.
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Voluntary options a key part of employers' benefits strategy
A growing number of U.S. employers now consider voluntary benefits an integral component of their core employee benefit strategy, according to the 2018 Emerging Trends: Voluntary Benefits and Services Survey by leading global advisory, broking and solutions company Willis Towers Watson
U.S. employers now consider voluntary benefits an integral part of their benefits strategy, according to a new study published by Willis Towers Watson.
This number has consistently been on the rise. Five years ago, 41 percent of employers surveyed said voluntary benefits were of little importance to their value proposition to employees. Now, just five percent of employers feel that way.
The takeaway is that, with a robust employment rate, more employers are recognizing that a competitive benefits package is key to recruitment and retention.
Three things to know
Have your clients asked for advice on health coverage? As healthcare costs continue to skyrocket and become cause for concern for Americans at every income level, more financial advisors are recognizing an opportunity to provide another level of service and advice.
When it comes to health coverage, there are numerous strategies your clients may consider. While most are probably covered under a traditional workplace plan, there are nontraditional options that might be a good fit for clients in different situations. For example, if you have clients who are self-employed or retiring before Medicare eligibility, they may need a different solution.
Even clients who have access to a traditional, comprehensive workplace plan may see less value in this type of coverage as premium costs rise into the hundreds and thousands of dollars per month.
Here are three types of nontraditional coverage your clients may consider. While advising on healthcare isn’t typically financial advisor’s area of expertise, having a working knowledge on these options will allow you to position your firm as providing comprehensive advice. Want to offer your clients personalized healthcare advice? Bernard Health provides a Healthcare Extension to financial practices across the country that allows advisors to provide insurance recommendations, enrollment assistance, medical bill auditing and more. Learn more.
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Hospital competition and an aging population
Earlier this month, local hospital network TriStar Health announced a big expansion plan for its midtown campus, TriStar Centennial.
Included in the project is a $123.7 million plan to add four floors and a joint replacement center to the HCA Healthcare-owned hospital, expected to open early next year.
In announcing the project, TriStar representatives said the investments will allow the hospital network to meet the needs of the growing communities its hospitals serve.
Here are two other reasons the hospital network may be investing in orthopedics specifically, and hospital projects in general.
Ways to address rising costs
We all know that group health plans are becoming more and more expensive. But who’s taking the biggest hit from these rising costs? The answer: small business owners.
A recent study conducted by ehealth concluded that the average per-person premium for small business coverage is continuing to trend upwards. They reported an 8 percent increase in coverage costs between 2016 and 2017. Eighty percent of small business owners are concerned about this trend, with 6 in 10 saying that they would be unable to afford a 15 percent hike in prices.
What if there was a way to keep, or even improve, your group health plan while avoiding the pitfalls of this costly trend?
Implement new FMLA forms
Employers now have until June 30, 2018 to implement the U.S. Department of Labor’s new Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms.
If your organization has not updated its forms with the new versions or where not aware of the change, the deadline has been extended through June 30.
What are these forms? The Department of Labor is required to submit FMLA forms to the Office of Management and Budget for approval every three years. The current forms were set to expire May 31, 2018. No other changes have been made to these notices, aside from the effective date.
Medicare doesn’t cover everything
A new study shows half of retirees never calculated the cost of healthcare in retirement, and four in ten retirees say their expenses are higher than they expected.
The 2018 Retirement Confidence Survey illustrates why planning ahead for healthcare is so important, and why more and more financial advisors are integrating healthcare planning services into their firm’s value proposition.
Here are three Medicare misconceptions that could affect your wealth management clients.
First, many consumers do not realize that Medicare has costs associated with it, including premiums, copays, and deductibles, as well as prescription drug costs.
These costs should be considered “expected expenses,” and worked into comprehensive financial planning.
Workers prefer benefits
Over the past decade, power within the job market has shifted from employers to candidates. This change in the recruitment ecosystem has led employers to take a deeper look at the benefits available to employees. Rather than simply offering increased wages, employers are increasingly offering unique benefit packages that reflect company culture and employee preferences.
Here are the 5 most attractive employee benefits according to Harvard Business Review:
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Nonprofits face challenges in building benefits plans
Do you have the right strategy for your group health plan? Nonprofits face particular challenges when it comes to finding the right approach to building a sustainable benefits package.
Bernard Health has a decade of experience working with nonprofits, 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 that nonprofits face when it comes to benefits. To learn more about this approach, click here to download the “Benefits Guide for Nonprofits."
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Check out this article on healthcare costs in Financial Advisor:
Through inheritance, sale of a business or just old-fashioned careful financial planning, some Americans are in a position where they're giving serious consideration to retiring “early.” I put early in quotations because, for practical purposes, this just means someone is retiring before Social Security benefits are traditionally taken and before most people are eligible for Medicare at age 65.
Medicare isn't perfect, but for most people, it's an important milestone because it often provides more comprehensive healthcare coverage at a lower cost than is available to most Americans who don't have access to employer-based coverage. Furthermore, most people can get excellent coverage through Medicare without being subject to medical underwriting, which could include questions about pre-existing conditions or requests for medical records.
However, most clients retiring before age 65 won’t be eligible for Medicare. So a key factor in decision-making will be how to handle health-care costs and coverage in the gap years.
Here’s how financial advisors can help.
Things To Consider: