Healthcare Blog

Posts tagged "individual health insurance"

Goodbye Employer Provided Health Insurance

health insuranceAn article from Market Watch highlights Rick Lindquist and Paul Zane Pilzer, co-authors of “The End of Employer-Provided Health Insurance.” The book goes over why group health insurance is a thing of the past and why individuals, their families, and their employers are all benefiting from moving away from group health insurance options.

Group health insurance rates continue to rise and that’s where Zane Benefits steps in. Zane Benefits is not a health insurance company, but a company that administers defined-contribution plans. What is that you might be asking? It is a benefit plan that gives employees a set amount of money each month that they can use for reimbursement of their health insurance premiums. This plan allows employees to have choice in selecting their health insurance plan. The employer is removed from the selection and allows the employee to shop for an insurance plan that custom fits them and their family.

In Lindquist and Pilzer’s book they project that by 2017, the majority of small businesses will switch to defined-contribution. This shift is being led by small business owners, but they aren’t the only ones dropping health insurance and looking for other options. Verizon and AT&T leaked documents saying they were considering dropping health insurance plans as well.

With the potential savings benefit of this plan why wouldn’t all companies choose this option. Well simply said, you don’t know what you don’t know. Companies don’t understand how a defined-contribution plan could benefit them, not only savings on the part of the employer and the employee, but also helps employee retention as well. What employee wouldn’t want to choose their own health insurance rather than have somebody choose for them?

Read the full Market Watch article HERE and let me know if this is an option you would look into for your company!

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Health Insurance, Small Business and tagged , , , , ,

Common Misconceptions with Defined Contribution

QuestionThere are common misconceptions with defined contribution plans as to their legality and how to set them up to comply with regulations. One of the common questions comes from understanding that the employer is not directly paying for an employee’s individual health insurance. When a company sets up a defined contribution plan it must be compliant with IRS, ERISA, HIPPA, and ACA guidelines. We typically recommend using an administrator when setting up these plans. So why do you need to set up a formal plan to be in compliance versus giving the employee funds directly?

To maintain compliance employers aren’t involved in the employee’s decision to choose their individual health policy, the employer does not directly pay for the insurance premium, and the employer is not involved in any communication between the individual and the insurance company. When following the above guidelines it allows the employer to contribute to an individual health insurance plan maintaining compliance with federal law.

In a defined contribution plan employers are able to give employees different contributions based on their class or position within the company. This class can be based on job categories, geographic location, part-time or full-time status, etc. A class must treat all employees equally, to avoid discrimination. These classes are defined by the employer in an ERISA plan document before the defined contribution plan is put into place.

We have found Zane Benefits is one of the best at administering defined contribution plans. Zane offers a FAQ sheet on their website HERE. For more common misconceptions and answers visit their website. What are some of your biggest questions when it comes to Defined Contribution?


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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Did You Know?, Health Insurance, In The News, Small Business and tagged , , , ,

HSAs Continue to Impress

HSAsEmployee’s are learning how to use their HSAs more and more. A report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that the average amount of money in an HSA increased by 37 percent in 2014. At this time there are currently 13.8 million HSAs covering around 17 million individuals, with the accounts being worth an estimated $24.2 billion.

HSAs were created in 2003 enabling individuals with high deductible health plans to have tax free saving on medical expenses. Although, the Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates that four out of five current HSA accounts have been created since 2011. The rise in HSAs seems to be associated with the passing of the ACA. Now that health insurance is mandatory this is a way to take advantage of an investment potential. Your HSA is able to be connected to an investment account, but their are only 6% of accounts that are.

Individual are not utilizing the full potential of their accounts, but this is a start to an unfamiliar concept for many. 80 percent of policyholders are using their accounts for medical expenses. Adults under the age of 25 withdrew an average of $636, whereas those between ages 55 and 64 withdrew an average of $2,373.

As individuals become more familiar with HSAs and the benefits these types of policies have there should be an even greater number of Health Savings Accounts opening in 2016. Read the full BenefitsPro Article HERE.


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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Health Insurance, In The News and tagged , , , , , , ,

Obamacare Brings About Revelation

GalenThe Galen Institute was founded by Grace-Marie Turner in 1995 to promote a conversation over free-market ideas in the health sector. Grace-Marie wrote earlier this week that Obamacare is working to an extent, but it is still far from affordable for most. She quotes, “39 percent favor the law and 54 percent oppose it.” With 32 changes already having been made to the law the next big change that could take place is the King vs. Burwell case.  With the decision to be made towards the end of this month Americans do not want this to disrupt their coverage, but rather open a door to make the law better. President Obama is quoted in her post as saying, “Let’s figure out how to make it better.” Even the President recognizes that the mandate has it’s flaws. The ultimate goal she states, “is to find bipartisan solutions that give Americans the choice of secure, affordable, health coverage and access to care that meets their needs and the needs of their families.” What have you seen as you have enrolled in your Health Insurance Plan, are you getting the coverage you desire for a price that you consider fair? Read the full post by Grace-Marie Turner HERE

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Health Insurance, In The News and tagged , , , , , ,

Individual Health Plan Enrollment up for Small Business

Individual Health Plan

Individual health plan enrollment is up in California! Many small businesses in California choose to let their employees get coverage through California’s health marketplace, Covered California. With the rising cost of group health plans it is both cost effective for employees and employers to allow individuals to choose a plan from the marketplace. Many of the individuals will not only be able to choose a plan of their choice away from the typical A, B, or C choice a group plan offers, but there is also a possibility to receive a tax subsidy to help with the cost. The ACA mandates that any company over fifty employees must provide healthcare for their employees, but no such mandate is currently in place for smaller companies. Although, many small business’s still offer health plans this year the numbers show a drastic cut to group plans and a rise in individual health plan enrollment allowing employees a freedom of choice. An article on Biz Journals stated that small business health plans declined 11 percent in 2014 while the individual market surged 47 percent. With the rise of group health premiums for small companies many businesses are looking for alternative options to provide benefits. If you are a small business owner have you looked at the possible cost savings moving to a defined contribution model could give you?

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Small Business and tagged , , , , , , , ,