United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Do You Know Who Your Primary Care Physician Is? Well, You Should.

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    Aug 30, 2016 10:30:00 AM

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has brought about many changes to the health insurance industry. As we are now in the sixth year of implementation of the Act, we are seeing more changes coming just around the corner.

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Topics: ACA, PPACA, PCORI Fee

HIPAA Phase 1 Audits

Posted by: Danielle Capilla    Aug 26, 2016 10:30:00 AM

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) established national standards to secure and protect the privacy of health information. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) requires the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to conduct audits of covered entities and business associates in order to ensure compliance with the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules.

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Topics: compliance, HIPAA, Danielle Capilla, covered entites, HIPAA audit, business associates

Initial 2016 Health Plan Survey Results Are Out: PPO Deductibles Increase Fifty Percent, Employer Costs Remain Steady

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 24, 2016 10:30:00 AM

The 2016 UBA Health Plan Survey contains the validated responses of 19,557 health plans and 11,524 employers, who cumulatively employ over two and a half million employees and insure more than five million total lives. Of the preliminary findings, we see that employees continue to take on more cost for coverage. The median in-network deductible on an employer-sponsored PPO health plan (which nearly half of all employees enroll in) increased 50 percent, from $1,000 to $1,500 in 2016, yet employer costs remain steady.

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Topics: health care costs, PPO, UBA Health Plan Survey, health care deductibles

Salary Considerations under the New DOL Standards

Posted by: Nancy Bourque    Aug 18, 2016 10:30:00 AM

On December 1, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) will implement changes raising the minimum compensation for exempt employees to $47,476 annually. While salary is just half of a two-part equation that includes a duties test of essential job functions, scrutiny is under way to analyze compensation and find solutions to avoid conflict with the new rule. Many employers are asking: Why not just have all employees work 40 hours and get approval for overtime?

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Topics: Nancy Bourque, counting employee hours, Department of Labor salary considerations, exempt employee salary, tracking employee hours

Prescription Drug Copay Trends: Five-Tier Plan Benchmarks Emerge, Large Employers Hike Rates in Three-Tier Plans

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 16, 2016 10:30:00 AM

UBA’s Special Report – Trends in Prescription Drug Benefits explores our Health Plan Survey findings in more detail, particularly examining what’s happening with prescription drug plan design among different group sizes, regions and industries. When it comes to copay amounts, median retail prescription drug copays are $10/$30 for two-tier plans, $10/$35/$55 for three-tier plans, and $10/$35/$60/$100 for four-tier plans. These amounts have remained largely flat from 2014.

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Topics: UBA Health Plan Survey, multi-tier prescription drug plans, prescription drug cost, prescription drug trends, prescription drug copays

The Real Promise of Private Exchanges Is Still Ahead

Posted by: Michael A. Fleck    Aug 11, 2016 10:30:00 AM

The hype about how private exchanges will revolutionize the successful delivery of employee benefits has quieted as the predicted “explosive growth” has slowed considerably. As I’ve long thought, instead of a revolution, a quiet evolutionary process is taking place.

As with many of the previous attempts to “reinvent an industry” – think WebVan and Pets.com – there is a growing recognition of the need to insert non-tech wisdom, sound processes and actual live human beings into the private exchange concept.

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Topics: private insurance exchange, Benefits Passport, Hanna Global, benefits technology, open architecture platforms, insurance cost control, Michael Fleck

What is Essential? The Madness of Maintaining Job Descriptions Under the DOL

Posted by: Nancy Bourque    Aug 9, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Your new position just got approved and, finally, that mission-critical headcount addition is green-lighted. Celebration ensues until the actual work of finding the ideal candidate begins. The first step is to get a job description. In some cases, a perfectly vetted position analysis and description may exist, one that captures the particulars and purpose of the job. For those not fortunate enough to have a compensation professional providing such information, the search to find the right words to describe the work begins. So launches the journey of a thousand words cut-and-pasted from Indeed.com.

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Topics: employment law, Department of Labor, Nancy Bourque, position descriptions, job descriptions

Which Employers Are Incentivizing Generic Drugs Over Brand Name?

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 4, 2016 10:30:00 AM

According to UBA’s new Special Report – Trends in Prescription Drug Benefits, 61.8% of plans required employees to pay more when they elect brand-name drugs over an available generic drug (a 5.5% increase from 2014); 37.9% of those plans require the added cost even if the physician notes “dispense as written.” On the other hand, only 1% of plans offer no coverage for brand-name drugs if generics are available and 37.2% offer no added cost coverage. So while most employers aren’t completely penalizing those who choose brand-name drugs, more and more plans are requiring employees to pay higher copays when they elect brand-name drugs.

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Topics: UBA Health Plan Survey, prescription drug cost, Scott Deru, prescription drug trends, brand-name vs generic drugs

It's not that simple!

Posted by: Mathew Augustine, GPHR, REBC    Aug 2, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Exit or remain, welcome refugees or build a wall to keep them out, guns or no guns, black or white, include all or be exclusive… the list of extreme positions that people are taking goes on and on. What is driving this sudden increase in polarized thinking in the world? The world was getting smaller, technology was supposed to ”level the playing field,” and people were supposed to become more connected. What happened to the ”it’s a small world after all” thinking we hoped to grow up to realize?

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Topics: employee benefits consulting, Mathew Augustine, independent employee benefits advisors, benefits compliance

Mail Order or Not?

Posted by: Mary Delaney, MSPT, CWP    Jul 29, 2016 10:37:19 AM

In 1990, Health Affairs* reported “The escalating costs of prescription drugs and competition among pharmaceutical firms for customers are drawing the attention of policymakers, pharmacies, and individual and institutional purchasers. Mail-order pharmacies recently have grown in prominence as a competitive alternative to the local community pharmacy.”

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Topics: prescription drug cost, mail order drug benefits, prescription drug trends, Brenda Motheral, Mary Delaney