Employee Benefits Report – October 2017

The What, Who and How Much of Offering Life Insurance

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As an employer you are in a unique position to offer your employees an easy way to purchase a valuable benefit, costing them less than if they purchased it on their own. Read on for details.
 

Strategies for Making Your Wellness Program Pay Off

2Wellness programs are promoted as win-win. Employers save money on health care benefit costs. Employees improve their health.
Read on for details.
 
 

New Ways to Keep Health Care Benefit Costs Down

3After salaries, Health care benefits are an employer’s largest employee-related expense, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A 2016 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) pegged the annual cost in 2016 at $8,669 for each employee. Read on for details.

Group Health Costs Continue to Climb

It could cost you five percent or more to provide your employees with health care benefits in 2018.
After surveying large employers, the National Business Group on Health released a report on plan design costs this summer.

Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – September 2017

Could Direct Primary Care Control Your Health Care Benefit Costs?

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Affordable Care Act marketplaces are closing at an alarming rate. Health care benefit costs are soaring. Some Republicans are trying to repeal and replace the current Affordable Care Act and others in Congress just want to make changes before it implodes. Meanwhile, coverage isn’t getting any cheaper, and many Americans are left wondering what options they have for affordable health care coverage. Read on for details.

Opioid Addiction in the Workplace: How to Help Employees

2Opioid addiction is on the rise and is affecting the workplace. The National Safety Council reported that nearly 70 percent of the employers they surveyed said prescription drug abuse has negatively impacted their companies.
Read on for details.

Switching to a High-Deductible Health Plan? Here’s How to Explain the Change

3High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are gaining in popularity as a way for employers to save money and to give employees more say on how their health care dollars are spent. Read on for details.
 
 

Great Reasons to Offer a 529 Savings Plan

A 529 college savings plan is considered one of the best ways for parents to save for their children’s’ higher education. Similar to a 401(k) savings plan or an Individual Retirement Account, contributions to the state-run plan grow tax free. In many states, participants get a tax deduction or credit for their contributions.
Read on for details.

Life & Health Insurance Advisor – Fall 2017

Individual Health Care Marketplace Faces Serious Hurdles

benefits gapThere is good news and bad news on the individual health care front. First the bad news.
Read on for details.
 
 
 

Smart Ways to Plan for Retirement Savings

vision insuranceIf you have already started saving for your retirement, congratulations! You’re on the right path. However, just saving money will not be enough to ensure a comfortable retirement if you don’t make the right decisions concerning your plan.
Read on for details.

Critical Questions to Consider When Designating a Life Insurance Beneficiary

life insuranceLife insurance is a wonderful gift to leave your beneficiaries. They can use the proceeds to meet their financial needs, such as paying for housing, or helping them to reach their goals, like going to college.
Read on for details.
 
 

Should You Insure Your Loan Payments?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows you to deduct medical expenses on your tax return — potentially saving you a significant amount in taxes. To get these savings, you must keep detailed records. Therefore, it’s never too soon to start planning for the April 17, 2018, tax deadline.

Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – July 2017

The American Health Care Act: A Bill in Transition

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Wondering how the changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect you? You’ll have to be patient. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill is still in flux. Possible enhancements or repercussions are only educated guesses at this time. Read on for details.

Voluntary Benefits: The Upside of Giving Employees a Choice

2Many employers rely on a robust benefit package to attract and retain employees. The challenge is determining which benefits will appeal to a diverse employee base.
Read on for details.

It’s the Law: Benefits You Must Provide Employees

3Employers have a lot of options for increasing the appeal of their benefits plans. But there are also certain minimums to comply with — benefits required by law. Read on for details.

Want an Edge Attracting and Keeping Millennials? Consider Offering Pet Insurance

The Nationwide insurance company estimates that 65 percent of Americans own at least one pet. Of those pet owners, the American Pet Products Association estimates 24 percent are millennials.
Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – June 2017

How Employers Can Curb a ‘Hidden Workplace Epidemic,’ Save Money and Boost Productivity

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Every day, 60 people die from opioid pain medications in America. That’s 22,000 people every year. Opioids are being overprescribed and they’re now the #1 cause of unintentional death in the United States. Not surprisingly, this “hidden epidemic” is impacting businesses. The National Safety Council has recommendations on what employers need to do. Read on for details.

Bill Would ‘Alter the Legal Landscape’ for Workplace Wellness Programs

2A bill that members of Congress are considering would substantially change federal rules governing workplace wellness programs, lifting limits on the inducements that can be used to persuade workers to provide personal health information, according to a brief by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Read on for details.

Retirement Policy Likely to Change Radically in Near Future

3As President Trump and the new Republican-controlled Congress settle in, experts say U.S. retirement policies are likely to change significantly over the next few years. Read on for details.
 
 

Benefits Paid to Long-Term Care Policyholders Rise 6 Percent

America’s long-term care insurance companies paid $8.65 billion in benefits to 280,000 people in 2016, an increase of 6 percent over the prior year, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.
Read on for details.

Life & Health Insurance Advisor – May 2017

What Republican Changes to the Affordable Care Act Mean to You

benefits gapMany Republicans believe that, even though the new plan is more oriented to the free market, it doesn’t go far enough to fix the ACA’s problems. While Democrats are concerned that millions of Americans will lose access to healthcare coverage. Read on for details.

 

How Long-Term Care Insurance Can Help You Avoid a Nursing Home Stay

vision insuranceLong-term care insurance is best known as a way to cover nursing home costs, but most claims are for in-home care. Read on for details.
 
 
 

How Likely Is Prescription Drug Price Reform?

life insuranceHealthcare costs have skyrocketed and experts say the cost of prescription drugs is one of the culprits. Particularly troubling is the fact that some drug companies have increased prices of some medications for no obvious reason.
Read on for details.

How to Make Dental Coverage More Accessible to Older Americans

Experts agree that steps must be taken to make dental care coverage more accessible and affordable for older Americans. Fortunately, there are several solutions available. Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – April 2017

President Trump and House GOP Introduce Obamacare Replacement Plan

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IMPORTANT UPDATE

Republicans Withdraw American Health Care Act

The American Health Care Act of 2017 was withdrawn by Republicans from the House on March 24, 2017 for lack of sufficient votes. However, even though the bill is moot at this point, the underlying issues, problems and possible solutions associated with the bill are still valid and significant, which is why we have left the following article as is and unedited. Read on for details.

Millennials Driving Growth of Health Savings Accounts

2As more employers offer high-deductible health plans amid rising healthcare costs, health savings accounts are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace — especially among millennials.
Read on for details.
 

Employees Overwhelmed by Complex Health Options

3As the healthcare market shifts toward individual responsibility, a survey found many workers are overwhelmed by the complexity of their healthcare options and many have a poor understanding of the benefits of health savings accounts. Read on for details.

Pension Plan Decline Prompts Interest in Annuities

While fewer employers are offering workers defined pension plans, a growing number of companies are taking a renewed interest in providing annuity income options to their employees, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found.
Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – March 2017

House Votes to Clear Way for Repeal of Obamacare

association health plansIn a 227-198 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution in January that paves the way for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. President Trump and Republicans, who are working on a replacement plan, say Obamacare was a failure, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi argues it diminished the rate of growth in healthcare costs. Read on for details.

How Wellness Programs Improve the Bottom Line

2Workplace wellness programs reduce medical costs, absenteeism and health-related productivity losses, yet many employers find it difficult to measure the success of their programs.
Read on for details.
 

Trends in Workplace Benefits in 2017

3As more employers face increasing health insurance costs, many are looking at their total benefit package to find the best benefits to invest their dollars in. Read on for details.
 
 

Congress Reexamines Repeal of Cadillac Tax

Four members of Congress have reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage.
Read on for details.

Life & Health Insurance Advisor – February 2017

Insured and Broke: The Problem of Underinsurance

benefits gapUnfortunately, having health insurance doesn’t mean you’ll be able to afford the out-of-pocket expenses not covered by your insurer.
Read on for details.
 
 

How to Be Financially Fit

vision insuranceTwenty-eight percent of participants in a 2015 LIMRA Insurance Barometer Study have no confidence in their ability to make important financial decisions. If that sounds familiar, a financial wellness program can help.
Read on for details.
 

Long-Term Care Insurance Carriers Face Challenges

life insuranceMany Americans have bought long-term care insurance to pay for nursing home care in later years. Unfortunately, many insurers underestimated the cost of providing long-term care benefits. As a result, many have increased premiums dramatically, and many stopped offering coverage altogether.
Read on for details.

Saving Money on Prescriptions While on Medicare

Original Medicare, the federal health insurance program for seniors, does not cover prescription drugs. If you want coverage, you can buy a Medicare prescription drug (Medicare Part D) plan through a private insurer. Medicare Advantage policyholders typically have prescription drug benefits.

Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – January 2017

Donald Trump and Obamacare

association health plansBefore his surprise election, President-Elect Donald Trump said he would repeal the Affordable Care Act “on Day One.” However, the health care law championed by Barack Obama could prove more difficult to dismantle than Trump had imagined. Read on for details.

Disability Income Insurance Protects Your Most Valuable Asset

2Most people don’t plan for a debilitating accident or illness during their working years. But three in 10 workers entering the work force today will become disabled before retiring. And only five percent of disabilities are work-related—meaning 95 percent of people with disabilities will not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Read on for details.

Health Insurance Premiums Soar over Last Decade

3Over the last decade, average annual premiums workers have paid for family healthcare coverage have shot up 78 percent, while employer contributions rose 51 percent, a new report found. Read on for details.
 

IRS Extends Due Date for Health Coverage Forms

On November 18, 2016, the IRS extended the 2017 due date for providing 2016 health coverage information forms to individuals. Insurers, self-insuring employers, other coverage providers, and applicable large employers now have until March 2, 2017 to provide Forms 1095-B or 1095-C to individuals. This is a 30-day extension from the original due date of January 31.
Read on for details.

Employee Benefits Report – December 2016

Tax Reform Proposal Would Undermine Health System

association health plansVarious proposals in Congress would eliminate or cap the employer tax exclusion for health insurance. Now’s the time to make your voice heard! Read on for details.
 
 
 

Why Life Insurance Is a Smart Investment

2It’s considered the cornerstone of sound financial planning.
Despite recent reports about sharp increases in some life insurance premiums, financial experts say life insurance is a vital part of a family’s financial stability and a smart investment.
Read on for details.

Asthma and Allergies: How Companies Can Breathe Easier

3About one in four Americans suffers from asthma today. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates the annual cost of asthma at about $56 billion. Direct costs, such as hospital stays, accounted for nearly $50.1 billion, while indirect costs, such as lost pay, accounted for $5.9 billion. Read on for details.

Sales of Long-Term Care Insurance Policies Rising

Although sales of traditional long-term care insurance have dropped 60 percent over the last decade, half of the insurance companies marketing the policies experienced increases in sales in the first half of 2016 compared to the same time period last year.
Read on for details.

Life & Health Insurance Advisor – November 2016

Are You Choosing the Right Health Insurance?

benefits gapIt’s time to start thinking about your health insurance needs again!
The Affordable Care Act requires all U.S. citizens (with certain narrow exceptions) to have health insurance or pay a fine. If you don’t have coverage …

Read on for details.

Is it Time to See a Financial Planner?

vision insuranceSeeking advice from a good financial planner is investing in your future. It might be tempting to save some money and do your own planning, but hiring an expert can cost a lot less than making a costly mistake.
Read on for details.

Life Insurance Myths Debunked

life insuranceIf you’ve decided you don’t need life insurance, you might want to reconsider. Read on to learn why.
Life insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company. You agree to make monthly payments to them and they agree to pay your beneficiaries a lump sum upon your death.
Read on for details.

401(k) Saving Pitfalls

It might be tempting to view your 401(k) retirement fund as a savings plan you can borrow from in case of an emergency, but the price you pay for using that money before you turn 59 ½ can be steep.

Read on for details.

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