Young People Discussing Group Insurance Benefits with an agent

3 Benefits of Group Health Insurance For Employers

Group health insurance is usually provided by an employer and can cover just the employee or even the employee’s spouse and children.

Not providing group health coverage could be a major misstep for some companies regardless of size, as there are a number of benefits to providing Group Health Insurance coverage.

1. Lower Costs Than Individual Plans

There is no question that the term health care reform has been a hot-button topic and on the lips of nearly every politician regardless of political party over the course of the past 10 years. In light of the Affordable Care Act, it has now become more affordable to purchase Group Health Insurance than for your employees to purchase health insurance individually.

Level-funding insurance plan options have been growing in popularity over the past number years. Level-funded plans are ERISA compliant and may offer more flexibility for employers with virtually no risk and offered by several reputable insurance carriers with a nationwide network of hospitals and physicians to choose from.

What has many employers especially excited about these plans is the opportunity for 10%-15% in lower premium costs and the Return of Premium potential. Unlike other policies on the market, with level-funded options, if your employees don’t rack up a large number of claims throughout the year, your company may have a substantial amount of money (originally paid in premiums) returned.

Insurance Agent Explaining Group Insurance to employee2. Attraction and Retention

If looking at the cost of a group health insurance plan leaves you feeling queasy and the idea of paying the tax penalty sounds more appeal, you may want to think twice.

As job seekers now expect for their employers to at least partially cover their healthcare needs through group health insurance policies, walking into a job interview and being told that the company refuses to pay health care for full-time workers is a red flag. Even if a potential employee is in trouble financially, they may still take the job out of desperation but will jump ship as soon as they can afford to for greener pastures.

Providing Group Health Insurance for your employees shows a certain level of care and respect that new and existing employees will appreciate and keep in mind going further within your company.

3. Tax Benefits of Providing Group Health Insurance

In some cases, it’s possible that providing your employees with Group Health Insurance could give you a welcome tax write-off, not to mention added tax benefits for your employees.

Payments made to group health insurance premiums, reimbursement plans (HRAs), and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are generally all eligible for tax advantages as all of these payments can be made as pre-tax contributions.

As an added bonus, qualifying health insurance plans may also be eligible for HSAs for their employees. HSA’s are 100 percent owned by the individual employee and not tied to you in any way. In a 2015 study conducted by Devenir compiled data from the top twenty HSA providers in the U.S. and found a 1775% increase in assets between 2006 and 2015, showing that now more than ever, people are choosing to invest their money in HSA’s rather than insurance plans with more coverage.

 

Member Benefits has been in the insurance brokerage business for over 30 years and is the recommended broker of The State Bar of Missouri. To see the insurance benefits we provide to The State Bar of Missouri, visit www.mobar.memberbenefits.com.

To see what Member Benefits can do for your business, visit www.memberbenefits.com.

gray map of counties in missouri and kansas

Blue Cross Abandons Affordable Care Act Insurance Exchange in Missouri

UPDATE 6/13/2017: 

St. Louis-based Insurance company, Centene Corp., has announced plans to enter the Missouri, Kansas, and Nevada Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges in 2018. In April of this year, Centene CEO Michael Neidorff was quoted as saying “As to exchanges, we see nothing at this point to prevent us from proceeding with our 2018 marketplace participation.

According to Kansas City Business Journal, “As of March 31st, Centene served about 1.2 million exchange members, up about 500,00 from the previous year.” Centene Corp. is also expected to expand its six current markets in Washington, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, and Texas signaling the potential for even more growth in 2018.

In a statement, Neidorff said, “Centene recognizes there is uncertainty of new healthcare legislation, but we are well positioned to continue providing accessible, high quality and culturally sensitive healthcare services to our members” according to an article on Reuters.

 

Citing major and “unsustainable” financial losses, insurance giant Blue Cross Blue Shield have announced plans to abandon individual plans offered through the Affordable Care Act Insurance Exchange for 2018 in both Missouri and Kansas.

According to the press release, “Like many other health insurers across the country, we have been faced with challenges in this market. Through 2016, we have lost more than $100 million. This is unsustainable for our company. We have a responsibility to our members and the greater community to remain stable and secure, and the uncertain direction of this market is a barrier to our continued participation.”

This decision comes on the heels of Aetna’s recent decision to completely pull out of the insurance exchange program after a citing a $450 million loss financial loss in 2016 and an additional projected $200 million loss this year.

While Blue Cross has roughly 1 million members in the affected area, they are estimating that approximately 67,000 will lose coverage. The new decision will not impact members who purchased their plans prior to October 1st, 2013, those who purchased Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, short-term or student health plan from Blue KC, or members who have Blue Cross coverage through their employer.

Nonetheless, the move by Blue Cross comes as a major blow to families and individuals in the area, not to mention the Affordable Care Act itself. Out of the 32 counties the decision impacts, 25 will be left without any options available on the exchange as the situation stands today. Insurance providers have until June 21st to inform the government where or if they will sell plans on the insurance exchanges for 2018.

map of missouri counties effected by blue cross decision to leave insurance exchangeThe State of the ACA Insurance Exchange in Missouri

According to Fox4kc.com “This year, 97 out of Missouri’s 114 counties and the City of St. Louis have only one insurer offering plans on the exchanges. Earlier this year, Humana announced that it is also withdrawing from the exchanges. As things stand today, that leaves 25 counties with no insurer option and 77 counties with only one insurer option next year.

This comes on top of a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services showing that under Obamacare insurance premiums in Missouri’s individual market have increased by an astonishing 145% in just four years.”

Missouri isn’t the only state where insurance providers have been struggling. Healthcare Economist at Washington University in St. Louis, Tim McBride, believes the decision made by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City “is part of a larger trend with insurers pulling out of marketplaces in Virginia and Iowa as well.”

If you find yourself one of the 67,000 people in the Missouri and Kansas area that this decision impacts—we can help. For over 30 years, we have assisted thousands of employers and individuals secure the coverage they need for themselves and their families. Our benefits counselors are on hand M-F 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and are specially trained in helping attorneys with their insurance needs and may be able to help in the event of a loss of coverage for 2018.

Stay tuned to The Missouri Bar Private Insurance Exchange for more updates, or contact us today at www.mobar.memberbenefits.com/contact/ to see what options may be available to you.

To view the full press release from Blue Cross Blue Shield visit www.bluekc.com.

man smiling in car with family

How Our Critical Illness Insurance Can Save Your Practice

Exclusive Group Critical Illness Insurance savings to members of The Missouri Bar, employees of members, and eligible dependents with coverage beginning as early as June 1st!

According to facts compiled by the Center for Disease Control, every year more than 1.53 million Americans suffer a heart attack or stroke alone and unlike other competitor policies, this Group Critical Illness Insurance offers whole or partial coverage of 14 different illnesses that could strike you or your loved ones at any time.

But despite all the benefits of enrolling, there are still some key reasons for not waiting to take advantage of this special offer.

1. There is no time like the present.

The time to enroll in Critical Illness Insurance will never be better than it is now. The reason for this is that insurance companies tend to calculate your premium for this type of insurance annually based on one’s age. Therefore, depending on which option you choose, your monthly premium could cost anywhere from $4.67 to $105.63.

healthy young woman cupping blueberries
2. You can only purchase Critical Illness Insurance when you’re healthy.

If you think this is a type of insurance you can get once you’ve already been diagnosed, think again. Like most insurance types, Critical Illness Insurance benefits will only be paid out to you in the event of a diagnosis that occurs on or after your insured date.

3. Group Critical Illness Insurance means coverage for your family.

While you may believe that you won’t need Critical Illness Insurance anytime soon, could you say the same thing about your loved ones? By enrolling in the policy, you have the option to select coverage for any of your family members as well.

4. Coverage included for 14 different illness types.

As opposed to other Critical Illness Insurance policies offered by other companies, the policy offered by Allstate Benefits insures whole or partial coverage for 14 different illnesses, ranging from heart attack all the way to advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

young couple getting financial advice from elder business man
5. Tax-Free Benefit Payment in the event of diagnosis.

According to a 2013 report by NerdWallet Health and later picked up by CNBC, every year approximately 2 million people in the United States file for bankruptcy as a result of staggering medical bills that go unpaid. With Critical Illness Insurance, you are paid cash benefits following the diagnosis of one of the 14 illnesses covered by the Allstate Benefits policy.

Depending on your diagnosis and specific policy option, you could receive anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 to help you cover anything from your rent or mortgage, to car insurance, basic bills and more while you recover. In the event your illness or recovery time render you unable to pay your monthly Critical Illness Insurance premium, your premium will be waived (this only applies to the policyholder).

6. Peace of Mind for you and your loved ones.

A survey conducted by NPR in 2015, revealed that of the population sampled, 26 percent of individuals with and without insurance revealed that the cost of their health care “caused a serious financial problem.”

With Group Critical Illness Insurance, you and your family would be able to focus more on recuperating from an unfortunate medical diagnosis, rather than focus on how you’re going to be able to pay your medical bills.

Due to its new offering, Allstate Benefits has granted a Limited-Time Open Enrollment Period exclusive to members of The Missouri Bar. To learn more about Allstate Benefits Critical Illness Insurance, feel free to look over the brochure, which outlines policy options, pricing, a complete listing of covered illnesses and more.

To enroll yourself or your family in Allstate’s Group Critical Illness Insurance, visit our site and be sure to enroll by July 31st.

Final Market Stabilization Rule

Did you know that approximately 500,000 fewer Americans enrolled in a plan during the open enrollment in 2017 than in 2016? The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued the final market stabilization rule. The goal is to increase choices, lower premiums and encourage stability in health insurance markets for 2018.

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Last Chance to Enroll

Last Chance to Enroll in Individual Health Insurance for 2017

Don’t wait until it’s too late to get your individual health coverage for 2017. Open Enrollment for Individual Health Insurance ends on January 31st. If you haven’t enrolled in a plan by this date, you may be stuck with your current coverage or no coverage for the remainder of the year unless you have a qualifying life event. Schedule an appointment with a licensed benefits counselor or start shopping today to make sure you are covered.

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