Family premiums for employer plans top nearly $20,000

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Oct 17, 2018 @ 09:10

Costs outpace wages, inflation

Annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose five percent to $19,616 in 2018, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Benefits Survey.

On average, workers are paying $5,547 toward the cost of family coverage, with employers picking up the rest of the tab. Annual premiums for single coverage increased 3 percent this year, to $6,896, with workers paying an average of $1,186.

The data confirms what most employers already know — that group health plan costs are increasingly taking up bigger and bigger portions of company budgets.

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Tags: group plan, group benefits, self-funded, employers, self-insure

How employers can lower group health plan claims

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Oct 15, 2018 @ 09:10

Three ways to lower claim costs

As healthcare prices continue to rise, most employers would like to have more control over their group health plan and its costs. However, this requires better visibility into medical claims incurred by employees, and fully-insured plans typically provide almost no transparency into where the employer’s dollars are going.

Alternatively, self-funded plans give employers better insight and control over their claims spend. As a result, self-insuring is becoming a more attractive options for groups of all sizes, especially as fully-insured rates continue to rise at unsustainable levels for small and mid-sized businesses.

There are three main ways to reduce claims spend.

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Tags: group plan, group benefits, self-funded, employers, self-insure

Does the U.S. have ‘free market’ healthcare?

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Fri, Oct 12, 2018 @ 11:10

How to make healthcare more competitive

Americans have been debating healthcare for decades. As costs have continued to skyrocket for individuals, employers and the federal government, consumer frustration has also risen.

The U.S. healthcare system is often characterized by opaque pricing, varying levels of quality, and inefficiencies that make getting care confusing for patients and providers alike.

Politically, the debate usually boils down to which path would improve access to care and lower costs – a more centrally-planned healthcare system, or a more free-market approach.

The U.S. healthcare system today isn’t really a free market, but there are some pockets that operate more like one than others. Below, we’ll look at what keeps America’s healthcare system from being a true “free market,” an example of a pocket in healthcare where a free market does operate, and finally, some ideas that could make the country’s healthcare system more competitive.

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Tags: healthcare, The Tennessean, healthcare costs, individuals, karl dean, bill lee

Is your recruitment strategy tech-savvy?

Posted by Bernard Health on Wed, Oct 10, 2018 @ 08:10

Check out this column in SmallBizDaily:

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: BerniePortal, recruitment

Financial advisors: Do your clients need help with healthcare costs and coverage?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Oct 08, 2018 @ 08:10

How to identify clients who need help

More and more financial advisors are recognizing that healthcare costs have a material impact on clients’ retirement strategies, and are taking steps to provide more comprehensive advising in this area.

One way of accomplishing this is by offering a Healthcare Extension through Bernard Health to provide clients access to licensed, noncommissioned health insurance experts to assist in finding the right strategy.

You may already have some clients asking for assistance in this area, but clients in the following scenarios may also benefit from additional support and advice.

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

UnitedHealthcare launches Association Health Plan option for Texas small employers

Posted by Emily Kubis on Thu, Oct 04, 2018 @ 09:10

New option could produce premium savings for some groups

UnitedHealthcare announced this week the launch of a state-wide geographically-based Association Health Plan (AHP) for small employer groups in Texas.

This new United product provides another option for Texas employers with 2 to 50 employees. For up to half of small employers in the Texas market, the AHP option could potentially produce premium savings of 5 percent to 15 percent, as compared to traditional, fully-insured small group rates.

The new option takes advantage of the executive order to expand AHPs from the Trump Administration. In the past, employers could only band together to offer health coverage if the association was trade-based. Now employers in a shared geographic area can also take advantage of economies of scale. (More: What employers need to know about the new Association Health Plan regulations)

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Tags: group plan, group benefits, employers, association health plans, AHPs, Texas

Meet a BerniePortal developer!

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Oct 03, 2018 @ 09:10

We're hiring in Nashville

We’re a fast-growing team at Bernard Health and BerniePortal, and we’re looking for the best and brightest to join our team. We’re hiring software developers to help us grow our flagship product, BerniePortal, an all-in-one HR software system for small and mid-sized employers.

Interested in learning more? Check out the job listing here, or read on to meet one of our developers, Spencer York!

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Tags: BerniePortal, recruitment

What employers need to know about COBRA

Posted by Gretchen Smitson on Mon, Oct 01, 2018 @ 09:10

Background, penalties and more

What is COBRA? Here's what employers need to know.

Employers that offer a group health plan and that have 20 or more full time employees (or full time equivalents) are required by law to offer COBRA continuation coverage to qualified beneficiaries—employees experiencing a qualifying event that results in a termination of employment or a reduction in hours. In certain cases, an employee's spouse or dependents may also qualify for continuation coverage.

COBRA administration and compliance adds a layer of difficulty to successful benefits administration for employers. Let’s take a look at some commonly asked COBRA questions.

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Tags: BerniePortal, recruitment

Are hospitals driving drug costs for employers?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Fri, Sep 28, 2018 @ 11:09

Study puts blame on hospital markups

Who is responsible for high healthcare costs, and high pharmaceutical costs in particular? The back and forth between drug makers, providers and insurers on this issue continues, with a new study laying the blame for high drug prices on hospital markups.

The new study, commissioned by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America reports that nearly one in five hospitals markup drugs up to 700 percent or more. The study compared 3,792 hospitals and data from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The study notes that drug price markups often lead to higher reimbursements from health plans. Higher claim rates can often result in big premium increases for employers, and these costs are often then further passed on to employees.

Of course, hospitals are not the only source of prescription drugs for employees, and efforts to address skyrocketing drug prices will have to address inflation across the delivery system, including drug makers and prescription benefit managers.

However, self-funded employers may want to pay particular attention to hospital markups. In a self-funded plan, employers are responsible for paying claims up to a stop-loss threshold, and so prescription spending in the hospital setting can be a cost driver. Here are three tips for reducing prescription spend at hospitals for self-funded groups:

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Tags: group plan, group benefits, self-funded, employers, self-insure

Governor’s race: Where do the candidates stand on health care?

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Wed, Sep 26, 2018 @ 09:09

Healthcare often a key issue in political races

When it comes to political issues, health care is one that many consumers feel strongly about. Health care is a big part of almost everyone’s life, so it’s often a key issue in political races.

This will likely be true in Tennessee’s upcoming governor’s race, where Republican Bill Lee will face off against Democrat Karl Dean in November. Further, because Tennessee consistently falls in the top 10 unhealthiest states, this is an issue with particular relevance.

However, when it comes to health care, Karl Dean andBill Lee may have more in common than they have differences. Their health care platforms, as published on their websites, share some key characteristics, but also a few contrasting ideas.

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Tags: healthcare, The Tennessean, healthcare costs, individuals, karl dean, bill lee

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employer healthcare freedom
employer healthcare freedom