United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Medicare Costs Explained

Posted by: Kathy Binkley, RHU, ChHC    Aug 25, 2015 12:00:00 PM

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Nothing in life is free,” and nothing is – not even Medicare. In most cases, you won’t have to pay a premium to get Medicare, at least for Part A (here’s a refresher on the different parts of Medicare), but that doesn’t mean it’s free. You’ve just pre-paid in the form of taxes. So you don’t have to worry about a premium for Part A, which covers in-patient hospital expenses, assuming you or your spouse paid Social Security for at least 10 years. However, there are other costs associated with Medicare, which vary depending on the specific insurance.

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Topics: health care costs, health care reform, The Wilson Agency, retirement savings, Medigap, Medicare, Medicare secondary payer, Kathy Binkley

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 Different Types of Stop-Loss Explained

Posted by: Michael Humphrey, MLHR    May 26, 2015 4:02:39 PM

With the rising cost of health insurance and the need to provide coverage to employees, we have noticed many employers taking advantage of becoming self-insured. While being self-insured isn’t for everyone, there are definite advantages, such as the possibility of saving money – especially if you have a healthy staff. But self-insured employer groups typically can only self-insure to a certain level. In other words, they can only absorb so much of the risk associated with health care cost. Stop-loss insurance is an insurance product that provides financial protection against the high cost of catastrophic health insurance claims. Understanding the different types of stop-loss is one of the first steps in knowing if self-funding the right solution for your group.

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Topics: health care costs, The Wilson Agency, self-funding, stop-loss insurance, health care claims, Michael Humphrey, stop-loss, risk management

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

EEOC Files Suit Over Wellness Program

Posted by: Linda Rowings    Sep 9, 2014 1:32:00 PM

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued an employer because the penalty it applied for not participating in its wellness program was, in the eyes of the EEOC, so high that participation was not, as a practical matter, “voluntary.” Under EEOC rules, an employer may conduct medical examinations, which includes obtaining medical histories and blood draws, only in limited situations. One of those permitted situations is a voluntary wellness program. Because the program did not qualify as “voluntary,” the questions employees were asked about their health on a health risk assessment, a blood draw, and a range of motion assessment violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to the EEOC’s Complaint.

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Topics: employee engagement, wellness, ancillary benefits, health care costs, ACA, disability management, voluntary benefits, employee satisfaction, UBA Partner Firm, employee benefits, hr consulting, health care reform, health care, wellness programs, absence management, absenteeism, disability insurance, health risk assessment, PPACA Affordable Care Act, employee health, insurance solutions, medical plan, self funded health plans, HRA

Overcoming Employee Disengagement

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 27, 2014 2:31:00 PM

By Peter Freska, CEBS, Advisor
The LBL Group 
A United Benefit Advisors Partner Firm 

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Topics: employee engagement, wellness, ancillary benefits, health care costs, ACA, disability management, voluntary benefits, employee satisfaction, UBA Partner Firm, employee benefits, hr consulting, health care reform, health care, wellness programs, absence management, absenteeism, disability insurance, health risk assessment, employee health, insurance solutions, medical plan, self funded health plans, HRA

The Road to Better Absence Management

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 11, 2014 4:14:00 PM

By Stephen Coffman, Group Practice Leader
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America  

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Topics: employee engagement, wellness, ancillary benefits, health care costs, ACA, disability management, voluntary benefits, employee satisfaction, UBA Partner Firm, employee benefits, hr consulting, health care reform, health care, wellness programs, absence management, absenteeism, disability insurance, employee health, insurance solutions, medical plan, self funded health plans

How Long Commutes Impact Workplace Productivity

Posted by: Geoff Mukhtar    May 19, 2014 12:44:00 PM

What do all employees have in common? They all have a burning dislike for their morning commute! Let’s face it, it’s not the actual commute that most people dislike, it’s the hassle of dealing with traffic, long lines, and rude people that make the trip so despised.

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Topics: employee engagement, wellness, ancillary benefits, health care costs, ACA, voluntary benefits, employee satisfaction, employee benefits, health care reform, health care, wellness programs, absenteeism, employee health, insurance solutions, medical plan, self funded health plans

New PPACA Fees Strike Employers

Posted by: Josie Martinez    Feb 26, 2014 10:15:00 AM

By Josie Martinez
Senior Partner and Legal Counsel 

EBS Capstone, A UBA Partner Firm

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Topics: health care costs, ACA, employee benefits, health care reform, PPACA, benefit communication, benefit management, compliance with health care reform, Group health plans

Funding Concierge Medicine Costs with HSAs/FSAs

Posted by: Dave Woodruff    Feb 4, 2014 10:28:00 AM

By Dave Woodruff
The A.I. Group, Inc.

Most of us have heard of “concierge medicine” and it’s gaining popularity, especially among executives.  As more people enroll, more questions are popping up that we haven’t heard before.  One of the most frequent questions we’ve heard is, “Can I fund the cost of the concierge with my health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA)?”

The answer is an absolute “maybe!”

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Topics: health care costs, health insurance, UBA Partner Firm, employee benefits, health care, FSA, concierge medicine, flexible spending account, health savings account, HSA