Stripping Down Group Dental

Group Dental: a complex topic that may seem simple on the surface, but if you truly want to make an employer and employees happy, there’s more to it than rates.
Did you know that next to medical benefits, dental is the next sought after benefit?
It’s our opinion that it is better to offer it on a voluntary basis than not at all.  This is one of the many benefits that can be deducted before taxes and still help the employer save money.
So why is dental not as simple as we may think? Let’s delve a bit into the inner workings:
  • Maximum Annual Benefits
More often than not, the standard maximum annual benefit is usually $1,000, but are you aware there are options for $1,500, $2,000, and depending on the group size, even higher?
Tip: Some companies won’t count the preventative dollars used towards that maximum, which can help increase the actual benefit by several hundred dollars.
  • Deductibles
Ranging anywhere from $0 to $250 per person and up to three times per family,  a carrier may often increase the family cap from 2 times to 3 times to be a bit more competitive in the marketplace.
Tip: Lifetime deductibles are an option to encourage a group to stay with a carrier.  Once the lifetime deductible has been met per person and family member, no further deductibles are required.
  • How are the benefits paid?
It’s important to analyze where Endodontics and Periodontics are paid. Together with surgery and anesthesia, these are means to get the pricing down (and lowering or raising benefits to the employees).
Tip: This is where a rate is not simply a rate and you are really doing your client a disservice if that’s all you are reviewing. 
  • What about networks & how they function?
Closed network HMO’s only allow a member (unless an emergency) to receive benefits from a listed provider, and referrals are required for specialist services to be covered. The same is true with some carriers when they quote a MAC (maximum allowable charge) plan or a DHMO (Dental HMO).
Tip: Comparing a carrier that quoted a MAC plan versus a UCR (usual, customary, and reasonable) would be a mistake.  Let’s not forget that many individuals aren’t so lax to change dentists and if forced to do so may resent the employer and insurance carrier in the end.
  • It’s all in the details!
Before you quote your next dental plan, make certain to take these variables into account.  If this is a daunting task (which it can be if you are truly quoting the dozen or so carriers that are out there), please feel free to allow us to do the work for you.  We will make the process painless and the sale will be easier than ever before.
We look forward to working with you on your ancillary group cases this year!  Thank you for your loyalty and let us know what more we can do to help you in your group and disability solutions.
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The Talk of The Town

Have you heard about the integral role Voluntary Benefits will be playing in the future of employee benefits???  If you are a group producer, we are certain you have!

For some companies, many of these benefits will be offered in lieu of the employer paying due to cost of providing health benefits to employees.  For others, it is a mechanism to enhance the value of being an employee of that business.

So what is being offered in today’s Voluntary (or Buy-Up) marketplace? It’s not just your group life, short or long-term disability, accident insurance, vision, or dental.  Today, the offerings go on to such plans as whole life, universal life, critical illness, legal shield and/or identity theft, concierge services, pet insurance, homeowners, and the like!  There appears to be no limit to what is being offered depending on the industry and company location.

Other changes to consider are the manner in which these benefits are offered.  We still have the traditional face-to-face group meetings followed by the one-on-one.  However, if there is a large group, that process is far too cumbersome and time consuming; that said, some insurers are offering to do this for you with no loss of compensation.

As a rule, if the case is large enough, you will want to offer a specialty web portal for the company that includes training pieces to help the employee (and their family) make the proper voluntary benefit selection.  At the very least, you will want online or telephonic enrollment.  The latter’s’ benefit is that there is a person that can help the employee to better understand what they have available.

Taking this to the next level are carriers that provide these benefits not on a group chassis but on an individual (and portable) platform.  Do not get lost in the analysis and try not to over complicate the process.  Even if you have an enrollment company assist you, it is better to let a group of professional enrollers take on the case then to sit and learn on the job.  The overall enrollment will increase and your client will be far happier with the results.

From the less expensive group basis to the individual platform, we can help you and your clients make the best-informed decision.  Please let us know how we can together, help your clients tailor and enhance their benefit offerings.

It is our advanced knowledge and understanding that drives us forward.  Let us share our expertise with you!

When the Success of Your Business Lies in Someone Else’s Hands: Broker Newsletter

If you work with business clients, you know that many have at least one “key employee.” These individuals provide a vital service, fill an important role, and/or help generate income for the business. In turn, if that employee were to become ill or disabled, it would be difficult for the owner(s) to fill the shoes or find a replacement.

Think of:

  • A manufacturing company that has a key foreman or machinist, whose loss would be detrimental to the company,
  • A key salesperson whose relationships with certain accounts are vital to the survival of the business,
  • A small sales team whose administrator provides all of the operational, client management, and back-end support,
  • A CFO, CIO, or other C-Suite executive of a larger corporation.

The loss or absence of any of these key employees due to a disability or illness, even in the short term, could result in a financial loss to the business!

In order to help protect the business, Key Person Disability Insurance exists to provide the financial resources to keep the business moving and find a replacement if necessary.

  • Key Person Insurance can provide the means to Recruit, Hire, and Train a replacement, and/or offset a portion of the financial loss.
  • The employer is the Applicant, Owner, Payor, and Beneficiary of the policy, provided that the employee agrees to be insured.
  • Premiums are not deductible to the company; however, the benefits are tax free.

At Insurance Specialties Inc., we are here to help you design and implement the most comprehensive and competitive plan based on the carrier strength, occupation, health, and goal of your client.

It is our advanced knowledge and understanding that drives us forward.  Let us share our expertise with you! 

800.358.8844

info@insurance-specialties.com

http://www.insurance-specialties.com

http://www.facebook.com/insurancespecialtiesinc

https://twitter.com/isi_psi

They Work Hard for the Money…So Help Them Protect It: Broker Newsletter

Disability Insurance: It’s as important to the living (and their families) as life insurance is to the beneficiaries; it’s not just for the societal elite.

  • For the white collar/executive market, we have companies that are extremely competitive and offer a true own-occupation with a residual/return to work benefit.  Though not inexpensive, there is a great value to these well-defined and constructed policies.
  • Contractors, roofers, trades people, police and fire department personnel, and truck drivers, to name a few, fit this blue-gray collar category.  Whether they own their own businesses or are employees, they all need disability coverage!  We work with multiple carriers and will share numerous approaches to help these clients.
  • Don’t forget about the availability of executive carve-out and salary continuation plans!  Many highly compensated executives are actually discriminated against in their company’s group plan.  (Stay tuned, we will share more on the solutions to this concept in a later issue.)

At Insurance Specialties Inc., we are here to help you design and implement the most comprehensive and competitive plan based on the carrier strength, occupation, health, and goal of your client.

It is our advanced knowledge and understanding that drives us forward.  Let us share our expertise with you! 

800.358.8844

info@insurance-specialties.com

http://www.insurance-specialties.com

http://www.facebook.com/insurancespecialtiesinc

https://twitter.com/isi_psi

Instant Disability Quote

What’s Happening in our World of Insurance This Week

Our very own President of Insurance Specialties, David M. Block and Vice President, Andrea M. Block have headed to Washington, DC for the annual National Association of Health Underwriter’s (NAHU) Capitol Conference.  As Federal Law and Legislation Chair of both the Western North Carolina and North Carolina State Chapter, David and other Board Members will be lobbying NC Congressman Mark Meadows and Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr for changes to the Affordable Care Act for what David says, “would make an immediate impact on large employer groups.”

Here is what David had to say in his recent Letter to the Editor piece for The Citizen-Times, Asheville:

Let’s Get the Count Right – Full-Time means Forty Hours

Relief Needed for Employers in their efforts to comply with the Affordable Care Act

Many of you know I am a licensed insurance agent … I make no bones about my chosen profession and take pride in providing protection to individuals, businesses, and families.  I belong to several industry associations that serve the needs of agents and help keep us updated on pending legislation and its ramifications.

As a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters, representing over 100,000 employee benefit and individual health insurance professions, I am writing to address one easily fixed aspect of the Affordable Care Act — knowing who is actually eligible for employer sponsored health insurance.

The law requires employers with fifty or more “full-time equivalents” to allow their “full-time” employees (those working 30 or more hours per week on average) to enroll in the company’s health insurance plan.  The issue is, many business owners are finding it nearly impossible to know who those people are because they don’t have the time to figure that out, or money to buy software or services that would identify those folks.

 The fact is, that every other set of federal laws considers Full-Time to mean 40 hours per week.

Thus, they are left frustrated and confused by the process and the requirements of documenting why an employee was included or excluded from coverage.  In addition, by having this lower number of hours equal full-time, many employees (who already consider themselves part-time) cannot obtain subsidized coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The United States House of Representatives has already passed a bill (HR 30 – Save American Workers Act of 2015) and similar bipartisan legislation is being considered in the Senate (S. 30).  As someone who works with employers of all sizes, I know that if this legislation is passed and signed by the President, it will make the burdens of implementing the Affordable Care Act a little more bearable.

 Please encourage Senators Burr and Tillis to pass this legislation.  In addition, do not forget to write or call the President to ask for his help getting this law passed!

Best of luck to the all of the NAHU representatives from around the country in making an impact; as their motto says, “stand up and be heard.”