United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Elizabeth Kay

Compliance & Retention Analyst
AEIS Advisors
A UBA Partner Firm

Recent Posts

Why some companies offer an HRA

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    May 18, 2017 9:30:00 AM

In a world of insurance and acronyms, the term “HRA” is thrown around a lot, but it has a variety of meanings.

HRA can mean health reimbursement account, heath reimbursement arrangement, or health risk assessment, and all of those mean something different. I want to be clear that in the following article I am going to be discussing the use of health reimbursement accounts with fully-insured health plans. We can leave the other meanings of HRA for another time.

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Topics: health reimbursement account, HRA, UBA Health Plan Survey, employee benefit trends

The Pitfalls of Online Enrollment Systems

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    May 2, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Online enrollment platforms are great, but communication and understanding are terribly important for the end-user.

I always say, "technology is great, when it works." Online enrollment platforms have been around for years, and the technology that powers them has grown and advanced at an exponential rate. Who would have guessed that we would be enrolling in our employee benefits directly from our own phones and tablets, without being given the huge enrollment packets from HR?

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Topics: employee benefits, benefit communication, independent employee benefits advisors, online enrollment, benefit plan enrollment

Employers and Employees Teeter on Healthcare Cost and Coverage Tightrope

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    Nov 21, 2016 12:08:52 PM

Over the past few years, we have seen the cost of health care steadily increase – a trend supported by the latest data from the 2016 UBA Health Plan Survey. During the recession, employers implemented health plans with higher copays, higher deductibles, or offered multiple plans with a variety of deductibles and pushed the cost of the lower deductible plans onto employees in an attempt to keep their costs for offering coverage at the same rate or less.

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Topics: consumer-driven health plan, Elizabeth Kay, UBA Health Plan Survey, health care cost, benefits cost control, group medical benefits

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

Shining a Light on HIPAA Compliance for Health and Welfare Plans

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    Jun 7, 2016 5:43:27 PM

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal government became much more involved in what had always been a heavily regulated, but predominately private industry. What many people have forgotten is that the ACA was not the first legislation to be passed that involved private and employer-sponsored health and welfare plans.

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Topics: compliance, HIPAA, health plan compliance, Elizabeth Kay, PHI, health and welfare plans, protected health information, business associate agreement

Don't Neglect Written Policies and Procedures

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    Apr 14, 2016 10:00:00 AM

UBA Department of Labor Audits white paperI have worked with my fair share of companies, both large and small, from companies that are just starting out to those that have been well established for 30 or more years. It has been my experience that most companies, no matter how long they have been in business, don’t establish written policies and procedures until they have more than 30 employees.

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Topics: employee benefits, Department of Labor, Don't Roll the Dice on Department of Labor Audits, HR policies and procedures, human resources policy

Negotiating over COBRA Coverage – Use EXTREME CAUTION!

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    Dec 15, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Proceed with cautionHave you ever overheard the new employee in the break room, bragging about how good their health insurance was with their previous employer, and how much less expensive it was than the coverage they are currently being offered?

You may think ”If it was so good, then why give it up?” There are always a number of factors that can lead to someone making a job change, but what happens when COBRA becomes a part of the negotiating process when they are working out the terms of employment with the new company?

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Topics: employee benefits, COBRA, ERISA, Elizabeth Kay, COBRA continuation coverage, health care benefits

Cadillac Tax – Should employers be making changes now?

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    Dec 10, 2015 12:00:00 PM

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has brought about many changes in employee benefits. Plans have been eliminated, benefits added, rules changed, and rules have been delayed.

The ACA has always been a heavily debated topic between the Republicans and Democrats, and now that we are coming up to another presidential election we know that we can expect it to be talked about quite a lot.

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Topics: ACA, PPACA, Cadillac Tax, UBA Health Plan Survey, play or pay requirements, health insurance cost

New Drugs for Some ... Will They Ultimately Cost Everyone an Arm and a Leg?

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    Aug 20, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Advancements in science and technology can be absolutely amazing. The types of treatments that are available now are light years ahead of where we were even 10 years ago. For example, there are some new anti-viral drugs that have become available. One in particular that is for treating Hepatitis C has been very successful. It can actually cure patients of Hepatitis C, in just weeks for some cases.

So why might these drugs not be available to those who could really use them?

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Topics: health care costs, health care reform, Elizabeth Kay, AEIS Advisors, Affordable Care Act, multi-tier pharmacy benefits, prescription drug plans, prescription drug cost

The Key to Reducing Health Care Costs – Have We Found It?

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    May 19, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Self-funding is a very hot topic these days for a number of reasons. For small group employers offering a self-funded plan this means they can charge a composite premium rate based on the employee population versus the community rates that are based on each individual enrollee’s age. For all employer sizes this also means that they are not subject to all of the taxes under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which alone can translate into a savings of 3% to 4% of their premiums.

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Topics: wellness, health care costs, self-funding, self funded health plans, consumer-driven health plan, Elizabeth Kay, Cigna Collaborative Care Program, claims data