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January 2016  

President's Report

I hope everyone stayed safe and warm during the blizzard. The MAHU board would like to thank you for your support in 2016 and we hope to deliver more value this year through exciting new programs. Please mark your calendar for the 13th Annual Maryland Symposium, which will be held Thursday April 21st, 2016 at Maryland Live Casino. This year we have a new venue, engaging speakers and networking opportunities for brokers and employers. Be on the look-out for details regarding this event.

Next click this link for information on the NAHU Capitol Conference, which is only a month away! We encourage you to consider a one-day pass to experience the value of your NAHU membership and hear updates from across the country. Speaking about membership, remember it is up to each and every one of us to recruit people to MAHU. Our membership dues help influence important health reform changes and without them we would not achieve the victories through our state lobbyist, Byson Popham.

Bryson’s office is in the process of setting up meetings with our local legislators. In partnership with NAIFA, we are able to schedule these impactful meetings and legislative events.

I wish each and every one of you a healthy and productive 2016.

Alan Schulman

MAHU President

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Calendar of Events

 

 

Join Us for the NAHU Education Foundation's Webinar Series!
                  
The NAHU Education Foundation has developed an exciting webinar series for 2015 entitled, "The New Healthcare Landscape: How to Make It Work for Your Clients." register today to learn the latest news, trends and practices from national experts in this free, 10-part series that will help brokers stay abreast of the latest developments in healthcare delivery, payment and transparency. You will learn how to get your clients more value for their healthcare dollars.

 

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The Insurance Producers of Maryland Cordially Invite You to a Legislative Reception

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2016  

5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Red Red Wine Bar, Annapolis Maryland

This joint event brings together members from three Maryland insurance producer associations to meet, one on one, with local elected officials from the Maryland State Senate and House of Delegates. This event is an important value-added benefit of your membership with your association; therefore, there will be no additional cost for your attendance. Non-members are encouraged to attend.

Click Here To Register

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NAHU

Annual Capitol Conference

February 23 - 25, 2016

Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill400 New Jersey Avenue, NW Washington, D.C., USA, 20001

For more information, CLICK HERE!

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Carrier Corner

Benefits on the Go             

About 64 percent of Americans own a smart phone 1 and use it for everything from texting to reading the news. Each of us uses more than two dozen different apps each month2 to watch videos, shop, play games, look up facts, order carryout, and even make appointments.

What does that mean for the healthcare industry and, in particular, insurance companies? These days, consumers can find apps to diagnose their illnesses, check their pulse, and even give eye exams. But for the benefits provider, mobile apps are a powerful way to increase brand recognition, improve member engagement, create loyalty, and provide value for both members and clients.

The Avesis mobile app, called Avesis E-ssentials, was released in December and has everything our members need to get the most out of their benefits. In fact, if you can do it on our website, you can do it on your phone. Even better, you can do more.

With the phones we carry with us at all times, members can access their ID card anywhere. If they’re out and about with a lens prescription waiting to be filled, members can find providers within a 5-, 10-, and 15-mile radius—and even call them to make an appointment. Members can check the status of claims, find out what benefits they have each year and which of them remain available, get answers to frequently asked questions, and call our Customer Care center with the touch of a button.

But it’s not enough to be able to do all that. In this age of HIPAA regulations, confidential data must be protected, and Avesis has taken every precaution to be sure our member information is secure. According to Henry Yi, Vice President of Information Technology, “Avesis follows industry best practices for securing patient information.”

But the best, most secure apps are nothing unless they’re user-friendly and attractive, too. Ours was designed by our in-house marketing team to be easy to use and to fit the high standards of our brand; consequently, it’s one of the best looking apps out there, if we do say so ourselves!

You can download Avesis E-ssentials from Google Play and the App Store.

 For more information about our app or one of our vision care products, contact our Director of Sales, Philip Harris, at pharris@avesis.com or (410) 581-8700 ext. 12356

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How to control “out of control” insurance premium increases.

 America is sicker than we thought. The nation’s leading health insurers are sought out rate increases of 20 to 40 percent for the 2016 open enrollment season citing sicker than expected customers who purchased health benefit policies under the Affordable Care Act.

The rate requests, from some of the most popular health plans, suggest that the insurance market is still adjusting to the shock waves set off by the Affordable Care Act. Experts believe the root cause of this problem is the failure of several marketplaces to attract enough young, healthy applicants.

 With increasing expenses already hurting your bottom line, how are you going to keep your business alive while facing inflated insurance premiums or massive penalties from the IRS?

  • Self-Insure your health benefits.

 

This isn’t a new concept, large companies have been self-insuring their health benefits and workers comp for years. We’ve now made it available to any size employer; so why would you pay a large insurance carrier for something you can do yourself?

  • Stop-loss or reinsurance to limit your liability.

 

When you self-insure, you need to have reinsurance to protect your business.

  • Claims funding is returned to you.

 

When you self-insure, you are contributing monthly to a fund that claims are paid out of. Any money that goes unused will be returned to you on a quarterly basis. In a nutshell, you only pay for what you use and that unused money ends up back in your pocket.

  • Implement Health and Wellness Programs to keep your costs low

 

It’s no secret that America is unhealthy. Bringing health and wellness programs to your employees and encouraging yearly checkups can cut down on illnesses and increase the possibility of claims funding coming back to you.

 Simple enough, right? Give FreedomCare a call to learn more about self-insuring and avoiding these premium increases for your clients.

Juston Preble

Business Development Representative

800.589.6383

Juston.Preble@FreedomCareBenefits.com

www.FreedomCareBenefits.com

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WageWorks: Making Consumer-Directed Benefits Simple for All Involved                            

WageWorks, Inc., a leader in administering Consumer-Directed Benefits (CDBs), empowers people to lead healthier, happier, and more productive lives. CDBs are tax-advantaged programs that assist employees and their families in saving money by using pre-tax dollars to pay for certain portions of their healthcare, dependent care, and commuter expenses. We simplify the complexities of CDBs to make them easier to understand and use, so that everyone can benefit from pre-tax savings on everyday expenses.

Our programs also save your clients’ companies money, because employee contributions to CDBs help reduce payroll taxes. It’s a win-win for employees and employers alike.

With WageWorks, employers can increase plan participation and contribution rates and enjoy greater return on their investments in benefit programs. Through Choice Strategies, a division of WageWorks, we offer custom-fit benefits packages to clients of any size.

We know that benefits programs can be complex and intimidating, causing some employees to opt out because they don’t have the time to read the fine print or navigate a new process. In doing so, they lose out on savings, and your clients do too. We strive to be different. We help you communicate important benefits information to clients and employees by simplifying the message and the process. All of our CDBs are delivered through a single technology platform, providing desired visibility and ease of management for both employers and participants. We also provide a full suite of communications tools to make it easy for clients and employees to learn about their benefits and how best to maximize savings.

As rules and regulations change, we present options to you and your clients in a way that simplifies any required compliance decisions. You can rest easy knowing that our benefits programs are always compliant with the law.

We are also actively engaged in shaping the CDB industry and regulations nationally. When employees were granted the ability to carry over up to $500 of Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) balances remaining at the end of a plan year, WageWorks led the charge and was among the first benefits administrators to incorporate the carryover option into its Healthcare FSA program. Our industry leadership is among the many reasons why more than a third of Fortune 500 companies and half of Fortune 100 companies depend on us to be their trusted benefits administrator.

To have us help you improve your benefits programs, please speak with our Sales Team at 1-866-602-3887 or contact us here. A sales representative will contact you within 48 hours to learn more about your needs and introduce you to WageWorks. For more information visit https://www.wageworks.com.

 

 

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Worksite Voluntary Update

Deductibles & Plan Designs Just Reset, Are Your Clients Prepared?

By Jeremy Feldman, MAHU Membership, Aflac Broker Sales Manager, jfeldman@aflac.com

All your plan sponsors with January 1 renewals are put to bed – or are they? With many employers working toward full ACA compliance and adding High Deductible Health Plans, they will undoubtedly be hearing back from employees that they are experiencing financial hardships (“Even Insured Can Face Crushing Medical Debt, Study Finds” – NY Times, January 5, 2016). Additionally, some of the most popular health plans in the market just added significant post-deductible hospitalization co-pays and co-insurance for 2016.

Rather than waiting for the negative employee response to pile up, you can help your plan sponsors get ahead of the potential PR nightmare. How?

By offering a suite of Voluntary Benefits that employees can use to help offset these and other expenses. Find the right carrier with the experience needed because communicating and administering these plans is crucial to their success in turning a negative into a positive. There is no cost to the employer and employees will feel better about their financial future.

In addition to happier clients, this can also help your firm have a meaningful increase to revenues for 2016. The best part is you don’t have to wait until open enrollment to fix this problem, it can be solved now!

 

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HUPAC News


HUPAC BY THE NUMBERS

Succeeded in Passing Legislation to Allow States to Define their Small Group Markets
NAHU was able to pass legislation that allowed states to define the size of their small group
markets. Under the ACA the definition of small group was to include mid size employers that could
have wrecked havoc on 3.4 million employees and their families with nearly two-thirds of workers
seeing an 18 percent premium increase.

Delay of the 40% Cadillac/excise tax and Health Insurance Tax (HIT)
NAHU with its coalition of partners were able to successfully get Congress to pass a two year delay
of the 40% excise tax on health insurance plans which now means the tax will not go into effect
until 2020. This action saved consumers and employers over $16 billion in additional taxes. NAHU
also won a one year delay of the health insurance tax, providing some temporary relief in 2017 to
consumers and small business to the tune of $12 billion. NAHU continues to fight for the full
repeal of both of these taxes that increase the price of health insurance.

Repeal of the small employer deductible cap
NAHU with its coalition of partners was able to preserve plan choice and affordability by repealing
the $2,000/$4,000 small employer deductible cap. Ensuring that clients represented by agents and
brokers could pick the plan that best fit their needs.

Link to full article

 

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Leading in News

14 politically active brokers to know across the U.S.

Despite the chance to impact daily decision making on critical healthcare, employee benefit and broker industry issues, many politically active advisers agree they are among just 10% of brokers who are involved in local and national politics. EBA presents leading brokers in each region of the country who are actively working to change the industry.

To read this in article format, click here.

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